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Project description

As part of the project, we assist anyone seeking asylum in Ukraine in accessing a legally guaranteed procedure. We uphold the right of a person to abide by the «principle of non-refoulement»: no one should be returned to a place where his/her life or health is endangered. We represent the beneficiaries in court and support them during their integration into Ukrainian society. Our experts perform monitor visits to the territorial units of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and centers for temporary stay of foreigners and stateless persons to provide legal assistance.

Description of previous project outcomes

In 2019, the Legal Aid Project achieved considerable success. Project staff provided more than 1,500 consultations to clients and participated in more than 350 court hearings. Moreover, the team carried out more than 90 monitoring visits to the territorial units of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, more than 50 visits to Migrants Custody Centers, and conducted more than 50 seminars, trainings, and educational events for lawyers, judges, paralegals, members of the refugee and asylum-seeking communities. R2P’s clients have received 70 positive court decisions. Strategic case attorneys also participated in the preparation of the new version of the Profile Law. Finally, the project staff also created a chat bot — a legal advisor that will help asylum seekers find answers to their most pressing questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Employment of refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine

Submitting Application to Regional Department of State Migration Service (SMS) on obtaining refugee status or complementary protection

What to do if the duration of «dovidka» has expired during quarantine period?

Is your health or life in danger in your country of origin, and you want to leave?

Protocols and fines for illegal stay in Ukraine — What should one know about them and how to behave in such situations?

  • If you have crossed the Ukrainian border legally and you have a visa (or you are within your 90 days of legal stay from a visa-free country), then you must make a refugee application claim at the nearest territorial body of the State Migration Services of Ukraine (SMS) within 5 working days. (to find the office nearest your current address, please go to

    If you crossed the border of Ukraine illegally (without proper ID or visa), then you must make a refugee application claim at the nearest territorial body of the SMS as soon as possible. This application can be filled out in your native tongue, but the form will be in Ukrainian.

  • lIf you are in the transit area of an airport, approach a border guard and say that you want to seek international protection in Ukraine. Ask about acceptance of your application for refugee status. If the border guard refuses, urgently collect evidence: take a picture of yourself holding a poster or piece of paper which says “Help me! I am refugee. I am asking for asylum”, and, if possible, record a video of your attempt to ask for asylum with the border guard. Pass this information and evidence to Right to Protection as soon as possible or contact the lawyers at the Free Legal Aid service (contact – 0 800 213 103).

  • On the day your application is submitted, the migration officer will clarify details with you, take a photo of you, and take your fingerprints. You will be provided with a translator. Within 15 days after that, they will schedule your first appointment which will ask about your identity, your citizenship, and the reasons you left your country. The procedure takes, on average, 7 months from the time you submit your documents. It is in your best interests not to destroy your personal documents!

    From the moment you receive your application, you will be issued a certificate of protection in Ukraine. This document gives you the right to stay in Ukraine legally during your asylum procedure.

    The migration service will then review your application and decide. If the decision is in the affirmative, you will be granted either refugee status or a complementary protective status, and you may legally reside in Ukraine. You will also be issued an ID.

    If the decision is negative, but you still believe that it is too dangerous for you to return home, you can appeal your decision with the courts.

  • If you have been approached by the police, migration services, or other authorities on the street and asked to present your documents, and you have your documents (your protection certificate, passport, and refugee certificate) then follow the description below.

    Show the authorities your documents. They may verify its validity by phone or with the migration office.. If you are legally present in Ukraine (with your visa or within legal stay for visa-free entry, and with your protection certificate), you may refuse to go with them. They do not have the right to detain you if you have shown valid documents demonstrating your legal right to be present in Ukraine. If you are detained anyway, ask immediately for a lawyer or contact your lawyer by phone. You may also request an interpreter if you do not understand something, and you have the right to request a detention record.

    Police and other government officials are required to act in accordance with the law.
    You have the right to a lawyer during detention. If you are denied, call 0800213103 for free legal assistance.
    No one has the right to take your documents or your personal belongings (this is possible only through a court decision).
    A report is always drawn up when someone is detained.

  • Only those legally present in Ukraine can work legally in Ukraine. Any type of work requires a valid passport and a private tax number.

    Almost all foreigners must obtain a permit to work in Ukraine. This also applies to those who have applied for protection in Ukraine and have received a protection certificate. For those who have been granted refugee or complementary protective status,a permit is not required.

    To obtain a work permit, an employer (the person who hires you) must submit a packet of documents to the State Employment Service. The employer should confirm that your salary will be at least 10 times (in some cases 5 times) the monthly minimum wage in Ukraine. Today that is over UAH 40,000 per month.

    Those who apply for protection are allowed to be entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship means doing business on your own (selling goods or providing services); in other words, you can work for yourself. An entrepreneur organizes their own business and carries all responsibility for it. In order to be an entrepreneur in Ukraine, you simply need to have a valid passport. To sign up, do the following:
    1. Get a private tax number.
    2. Choose what you want to do and find the business in the Business Classifier:
    3. Select your tax system
    4. Complete and submit the application to the State Registrar. You can find it at your place of residence in the State administration. At the same time, file the application through the registrar to the Fiscal Service (tax inspection).
    5. Open a bank account.
    6. Finally, all you have to do is run your business and pay your taxes. As an entrepreneur, you can use a simplified tax system and pay a fixed tax every month.