February 20, 2019


Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport is about 10 miles outside the city. (A smaller in-city airport Zhulany offers domestic flights.) When you arrive in Boryspil, upon entering the passport control area, find a rectangular form (they may have given it to you on the plane) and fill it out as best you can in blue or black ink. There are generally NOT enough boxes for all the information—go outside of the boxes and give all information. You'll need to know the address of where you will be staying in Kyiv. After completing the form, find the appropriate line for passport control. Certain lines are only for citizens of Ukraine. At passport control, your passport will be stamped and part of the form you've just filled out will be returned to you. KEEP THIS PAPER. You must present it at passport control when you leave the country.

Pick up your bags straight ahead. Carts are available. If you need to declare something, pick up a declaration form near the exit to customs and fill it in accurately (sometimes these are given out on the plane). Follow the directions carefully, or you will have to fill it in again. Check all boxes, whether your answer is yes or no. Don't leave anything blank. If you have more than $10,000 USD (if it's more than $3,000, you have to declare it as well as any expensive items, like laptops, etc.) or personal jewelry worth more than $240, you must declare these items. Declare exactly the amount of money you have. Be certain to declare anything made of gold. It will make things easier if you are planning to take these items back to your country if you can produce the customs form with this list. If you have less than $3,000 on your hands, there is no need to declare anything or go through the red line.

At customs, you may have to place your luggage on an x-ray. After x-raying the bags, go to a line and be patient. You may be asked to open your bags or even count your money. Know the exact amount of USD and Euros you have. Often they ask. They sometimes hold people for no apparent reason for up to an hour. Don't worry; be patient and cooperative. Usually, however, it is a fast and relatively painless process. Through the sliding doors on the far left you'll find yourself on the other side.

If you lose your bags on the trip over, which has happened to several Americans traveling to Kyiv, go to the office on the far wall of the baggage claim room. One sign says “Lost and Found,” but this is not the place to go. The office to the left, if you are facing that wall, is the one where you will need to report your lost luggage. Usually, they will show you a picture to determine what type of bag it is, and then fill out a form. Hopefully, the bag, or bags, will arrive shortly and the airport then delivers them to whatever address you supply them.

As soon as you leave customs area and walk through the sliding doors, you will have to fight your way through a narrow aisle surrounded by dozens of people meeting someone at the airport. It might be a little shocking to a Westerner. If no one is picking you up, for a small fee buses and vans just outside the airport building will take you to a Kyiv metro. Taxi drivers will assuredly accost you as you make your way through the airport crowds. ALWAYS negotiate with a taxi driver. Offer half of what they suggest as the price. Usually, it's $20 or more to get to Kyiv. Many, though, don’t speak English. Our guests and LST teams will generally be picked up at the airport.

On leaving Ukraine, arrive in plenty of time since many flights to Western Europe leave in the early afternoon. Usually, you don't have to fill out a customs form if you have nothing to declare and the green line is open. Leaving is generally easier than arriving. First, someone will check your ticket and passport, you may go through customs if you have anything to declare. Aross the hall are the airline check-in counters. To the left and up the small escalator are passport control and a security check after passport control. Friends cannot go with you past customs so say good-bye before you get to customs. There are only two gates in Kyiv's airport so you should have no problem finding your gate. Often, you will be taken in a bus to your plane.

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