How a volunteer can change the organization he works with and not violate the right to stay in Ukraine

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Obtaining a temporary residence permit in Ukraine
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Foreign volunteers had been coming to Ukraine before the war, and their activities were not necessarily linked to providing humanitarian or charitable assistance. Typically, they were engaged in activities centered around communication with native speakers of the language, often in the form of summer school or student camps.

Furthermore, non-governmental organizations often engaged foreign volunteers to support and implement their programs and projects related to gender equality, art and culture promotion, women's rights, domestic violence prevention, children's and youth rights, assistance to the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Environmental volunteering, especially joint projects addressing human impact on the environment, also saw significant development.

However, the military invasion by our neighbors changed many things. Different priority areas have come to the forefront. Consequently, many foreign volunteers expressed a desire to assist those affected, organize evacuations, and provide psychological, humanitarian, and other forms of aid. However, this change in activities often raises certain legal complexities regarding the grounds for a foreigner's stay in Ukraine.

We receive inquiries: What should we do if we were in Ukraine based on work for one organization, but now intend to change our place of work? Will we lose our residence permit? What should we do if our activities are related to volunteering?

You may also like: Pros and Cons of Obtaining Temporary Residence Permits by Involvement in Non-Governmental Organizations

How to Change a Residency Permit in Ukraine as a Volunteer When Switching Organizations?

A similar scenario unfolded with our clients, a retired American couple, who arrived in Ukraine in January 2022 to offer psychological support and organize cultural events. They also participated in extracurricular activities, primarily involving language immersion.

However, as the conflict escalated, their involvement in such activities waned, and their organization evolved into a humanitarian center. The foreign couple, who were volunteers, actively engaged in aiding those affected, distributing humanitarian assistance, and providing psychological support.

With the change in their roles, the public organization that initially invited these foreign volunteers decided to cease its operations and establish a charitable foundation. Consequently, questions arose regarding the legality of the foreigners' stay in Ukraine and the correct procedural steps to navigate the situation.

Our legal experts, after addressing all the legal questions and concerns of the clients, devised a comprehensive, step-by-step action plan and provided full support throughout its practical implementation.

Implementation of the plan devised by our team

The initial phase involved the development of the necessary constitutional documents and the official registration of the Charitable Foundation. It received non-profit status and was included in the Register of organizations authorized to engage foreign volunteers in their activities.

Subsequently, we proceeded with notifying the State Migration Service regarding the discontinuation of volunteer activities within the NGO, which was ceasing its operations. A meticulous preparation of document packages was carried out by the newly established Charitable Foundation for the exchange of temporary residence permits.

To circumvent a situation where foreign individuals would be required to leave Ukraine to obtain a D visa, incurring unnecessary expenses and time, all timeframes were diligently assessed, and the submission of documents to the immigration service was expedited. Specifically, our legal team proactively prepared passport translations, insurance records, requisite petitions, and applications from both the Public Organization and the Charitable Foundation.

The final stage entailed the foreigners obtaining their certificates based on their volunteer work within the Charitable Foundation and the dissolution of the Public Organization.

Our legal team possesses experience across various fields, and despite the swift changes in legislative norms during times of conflict, they adeptly monitor and adapt to these rapid shifts. Clients can have confidence that, alongside our legal experts, they will receive consultations and support tailored to their specific needs, all while minimizing the consumption of time and resources.

Our team is consistently ready to aid in discovering and implementing effective solutions, even within the most complex scenarios.

Learn more about our temporary residence permit service in Ukraine here

Publication date: 11/09/2023
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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