Last updated January 14, 2020
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Spring 2021 — Green
We were very happy to have a group of volunteers in Ukraine for the Fall 2020 semester and for the Spring 2021 semester.
Also, this info can change often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.
Borders are open, and travelers from the U.S. can enter Ukraine either with a negative Covid-19 test result or they can test on arrival.
There is an additional health insurance requirement for travelers to Ukraine.
You don’t need a visa prior to arriving in Ukraine.
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 (except a brief closure in September) — 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 January 14th, Ukraine has 643.2 active cases per 100,000 people. In comparison, the USA is currently averaging 2,816 cases. Healthcare in Kiev is good, with a number of quality private hospitals. Testing is available and happening.
There has been a steady decrease in new cases in Ukraine since about November which we are glad to see.
The school year began on September 7th and children are back in class.
You can plan on visiting the beach, 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 and there are some restrictions to be aware of.
To help curb the infection rate, the government recently announced that a strict quarantine will take place from January 8 through January 24. During the quarantine, cafes and restaurants will be temporarily closed (except for delivery and takeaway orders. Theaters, shopping malls, cinemas, etc will also be temporarily closed, as well as cultural/entertainment events and sporting events with spectators.
During this period, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, postal operators, public transport, internal/international travel and hotels will remain open. Sporting events without spectators will also continue.
Additionally, the government announced that the adaptive quarantine will be extended until February 28, 2021. Under the adaptive quarantine there are no public events with over 20 people, hostels will remain closed (hotels may remain open), and restaurants will operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Travel on public transportation is limited to seated passengers only.
Out & About
While most things are open, expect to wear masks and social distance while visiting stores, attending a performance, visiting a museum, riding buses, etc. Wearing masks that properly cover both mouth and nose is mandatory on public transportation and in public places. Individuals and establishments can be fined for not complying.
Volunteers in Ukraine during Fall 2020 had an amazing time, and the restrictions haven’t impacted that too much. You can get a glimpse into what living, teaching, and even traveling is like during their semester here, on the ILP takeover.
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, beaches, 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. As a reminder, under the current adaptive quarantine stage, only hotels are in operation (not hostels or guesthouses).
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 Spring 2021 semester, so if you’re considering volunteering this Summer, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP! Or if you’re considering traveling in 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.