As of April 01, 2015, the Department of Vital Statistics and Civil Status (also known as RAGS or ZAGS) in Ukraine no longer requires foreign marriage applicants to submit a legalized document of marital status (Letter of Non-Impediment to Marriage, Statement in Lieu or Certificate of Non Impediment).

We have found these recent changes in legislation to have been adopted by several different RAGS office personnel throughout Ukraine. However, we have also received several reports after April 1, that some foreigners are being denied application of marriage due to not having the legalized document of marital status.

Overall, the quality of government services within Ukraine has continued to be inconsistent and below standards. As such, foreigners are encouraged to consider the possibility of their marriage application being denied due to not having a legalized document of marital status.

This is one of the documents which you will have to show (and then leave) at RAGS if you want to register your marriage with a citizen of Ukraine. Where to get the Letter of non-Impediment? This letter you can obtain at the embassy of your country of citizenship located in Kyiv, Ukraine.

After obtaining the letter of non-impediment to marriage you will need to visit Ukraine's Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the document shall be authenticated and crossed referenced for legitimacy. Once business at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is performed successfully, the letter of non-inpediment to marriage must be properly translated and notarized.

We can share with you our own personal experience at the American embassy and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. The process for citizens of other nations with their assigned embassies in theory will be similar. Be sure to check your country's Embassy website for complete details. One thing that is certain is that the requirements of visiting the Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Ukraine will be identical for citizens of all different countries.

Even though the following information is specific for American citizens, much of the information will be useful for citizens of other nations as their experience will be very similar.

 

MARCH 2011

As an American citizen, I'm in a unique position to share in my experiences while completing the requirements needed in order for my wife and I to become legally married in Ukraine. I say unique, because we scoured the internet for a long time trying to find information relating to the types of situations an American and native Ukrainian might expect to encounter while performing these tasks - we didn't find very much.

There was very little information on the internet that I was willing to trust. Most of what I found was outdated, contradicting material that most likely tried to convince those interested that the use of a marriage agency is mandatory. While hiring a marriage agency may prove to have its benefits, and may also eventually save you money, we chose to assume these responsibilties ourselves. I will be honest and quickly admit that the entire marriage process from beginning to end was much more challenging, time consuming, and beareaucratic than I ever thought possible. Yet after we succeeded the feeling of triumph was unbelievably powerful and rewarding. This experience had strengthened the commitment and respect my wife and I had for each other and brought our love and devotion to a much higher level.

In order to obtain a letter of non-impediment to marriage from the U.S. Consulate the applicant must schedule an appointment online. This is the only way to schedule an appointment. Appointments aren't always available at your convenience, as there are pre-assigned time slots throughout the early hours of the day - typically between 8:30 am - 11:00 am Kyiv local time. Appointments are scheduled for fifteen minutes, however you may need more or less time. Bring your valid stamped passport and bring some cash.

If your stay in Kyiv is short, then you must plan ahead and coordinate your efforts specifically. Understand that the Embassy Consulate is open during the morning hours mentioned. However, if you are planning on having your letter of non-impediment to marriage authenticated on the same day, you need to be at the Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before 11am. This is why you need to schedule your appointment at the embassy as early as possible. The Legalization Department accepts documents for processing between 9:00 am -12:00 noon and returns documents between 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (4:30 on Fridays).

If you are unfamiliar with dealing with Ukraine business hours know this - no business or government office ever follows a consistent pattern of working hours, payment fees, or document requirements. Show up early and plan on staying late. Bring more than what you think you will need. Anything and everything is subject to change without notice - and it will.

AMERICAN EMBASSY IN UKRAINE spring 2011

UPDATE

February 29 2012 The United States Embassy was relocated to new location in Kyiv.

Address: Sikorskoho Street, 4, Kiev, Ukraine

  • Upon arriving to the U.S. Embassy, immediately approach security and inform them that you are a U.S. citizen and that you have a scheduled appointment - be prepared to show proof. Do NOT join the queue(lines) outside the embassy security station.

  • Security at the U.S. Embassy is tight. You are not allowed to bring any items inside other than your passport and wallet. You will have to leave your cell phone and all other personal items with security. During my experience, security were local private contractors. This was a surprise, although I confirm that with me - they had proven to be trustworthy.

  • Only you who have scheduled an appointment are allowed to enter the premises, no fiance(e), friends, or family are allowed to enter with you. I hired a taxi driver to accompany Oksana (my future wife) outside the embassy as I conducted business inside.

  • Upon entry to the inside of the embassy building, there was a very long queue(line) of people waiting to be served. Do NOT join this line. Walk towards your right down the hallway, turn left, and quickly turn left again after the payment window. Here you will find a small waiting room and a glass window where you will speak to a clerk who can clear you for a brief meeting with the U.S. Consulate to Ukraine.

  • The clerk will give you a blank application for you to fill, and instruct you to go to the payment window that you walked past on your way in. As of Spring 2011, the cost of services was $50 - cash only (in Winter 2016 cost of service remains the same). Bring the receipt back to the Consulate clerk's window.

  • Upon completion of the application and payment, the Consulate will be summoned and review your application. If all is well, the Consulate will sign the Letter of Non-Impediment to Marriage and affix it with an embossed seal.

  • Do a quick dance and haul ass to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Legalization Department.

LEGALIZATION DEPARTMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS in Ukraine spring 2011

UPDATE WINTER 2016

All information below remains current and accurate (February 29, 2016).

As a citizen of Ukraine I am honored to share with you the experience which my husband and I had when looking for the Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Letting you know right now, if none of us spoke Ukrainian language - it would be nearly impossible.

  • The Legalization Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kyiv can be extremely difficult to locate. Taxi drivers and other Kyiv locals are familiar with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building - but not the legalization department.

  • During our experience here, the employees were very unhelpful. Unless you speak Ukrainian or Russian it will be impossible for you to conduct business successfully. We suggest you hire a translator that is familiar and has had experience with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Once you find yourself inside the Legalization Department, you will need to find the appropriate authentication form and bank payment form. Be patient and allow yourself plenty of time, as noone here will likely make this process easy for you.

  • The glass window to the far left is for legal document processing. The glass window to the far right is for bank payment processing.

  • Make sure you apply for expedited service (check the Urgently box). Payment is accepted only in hryvnia. Cost is 102 UAH (approx. $13 in 2011, approx. $3.8 in 2016)

  • The Legalization Department accepts documents for processing between 9:00am -12:00 noon and returns documents between 4:00pm - 5:00pm (4:30 on Fridays).. Expect them to open late. Expect long Lines. Expect them to close early.