Local laws and customes

Local travel

  • A number of local companies offer tours to Chernobyl. Some areas around the reactor are covered by an exclusion zone, and you may need to get a permit and travel with a guide. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, although some of the radioactive isotopes released into the atmosphere still linger, they are at tolerable exposure levels for limited periods of time.
  • It’s illegal under Ukrainian law to enter internationally recognised Ukrainian territory through a border point that isn’t currently controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. If you do so, you risk arrest or a fine, and you may be subject to a travel ban. International border points that aren’t currently under the control of the Ukrainian authorities include all air and sea ports in Crimea. A list of open border crossings is available at the State Border Crossing Service of Ukraine. To enter or exit Crimea, foreign nationals will need to provide their passport and a special permit issued by the State Migration Service of Ukraine, information about which can be found on the web-page of Ukrainian Embassy in your country.
  • The situation in Kyiv and other areas outside Donetsk and Luhansk is generally calm.
  • You must wear a seat belt. Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited. There is a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving.
  • Train timetables and ticket reservation is available online on the Ukrainian Railways site. If you travel by train, make sure your belongings are secure. Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment.
  • On this site you can learn in detail about study opportunities for foreigners in Ukraine (in Russian, English and Ukrainian) –http://intered.com.ua/en

Safety and Security

  • Roads are of variable quality. Driving outside major towns at night can be hazardous. Avoid night-time travel wherever possible.
  • You should report any incidents to the police by dialling 102.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible safety or security risks. You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.
  • Beware of petty crime, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots or when using public transport. Where possible, avoid walking alone late at night in dark or poorly lit streets. Keep valuables and cash safe and out of sight, especially in crowded areas, tourist spots, and public transport, where pickpockets and bag snatchers operate.
  • There is a general threat from terrorism. The Ukrainian authorities have announced that they have disrupted a number of planned attacks, including in Kyiv. Attacks have mainly been aimed at official Ukrainian targets, but could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
  • You should remain vigilant and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.
  • Do not leave drinks or food unattended as they could be spiked. Beware of accepting drinks from casual acquaintances.

Money

  • ATMs are available and credit cards are widely used in cities. Cloning of credit and debit cards is common. You should be vigilant when using ATMs and not let your card out of your sight during transactions. Outside cities you should make sure you have sufficient cash in local currency.
  • The official currency of Ukraine is the Hryvnia (UAH). US dollars and Euros are the easiest currency to exchange in Ukraine.
  • Use only official exchange booths. You will need to present your passport to exchange money. You should be given a receipt. Keep the receipt as you may need to produce it if you exchange money back on departure.