How to get the official status of a volunteer in Ukraine for a residence permit in Ukraine?

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starts at 800 USD
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Obtaining a temporary residence permit in Ukraine
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Due to the difficult situation in Ukraine, we hear more and more often about volunteers and their assistance to both the military and civilians.

In this article, our lawyers will tell you how to properly organise volunteer activities in Ukraine and what organisational form to choose. The fact is that if a person plans to come to Ukraine to engage in volunteer activities, he or she will need a visa, on the basis of which he or she will need to obtain a residence permit, or will need to leave the country for a certain, rather long period of time.

According to Ukrainian law, cooperation with a charitable foundation or NGO may be the basis for obtaining a visa. However, you need to choose an organisation with extreme caution, as not every organisation will be able to provide you with a visa and residence permit.

We will discuss the following issues:

  • What kind of organisation should it be to be legal and legitimate (what statuses should it have, how it is registered, what registers it is included in, etc.)
  • What are the pros/cons of applying for a residence permit through volunteering? What are the alternatives for staying in Ukraine?
  • What requirements must a foreign volunteer meet to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine through volunteering?
Our company has been helping foreigners obtain residence permits in Ukraine for over 15 years. Obtaining a permit with us is:
  • All elements of the service in one place - legal assistance, insurance, translation of documents, notary, etc
  • The best option for obtaining a residence permit for you. Creating grounds for obtaining a permit if you do not have one
  • Security - we will help to avoid rejection, we will be in touch even while crossing the border
  • Legal assistance regarding your other issues in Ukraine: purchasing real estate, getting married, paying taxes, opening a business, inheritance, etc.

Interesting: Temporary residence permit in Ukraine for participation in a religious organisation.

What is the difference between a charitable foundation and a non-governmental organisation for a volunteer?

Volunteer activities can be carried out both in a charitable foundation and in a non-governmental organisation.

A non-governmental organisation is a voluntary association of individuals or legal entities for the purpose of exercising and protecting rights and freedoms, satisfying the public needs, including economic, social, cultural, environmental and other interests. The organisation's activities are primarily aimed at its members. A non-governmental organisation may also be established by at least two persons.

You should pay attention to the correct indication of the goals and scope of activities in the Charter. This is of fundamental importance, because if the documents specify ecology, environmental protection and animal protection, such an organisation, for example, will not be able to raise funds for ammunition or help the army. This would be considered a misuse of funds.

While Ukraine is at war, the state's control over volunteers is simplified, but you need to remember that the war will end and the tax authorities will start inspections. 

Important: The objectives in the charter of a charitable organisation cannot be different from those specified in the Law, as the list is exhaustive.

A charitable foundation is an organisation whose constituent documents define charitable activities in one or more areas as the main purpose of its activities. The use of funds in such an organisation must not contradict the law and the organisation's established goals. The amount of administrative expenses in the foundation cannot exceed 20 percent of the current year's income.

If you are a foreigner and want to come to Ukraine as a volunteer, our experts will help you check whether the organisation or foundation you have chosen can actually engage foreign volunteers in its activities and whether its programmes comply with its charter documents. Whether the relevant information about such organisations is available on the website of the National Social Service. Explain how to properly legalise in Ukraine and prevent violations of migration legislation. Prepare the relevant documents for a D visa and a temporary residence permit.

If necessary, we can suggest organisations and foundations with which we cooperate that meet all the requirements and successfully implement volunteer programmes, including those involving foreign nationals.

What are the requirements for volunteers to obtain a residence permit through volunteering?

There are no special requirements for volunteers. You do not need to have family ties to Ukraine or a job offer from a Ukrainian company. You only need to meet the basic requirements:

  • have a valid passport;
  • enter Ukraine and stay on its territory legally (without violating the terms of stay).
  • be willing to help voluntarily.

Our clients have included not only volunteers who provide humanitarian medical and psychological assistance, but also volunteers who provide translation services, including sign language interpretation, set up an animal shelter, deal with environmental issues, education and assistance in the rehabilitation of schools, promote the language, culture and traditions of the Ukrainian people, and others.

In fact, the range of activities is quite extensive, so it depends on you and your abilities to decide what will be a priority.

Pros and cons of applying for a temporary residence permit through volunteering in Ukraine

It is quite easy to obtain a temporary residence permit for volunteering. A foreigner does not need to obtain additional permits or have special knowledge or skills, such as for employment. A foreigner can stay in Ukraine for a year, leave and visit Ukraine at any time convenient for them, without the need to constantly apply for a visa. This is important for volunteering, importing humanitarian goods, etc. During this period, a foreigner can get married in Ukraine, buy real estate, and do other business.  

However, it should be remembered that such a residence permit does not give the right to work in Ukraine, for which a special work permit is required.  

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit for a volunteer can be found here. Basically, it will include receiving a request from a charitable or non-governmental organisation, obtaining a D visa, obtaining insurance, preparing documents, and finally submitting them for a residence permit.

The standard period for obtaining a residence permit for a volunteer is 15 working days. However, in times of war, these terms may change.

Important! If you plan not only to engage in volunteer activities, but also, for example, to work, we can offer alternative ways to obtain a residence permit in Ukraine.

Important! Engaging in volunteer activities does not in itself give a foreigner the right to not comply with the terms of stay in Ukraine. It is mandatory to obtain a temporary residence permit - only this will allow you not to leave Ukraine after the expiry of the statutory period of stay.

If your interests are currently in Ukraine, you plan to carry out volunteer or other activities here, please contact us. We will help you to arrange an official stay in Ukraine for the period of time you need.

Publication date: 20/12/2022
Ryzhova Tatiana

About author

Name: Ryzhova Tatiana

Position: Lawyer


Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian

Email: [email protected]

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