Expat Life,  Ukraine

Life in Ukraine: Things You Should Know And Things To Expect

Last Updated on March 10th, 2020

Every time I get to ask others, who are not Ukrainians, what they know about life in Ukraine, they always give different answers. Some people immediately think of Chernobyl, somebody else remembers a famous football player, model or boxer. Other folks base their opinion on what they currently hear from media, especially about the conflict with Russia.

Not many people get involved. But at the same time, there are quite a few who show genuine interest in Ukraine as a country and intend to live here, at least during some time.

I have spent 24 years of my life in Ukraine and in today’s post would love to answer some of the most common questions that people ask about life here. There is a lot of confusion about this country. Allow me to share all the details I know from my personal experiences.

If you are looking to travel to Ukraine soon, read my super long and detailed guide on Ukraine travel tips. Or, simply check my page on Ukraine travel to have a better understanding of where to go and how to plan your trip.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. 

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE IN UKRAINE


Is Ukraine Safe To Travel And Live In?

Since 2014 Ukraine has been getting a lot of attention due to Crimea annexation and war with Russia. And then it went to talks about Trump-Ukraine scandal (ugh.)

With political and social unrest investments sank, the number of international visitors decreased and the country’s safety question got compromised. To this very day, every potential visitor wants to know if Ukraine is safe enough to visit.

You know, even before war-related events took place, not many tourists were choosing Ukraine as a country of interest, thinking it was not safe or developed enough. Hence, how can they change their opinion today when the country is in conflict, right?

Ukraine is my home country and I always felt safe here before moving to the U.S. But once war broke out it scared me out of my wits and I had no desire to go back, even for a short visit. Before leaving America for good and traveling to Ukraine with Mark in the fall of 2017 it’s been 6 years since my last time there. I felt uncertain and frightened to return.

But to be honest, when I eventually went I regretted I didn’t do it earlier. Together with Mark, we felt absolutely safe, comfortable and secure. And we had such an amazing time in Ukraine (and still do when revisiting my family from time to time.) In fact, now we are seriously looking into a few apartments in Lviv and thinking to go and live there for some time. 

As with any other country, you have to know where it is safe to go and where it is not. Obviously, anywhere near the war zone is not safe.

Unlike most countries in the world, Ukrainian cities and villages don’t have ghettoes or extremely poor areas where you can feel in danger. Definitely, there are ugly looking neighborhoods with poor infrastructure but their depressing looks (especially during the bad weather) have nothing to do with safety.

Just make sure you are not walking by yourself at night in less populated areas. Stay away from drunk people, protests, big events with crowds, gypsies, and beggars. But this is what we personally did in the States and many other countries around Europe and Asia. Ukraine is very similar in that sense.

Life in Ukraine
Western Ukraine

RELATED POST: 5 FASCINATING FACTS ON UKRAINE TO CONVINCE YOU TO VISIT


Cost of Living in Ukraine

Unfortunately for many Ukrainian people, whose average salary equals approximately $300, the cost of living in Ukraine is expensive. In total, the average annual income comes to $3600-$4000. It can be enough if the person lives in a smaller city and has his own apartment. Otherwise, $300 per month is never enough.

But please, when I am saying that the average wage in Ukraine is $300 dollars per month, do not automatically assume that everyone here is poor, struggling and wants to immigrate. There are also a lot of people whose salary is $1000-$1500 per month (and more) and who have a good life. 

For someone who makes even $1000 per month things will be very affordable. If you are a freelancer, working online, having a thriving business or working for an international company, you can have a very good standard of living in Ukraine. If you are planning to teach English or volunteer, most likely your room and board will be covered and a salary will be more than enough for your monthly expenses.

Renting a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in a good location in cities other than Kyiv will cost you between $250 – $400 per month. The cost of living in Kyiv, as a capital, is more expensive. Rent there will be somewhere between $400-$600 per month. For this price, you get a very nice looking one or two-bedroom flat with furniture.

Depending on a city you choose to live in, expenses for groceries and occasional eating out in Ukraine go between $200 and $300 per person. A cup of coffee to go costs around $0.50. Street food like kebab, crepes or sandwich cost between $1-$3. Latte and a cake in a coffee shop will be around $3 too.

Public transportation is incredibly cheap. Metro ride in Kyiv is around $0.35 cents, city bus or as it’s called “marshrutka” costs around $0.25 cents, a trolley costs way less, like 10 or 15 cents.

Services like haircuts, manicures, tailoring clothes, shoe repairs are very popular and affordable too. For example, a trip to a barbershop to get a simple man’s haircut will cost around $2-$4. Services of professional hairstylists are priced between $10-$20.

Life in Ukraine


RELATED POST: 10 DELIGHTFUL THINGS TO DO IN KYIV IN WINTER: YOUR HELPFUL GUIDE


Public Transportation

Unlike the EU zone, where taking a plane most times costs less than taking a bus, in Ukraine low-coster market is not fully developed yet. To fly in and out of Ukraine is also more expensive than fly to most of the cities in nearby countries. A major airport is in Kyiv, but there is also an opportunity to fly to Lviv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Chernivtsi. Flights to these cities are usually more costly though.

Every year low-cost carriers enter the Ukrainian market opening new budget flights, so with time flying to Ukraine will be possible at lower tariffs.

The easiest and probably the most comfortable way to travel in Ukraine is by train. Trains have a few class types to choose from and always run on schedule. They are way better than those in the States. 

Taking a bus or blabla car is another option on how to get around the country. However, buses in Ukraine usually don’t have air-conditioners and don’t provide a high level of comfort. Blabla car drivers rarely speak English and you may have difficulty communicating.

One more thing to keep in mind is the condition of roads. Unfortunately, until this day roads in Ukraine need to go through lots of repairs. They have holes, cracked asphalt, uneven shoulders and sometimes even roadblocks. So you can imagine how a trip on a bus can go.

Hopping on a bus is probably ok if you are going to cover a short distance or if going to ski in Bukovel from Ivano-Frankivsk. That road is in excellent condition. Otherwise, if going far, I would recommend choosing a train instead. 

Renting a car is still expensive and not advisable. With bumpy roads and aggressive driving (yes, a lot of folks in Ukraine drive like they are out of their mind) the entire experience can become somewhat stressful.

Uber operates in a number of cities, getting a lift is not a problem.


KRAKOW TO LVIV (AND BACK) BY BUS, TRAIN OR BLABLCAR. WHAT’S BETTER?


Life in Ukraine
Railway station in Khmelnitskiy city

Quality of Life in Ukraine Today

The quality of life in Ukraine is a rather controversial subject and depends on a few factors. First of all, what do you imply by the “quality of life”? How qualitatively you personally are going to live, as a foreigner? Or how do Ukrainians live? Second, what is your own definition of the quality of life?

If I have to compare Ukraine with the rest of the world then let’s take official United Nations ratings. They use a variety of aggregated data, such as income and wealth, jobs and earnings, housing conditions, life-work balance, personal security, education and skills, and a number of other indicators from all areas of life. For more details, you can read their official measurement of well-being here.

So, according to the UN’s data, Ukraine at the end of 2018 got the 88th position among 185 countries. According to Numbeo, the position is 62nd. Other resources show something else. I personally do not trust just one single resource because there can be always an under (or over) estimation of objective numbers, manipulations or simple miscalculations.

What I can definitely attest to, based on my own experience, is the fact that an average Ukrainian does not have a high standard of living when compared to the West. A lot of people live under the poverty line and barely make their ends meet. Especially those people who live in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. That’s true.

At the same time, what is also true, there is a big percentage of people who feel pretty comfortable living in Ukraine and would not trade it for any other place.

The sense of community is strong, much of the poor in the country is lifting out of poverty and becoming a middle class.

Ukraine is developing and moving in the right direction. There is a lot of potential and future.

I am not saying this just because I believe my home country will see better days. I make these conclusions based on personal experiences, observations while living in the country and seeing how many improvements actually took place.

quality of life in Ukraine
Kyiv in winter

Quality of Life in Ukraine for You Personally

The main question is what type of life are you personally going to have in Ukraine if you move there? There are so many nuances to take into consideration. What you like, what you are used to, how easily you can adjust to a new culture and mentality, learn a new language, etc.

When it comes to my personal definition of quality of life, I do not pay much attention to what worldwide statistics show. I evaluate what I personally will be able to afford, how much my life is going to improve and how much value I can add to other people’s lives.

My life in the U.S. was a struggle although this country is one of the best places where to live. And even though my salary was pretty high. Last year Mark and I were thinking about the opportunity to move to Norway where, again according to statistics, is the highest standard of living. But after lots of brainstorming and calculations we figured if we really moved there, the quality of our personal life would be way below average.

Why? Because we are not Norwegians and the money we make is not going to guarantee the same level of comfort we are used to. But it’s not even about the money. There are other factors that define the quality of life for us. Like food quality, for instance, or health care access, culture factor, climate, etc.

Determine what the quality of life is for you. If you are thinking to possibly move to Ukraine, come to spend some time at first and feel this county. And only then you’ll have a clear understanding if living in Ukraine as a foreigner is for you or not.


LIVING IN UKRAINE AS A FOREIGNER 


Where to live in Ukraine?

If you are considering an opportunity to move to Ukraine, I suggest looking into Kyiv (of course, capital always comes first,) Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk. These large cities have excellent infrastructure, opportunities and lots of things to do.

Lviv is one of our favorite cities. It is attractive and cozy. It consists of a mixture of different influences and styles and is close to the Carpathian mountains. Somehow in Lviv, the charm of the city makes you feel comfortable right from the first minutes of the arrival. Lviv also has some of the best coffee not only in Ukraine but the entire world. So if you ever get there, make sure to taste it in one of the most atmospheric cafes around the city.

A lot of expats and tourists also love Odessa because of its own vibe and seaside. Yet Odesa is one of those love-hate cities when you either enjoy it or totally dislike it. There is nothing in between.

Kyiv, as a capital, is more diverse, constantly developing and improving. At the same time, the cost of living is higher and sooner or later but traffic with crowds start to annoy.

Life in Ukraine


RELATED POST: BEST PLACES TO EAT IN LVIV: AMAZING RESTAURANTS, BARS AND CAFES


Communication in Ukraine

People in Ukraine speak either Ukrainian or Russian language. English along with other foreign languages is not widely spoken, that’s why communication with locals can become a challenge. If you are based in Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Kharkiv or Dnepropetrovsk, you’ll find plenty of restaurants in the city center with English menus, and employees speaking English. Smaller cities do not see many foreigners, that’s why having an English menu is not common there.

Train stations in big cities and subway in Kyiv have schedules, signs, and announcements in Ukrainian and English.

If you are living in Kyiv, there are a few smaller cinemas that show movies in English. Plus, locals who are eager to practise their language skills with foreigners, often organize English speaking clubs, music events and shows. Check out an English newspaper in Kyiv for all events in the capital. Or here is an online magazine “Ukraine Travel Center” for events and things to do around Ukraine.

For other services, it may be tricky to communicate with locals. You may want to use a translator and learn a few basic words in Russian or Ukrainian.

Overall, people in Ukraine always try to help non-Russian or non-Ukrainian speakers who are visiting or living in their country.

If you are moving to Ukraine, especially to a large city, and do not speak any Ukrainian or Russian language, relax and remember that you’ll be OK. With time, you can go to one of the language schools to learn the basics. But I definitely wouldn’t stress out about it at the beginning.

Some of my friends who are foreigners have been living in Ukraine for years but they still don’t speak any local language. And each of them is doing just fine.

Healthcare in Ukraine 

As a foreigner, you will not have access to free healthcare (which is below average anyways.) But going to a clinic or seeing a specialist is cheap and you’ll be definitely able to afford to pay for it.

If you are going to work for a company then expect them to provide insurance for you. In any other case, if working remotely, for example, there is no need to apply for insurance.

More and more doctors of any specialization in Ukraine are delivering the highest standard of care and professionalism, they are experienced and easily accessible. If you need a treatment or a regular checkup you can get it within a day or two. The same applies to Ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, dentists, and doctors of any specialization.

I remember when I was in the States, the wait time to see a specialist on average was about a few weeks. One time I was waiting for more than three months to get something as simple as an ultrasound. In Ukraine, it is unheard of. If you need to see a doctor, you’ll be able to schedule an appointment within the next few days (sometimes hours) unless he/she is on vacation or on leave.

A lot of people in Ukraine are also into natural remedies and treatments, so finding an acupuncturist, homeopath or naturopathic doctor won’t be difficult too. Unlike in Western countries, where services of these specialists usually cost a lot of money, in Ukraine, they are very affordable.

To help you understand the pricing, here are a few examples. Consultations usually cost between $5-$15 (in an opulent clinic it’s not going to cost more than $40,) blood tests between $5 and $15, a back massage between $15 and $25. Dentist work is also very affordable. A filling costs between $10 and $20 (depending on material,) tooth extraction within the same range. Prices for MRI start from $10, X-ray and ultrasound between $10-$20. Homeopath visit is between $10-$20 (a few hours long detailed appointment,) one acupuncture treatment between $3-$15 (depending on a city and clinic you are in.)

Dentist care is of high quality and one of the cheapest in the world. I know there are a lot of patients from Western Europe who come to Ukraine to do all dental work. It is way cheaper for them to pay for tickets, accommodation, and all the procedures than just get medical treatment in their own country.

NOTE: If you are visiting Ukraine and don’t plan to stay there long-term, make sure to purchase travel insuranceSafetyWing offers great travel insurance for Ukraine. This company has affordable and flexible travel medical insurance policies and very good prices. Click here to get a quote from SafetyWing

Life in Ukraine


RELATED POST:10 FOODS OF UKRAINE YOU HAVE TO TRY THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT


WORKING IN UKRAINE AS AN EXPAT


Getting a visa for Ukraine

As with many other countries in the world, to be able to get sponsorship from a company in Ukraine you have to be a highly-skilled professional. Knowing a language is not always mandatory but of course, preferred. During my working years in Ukraine, I had colleagues from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the EU. They were mainly working as analysts, IT specialists, managers, and directors.

One of the easiest ways to get a temporary residence permit is through school, mission or volunteering. But there are also ways how to get a residency based on your online work and digital nomad lifestyle. If you can prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself you’ll be allowed to live in a country from 3 months to a year, with a possibility to extend. For detailed information, check the website of one of the local law firms.

Life in Ukraine
The streets of Lviv

Jobs for foreigners

The most popular jobs in Ukraine for Americans, Canadians or Western European expats are in Finance, Audit, Consulting, Education (teaching English or other disciplines in English) and IT. Also, there are lots of volunteering projects in Ukraine. I know a lot of people from America who are on an evangelical mission, work with orphanages, summer camps, in renovation and construction. Some of them even work in agriculture and archeology. Those who volunteer usually get free accommodation, meals and sometimes even pocket money.

Based on long-term volunteering projects you can get a residency permit and apply for side jobs. If you are a native English speaker, the sky is the limit when it comes to teaching English. Ukraine is in need of English Teachers. Schools, daycare centers, early childhood development centers, universities look for teachers on a regular basis.

Another option of how to stay in Ukraine long term while making money is to start your own business. The most popular one would be to open a restaurant with international cuisine. Ukraine is probably one of a few countries in Europe where you won’t find many international foods yet. A lot of those that exist are not even authentic.

So, if you are a foreigner who has skills and experience in the food business, Ukraine has a lot of potential for you. The process of establishing it will definitely take some time and money. But in the end, it is worth the effort, that’s for sure.


LIVING IN UKRAINE PROS AND CONS


Ukraine, like any other place in the world, has its own pros and cons. What I may consider as an advantage, may come as a disadvantage for you. And vise versa. I am going to mention what I personally consider to be the pros and cons. But you decide if that’s going to play the same role for you or not. 

So, in my opinion, among the biggest advantages of living in Ukraine are affordability and a good standard of living. But of course, if your monthly income is higher than the average wage I described above. So, for about $800-$1000 per month, you can have a decent life here. You can be renting a very stylish apartment in a nice new neighborhood paying fraction of what you’d pay in many other European countries. If you decide to base yourself in Ukraine and want to travel around Europe, it is also very easy to do without spending much on flights. 

Another advantage is the quality of food, cheap and affordable healthcare, good internet (for people who work online) and possibilities for travel.

The disadvantages of living in Ukraine are the bad quality of air, bureaucracy, bad roads (for travelers), poor service and the fact that not many people communicate in English.

For the service, sorry (not sorry) but overall, it is very common for Eastern Europe to have poor service. So Ukraine is not an exception here. A lot of restaurants, cafes, banks, grocery stores, etc. deliver a nice service. But in many other places, omg, it’s just non-existent. So be ready for that but don’t take it personally.  

Then the air. That’s a totally separate topic which I am really upset about. Yet unfortunately, the quality of air in Ukraine is one of the worst in Europe. Because of the old diesel cars that flood the cities and burning of leaves and trash in the summer and fall, the air stays polluted.

Ukraine is not an environmentally friendly country and has a deficient physical infrastructure in many places. A lot of buildings are in bad repair, some types of transportation are old and falling apart. Some rivers and lakes are dirty which in turn creates difficulties for recreation.

Another note to make is communication. If you are not going to learn at least some Russian or Ukrainian and won’t have English speakers around you all the time, communication is going to come as one of the cons of living in Ukraine. And bureaucracy. It is another challenge if you are moving to Ukraine for work or want to open your own business. 

More is yet to come…


This is it for now. If you have more questions about life in Ukraine, drop us a comment or send us a message. We will be happy to answer! Also, check my post about what to know about Ukraine before traveling there

I am also working on many other posts, so hope to see you on this blog again!

Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to pin it!

Life in Ukraine for expats is exciting and rewarding at the same time. Here is a mini guide with tips on what to expect from living in Ukraine no matter if you are moving short or long term. Discover Ukraine today. #ukraine #lifeineurope #moveabroad
Considering to live in Ukraine during some time? Here is some basic information on what you can expect from life in Ukraine. This post highlights details on cost of living, healthcare, job market for expats, things to do in Ukraine and more. #movetoukraine #lifeinukraine #ukraine #expatliving #expatsaroundtheworld
 

 

Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel slowly and live in different countries around the world. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar-places and discover the world through life and work abroad.

110 Comments

  • Vinod Kumar

    Hi
    I Vinod Kumar from India, have opened a company in Ukraine last year. Now i want to start my work in Ukraine. What is the procedure to get a long term visa and Trc of Ukraine.

    • Anya

      Hi Vinod, thank you for your question here. I am not authorized to provide legal advice but can recommend a few lawyers you could consult with. Let me know what city you are going to be based in and I’ll advise whom to contact. But if you have already opened a company, it should help you get your residency. Usually, it is a time-consuming process which involves a lot of paperwork. If you got a chance to open a company, congratulations on this first step, it should be easier to apply for residency!

    • Anya

      Hi Paul! During my student years in Kiev in my class there were other students from Nigeria too, but they were studying marketing. Nautical science is a popular major for international students but for the most part, it is not free education, you would need to pay. I know there is one school where you can study it in Odessa, is this the city you are thinking about? If you get accepted and get a student visa, you could work part-time only (I would double check on how many hours you can legally work under the student visa though.) The jobs you could get would be in the private sector, mainly the hospitality and restaurant business. Have you looked in a city where to study?

  • temechambi rosten

    Ohhh am impressed by this observation. I will really love to Come over and feel such. But concerning studies how affordable especcially at a higher level of studies

        • Larry Harms

          Hello! My name is Larry. Please, will you help me to find a girl to be a translator and guide for me during my trips to Ukraine? I am an old man. Sometimes I am wabbly on my feet. Walk arm in arm with me for a few minutes and my feet will stablize. Ask me to take the hand rail with my other hand and I can get down the stairs without injury. I do not speak Russian well enough to be without a translator and guide. My guide must have no other responsibilities for the length of my stay. Because of my ageing condition (69 years) I will need help at all times. When my translator is with me, I pay wages of $50 per day plus meals, and tickets, and if we travel I also pay for a separate room for my guide’s use. If my guide lives too far from the hotel where I am staying, I would like to pay for a flat located within 10 minutes of my Hotel for her use.

  • Frank

    Ah, finally somebody says what I’ve been repeating to everyone I know – Lviv has the best coffee (and coffee culture) in the whole world.
    I have to pick your brain about private clinics in Lviv Anya. For the last few years we’ve had all our medical & dental checkups in Prague. This year we’ll be in Lviv for 2 months and are looking to get it done there. Any reputable places?
    Great post 🙂

    • Anya

      Thanks, Frank! Yes, we tried coffee in many countries around the world but confidently can say that coffee in Lviv is simply the best!

      Regarding clinics, I will call a few places I know and ask them a few questions on prices (to compare) and either they speak English or not, and will get back to you with recommendations. I’l do that for that time when you are in Georgia. I am also working on a post about clinics around Ukraine that are great for foreigners. A few other people asked my advice, so I decided to create a detailed post.

      What I also can highly recommend – come to Khmelnitskiy city for your medical checkups and dental. It is known as a city with some of the cheapest and best medical services in Ukraine. Besides dental, you can do everything else you need. Some of the best acupuncture specialists, dentists, surgeons, chiropractors, otorhinolaryngologist are there. Khmelnitskiy is only 3.5 hours away from Lviv by train. It is small, very safe, clean and almost everything is located close to each other. I can definitely put you through some amazing specialists and even help you make appointments. There is a chance I will be there in the summer too, so I can be your guide and translator. Although at many places specialists speak English and you will be fine on your own.

      Also, it is possible to get all work done during one day (depends on how much work to do of course) or rent a cheap airbnb and stay a few days while exploring the city and trying some of the best coffee too :). Khmelnitskiy also has some of the best shopping in the entire country, so if you need to pick up a few things, this is the right city to go to.

      Let me know, if you decide to go to Khmelnitskiy and I’ll help you to arrange everything. And I promise to get back with a Lviv list too. And talk to you soon!

      • Frank

        Thank you so much for all this info Anya. I think the post you are mentioning would be a great resource for people considering medical tourism in Ukraine.

        I would prefer options in Lviv though, simply because we’ll be there and if there are repeat appointments it’s a bit of a pain to have to travel every time. We’re looking for basic medical checkups and I think I need an MRI on my knee. Have been having some issues. We also need a dentist. Had a great clinic in Prague but I think we’re tired of going back every year…
        As I say prefer Lviv. But if necessity calls for it we could go to Khmelnitskiy.

        We’ll be in Ukraine July and August. If things work out would love to have you as our guide and translator 🙂

  • Norma Jenkins

    I draw my late husband’s social security. Will I have a problem getting access to my money there. I would like to live in a rural area as I was a farmer. Would this be difficult?

    • Anya

      Hi Norma, to be honest, yes, it will be challenging if you move to a rural area. In cities and towns it is not a problem. But villages and countryside is not that developed yet. You would need to travel to a nearby city every month to collect the money.

  • Bernie

    Thanks for your great documentary, I found it very useful, as an Englishman could I teach without speaking much Russian?

    • Anya

      I am happy you found it useful, Bernie!
      If you are coming to teach English in Ukraine, you don’t need to speak any Russian. Knowing some of the language would come in handy to communicate outside the school but you will be totally fine without it.

      In big cities a lot of people speak English, so communication won’t be difficult. Still, if you end up coming to Ukraine for a longer period of time, I recommend taking a few lessons to learn the basics.

      I’ll be happy to advise a few great language schools for foreigners and connect you with locals. If you need help or advice on anything else, feel free to contact me, I am happy to help, seriously.

  • Asher

    Hi Anya greetings from Pakistan , I am Asher want to open a business of food at small level , what do you suggest me to do first… your information and discussion is very useful for foreigners ,,

    • Anya

      Hi Asher!
      You know, recently a few other people asked me similar questions, so now I am planning to start working on posts that will give thorough answers and details. It is a very serious topic. I need to write a series of posts. One short comment will never be enough.

      If in a few words… Starting a business in Ukraine as a foreigner is a bit challenging because of the bureaucracy and in some cases corruption. Even though it is challenging, it is still possible and worth the effort.
      For the beginning, I would recommend to enter Ukraine on a tourist visa and only then start changing your status and opening a business.
      Before you arrive in Ukraine, you will need to prepare all necessary documents in advance and take them with you. Also, if you are willing to do everything by yourself, without a lawyer, I still encourage you to hire a local (or maybe you have a friend) who will communicate with the officials (99% of them do not speak English).
      Before you begin the process of registration of a legal entity, you must obtain an identification number or tax payer card. Another important note: you’ll have to choose the organizational and legal form of your company. Many lawyers advise to opt for LLC.

      There is so much to write on this topic. Give me a few weeks and I’ll write posts with all the details!

      • Asher

        Thanks Anya for your nice and practical comments, i will be thankful if you guide me in future too,, making legal documents as company would be better idea (LLC) i will be Lucky if some English speaking Lawyer of Ukraine contact me for further facilitation

  • G Frick

    Great article, but I miss Sumy as a recommended place to live in. Very cheap and calm. The tempo is a bit more relaxed than in Kiev. I am from Stockholm, Sweden and have lived there and is actually thinking of moving back because Sweden is going down in a fast pace.

    • Anya

      Hi G Frick! I would not be comparing Sumy to major cities in Ukraine and saying how cheap it is. Sumy is a small provincial industrial town with not so developed infrastructure, higher prices for groceries and not so many things to do. Of course, it will be cheaper than capital and other larger cities that play an important economic role.

      In this case, let’s compare Sumy to Cherkassy, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv, Khmelnitskiy, Chernivtsi, Ivane-Frankivsk, Ternopil’ or Poltava, for instance. Among all these cities, Sumy is the last one on the list for many reasons. It is one of the least comfortable cities when it comes to health care, quality of air and water, infrastructure, education, amount of activities to do and level of pollution. Prices for rent and food are also higher when compared to other cities of the same type. Sumy is an industrial city and has a very high level of pollution. Although, it is one of the safest in Ukraine and promotes sports a lot.

      I am glad you like it there. We are all different and have different preferences. Still, I personally would never live in Sumy, a lot of Ukrainians are moving out of there, and I don’t think it is a great city to recommend to live in long-term. But some other foreigners may love it, you are absolutely right.

  • jenny

    Hi Anya,

    I love this very informative article!!
    I am from the United States. I have met someone from Ukraine. If we marry there, will I be accepted to live in Ukraine long term? I am a flight attendant. English and Spanish is my native language. What are my chances in finding work living there?

    • Anya

      Hi Jenny! I am so glad you found it useful!
      If you marry in Ukraine, definitely you can apply for your residency and live and work there on a permanent basis! A marriage certificate from the U.S. only will not have any value in Ukraine, so you would need to go through another registration there.
      If you are a flight attendant, it makes things so much easier for you. Your chances of finding a job in Ukraine are pretty high even though you don’t speak a local language. The most important thing in your case would be a residency permit which enables a company to hire you.
      I hope it answers your question! 😉

  • Sahil

    Hi I am Sahil from India
    Recently I will be completing with my B-tech in IT
    After graduation I wish to start my new life, and this blog is really helping me out
    But I am planning for MBA or MS in Ukraine then is there any good universities and how much it would cost also is there any job opportunities after mba there ?
    And can I start direct job in Ukraine after my bachelors ?

    • Anya

      Hi Sahil,
      I am happy to hear that my blog is helping you! I am currently working on more posts on Ukraine, so make sure to check them out soon. I am writing posts on education and jobs too.
      If shortly, yes, there are quite a few good universities for MBA and MS in Ukraine. On average education for foreigners costs between $1000-2000 per year, depending on the school and city. There are job opportunities after MBA but priority is given to locals at first. Although if you have experience in IT field, your chances are high to secure a job in IT sector.

      • Sahil

        Thank you Anya for your comment, hope I will get into travelers life soon,
        because I like to know different cultures, interact with new people.
        Good luck to you , hope Success find you wherever you go !
        By the way, what did you do while you was in US for lives ? Are to software professional ?
        As united states is big IT giant.

        • Anya

          Thank you, Sahil!
          When we were living in the U.S. we worked for various hotels. I personally also spent a few years working as a nanny before getting into the hospitality business. We decided to turn to IT only after we left the U.S. The goal was to learn how to make money online, so we wouldn’t need to tie ourselves to only one place. IT is a perfect field for that.
          Good luck to you too! Hope to see you on this blog again and if you ever end up coming to Ukraine and need more tips, don’t hesitate to send me a message!

  • Nikkie

    Hi, thanks for the great article. I am thinking about doing an internship in Ukraine (I am an EU citizen). My question sounds a bit weird, but will I be able to work in Russia afterward? It is not like a red flag or something in the CV, because of the conflicts. Thank you.

    • Anya

      Hi Nikkie,
      I understand your concern but don’t worry, it’s not going to be an issue at all. As long as it is not military related, you can work in both countries and not to worry about anything.
      Good luck!

  • Blessing

    Thanks for your write up.but I have a question.
    I am international student planning to move to Ukraine to further my education.here in my country I have big business and is doing well.but Haven read of Ukraine education and working system I sometimes scared of proceeding to the country.

  • Tony Simpson

    Hi im travelling to mirgorod end of August via kiev im on Instagram with a few people. And have been so kindly invited to stay with a family all through horses the town of mirgorod looks beautiful

    • Anya

      Hey Tony, I hope you’ll enjoy your trip to Mirgorod. Honestly, I’ve never been there so don’t have much to say. But if you are traveling with other people and going to interact with locals, this is going to be quite an adventure! Just make sure to spend sometime in Kyiv too, it’s an interesting city!

  • abed

    Hi! i am a university student and i want to continue my university in Ukraine would you recommend me a specific uni or state to live in BTW loved your article!

    • Anya

      Hi Abed,

      It really depends on what you want to study. I am happy to advise if you give me more information about what you are looking for.

      • Abed

        Hi Anya,
        Glad you responded the major is computer science so basically a university that teach in English with such major with low fees thanks!

        • Anya

          Hi Abed, I am almost done with a post on schools in Ukraine for foreigners. Some other people asked me the same question, so I decided to write a post on this topic. It should be up on the blog in a week or so. Make sure to check it out soon!

  • David Smith

    As the usual from Ukraine very beautiful Lady and very smart and kind. I have a few questions for you I am on Social Security make 1,300 dollars a month can I afford to live there But I also have a fiance from Russia with a daughter that I wish to move into Ukraine. She is petrified she fears Ukraine people will hate her and her daughter for being Russian. I also had throat cancer and lost my vocal cords so talking difficult. She is worried for my health. I hate cities sorry I love the country life. How hard will it be to live in the country and also what are the requirements Visa’a ect to move and live in Ukraine I also want to merry her in your beautiful country Any beautiful Romantic places you can give me for a memory to last a lifetime? Thank you for all your help and time I hope the war ends . I love coffee so this will be my dream country LOL Take Care God Bless you and your family David

    • Anya

      Hi David!

      You can definitely live on $1300 a month in many cities and towns around Ukraine. The only challenge here is your legal status and visa. You mentioned your fiancé is from Russia, I don’t think there is any way for you guys to settle in Ukraine on a long-term basis. Both of you, based on your passports, can spend only 90 days in Ukraine every 6 months but you are not allowed to live here long term. It means you would need to leave every 3 months.

      But if your fiancé is so petrified to travel to Ukraine, why to bother at all? It seems that she has been seriously brainwashed by Russian media (which does not come as a surprise) and totally believes all that hate and nonsense they are spreading about Ukraine.

      I am sorry but I don’t think I am really able to give a good piece of advice here.

  • William

    Good day Anya, my name is William. I was wondering if you can give me any insight into how the Ukrainian people see black men from America. How do the Ukrainian people feel about dogs? I am thinking about possibly moving to the Ukraine next as I have been in Asia for the last few years and want a change of scenery. It is always a tricky subject to approach asking about such a touchy subject, but it is nice to get a cross-section of answers from people who have lived in both the Ukraine and the U.S.

    • Anya

      Hi William, that’s a good question to ask because a lot of people have misconceptions about this topic.
      If you go to a small town or village somewhere in the countryside, definitely expect people to stare at you, talk about you and try to get close. They’ll do it not because they want to harm you but because you look exotic. They will stare at and talk about anyone who doesn’t look Slavic. Not many foreigners go their way, so once they see someone who looks totally different they will be giving that person a lot of attention.
      I don’t think though you’ll be going to the countryside.

      In large cities, people are used to foreigners and don’t pay attention. Unless again, there is someone from a countryside who is visiting a city and sees a foreigner on the street for the first time. Large cities attract a lot of foreign guests as well as students from African and Middle Eastern countries, so you will see quite a few foreigners with dark skin on the streets of Lviv, Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, etc. Ukrainians welcome them the same way as they welcome anyone else.

      Overall, you shouldn’t worry about anything when it comes to your looks. The only thing which may happen is that the police can stop you and ask for your passport (which happens very rarely.) Some students, after they are done with school, stay in the country illegally. So police, if implying you are a student, may stop you to check the documentation (so just in case have a copy of your passport.) Again, it doesn’t mean they will stop you. But something to remember. Other than that nothing to worry about.
      Crossing the border will be easy if you hold an American passport. Just keep in mind, William, in Ukraine you can stay only 90 days every 6 months. In Asia it is much easier to stay for a long term. Ukraine is more strict on this matter.

      Oh, and one more thing. Ukrainian people love dogs! Bring your pet!

      I hope I answered your question. If you have another one, feel free to ask.

      • William

        Anya, thank you for such a thoughtful and we’ll planned response. Your tips are invaluable. I am still deciding on the next chapter in my life’s journey, countries in Central and South America are pretty high on my list as well as a few in Europe. Thanks for all of the information and taking the time to write and respond to so many of the questions that people have asked you.

        • Anya

          My pleasure, William! No matter what you decide, I am wishing you only the best with all your adventures! South America sits high on our list too, so I totally get ya 🙂

  • David Smith

    Hi Anya and Mark Well my Russian fiance refuses to move to Ukraine she says the Russian news is showing Ukraine schools teaching children to hate Russians and to cut off Russian babies heads. I tried to tell her it is the same propaganda all countries use to brainwash the people. When I was growing up the USA government in schools told us all Russian woman looked like Godzilla and smelled just as bad and were wives of Russian beet farmers because they were so dumb. I am telling you the truth it is what they told us in school this is from the same people who told us that if we got under our desk when Russia attacked us with Nuclear bombs we would be safe. I tried to tell her not to listen to such garbage but she is petrified. Sad because I feel Ukraine is a very beautiful country. She has agreed on Bulgaria so I guess I will move there and buy a house and bring her and her daughter to live with me. Do you know much about Bulgaria I have heard good and bad. I have read about the Gypsy bands that destroy the forest and rob and have even killed some people but that is everywhere in this world .Any help and advice you can give me I would be very grateful to hear.You and Mark have had a very good life and look like two very beautiful loving people Take Care God Bless. David Smith

    • Anya

      Hey David,

      Whatever your fiancé is saying about Ukraine is very toxic.
      It’s a good thing you understand that all of what she is hearing is propaganda. But it doesn’t change that fact that she is spreading hate which comes from the media.
      Honestly, I don’t feel like getting into this conversation. I wish you all the best with whatever you decide.

  • Usman Shahid

    Hi!
    I am from Pakistan.
    I am a Muslims.
    Can someone please tell that how is ukraine for studying MBBS especially for muslim students.

    • Anya

      Hi Usman! Medical universities in Ukraine see a lot of international students who come from different backgrounds and follow different religions. And especially, there are a lot of muslims. Ukrainians in general are very receptive of other cultures and respect religions of others. You shouldn’t worry about that fact that you profess a different religion as long as you are not imposing your views on others. If that’s what you meant.

      • Michael

        Hi. Well, with a monthly income of 1500 euros it would be nice to know whether i can rent a comfortable flat there and any information about the city will be welcome. If there’s any foreign little community as well

        • Anya

          With this amount of money you definitely can rent a very comfortable flat and live very well not only in Zaporizhzhya but many other cities around Ukraine. The average price for a really nice and new 2-bedroom apartment is $500 per month. If you plan to rent it for the entire year, I can connect you with a few agents who speak English and can help you find a great option.
          For the foreign community, it is almost non-existent in Zaporizhzhy since it’s one of the least popular cities to go to and choose to live in. Zaporizhzhya is very polluted due to dozens of heavy industrial plants within city limits. There are a few foreigners who work as English teachers and as missionaries but there are really a few of them.
          I am also finishing a guide to Ukrainian cities where I talk in detail about each city, so it should give you better understanding on what to expect. Make sure to check it soon.

  • Alan

    Hello, I have a quick question, I am about to marry a lady from Zaporizhzhia who will come over to America shortly. I have just returned from Ukraine and I have loved it every time I have been.
    We intend to stay in America until I retire , in about 6 years but my concern is about medical care. Or to be more accurate the availability of insulin in Ukraine. As if the treatment of my diabetes is basic in Ukraine we want to retire in Ukraine near Lviv or Dnipro.
    Any help gratefully appreciated
    Alan

  • CRB

    Hi Anya, Thanks for posting this article. I have been to Kiev numerous times now as a tourist and have never felt uncomfortable or that the city was not safe. I do not know the language and have had minor communication problems with the locals but nothing to really cause a problem. People overall have treated me well and try to understand the English language. I will continue my adventures to Kiev and continue learning their lifestyle and culture. It’s been a lot of fun for me!

    • Anya

      Hi CRB,

      I am really happy to hear this and to know you enjoyed Kyiv! And thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      Come to visit other cities in Ukraine too, there is still so much to do and see! 😉

  • Robert

    Hello Anya
    I am Robert, an entrepreneur from Nigeria.
    I plan to to set up my company in Ukraine.
    And latter plan to bring my kids along.
    How is elementary and secondary school like for English speakers in Ukraine?

    • Anya

      Hi Robert, all public elementary and secondary schools in Ukraine teach in the Ukrainian language. In the beginning, before your kids learn it (if that’s the goal of course), you could send them to a private school. In big cities, there are British and American schools where all pupils are English speakers. With smaller cities it is more challenging though. Are you interested in any particular city?

    • Anya

      Hmm… I think not only women in Ukraine are looking for husbands. Women all over the world would like to marry and have a family. But if you mean foreigners, then I see lots of foreign men looking for wives in Ukraine too. Are their women that bad?

  • jamie

    Im a foreigner living in Ukraine for one year and I agree with most of this article. For me, medical care is really important for me to feel totally secure. And I find the healthcare here too underdeveloped and old fashioned. Even in an awesome city like Ternopil, all the hospitals I’ve seen scared me. I felt they were really, outdated, even dirty sometimes, and i don’t know why but the heat and lights are always off. I feel like Im in a bad movie when I go there. Once I had somethjng in my ear and the hospital didn’t even have a tool to get it out,they said the doctor with that tool went home and I should come back the next day….i was very confused. Another time, my dad had a stroke and doctors didn’t have medicine to give him, so he had to wait until we brought him medicine from the pharmacy. That really blew my mind! From what I’ve learned, Ukraine has developed and progressed so much. I do think it’s a beautiful place for a few years, but I would feel uneasy staying here for the long term.

    • Anya

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Jamie!
      It sounds like you went to a public hospital because everything you are describing is the dark reality of hospital life in any city in Ukraine. Everything there is outdated, old and inside of the building it always feels creepy, as you say, like in a horror movie.
      I personally never go to the public part of the hospital (because there is also a private one where everything is new and up to the latest technology) and actually stopped going there more than 10 years ago. When I talk about clinics and medical treatment centers in many of my posts about Ukraine, I always mention ‘private’. I will never recommend any foreigner to go to a public clinic.
      Now I am curious. Did the insurance company pick this hospital for you?
      Ternopil is home to one of the leading medical universities in Ukraine. There are a lot of private clinics around the city that specialize in various specialties.
      How and why did you go to a public one? Wasn’t there an alternative?
      I would appreciate your feedback! Thanks again!

  • Williams

    Am a foreign students,and I study in national University of technology chernihiv,I need a job for my self,and how can I locate some jobs that don’t need language speaking person

  • Williams

    Am a foreign students in chernihiv city,am having a 5years resident permit I need a job either factory works or school in need of English teacher am absolutely good in English or any kind of job I can do them,my contact +380930139561

    • Anya

      I would say that your best bet is to speak to a local lawyer. I can’t advise anything based on this limited information. A residency permit not always allows a person to work in Ukraine, are you sure yours does?
      Second, as a foreigner, if not being highly skilled and qualified, it may be really difficult to secure a minimal wage or entry-level job since preference is given to Ukrainians. Also, usually, with those jobs there is a requirement to know the Russian/Ukrainian language.
      If your permits let’s you work in the country legally, the only suggestion I have is to prepare your resume (in the best way you can), dress presentably, put your smile on and go personally to businesses (like restaurants, cafes, delivery companies, etc.) and ask them if they need workers. The majority of them are always hiring and there are jobs when you don’t need to communicate with others, so language knowledge is not obligatory.
      In any other case, Williams, I don’t want to mislead you, definitely try to talk to a lawyer about your chances of getting a job. Consultations are usually free.

  • Tim

    HI Anya
    Thanks for all the information, receives a lot of stress. Thinking of retiring in Ukraine, speak English and Spanish., I am a retired Executive Chef, Do you think i low key American Cooking school would be viable ?

    • Anya

      Hi Tim, I apologize for responding with a delay, I hope this answer is still on time. Honestly, American Cooking School idea sounds amazing and if you open it in a large city, your chances of success are higher.
      This is still something unique for Ukraine and people are curious. There are a few cooking schools (not schools, better to say cooking classes) I know of but they are actually for foreign tourists, not for Ukrainians. Also, some restaurants offer cooking classes for kids where they can learn how to make pizzas, sushi, and a few other international foods. But there is not much for adults.
      A lot of people in Ukraine love attending various events, classes and meetups where they can communicate with native English speakers. If you open a school which is unique and offers communication in English (Spanish is a bonus but it’s not as popular as English), it’s definitely going to help you to succeed.
      However, if you want to open your school officially then be ready to go through seven circles of bureaucratic hell. You would definitely need to have a Ukrainian help you with documentation, translation and go with you to every single appointment. And keep in mind that opening a business in Ukraine would take months, so be ready for that.
      But if you get a permission and registration on your school (or any other business), you can apply for temporary residence. I hope it helps! If you have any other questions, just ask!

  • Michael Castle

    Hi there,
    Could you let me know my girlfriend lives and teaches in Norgorod-Severskiy ( she is a ukranian ) I myself live in the UK, I’m now ready to retire. Can I move to the Ukraine to completely retire and live with my girlfriend until we marry, without any problems.
    Thanks Michael

    • Anya

      Hi Michael, you are allowed to be in Ukraine only 3 months every half a year which means you’d need to leave for 3 months before you can re-enter again and be in the country legally. If you plan to live with someone without getting married, it still doesn’t change your status as a visitor in the country.
      No matter what you do, do not overstay illegally because you will not get your temporary residency even through a marriage to the Ukrainian resident. By law, a foreigner can apply for temporary residency after entering the marriage only if he/she is staying in the country legally while waiting for approval from the Immigration services.

  • Jeffrey L Pogue

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Ukraine is my dream destination. I would really like to go to Ukraine and see all of the historic sights and the architecture, but I would really like to know more about working there and volunteering at a Christian orphanage. How could I go about getting started on living and working in Ukraine? And what kind of costs are involved?
    Thank you,
    Jeffrey

    • Anya

      Hi Jeffrey, I am asking around on this subject and trying to find more information from people I used to work with.
      For now, I can recommend these guys: mission823.com. I have been working with the founder Shawn Sullivan and director Vladimir Rezmer and can speak highly of these people. They do a lot for Ukrainian children and run a non-profit organization. There are a lot of companies on the market who are mainly interested in getting money of volunteers but Mission 823 is legitimate, Christ oriented and they really do a lot. They have multiple projects in Ukraine throughout the year but I don’t know how much their projects cost now. You can get in touch, they respond very quickly.
      Meanwhile, I am touching base and asking a few more people I used to work with, so I’ll get back with more information once I have it.
      Your desire to come to serve in Ukraine is very commendable and it is a very rewarding experience!

  • Gary Condry

    Anya.

    Love this article and your great reviews on Kiev living. I’m planning on moving there Jan 2 to meet a lady doctor, a heart surgeon.

    It seems that if I even make my $877 social security pay I’d be well off plus Tatiana salary.

    If I’m living there would having money in a Kiev bank be safe or better in a Swiss bank

    Thanks

    Gary.

    • Anya

      Hi Gary,

      I am glad to hear my article was helpful! If you are living in Ukraine, I highly suggest you open a bank account, it is definitely safe and nothing to worry about. If you want, you can open an account in one of the international banks such as Raiffeisen (Austria), Credit Agricole (France), Ukrsibbank (which is BNP Paribas Group, France), ProCredit Bank (Germany), Kredobank (which is PKO Bank Poland), OTP Bank (Hungary). My family and I personally use Privat Bank (Ukrainian) and are very happy with their services. Good luck! I hope you’ll have an easy move!

      P.S. I removed your contact information for security purposes and responded to your email.

  • Sadd

    Hi I want to go to Ukraine for job purpose I have completed master’s in IT and mechanical engg.so kindly help me how to search job in Ukraine.and I am an Indian.

  • bruce waldie

    Hi Anya
    My wife is from Ukraine and i am English born living in Australia. I have both British and Australian passports. She has been living in Australia with me the last 14 months. Due to circumstances here with me in Australia and my wife,s parents who still live there in the Ukraine we are weighing up our options to go back and live in the Ukraine. I have been to the Ukraine about 10 times and love the way of life there.
    My question is, as i am married to a Ukrainian girl does this allow me to live in the country without a visa.
    Thanks in advance
    Bruce

    • Anya

      Hi Bruce, being married to Ukrainian citizen doesn’t mean you can live in the country without a visa. Based on your marriage, you can apply for residency (which takes 1-3 months) once in Ukraine. Although, if you registered your marriage outside Ukraine, it won’t do any difference too. So you’d need to register your marriage again in Ukraine and only then apply for residency.
      With your British or Australian passport you get to stay in Ukraine 3 months. When you get into the country and if you plan to live there long term, I highly suggest you registering your marriage based on Ukrainian law and then after you get a marriage certificate, apply for residency. It does take some time to get your paperwork, so try to do it as soon as you fly in.
      I hope it helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.