Apply for a residence permit and not violate migration rules: advice from a lawyer

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Obtaining a temporary residence permit in Ukraine
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We've often highlighted the importance of correctly preparing and processing documents for temporary residency in Ukraine, the necessity of adhering to the deadlines for staying and submitting documents, and the need to register your place of residence after obtaining these documents.

Equally important, however, is the procedure for canceling a Temporary Residence Permit and returning it to the migration service, especially if you plan to return to Ukraine in the future. After all, no one knows how life will unfold, and the impact of not properly concluding this procedure could be significant in the future. As experience shows, this can lead to many risks.

It's not widely known that all types of residence permits issued by the migration service must be annulled and returned. We have often encountered cases where clients, when applying for a new Temporary Residence Permit or Permanent Residence Permit, discovered that they failed to return their previous document to the migration service 5, 8, 10, or even 15 years ago. Naturally, this results in delays in issuing and processing the new permit, which can be critically important, particularly if the client has waited until the last few days when every day is crucial.

Our experts do everything possible to quickly resolve this issue and facilitate the return and annulment of the Temporary Residence Permit. In cases where the permit is missing, we are ready to assist with submitting a loss report. However, it's important to remember that this process may take more than a day, and besides time consumption, reporting a loss might lead to administrative responsibility and fines. By choosing our services, you will not only get a prompt resolution but also comprehensive legal support.

You may also like: Is it Possible to Extend a Temporary Residence Permit in Ukraine?

How to Return a Residence Permit in Ukraine?

What are the correct actions if the document is still valid but the foreign national no longer needs to reside in Ukraine? 

If a foreigner does not plan to live in Ukraine anymore, they should return the residence permit to the migration service and deregister from their registered place of residence before leaving the country.

What to do in cases where the reasons for residency cease to exist? 

The foreign national must submit documents to the migration service that verify the cessation of the circumstances under which the residence permit was issued. For instance:

  • In case of a divorce, if the residence permit was granted based on marriage;
  • Upon termination of employment, if the residence permit was for employment purposes;
  • After withdrawal from a university, if the residence permit was for educational purposes;
  • Upon ending activities in a branch, office, church volunteer organization, etc., if the residence permit was issued based on these grounds.

Additionally, it is essential to submit a corresponding document, like a divorce certificate, an order of dismissal or expulsion, or a relevant request from the branch, educational institution, volunteer organization, or office, to cancel the grounds for the residence permit in Ukraine.

Where to Submit Documents for the Cancellation of a Residence Permit?

Foreign nationals must submit their documents for residence permit cancellation to the migration service branch that issued the permit. The processing time for these documents is up to 5 working days.

After reviewing the documents and reaching a positive decision, the migration service will issue a notification, printed from the State Demographic Register, about the cancellation. This notification should include:

  • the date;
  • the reference number;
  • the signature and seal of the head of the migration service branch;
  • the foreign national's details;
  • details of the canceled residence permit.

The foreign national is required to surrender the residence permit, deregister from their registered place of residence, and leave Ukraine. They are given 7 calendar days from the receipt of the notification to complete these actions.

Customs Control When Leaving Ukraine After Cancelling a Residence Permit

Upon exiting Ukraine, the foreign national must present both their passport and the notification from the migration service about the cancellation and withdrawal of the Temporary Residence Permit for customs inspection. This notice verifies that the foreign national was legally in Ukraine and complied with migration laws.

There are instances where the reasons for canceling the permit arise when the foreign national is abroad and later returns to Ukraine. If the permit has already been canceled, border officers will see this in the unified database and confiscate the invalid permit, as it is state property.

The confiscated permit is then sent to the migration service branch for disposal, a process which, according to law, takes up to 10 working days. From our experience, border officers are not hasty in this procedure. Meanwhile, the foreign national might need to apply for a new permit the following day.

In such cases, the foreign national needs to obtain a confiscation report from the border service official upon the seizure of the Temporary Residence Permit. This document proves that the permit is not lost, and thus, the foreign national cannot be subjected to administrative liability.

As previously mentioned, the Temporary Residence Permit is owned by the state of Ukraine. Therefore, it must be returned to the migration service branch that issued it in any event, except in cases of theft or loss. It's important to note that if such a permit is later found, it must also be returned to the State Migration Service (SMS) within one day.

We make sure to explain in detail to all our clients the importance of timely and correctly surrendering the residence permit. Additionally, we keep track of the validity periods of all Temporary Residence Permits we have helped process to timely inform clients about the need to extend the document or properly cancel and return it.

Responsibility of the Host Party for Failing to Cancel a Foreign National's Permit

It's crucial to understand that properly concluding the Temporary Residence Permit procedure is important not just for the foreign national but also for the organization, enterprise, fund, or individual who invited them to Ukraine and thus acts as the host party. Consequently, this host party bears responsibility for the foreign citizen not only during their stay but also after the validity of the Temporary Residence Permit ends if it's not canceled in compliance with regulatory acts.

If not handled correctly, one of the risks for the host party is incurring an administrative fine. Furthermore, in cases where the deportation of a foreign national is initiated, all associated costs incurred by the state will fall on the host party. These costs include maintaining the foreign national at a temporary stay facility, purchasing tickets for the foreigner and accompanying officials, and covering expenses for document processing, individual identification, and other related services.

This issue becomes particularly pressing under the current martial law in Ukraine, where Temporary Residence Permits are not being annulled for the duration of the martial law. It is crucial for the host party to properly handle all documentation for the cancellation of the Temporary Residence Permit, especially upon its expiry. Additionally, if a company fails to complete all necessary steps for the annulment of a Temporary Residence Permit, it could be seen as facilitating the illegal legalization of foreigners in Ukraine.

We had a client whom we assisted with processing foreign volunteers. After reminding them of the expiration of their Temporary Residence Permits, the client did not undertake any steps to cancel these permits. The client assumed that the validity of the permits had ended and that the volunteers, who were now active in another foundation, were under their responsibility for document management.

This situation resulted in the foreign nationals being detained for violating migration laws, and the leader of the charitable foundation that invited them to Ukraine faced administrative accountability. Due to our lawyers' expertise and proper documentation, we were able to minimize the expenses and ensure only a minimal fine was imposed. However, it is always preferable to prevent risks rather than addressing them afterward.

Beyond the cancellation of residence permits and monitoring their validity, we are prepared to assist in:

  • The preparation and submission of documents for the extension, and exchange of the permit, including in cases of expiration, loss/theft, change of surname, etc.
  • Providing consultations on all issues related to the stay of a foreigner or stateless person in Ukraine based on a temporary residence permit.
  • Organizing the registration of a foreigner's residence in Ukraine.

Please review the complete list of our services for non-residents here.

Contact us today! Our clients can be confident in their protection as we are dedicated to overseeing critical legal issues and always act proactively to prevent any risks.

You might also be interested in:

The cost of processing documents for obtaining permanent residency in Ukraine.

Information about the cost of processing a work permit for a foreign national in Ukraine.

Publication date: 28/11/2023
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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