Applying to universities in Ukraine is fairly simple – just apply directly to your chosen university with a copy of your passport and your most recent academic results (i.e. high school grades if applying for a bachelor’s degree and bachelor’s certificate if applying for a master’s degree).
Obtaining an invitation letter
In order to study in Ukraine, international students need an invitation letter that confirms their admittance to their chosen university. You can obtain an invitation letter directly through the university, or through one of many organizations that provide this service for both January and September intakes. There’s usually a charge for this service, which can cost around US$300 for bachelor’s programs and US$400 for Master’s and PhD programs. If you do use an agency, make sure the organization you choose is authorized by the Ukraine Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs.
To apply for an invitation letter, students need to provide a copy of their passport, a copy of their school leaving certificate (this will be a certificate of your most recent educational achievement), and a completed application form. Generally it takes around 10-15 days for an invitation letter to be processed.
The invitation letter is an official document, referred to either as a Visa Support Document or an Official Invitation. It may be countersigned by the Ukraine Ministry of Education and Sciences, Youth and Sports, will be processed by the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and is required by the Ukrainian Embassy before they can give you a student visa for Ukraine. The invitation is valid for 90-180 days from the date of its issuance, so make sure you apply for a visa within the right timeframe.
Students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Uzbekistan do not require a visa to enter Ukraine for an indefinite stay. Students from Andorra, Canada, European Union countries, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Swiss Confederation and the US also do not require visas for stays up to 90 days. Everyone else will require a visa to study in Ukraine.
As long as your country of origin has a Ukrainian embassy, Ukraine visa requirements are fairly straightforward. Once you have received your invitation letter you can simply go to your nearest Ukrainian embassy to apply for a student visa. You’ll need to take originals of the following documents with you, and may need to make photocopies of them as well (check with your embassy beforehand to avoid delays):
- Invitation letter
- Visa application form
- Birth certificate
- Passport (valid for at least one year)
- 8-15 recent passport-sized photographs (some embassies may ask for only two – check with your embassy to confirm)
- Bank statement to prove financial ability OR sponsorship letter from the person bearing your expenses during your stay in Ukraine (these may not be a requirement for all nationalities – check with your embassy to confirm)
- Medical health certificate, with examination completed no earlier than two months before start of study
- Medical insurance confirmation letter
- Results of HIV/AIDS test, taken no earlier than two months before start of study, in the form of an HIV/AIDS free certificate
- An open-ended return ticket valid for one year
- Certificate of completed higher secondary education (including transcript and mark sheet) for first year bachelor’s students
- Additional documents for master’s and PhD students include a diploma/degree certificate, transcripts and mark sheets of all academic years
You may also require details of your permanent address and term time address so make sure you have these written down/memorized.
The Ukrainian embassy will translate the documents for you and notarize/certify them, either using a stamp or a signature. You must present the documents along with a migration card filled in at the Ukrainian airport. The migration card is an important document handed out by the flight attendant on the plane, and also available at immigration control at the Ukraine airport. You’ll have to fill in a card with two identical sections, both of which the immigration officer will stamp. The officer will retain one card and give you the other. Remember to put your migration card in a safe place as you’ll need it when you leave Ukraine.
Tuition fees in Ukraine will vary depending on your chosen degree and institution. Universities in Kiev are likely to be slightly more expensive than in other cities. Some students may also find that their first year costs more than subsequent years. Ukrainian universities may administer a tuition fee package which includes costs of textbooks, exams, assistance with opening a bank account and pick-up from the airport by a representative.
You should generally expect to pay around US$2, 500-5, 800 per year for a bachelor’s degree, with preparatory courses being around US$1, 800. International students entering a Ukrainian university for the first time will have to pay the full fees for their first academic year upfront, and then can pay per semester for following academic years. Your university may also charge a one-off registration fee on arrival (around US$10-30).