Local laws and customs

Penalties for being caught in possession of drugs are severe.

Smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks in public places is officially banned. Public places include transport, bus stops, underground crossings, cultural, sports and governmental establishments, playgrounds and parks.

Carry your passport at all times for ID purposes. Police may carry out passport checks on foreign nationals, particularly in the central area of Kyiv. Police officers should introduce themselves (name, post, rank, reason for ID check) and present a document verifying their position. Your original passport is required since no other document can provide information on your legal status in Ukraine. If you’re detained because you have been unable to present your passport, you should ask for an official report.

Ukrainian officials generally only speak Ukrainian and Russian.

Don’t take photographs near government or military establishments.

Although homosexuality is not prohibited by law, public attitudes are less tolerant than in the UK and public displays of affection may attract negative attention. There’s no provision under Ukrainian legislation guaranteeing freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Kyiv Pride parade in June 2018 passed off without incident. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

If you’re visiting Ukraine for the purpose of commissioning surrogacy arrangements you should consider the potential risks and challenges involved in pursuing international surrogacy and seek specialist legal advice on Ukrainian and UK laws prior to making any arrangements. You should research prospective clinics dealing with surrogacy in detail to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable organisation. If you engage an egg donor as well as a surrogate mother, note that Ukrainian law does not permit the same woman to fulfil both roles.

The British Embassy can’t help with enquiries about surrogacy arrangements, clinics, legal and immigration issues or British passports. The FCO and Home Office have produced guidance to help inform you of the issues you may face when embarking on a surrogacy arrangement.

Commissioning a surrogacy won’t automatically mean that the child holds British citizenship. If you wish to bring your child born via surrogacy from Ukraine to the UK you must apply for a full British passport, for which a Ukrainian birth certificate will be needed. More information on local birth registration can be found at the Department for State Registration and Notary Services website. The maximum period of visa-free stay allowed by the Ukrainian authorities is 90 days within a 180-day period. Extensions of stay are unlikely to be granted.

Corruption remains a major problem. If you think you have been mistreated by an official then you should report your case to the relevant government department: