Most of the new businesses coming to Ukraine are either large multinationals, here because the market or business opportunity is too big for them to ignore, or small and medium sized enterprises who come because they have friends or business associates who know or already do business in Ukraine. They have heard the sentence, “You really ought to come see for yourself …” enough times to finally act.
The fact is, there are thousands of foreign based businesses already doing business in Ukraine – and that number grows daily.
The headlines about Ukraine don’t tell the whole story and it is the story behind the headlines that makes Ukraine fascinating.
For those who understand the positive changes of the past 3 years, who have explored the opportunities of today and are willing to take some risks in return for greater rewards in the future, Ukraine is a place to consider.
Ukraine’s transition from a communist state to a democratic, market-oriented, west-ward looking state has not always been easy. However, Ukraine has not given up and in fact, the resolve and determination for a free and fair future for the next generation is a large part of what is driving the current political reforms and continues to create opportunities for business.
Visiting Ukraine to better understand the country should be part of the decision-making process for any investor considering starting a business.
Visas are not required for citizens of many countries for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period (for a total of 180 days per year).
A complete list of updated visa requirements and the specifics for citizens of different countries can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Registering a Business
Ukraine is going through dynamic changes and there are serious efforts underway to make Ukraine a more accessible place to do business. Recently, the time to register a business was shortened to just a few days processing.
Ukrainian law provides for the establishment of a wide range of internationally recognized business structures including Limited Liability Companies, Joint Stock Companies, Joint Ventures and Representative Offices, as well as the registration of Private Entrepreneurs.
The decision as to which structure is right for a company should be made in conjunction with a Ukrainian legal adviser who should first understand the business needs and then advise on the best company structure.
A dedicated document service center was opened in 2016 and provides support for a wide range of activities – registration of legal entities, individual entrepreneurs, property registration and information on land management to name a few. Information can be found at Gotovo.net.ua. This site is in Ukrainian, but online translation can provide those in the initial stages of due diligence with an overview of requirements and services.
For foreign company owners who will be residing in Ukraine or hiring foreign workers, a work permit and temporary residence permit is required.
Work Permits and Temporary Residency
There are a number of documents, and a particular order for document submission that is required for both work permits and temporary residency documents for foreigners.
Additionally, official documents in Ukraine are required to be in Ukrainian and all foreign documents must be translated and notarized.
To facilitate work permits and residency documents, most new businesses entering Ukraine engage a local legal firm for both legal advice, as well as for support with document processing.
Unlike many other counties, assistance with document processing is a standard service offered by Ukrainian law firms, usually for quite reasonable fees.
We recommended that new businesses consider engage a legal firm for advice on the specifics as it relates to particular business needs and goals.
There are dozens of Business Associations in Ukraine representing the wide range of countries who have companies already doing business in Ukraine. These Associations are important resources for the existing business community and they are also a great source of information for those considering Ukraine.
The largest Associations include:
Other specific country Associations and Chambers include:
- British Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce
- Canada Ukraine Chamber of Commerce
- Danish Business Association
- French Chamber of Commerce
- German- Ukrainian Chamber of Industry & Trade
- Italian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce
- Norwegian-Ukrainian Business Council
- Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce
- The Swiss-Ukrainian Business Chamber
- International Turkish Ukrainian Business Association
- Ukrainian Agrobusiness Club
- Ukrainian Association of Manufacturers
- Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs