Travel to Ukraine
WARNING Internet discussion like FB closed adoption groups
Just a few notes from our latest experience, if you plan to be involved on internet discussion like FB closed adoption groups, public adoption forums, please be very careful and not write about your case that you plan to adopt from what country what children etc so that no one spoiled during this process. It’s long to explain why but keep the information private please. This is a private process and we want to secure children and families from fraud.
Visas for Ukraine
No Visa required for stays under 90 days
Before you fly to Ukraine
Please, put down our address and numbers of cell phones and keep close to you. If you have problems with luggage or it is lost, or there are delays with arrival, give this address and cell phone numbers to the airport delivery service or your air company where you book tickets. Also send us a text in case your flight is delayed or cancelled. A link of our address and cell phones numbers is HERE access clients only
important How and where to rent an apartment or a hotel in Kiev for the DFS appointment
There is a Google map with marked place where the DFS is, please search and rent an apartment around (Mikhaylovskaya street (ulitsa)). You may rent the apartment in 1-3 blocks from this Mark or nearby. Downtown is the most popular and best place for foreigns citizens to stay in Kiev, you will be able to reach the DFS by walking in 5-10 minutes, in the city center there are many cafes, McDonalds etc. Cost of apartment is 50-90 per night, and cost of hotels 70-150 per night. There is no sense to rent the apartments or hotels in other places of the city to save money because you will spend more for transportation, also cost of apartment in distant areas of Kiev is not much cheaper than in downtown.
NOTE: Don't pay for your apartment beforehand, only when you come. We had a case when a family booked an apartment and it wasn't available so we had to find another one.
So search around this mark on the Google Map.
Do not take tickets with the closed date
Adoption process has many issues and it is difficult to know definitely when we will end your process. This concerns also when a family wants to come back home after the court.
Do not take many things with you
Pack light! Not everywhere there are elevators, and you'll have to carry all the things by yourselves. Also - typical cars are small in Ukraine!
VIP service at the airport Boryspol Kiev
If you want fast passage of customs at the airport (Boryspol, Kiev), you can use the service a meeting of the very important person (VIP) Rowland Enterprises, Lonnie Rowland emails: / / Phone - (615) 5669085
note Advice about security
- Oleg was very reassuring and made a very good point when I was expressing all my concerns to him. It's great to blog/journal your trip and plans....but not necessary to ADVERTISE the date, time, etc of your appointment, when you are arriving, traveling, etc. For all anyone knows who sees you, you could be there to see a friend, family, on a mission trip....any number of reasons...so no one would assume you were carrying a lot of money. But if you have all the specifics in a blog that you give the world access to, you might be putting yourself at risk
- Before making any commitments, check references, paperwork and requirements. Call the contact person and ask for any written agreements that this facilitator (agency) provides as well as their references. If there is no such agreement, you are likely to have some legitimate risks.
note Ukraine is a cash country pls be sure that your banknotes:
- are new (at least 1990 year issue)
- are not scratched
- are not torn
- do not have blots
- do not have any color stamp
- do not look old
A few tips from the families who already visited Ukraine
- Be sure to declare your money at US customs. We didn't...and they made us count it out in the hetway in Detroit, with all boarding passengers passing by. They gave us the money back, but they searched all our bags, and made us sign a statement, stating how much money we had on us. We felt rather violated. There is no law against carrying a large sum of money, you just have to tell them if you have more than 10K per family
- I was very nervous about carrying this much cash. After a while you almost forget it's there. Carry it under your clothes and never get money out in public. Go to a restroom. Once you're comfortable with your apartment, you can leave it there. Never tell someone you have cash. Even people that know you're adopting, don't know you have cash on you. For all they know you could've paid your fee in advance. Personally, I hid it where an intruder wouldn't look, or even get lucky. For example, don't hide your money in your laptop bag. They steal your laptop...they get you money too. Put it in a regular plastic bag, and store it with your groceries or so
- We each had a waist security pouch and a neck belt so that if anything ever should happen, it would not be a "winner take all" situation. So we had 4 hiding spaces on our bodies. We never left it anywhere (in the apartments or rooms) when we went out
- We used the VIP service and no one even looked twice at us. The VIP guy helped us fill out our customs slips/declaration and went through the line with us. At the time, the limit in US cash was $10,000 per person. We had mostly $100's and $50's and a few $20's
- Be sure to get clarification on what is and what is not included in your fee, and also how much the fee will be. Just re-state your understanding to Oleg, or to your translator before you leave. This will make sure there are no misunderstandings.
note How to take money to Ukraine, Cash, Credit Cards, Travelers checks?
- Read here (pdf format)
- The amount of cash an individual is carrying must be declared at customs
- Any one individual may carry up to and including 10K in cash without needing a special permit from the Ukrainian National Bank
- This would mean any one couple could together bring in up to and including 20K in cash without needing a special permit from the Ukrainian National Bank
- If more than 10K (i.e. 10,001 or more) is carried into Ukraine by any one individual then upon declaration of that cash at customs, customs will withhold the cash until the individual has completed, submitted and received back from the Ukrainian National Bank a special permit to bring that amount into Ukraine * Typically this means the cash will be delayed at customs for approximately 3 days. I think this info necessary not only for Ukrainian customs but for American customs too.
- The bills should be nominals of 100 and some of 50 for us. For you - of 100, 50 and some of 20. You may bring all of 100.
It is possible to remove money from these cards, and to pay by cards in some shops and hotels in Ukraine. But it is not profitable (loss of 2-4 percents). Moreover, if you take cash (which is desirable), the banknotes should be after 1990, not shabby and torn.
Unfortunately the Travelers checks don't works in Ukraine
Where will I need cash?
- Our Fees, orphanage donation.
- Medical examination of adopted children in Kiev. The medical center for immigration in Kiev promised to accept credit cards, but still requires cash in local money only (grivnas, not USD) (150$ per child under 12 y.o. and 180$-220$ for older).
- Children's passports (from 300$ to 500$ per child)
- US Embassy requires cash but we had cases when a family spent all their cash money at the end of the process and the Embassy accepted the credit card.
note You can pay with your credit card in stores, hotels (or apartment rent offices in Kiev) and restaurants and you’ll have to use ATM to have some cash in grivnas. But mostly you'll need to have $ in cash and you can always exchange the money.
Where I can to raise funds for my adoption
- Fundly - Raise money online with a free personal fundraiser. Individual crowdfunding for yourself, medical, funeral expenses, charity, schools, and businesses!
- GoFundMe - Over $220M raised for personal causes! GoFundMe is the #1 do-it-yourself fundraising website to raise money online. Get your crowdfunding website FREE!
Other Important Tips
note Facilitators and interpreters
Before making any commitments, check references, paperwork and requirements. Call the contact person and ask for any written agreements that this facilitator (agency) provides as well as their references. If there is no such agreement, you are likely to have some legitimate risks.
Does a specific facilitator have to be used?
No, you can use whoever you like and feel comfortable with. The most important: this person should be qualified and experienced. Adoption became very popular and in this sphere there are many people who don't have special knowledge, qualification and license. We work with adoptions since 1999, have license to provide legal services in Ukraine and pay taxes. Also please pay attention to the new US law under which you should use a Hague accredited agency to do a home study (or dossier), note they can offer you their facilitators and very often you can't reach or contact them to discuss a real situation with adoption. You can still find an agency in the USA which will not restrict your rights in this matter. Adoption process is difficult and you need to be sure that it will be done professionally and you will receive the answers to all your questions or concerns. Also this law doesn't affect on independent adoptions in Ukraine, you can still hire us for your process in Ukraine but before you need to hire Hague acredited adoption agency in your area for your home study.
Will I be able to hire an independent facilitator in Ukraine after US law will come in power on July 14, 2014?
Yes, independent adoptions will continue to work in Ukraine because Ukraine did not change any adoption requirements. But under the US laws now you need to hire a Hague-accredited adoption agency for your home study and/or adoption paperwork. So independent adoptions are still possible only with a homestudy done by a Hague-accredited agency. We work with one of the cheapest Hague-accredited agencies in the USA that are able to provide their services in all 50 states, contact us for more information.
note Sending your paperwork via FedEx - do not indicate full value/cost!
Please, state low value of your package up to $150 (or free) without having to pay additional import duty. In case you stated full value of the package (or higher than it's allowed by Ukrainian law), we will not be able to pick your package.
note Requirements of US Embassy in Kiev
- For American Embassy in Kiev you may bring either a copy of your most recent tax return or your last year's W2 statements, or 2-3 recent pay stubs. Any of these will suffice.
- When you end of adoption process pls call to the US Embassy in Kiev Hidden Text - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing! from cell phone, and directly from the regular phone Hidden Text - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing! in 3-5 days before the end of your process in the region for making appointment for Visa interview
- Please, visit the US Embassy page regarding your future appointment there for your better understanding - Hidden Text - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing!
- Also you may make an appointment at the US Embassy in Kiev on this email: Hidden Text - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing! Send them a request in 3-5 days before approximate (desirable) date of your arrival at the Embassy.
- If one parent or both parent will come back to America after court pls call or emailed to US Embassy too, for filling all the necessary forms up, pls keep in mind this tip.
How to get vital records, birth, marriage, certificates in US for your dossier
You can use Vitalcheck for ordering all our stuff. You can get your vital records (birth, marriage, death,or divorce) from any state through them. They're FAST and they send you a certified, notarized "original" that's ready to be apostilled.
Annual Reporting Format
I know that there have been some concerns as to the form your annual report should take.
- Here is a link to Ukraine's Embassy in the United States with a download of a report form.
- Just click the word Here. It said it was in Rich Text Format and it saved nicely into my Microsoft Word program.
- It does not ask any information on the parents, other than name and address. The questions deal with the child's development.
- It does ask for between 8 to 10 photos. I would attach at least one photo and for those of you who can, go ahead and attach more.
- It also asks for any medical reports.
By the way for families wishing proof that it was received send it to your Ukrainian Consulate by return receipt requested. Your post office can help you with that. You can also send a self addressed stamped envelope along with an extra copy of the report for them to stamp and send back showing it was received. Some people reported this worked and others are still waiting for them. But, with return receipt mail, at least you can show someone signed for your mail.
Waiting period after court hearing
You can generally choose whether you want to make it one trip or two. In most regions there is a 10 day wait after court that you can come home or stay.
Required Paperwork Resource Links
- USCIS website - USCIS
- Filing your I-600A
- Where to obtain Birth & Marriage certificates - cdc.gov
- Fingerprinting Information
- Applying for your passport - travel.state.gov
- State Department International Adoption Information
- State Department Information-International adoption in Ukraine
important U.S. Embassy in Kiev - VISIT this section at the end of your adoption process
- Address: 4 Igor Sikorsky Street, Kyiv, Ukraine 04112
- Consular Section: Consul General: 38-044-521-5460
- Adoption section Phone/FAX: Hidden Section - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing!
- Adoption section email: Hidden Section - you must be in the list of our clients for viewing!
WORKING HOURS: US Embassy in Kyiv is open for American Citizens Services Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 11:30 am and from 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm. Appointments required for adoption processing.The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is closed to the public for visa business on weekends, the last Friday of the month, as well as American and Ukrainian holidays
Ukrainian Consulate & Embassies in the U.S.
- Washington D.C. 3350 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007 - tel. (202) 333 0606, fax (202) 333 0817
- New York
Comment: 'Adoptive parents' commitment, if granted an adopted child, to have the child registered with Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in their home country within one month; to supply information (at least once a year) about an adopted child's living conditions and educational process to the Ukrainian consular office, to arrange for Ukrainian consular officers to keep in touch with the adopted child, and to retain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age.
Warning: It is important to realize that by signing such statement parents assume an obligation to comply with the requirement of Ukrainian law to register an adopted child with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. within 30 days after arrival to the U.S. Noncompliance with the registration requirement has been subject of numerous complaints from the SDARPS and may have a very negative impact on international adoptions in Ukraine. Also, please note that the SDARPS sends a copy of this document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for further transmission to the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulates in the United States to improve their oversight of the registration process.