Last updated July 31, 2020
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Fall 2020 — Green
We’ve seen many steps throughout June and July to slowly open Ukraine back up which we’re more than thrilled about. Virus management has been very good,the healthcare system in Kiev is good, plus foreigners were allowed to enter Ukraine (starting July 2nd). And if travelers from highly-infected countries (like the US) test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival, there will be no requirement for an at-home quarantine beyond the time waiting for their negative test result. We have plans to send a group of ILP volunteers for a European semester departing late August, or early September.
Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Ukraine again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). 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. As of July 7th, Ukraine announced that travelers from high infection nations (like the US) can either quarantine for 14-days or agree to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival (and skip the quarantine if you test negatively).
In the next couple of weeks, an airport in Lviv is experimenting with a test-on-arrival pilot program that if successful, could be implemented in the major airports in Kiev. The test-on-arrival program means that once you arrive in Kiev, you take a COVID-19 test and get the results within a few hours before leaving the airport (or 2-3 days later) allowing you to skip quarantine once you get the negative test results.
Unlike other countries in Europe who are requiring a 14-day quarantine for tourists from the United States or only allowing visitors from certain countries, Ukraine is just requiring tests for tourists from higher infection nations.
There is an additional health insurance requirement for travellers to Ukraine. We are working with ISIC to confirm that it meets those requirements.
You don’t need a visa prior to departure for Ukraine: all tourists get a 90-day stay. Since your ILP semester is longer than 90 days, volunteers typically leave the country and visit favorite spots like Croatia, Italy, Greece, etc.
Traveling out of the country may be a little tricky. A lot depends on the quarantine and border policies of the countries you may want to vacation to. We talk about this more in the section about out of country travel, so be sure to read that section, too.
International flights have been open since the middle of June — a welcome change since on March 25, Ukraine closed airports for all scheduled passenger services.
As of August 4th, Ukraine has 72 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 690 cases per 100,000).
Schools are expected to be open when the school year begins in September.
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.
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.
Because Ukraine is requiring a negative test instead of a mandatory quarantine when entering the country, out of country travel may end up being an option just like it has been for past semesters. Hooray! We’ll have to watch the details, but will keep volunteers posted.
Something to keep in mind though are other country policies. Some European countries are instituting a quarantine if you’re a citizen of a country with a high infection rate (like the United States) while others are accepting travelers regardless of their nationality, but look at where you have traveled for a certain amount of time before entering. 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 not allow travelers from the US 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 a country’s current policy.
Can I still apply for Ukraine?
Absolutely! We anticipate sending volunteers to the Fall 2020 semester, departing at the end of August or September so if you’re considering volunteering this Fall, we’d recommend getting a jump on your application ASAP! Or if you’re considering traveling in 2021 (Spring, Summer, and Fall), now is a great time to start your application for those semesters as well.
We’ve been in contact on a local level to help us paint a picture of what volunteering and teaching there will be like and are so excited for volunteers to get back to Ukraine!
What is traveling and living in Ukraine like right now?
We’re seeing good signs in this particular country especially when compared to numbers in the United States. For Ukraine, things have slowly been opening back up both for domestic and international tourism. We’re anticipating some of the same precautions you’d take at home (plan on 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.