Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to Ukraine after a 3 month absence

After over three months backpacking around Europe, I'm back in Kiev. It's great to be back in the only place where I feel like a local. Things are quite cheap here compared to much of western Europe (my last stop was Oslo — my goodness!).

This time things are a bit different than during my previous stays in Ukraine, which were mostly long-term and continuous. This time I entered without a visa using the visa-free regime and plan to spend no more than 90 days here. Then I'll leave and move somewhere for a while before coming back to Ukraine. It is extremely annoying, but there appears to be no reasonable way that I can live here year-round even with 9 years in Ukraine under my belt and an independent source of income coming from outside Ukraine.

If I wanted to legally stay here year-round, probably the only options I have are to find a cheap university that could get me a student visa even if I don't actually attend or only do so occasionally, or to find an employer who would get me a work permit even if my work there is nominal. However, last years' experience with work permits and registration was a nightmare I would rather not repeat.

It's just not worth all the effort right now. I will use this situation to get to know some other countries, too, spending no more than half my time in Ukraine. That's the silver lining on this cloud. I'm particularly interested in Georgia and the more liberal Stans where Russian is a prevalent second language. Georgia, by the way, allows 1-year visa-free entry...

I'm crossing my fingers that upcoming changes in Ukraine's visa regime will allow for more categories of people to apply for residency. For instance, those that have >n years of experience in the country, or those that do not work in Ukraine but have an external source of income (that would be me).

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