Residence permit in Ukraine for volunteering for countries with a visa entry procedure
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Obtaining a Temporary Residency Permit for Volunteering in Ukraine has become an urgent issue. Today, dozens and hundreds of volunteers come to Ukraine and some of them plan to stay here even after the war. In addition, working in a volunteer organization is a direct basis for obtaining a permit.
Today we will describe the practical aspects of the process, as well as the limitations and benefits it entails.
Who can become a volunteer in Ukraine?
Any foreigner, stateless person, or citizen of Ukraine who wishes to engage in volunteer activities can become a volunteer (prerequisites for such activities: voluntary, socially oriented, and non-profit aspect).
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Temporary Residence Permit in Ukraine for a Volunteer
An Egyptian national contacted our company enquiring about obtaining a residence permit due to his participation in a volunteer program of a Ukrainian organization.
He already had preliminary agreements with a charity organization willing to cooperate with him. Our specialists examined the organization's documents, namely compliance with the necessary requirements:
- the charter must specify the activities carried out through the provision of volunteer assistance;
- information about the organization shall be published on the official website of the Ministry of Social Policy.
It is worth noting that our law firm cooperates with many companies that have the appropriate documents to carry out volunteer activities and organize various programs involving volunteers. We have also had cases in our practice of setting up charitable organizations to further cooperate with foreign volunteers. Therefore, for those foreigners who did not yet find a proven organization to cooperate with, we can offer options.
Stages in obtaining volunteer status for foreigners
The basic steps are as follows:
- obtaining membership in a voluntary organization or charitable foundation;
- preparation and submission of documents for obtaining a visa D;
- preparation of documents for entering Ukraine and presenting them to the border guards;
- preparation and submission of documents to the migration service for obtaining a residence permit;
- registration of the place of residence in Ukraine;
- reporting to the National Social Service of Ukraine;
- in case of termination of volunteer activities, notification to the State Migration Service, and return of the permit.
An important step was for our client to obtain a D-10 visa from the Ukrainian consulate. When preparing the documents, check the expiry date of the passport document - if it is less than a year and if there are no at least two blank pages, you should first obtain a new passport.
The visa was issued based on an invitation from an organization employing volunteers and a copy of the certificate of state registration of such an organization. In the Client's case, our lawyers prepared documents (and correctly drew up the invitation) for obtaining a visa through the VFS Visa Application Center.
The client obtained a long-stay visa for 90 days. After that, he entered Ukraine.
Please note! The Ukrainian border must be crossed after the visa takes effect because very often foreigners come in a hurry and do it earlier. But this fact will be the basis for refusal to accept the documents for a visa - it is necessary to enter Ukraine with a valid visa, i.e. after the date indicated on the visa label.
Documents for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine through volunteering:
- passport with a translation into the Ukrainian language;
- documents confirming the payment of administrative services and state fees;
- health insurance policy for a foreigner for 1 year;
- an organization for participation in a volunteer program;
- certificate of state registration of the organization.
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The main problems or factors for which a volunteer may be refused a residence permit in Ukraine
- the foreigner's origin from so-called "risky migration" countries;
- previous refusal of a visa or residence permit;
- misunderstanding by a foreigner of the activity to be performed in Ukraine, including the inability to explain this at the interview;
- improper preparation of documents (invitations, letters of guarantee, health insurance policy, translations); failure to take into account requirements related to the imposition of martial law in Ukraine;
- presence of unpaid fines or other closed enforcement proceedings in Ukraine;
- failure to reside at the address indicated in the application documents for a visa or permit;
- lack of sufficient financial support.
Does a volunteer need a residence registration in Ukraine in order to obtain a residence permit?
In order to apply for the permit, a person must have a permanent residence address, i.e. the place where the applicant will physically stay for the entire period of time while the permit is being checked and issued.
After receiving the permit, it is obligatory to register one's place of residence within 30 calendar days. Failure to register can result in a fine for the foreigner as well as for the public organization or charity, respectively.
The period for obtaining a residence permit in Ukraine through volunteering
The time needed to obtain a D visa varies from several days to a month; the time required to obtain a residence permit varies from 15 business days to two months. The time frame depends on the speed of inspections during martial law.
We help our client to monitor the results of the residence permit application process and inform the client in advance where and when he can receive the issued document. We also provide information in advance on the procedure and deadlines for registration of residence in Ukraine and help with its implementation.
Due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the migration authorities have temporarily stopped accepting documents from Russian citizens; the only exceptions so far are obtaining a temporary permit on the basis of family reunification with Ukrainian citizens and employment.
Residence permits in Ukraine for volunteers from Israel or the USA in 2022
It has become an active practice in 2022 to apply for a residence permit in Ukraine through volunteering for citizens of Israel or the United States. Many volunteers who want to serve in volunteer and charitable organizations, or to help in Ukraine in other ways, apply for a residence permit on this basis. It allows them to stay in Ukraine for the time needed to perform volunteer functions and to enter Ukraine easily as many times during the year as required.
In our practice, we have also had several successful examples of obtaining a residence permit for residents of Israel and the U.S. to work in Ukrainian volunteer organizations as volunteers, and employees of charities or civic organizations.