Checking the reality of marriage when obtaining permanent residence in Ukraine: new rules

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The struggle against illegal migrants in Ukraine shows no signs of abating. The more foreigners and resourceful Ukrainians devise various paths to legalization, the more immigration authorities, security service personnel, the National Police, border guards, and other agencies impose various restrictions. Undoubtedly, this significantly complicates the lives primarily of foreigners who are striving to select the lawful route and diligently collect and process all necessary documents. It is precisely this group that constitutes our client base – conscientious foreign citizens who seek to reside legally in Ukraine and adhere to all prescribed requirements.

 Within the framework of the "fight against illegal migrants," changes have been introduced into certain legislative acts of Ukraine, and as of October 2023, additional scrutiny is officially imposed on those individuals who opt for marriage as the foundation for legalizing their status in Ukraine. Taking a cue from the experiences of other countries, our legislators have determined that it is now imperative to substantiate the authenticity of one's marriage and prove that they are indeed a genuine family.

It's worth noting that our legal experts have already dealt with similar procedures while assisting Ukrainian citizens who have married foreigners in obtaining documents for legal residence abroad. Most of these cases involved spouses where one of the partners held Czech citizenship, a country known for its meticulous checks. We've also had experience with Ukrainians marrying citizens of the USA and Italy. Let's delve into how these checks typically unfold in the mentioned countries

For example, in Italy, the police pay a visit to your residence. This visit occurs without prior notice and can be quite unexpected. In the Czech Republic, in addition to residency checks, spouses are required to undergo a rather challenging interview. During this interview, conducted in Czech, they need to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of each other.

In the United States, the procedure varies by state, but almost universally, it involves proving that the marriage is not solely for obtaining a green card. The immigration authorities demand documentary evidence regarding how the couple met, married, and shared their lives. This evidence includes details such as photographs, social media activity, official documents, joint bills, shared utility payments, travel records, tax returns, insurance, and even statements from six to eight witnesses. And this is only the initial stage of the verification process.

With significant experience in this field and after analyzing the changes being implemented in Ukraine, it's worth noting that the requirements in our country are indeed similar. 

It's safe with us. We know how to avoid rejection and will provide you with complete instructions. No decisions outside the law, you do not risk losing permanent residence permit in the future. Not a single unsuccessful case in 12 years! We know exactly what and in what form the DMS is needed. We organize medical examination, translations and apostillation. We work with all countries and grounds for obtaining permanent residence permit.

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Checking the reality of marriage when obtaining permanent residence in Ukraine

What to Be Prepared for During the Verification

The key requirement introduced by the new law is that neither of the spouses should have received money or any other financial benefits in exchange for getting married. There are exceptions in cases where this is part of a national wedding tradition, such as the custom of "bridal ransom" in Ukraine.

Secondly, both spouses should have a good command of each other's language. It's quite unusual when you can't communicate effectively in a common language or have only very basic knowledge. Here are some specific aspects to focus on:

  • The ability to engage in everyday conversation, understand each other, and ask and answer questions effectively;
  • Providing evidence of living together, including photos and videos, preferably spanning more than just the past 2-3 months. It's also helpful to have shared photos on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The older these photos are, the stronger the evidence of the genuineness of your marriage. It's important to note that tampering with photos using software like Photoshop is discouraged, as its discovery can have detrimental consequences for your case;
  • Demonstrating that you knew each other for a specific period before getting married. Naturally, the longer this pre-marital period, the stronger the evidence of a genuine relationship.

In the context of our practice, we thoroughly analyze and prepare each client's case individually, considering not only the history of their relationship but also everything from the initial contact to the date of the interview with immigration authorities. It's crucial to be well-prepared for such a procedure, as your confidence and composure during the process can significantly impact the outcome.

Please note! You won't have a second chance, and it's essential to grasp this reality. Naturally, there are avenues for appeals, including potential recourse to the courts. Nevertheless, why embark on such a complex and protracted journey when you can proactively mitigate most risks.

During the preparation of spouses, our legal experts delve not only into their status as a couple but also into the lives of their family members and friends. It would indeed seem rather odd if, during the verification process, you couldn't readily answer questions about your partner, such as:

  • When did he/she finish school?
  • Where does his/her father work?
  • Where does your grandmother reside?
  • What is the educational background of the groom/bride?
  • Which educational institution did he/she attend, and in which city?

And similar inquiries. Almost all of these responses can be easily authenticated, as Ukraine maintains a state registry, and both spouses will undergo extensive scrutiny. Additionally, to confirm and refine the information, neighbors, relatives, and even employees, concierges, or security personnel at your residence may be interviewed.

You retain the option to decline consent for such investigations and interviews. Nevertheless, in such an event, you won't be eligible to submit documents for legalization on this basis.

You may also like: How to Confirm Family Relationships When Documents Are Lost or Disputed

The Risks of Having Your Marriage Declared Fictitious

Naturally, if your marriage is deemed fictitious, you won't be able to submit documents to obtain immigration permission in Ukraine on that basis. 

However, that's not the only consequence. If, after some time, the foreigner meets another Ukrainian citizen – their "true love," they won't be able to submit immigration documents again for permanent residence in Ukraine based on another marriage. In other words, one mistake can have lifelong consequences.

This regulation is very stringent, and we hope that it does not become a permanent fixture in immigration legislation. Nevertheless, it's an effective way to deter the widespread registration of sham marriages in Ukraine.

It's worth noting that there are many other legitimate avenues for legalization without resorting to such extremes. For example, this can include employment, starting your own business, or investing in the Ukrainian economy. Alternatively, it may involve being recognized as a highly qualified specialist, provided you have the requisite education and work experience.

If you want to legalize your stay in Ukraine without risks, we recommend consulting our lawyers. They can help you choose the most optimal basis for your situation!

Check out the cost and steps for obtaining a Temporary Residence Permit here.

See the cost and procedure for obtaining a Permanent Residence Permit here.

Check out the cost and procedure for obtaining Ukrainian citizenship here.

Publication date: 30/08/2023
Ryzhova Tatiana

About author

Name: Ryzhova Tatiana

Position: Lawyer


Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian

Email: [email protected]

Tatiana joined Pravova Dopomoga team in February 2022 as a migration and corporate law lawyer. Has experience in the field of migration law, including in state-owned companies for more than 20 years. During this time she gained practical experience in the fields of migration, corporate, labor, criminal criminal procedure, inheritance, notary and pension law.

Tatiana is constantly evolving, monitors changes in legislation, analyzes case law.
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