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A comprehensive guide to business immigration to Ukraine

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The regime of foreigner’s stay in Ukraine became a regular client’s request to our experts after the government has stepped up its policy of attracting foreign investments. We decided to highlight, in detail and step-by-step, peculiarities of the Ukrainian legislation in such field.
So, regardless of the visa or visa-free entry to Ukraine, the Ukrainian law distinguishes three regimes for the foreigner’s legal stay in the country: temporary stay, temporary residence and permanent residence. Let us describe below specification of each regime.

Temporary stay

A foreigner not entitled on temporary or permanent residence shall be deemed as person temporarily staying in Ukraine. Certain period of such stay in Ukraine shall be prescribed by visa. In case of such regime, a foreigner can stay in Ukraine no more than 90 days. In special cases, if there are grounds, such period may be extended.

It is not recommended to violate the period of legal stay in Ukraine, since it may further complicate the procedure for obtaining residence permit.

Temporary residence (residence permit)

The Law of Ukraine “On the status of foreigners” determines several grounds for obtaining temporary residence permit. They include the following:
A) Official employment in Ukraine;
B) Owning corporate rights of a Ukrainian company, not less than 100,000 Euros.

The law also provides other grounds for obtaining temporary residence permit, for example, family reunion with a citizen of Ukraine, cultural, scientific and educational activities at the territory of Ukraine, study at the Ukrainian universities, religious dogma and so on.

In addition to the standard list of documents required for obtaining a residence permit and paying state fee, depending on the grounds, foreigners are also required to provide:

For employment:
1) employment permit;
2) application of the receiving party (employer).

For owning corporate rights:
1) articles of the Ukrainian company;
2) written obligation of the company to notify migration service of loss of the foreigner’s status of the founder of such company once it will happen;
3) documents certifying the contribution to authorized capital in cash or in proprietary form.

In practice, the process of obtaining temporary residence permit takes 15 business days. A crucial aspect is completeness and authenticity of provided information. Migration service authorities shall verify in detail the grounds and the correctness of executing documents (for example, presence and correctness of notarization).

A foreigner who has obtained temporary residence permit shall get registered at his/her residence place, and in case of changing residence (s)he shall get re-registered.

Permanent residence

While staying in Ukraine legally, it is possible to obtain the right to permanent residence. Permanent residence permit is issued in the form of card with contactless electronic media and is valid for 10 years.
The right to permanent residence arises only after obtaining immigration permit, the registration whereof may take a long time (up to 1 year). During such period, it is important to pay attention to duration of stay in Ukraine – it should not exceed the term prescribed by the legislation of Ukraine.

Immigration permit shall be granted subject to availability and within the limits of immigration quotas adopted annually by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Such list includes, for example, cultural figures, highly qualified specialists, investors who invest at least 100,000 USA Dollars, parents, children, husbands and wives of immigrants.

Of course, investment in the state economy is one of the reasons for obtaining immigration permit. Usually the quota for such category of immigrants is unlimited. In such case the following documents shall be submitted to the migration service: copies of the articles of association or the registered investment agreement jointly with bank reference on receipt of the corresponding foreign investment.

After obtaining immigration permit, a person is entitled to apply for permanent residence permit. In fact, it is a formal stage which takes nearly 15 business days and is finalized by issuance of the residence permit.

As we can see, the law provides more opportunities for obtaining temporary residence permit and the procedure for obtaining such a permit is easier than for immigration. Therefore, we advise our foreign clients to start with just such a regime. If the foreigner arrives in Ukraine for the purpose of investment, the opportunities for foreign citizens are also wide enough, however a crucial issue is the scope of investment.

Authors: Irina Voyevodina, Marta Sverdlykivska

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