Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. If you are a U.S. – Ukrainian citizen and arrive in Ukraine with a Ukrainian passport, you will be treated as a Ukrainian citizen by the local authorities. This may include being required to perform mandatory military service.
Under Ukrainian law, police are permitted to stop you for any reason and check your identification documents. You are required to carry your passport at all times, which police may check to verify your legal presence in Ukraine. Police are permitted to detain you for up to 72 hours without formal charges. U.S. citizens traveling to Ukraine are strongly advised to have the numbers for the U.S. Embassy handy. If stopped by the police for an unclear reason, call the U.S. Embassy at 38 044 521 5566 within working hours or 38 044 521 5000 after hours.
Exchanging U.S. dollars into Ukrainian hryvnya is simple; licensed exchange booths are widespread, and exchange rates are normally clearly advertised. Currency exchange is only legal at such licensed exchange booths, banks, and currency exchange desks at hotels; anyone caught dealing on the black market can expect to be detained by the local police and may face criminal prosecution. You will need to show your passport when exchanging money. Be aware that you will be unable to exchange Ukrainian hryvnya back to U.S. dollars or other foreign currency if you are unable to show where you got this amount of hryvnya from. Keep receipts that you get from exchange booths to be able to show them later if you need to exchange the local currency back to U.S. dollars when leaving the country.
There are many banks and licensed currency exchange booths located in major cities. ATMs (known locally as “bankomats”) are common throughout the country, even in the smaller cities and towns. All ATMs dispense cash only in hryvnya. You should think about bringing enough hard currency with you if you need dollars or euros during your trip. Credit card and ATM card fraud is a major concern, so you should use credit cards only at reputable businesses and ATMs located inside bank branches.
Customs regulations prohibit sending cash, traveler’s checks, personal checks, credit cards, passports, or other forms of identification through the international mail system, as well as via courier mail (FedEx, DHL, etc.). Customs authorities regularly confiscate these items as contraband. Ukrainian customs authorities may also enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Ukraine of items such as firearms, antiquities, prescription medications (in particular narcotic pain relievers), and currency.
Travelers arriving in Ukraine should pay close attention to posted customs declaration requirements. Failure to declare cash, valuables, and certain goods in accordance with Ukrainian requirements can result in fines and the seizure of the goods. You may also have to attend a court hearing, usually scheduled several weeks after the offence, before you can depart Ukraine.
You may take up to EUR 10,000 or its equivalent into or out of Ukraine under oral declaration to Ukrainian customs authorities, if asked. To transport a greater amount, you must declare the total amount, in writing, by filling out the Customs Declaration Form before checking in at airports and presenting proof of the source of the money (a bank reference) to customs officials, or you may face forfeiture of the money to Ukrainian customs as well as a court appearance.
Ukraine has strict limitations on the export of antiques and other goods and artifacts deemed to be of particularly important historical or cultural value. These include, but are not limited to, any items produced before 1950 regardless of the country of production. United States citizens must adhere to these restrictions as a matter of law. Please contact the Kyiv Department of Culture, Expertise Section, at (38-044) 279-6109 or (38-044) 279-5647, if you have any questions regarding items you own, wish to purchase, and/or plan to export.
You should contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, or one of Ukraine's consulates in the United States for more specific information regarding customs requirements. The State Customs Service of Ukraine can also be contacted for advice at (38 044) 247 2719. Operators speak only Ukrainian or Russian.
Radiation and Nuclear Safety: In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear accident resulted in the largest short-term, unintentional release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere ever recorded. The highest areas of radioactive ground contamination occurred within 30 kilometers of the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The city of Kyiv was not badly affected because of the wind direction, but it was not completely spared. The last operating reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant site closed in 2000. All identified stabilization measures on the existing sarcophagus covering the reactor damaged in 1986 are complete, and preparatory work to start construction of the new shelter is nearing completion. The contract for the new Chernobyl shelter was awarded in 2007, and its construction is projected to be completed in 2014.
The Ukrainian Government has an effective program of monitoring fresh foods and meats sold in local markets. You should not buy produce on the street. Wild berries, mushrooms, and wild fowl and game have exhibited higher than average levels of radiation. Background levels of radiation are monitored regularly by the Embassy and, to date, have not exceeded the level found on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. If external radiation levels are high enough to require evacuation, the U.S. Embassy will notify the U.S. community electronically.