Before you travel to Ukraine to meet or even marry your Ukrainian sweetheart, you should first become familiar with some realities that cause many foreigners to fail in reaching their goals. While the web already contains countless articles on travel, marriage and dating tips for foreigners visiting Ukraine, our message to readers serves genuine purpose as it is backed by five years of research data pulled directly from our own surveys. The data was submitted and approved for anonymous use by our own patrons.
So here's your chance to learn about the most common problems foreigners experience while getting married in Ukraine.
Surprised? Most foreign men seeking marriage in Ukraine believe that they are immune to being victim of online dating scams. Yet, the sad truth is that the majority of online romances involve some form of heartbreak from unforeseen deception.
Dating and marriage scams are a multi-million dollar industry that will likely expand and continue to disgrace Ukrainian culture. But why? Consider this. The standard of living in Ukraine has always been low compared to neighboring countries. The recent regime change proved to make things even worse.
For perspective, a five year span from 2008 to 2013 saw the value of the Ukrainian national currency, the Hryvnia(UAH), average a foreign exchange rate of 8 UAH to 1 USD. Compare that to March 2016, where as the Hryvnia is valued at 27 (UAH) to 1 (USD). Along with the destruction of the national currency, domestic prices for essential goods and services continue to increase leaving the average Ukrainian citizen with little chance for financial security. That said, it is better understood why fraud and immoral or deceptive behavior is becoming more common.
So how to spot a scammer? Well, that’s a topic to be addressed in another blog article.
Ukraine is full of honorable and respectful women that are prepared to commit their lives toward a promising future. It is up to you to find them.
Trouble with RAGS /ZAGS officials
If you are a foreigner with plans of getting married in Ukraine, you and your future spouse are at the mercy and discretion of RAGS (Ukr.) / ZAGS (Rus.) officials. Here's the problem. Upon your first visit to RAGS/WAGS, you may be forced to accomodate additional directives of RAGS officials which results in repeated visits to their office. This is common and can be very stressful with the amount of additional time required. Time always costs more for traveling foreigners.
The legal process for foreigners is complex and the Ministry of Justice simply does not have the funds necessary to provide a quality public service. Their IT infrastructure (computer systems, networks, etc.) are very old, unstable and inefficient. Employees are overworked, undertrained and underpaid and they are under constant pressure from their superiors to screen applicants for marriage fraud. The atmosphere at RAGS can get very tense and disruptive, very long lines / queues make matters more unpleasant. It is very common to see couples getting upset and leaving in disgust after being told that their required paperwork is not in order.
Out of 1,200 verified users surveyed, only 6% were able to successfully schedule their marriage signing ceremony with only one visit to RAGS office*. 43% required two separate visits, 29% required a third visit, 16% required more than three visits.
*does not include separate trips required to local banks for required payment processing
User surveys utilized advanced branching logic which allowed us to obtain high confidence data sets that assist in identifying the specific problems marriage registration applicants experienced. Oh, and as for the 6%(one RAGS visit) mentioned above, 69 out of the 72 users that make up that 6% had received consultations by yours truly.
Now, with the introduction of ukrainemarriageguide.com Premium Content, personal consultations have become obsolete. Users can now get the answers to their questions in a simple, yet comprehensive format, and at a small fraction of the cost of one-on one consultations. So if you need help planning and organizing all of what is required for successful marriage registration in Ukraine then sign up as a Premium member. You'll be glad you did.
Good preparation is needed in order to increase your chances of a positive experience at RAGS / ZAGS, but the single most important thing to remember is to show them respect. They have the authority to deny your application for marriage, and they will if you give them reason to.
If you have not visited Ukraine before, you are likely to become disappointed with the standard methods of doing business. Shopping, arranging transportation and even dining at restaurants has its quirks.
One would think that with the recent mass influx of western banking and investment, that credit card processing would have improved by now. Turns out this is not the case. Cash is still king. When traveling to Ukraine, bring more than you think you might need and you might benefit from being selective when using ATM/cash machines.
Contact your credit card company’s fraud protection services and inform them of your travel plans to Ukraine before you go. This helps.
Other commerce-related complaints provided by users were:
Hours of Operation When a store or office lists their open hours of operation, know that this is often ignored. Opening late and closing early is common. Oh, and don't forget that most close during the random lunch hour which can occur any time throughout the day.
Closed on Holidays How many holidays does this country have?! I stopped counting years ago. You better check to see if your travel plans coincide with national or religious holidays.
Long Lines / Queues Allow for plenty of time if you a) require any governmental services or b) plan on shopping or traveling anywhere during peak hours. Look on the bright side, if you're waiting for a long time then it must be for something useful!
Overcharged Beware the secret foreigner tax. Speaking Ukrainian or Russian will help you in getting fair service, but Ukrainians are smart and they can spot a foreigner with one quick glance. If you feel that you are being cheated during a transaction, my advice would be to stay polite, firm and ask them to check their numbers for error.
Foreign travelers are easy targets for corrupt shopkeepers. From my own experiences, I've witnessed many foreigners that tend to binge at restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, therefore, creating the stereotype that all foreigners are ridiculously wealthy and foolish with their money. That's just one reason why foreigners are always targeted.
Do you think there's some truth to that?