Is Tourist Voucher Required to Get Ukrainian Tourist Visa?
Spoiler Alert! No, you do not have to get a Tourist Voucher or Visa Support Document from a Ukrainian travel agency in order to successfully get a Ukrainian Tourist Visa. Read further to learn how I got my Ukrainian Tourist Visa without a Tourist Voucher or Visa Support Documents.
Ukraine is opening to the world. People of more countries are now able to get in Ukraine without a visa. However, my passport still does not allow me visa-free access to Ukraine. Therefore, I recently went through the whole process of applying to get the Ukrainian Visa.
What is a Visa Support Document for Ukrainian Visa?
Most countries have similar requirements if you are applying for a visa. However, in my experience, I have noticed some East European and former Soviet Union countries have additional requirements. One such requirement to get a Ukrainian tourist visa is to have a travel agency based in Ukraine send you two hard copies of the Visa Support Document. One of them is for the Embassy and another for the immigration officer once you land in Ukraine. A typical Visa Support Document may contain the following:
- Tourist Voucher
- Copy of the Bank Guarantee
- Copy of the License for Carrying out Tour Operator Activities
- Hotel Reservation (if you book hotel with the company)
- Tour Itinerary (Optional).
As you probably know I work in the travel industry, I contacted many travel agencies based in Ukraine either through a referral or by looking them up online. Almost every agency is providing some sort of service to help you with a Tourist Voucher for Ukrainian Visa. However, getting this service may not be easy and may go over your budget by two folds!
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How much does the Visa Support Document Cost?
Almost every agency has absurd pricing to provide you Visa Support Document for Ukrainian Visa. The prices can vary anywhere from $80 to $150. On top of this, if you are planning to receive a hard copy via DHL or any other courier service, they will charge you an additional $80 to $120 for the service. Hence, in total, just the support documents can cost you anywhere from $160 to $270 including delivery. But there is an obvious catch! Each travel agencies have some minimum requirements before you can avail this service.
What are the requirements to get the Ukrainian Tourist Voucher?
A quick look at the Ukrainian Embassy’s website suggested that a Tourist Voucher (Visa Support Document) is a requirement for the Ukrainian tourist visa. I had made my mind to buy this service from one of the agencies. However, it was not so simple. The agencies required me to buy tours and packages from them. As a result, I was a bit displeased. However, I can understand why a Tourist Agency would ask for that. Above all, it is their main business. On the contrary, providing visa support documents is just an additional service.
Nevertheless, the problem started when the agencies started forcing me to buy tours, packages and transfers that I am not interested in. Moreover, As a solo traveller, some of their tours were way too expensive ranging anywhere from $100 to $400 for a single person. Their hotel rates were also not attractive, and I was not interested in their transfer services. As a result, this whole experience was very unpleasant and extremely expensive! Certainly, the worst thing was the tone of the travel agents, they basically meant either buy these services or forget about coming to Ukraine.
Contact the Embassy or Consulates
I almost decided to call off my trip to Ukraine and probably go somewhere else, but then I decided to write to the Embassy of Ukraine.
I am applying for Ukrainian Tourist Visa. One of the requirements is to submit the Tourist Voucher from a Ukrainian Travel Agency. I have two questions:
- Is Hotel confirmation voucher enough for Visa application? I have not arranged my trip through a travel agency
- If Tourist Voucher from a Ukrainian travel agency is compulsory, can I supply a printed copy of it?
Your answer will help me a lot with my visa application
Thank you very much!
Right after this email, I sent another email:
I am adding a little bit more details to my previous email. I am referring to this text on your website:
Can I instead provide hotel confirmation? I contacted few Ukrainian travel agencies, but they are charging me a whopping amount for issuing these documents and they are forcing me to buy various tours packages and transfers that I am not interested in.
This will help me plan my vacation better and will help me a lot in visa application.
After sending these emails, I got a reply from the consular officer
In order to get a tourist visa, you need to present two documents:
– a booking confirmation for duration of your stay;
– document which show a purpose of the visit is tourism (tourist voucher, tickets to the event, sightseeing tour etc.)
This answer made my life super easy. They did not say anything like I have to arrange my trip through a travel agency and get a Ukrainian tourist voucher. The documents that they suggested in their reply were already with me. I had a hotel confirmation that I made through my preferred website. Along with that, I provided my flight details, train reservation between Kyiv and L’viv, booked experiences from Airbnb and ticket to an event in L’viv Opera Theatre. To me, these documents looked enough to support that I am going to Ukraine for the purpose of tourism.
Once my application was submitted, it took around 14 working days for them to grant me the visa. I must say that after submission, the process was smooth. In fact, the embassy of Ukraine kept me in the loop by updating me with the status of my visa application whenever there was an update.
In conclusion, don’t fall into the travel agency’s trap. You might end up losing around $500-$600. Contact the embassy or consulate to get a clear picture. Most probably you can also get your Ukrainian Tourist Visa without providing the Tourist Voucher. However, remember to carry all the documents with you to Ukraine, just in case the immigration officer wants to have a look at those all over again.
Let me know if you had a similar experience or if you want to add anything else to this in the comment section. You can also ask me any question, though I am not an expert on Visa issues. However, I have applied for visas of ten different countries in the last three years. So, I do have some experience in this field : ) That reminds me I need to renew
Image Credits: Bs980 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]