Last updated September 24, 2020
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green
We’re very happy to announce our group of volunteers headed to Ukraine in September for the Fall 2020 semester. We’re hopeful Ukraine will be an option for our Spring 2021 volunteers as well.
Also, this info can change often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.
Borders are open, with particularly good news for US travelers. Recently, Ukraine announced a new testing policy: Ukraine does not require a test on arrival for US travelers who can present a Negative COVID-19 test upon arrival that was taken within 48 hours. The test must be a PCR test and have that test method clearly stated on the results the 48 hour period starts when the results are issued (not when the test is taken). We are excited to have an option that allows a test at home in the US rather than on arrival in Ukraine (although the test-on-arrival is available as a backup).
There is an additional health insurance requirement for travelers to Ukraine.
You don’t need a visa prior to arriving in Ukraine: you receive one on arrival. Under the current border policies, humanitarian travelers are allowed entry with the necessary paperwork. We worked with our coordinators in country for those documents for our Fall 2020 departure.
We get to this in a minute regarding vacations, but traveling out of the country may be a little tricky depending on the quarantine and border policies of the countries you may want to vacation to.
International flights have been open since the middle of June — a welcome change since on March 25, Ukraine closed its border for all scheduled passenger services.
Additionally, the US Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine has resumed online scheduling of certain American Services (things like passport renewals and replacements). It’s a welcome update, especially since these services have been suspended for months.
As of September 28th, Ukraine has 248 active cases per 100,000 people. Testing is available and happening. Healthcare in Kiev is good, with a number of quality private hospitals.
There is a slow increase in cases since the country opened up that we are watching carefully, but the number of cases (adjusted for population) and rate of increase are still much lower than most states in the US (which has an average of around 775 cases per 100,000).
The school year began on September 7th and children are back in class.
You can plan on shopping around, visiting cafes, and enjoying some of our favorite things to do in this part of the world. Similar to how things are at home, higher-risk places like buffet restaurants are still closed, but many other businesses and attractions are open (with parameters).
Out & About
While most things are open, expect to wear masks and social distance while visiting stores, eating outside at cafes, riding buses, etc. Right now Ukraine is in an “adaptive quarantine” stage which means most restrictions have been lifted except in areas with high infection rates.
This adaptive quarantine stage has been extended until October 31st. Right now, the country is divided into different zones (green, yellow, orange, and red.) The different zones have different allowances and restrictions. Right now, Kiev is in the “green” stage which means you need to wear a mask while inside a public building and allowing public events, as long as social distancing is observed. You can check the current zone colors and allowances here.
Volunteers will need to wear a mask while teaching, so be prepared for that.
Travel around the country is looking good. We’ve seen the country open up recently, with businesses, restaurants, public transportation, and more open to locals and tourists. We particularly loved seeing the metro open back up on May 25th. Right now, everyone is required to wear masks while on the metro (and observe social distancing as much as possible) so be prepared for that.
For the most part, transportation and hotels around Ukraine are open for business which is really good news for everyone.
Out of country travel is extremely limited now and may not be possible to many places. In a nutshell, in order for you to travel out of the country, that country has to let you in and Ukraine has to let you back. A lot of popular destinations in Europe aren’t allowing US travelers but potentially, volunteers may be able to check out places in south eastern Europe, spots like Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. That list could shrink or expand, but that’s what things are like now.
Also, remember that things change quickly, so buying airline tickets to travel to other countries could be risky. Italy or France or any other country could decide to close its borders after a ticket is bought but before the flight departs — that gets expensive! We’ll do our best to work with volunteers who have questions about different country’s current policies.
Can I still apply for Ukraine?
Absolutely! We currently have volunteers abroad for the Fall 2020 semester, so if you’re considering volunteering this Spring, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP! Or if you’re considering traveling in Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or even Spring 2022, now is a great time to start your application for those semesters as well.
We are so excited for volunteers to be back in Ukraine!
What is traveling and living in Ukraine like right now?
For Ukraine, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re seeing some of the same precautions you’d take at home (like wearing a mask and social distancing). Just like there is a risk to go out in Utah right now, there will be risks to traveling anywhere, including Ukraine.