IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Ukrainian border authorities have launched a biometric border control system at certain checkpoints on the Ukrainian border with Russia. The system is set to be launched nationwide, including at airports, on Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? Nationals of countries that are deemed a high migration risk, including Russian nationals, should be prepared to provide biometrics (fingerprints) upon their first arrival in Ukraine after the system is launched. Affected travelers should anticipate that border-crossing procedures will be slower than normal during this time.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The system was put in place this week at select border crossings and will be implemented at all border crossings and airports beginning Jan. 1.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of countries that are deemed a high migration risk, including Russian nationals, even if they hold temporary residence permits for Ukraine.
  • Business impact: Employers with foreign workers, especially Russian workers, in Ukraine may wish to notify them of the new procedures.

Background: The switch to a biometric entry system was among a number of border-control measures the Ukrainian government said it may implement in 2018.

The system will work as follows: Stateless persons or foreign nationals of countries deemed a high migration risk will be asked to provide fingerprints upon entering Ukraine. The fingerprints will be checked against relevant databases before the person can enter the country. They will be kept on file electronically so that they will not need to be collected on subsequent visits. The Ukrainian Border Service recently released this video on how the system will work.

There is no word yet on when additional border security measures may be taken, but the Ukrainian government has discussed the possibility of requiring prior notification before traveling to Ukraine and requiring biometric passports.