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TRP...Start to Finish




By: Shannon Taft

 

   My Temporary Residency Permit (TRP) for Ukraine is in-hand.  Was it an easy process? Maybe. I don’t have a similar experience to compare it to–only my imaginations from scattered online research. If there was stress or “difficulty” involved, it was mainly due to my wandering anxiety thinking of possible ways this step could be delayed or denied.  But let’s begin with how I crossed the border and made it to this stage thus far.


    September 12th, 2023–I fly out of Atlanta, GA, USA airport on what is supposed to be a layover trip to Frankfurt, Germany, then final destination–Krakow. My flight out of Atlanta is delayed due to weather, and the first leg of the trip is sent to Istanbul for a 1-day layover, then onwards to Krakow. I’ve never been to Turkey, so this change of plans (including a nice hotel stay and dinner and breakfast at the airline’s expense) is welcomed. From Krakow, I go to the train station and queue for the next departing train to Przemysl, Poland. I know I could have purchased tickets online, in advance, but the simplicity of buying on-the-spot when I arrive far outweighs the risk of a longer-delayed flight and missing my assigned departure time–and feeling rushed to make pre-planned deadlines. 

   When I arrive in Przemysl, there are a handful of taxis outside the station, and I flash 60 PLN and ask for a ride to Medyka, Poland–20 minutes away by car. Buses for a cheaper fare are available to take as well, but the exhaustion from my long trans-Atlantic flight urges me to hasten my arrival to my AirBnB in Lviv for a deep sleep. So, I opt for a quick and personal ride now. The driver drops me off at the exact start of the footpath crossing from Poland into Shehyni, Ukraine. It’s a 3-minute walk to the Polish border guard, where they glare at you from behind starched uniforms, ask your business (“International Volunteer for Ukraine”), and let you through with no hassle. Then, after another 3-minute walk to the Ukrainian border post, and the same process, you are across. 

    Take the yellow bus. When you officially arrive in Ukraine by foot, there are several taxis waiting to give you a speedy lift to Lviv (or anywhere you want to go). They are fast talkers, and quick dealers (usually quoting inflated rates–sensing I am not a local). But walk beyond them and you will see the stop for the “Marshrutka”, or private buses that will take you to Lviv. Currently, prices are 20-30 UAH, and the trip itself is roughly 90 minutes (or more if you hit Lviv during rush hour).  I did not take the yellow bus. I was hurrying to fall asleep, and I pay 400 UAH for a taxi.  In 90 minutes, I’m hard asleep in a comfortable bed.


   Fast forward 3 weeks. I’m in Ukraine on a 90-day US tourist visa, and have decided to stay longer, if I can. I start the “D10 Visa” process, as a prerequisite to the TRP. This involves 2 critical steps for success and efficiency: 1) have a great immigration lawyer put together a D10 packet application on your behalf, and 2) schedule a 2-day visit to a Ukrainian consulate outside of the country. The documents I prepared for this process were a letter of invitation from a registered NGO in Ukraine, a completed application of D-10 on the Ukrainian consulate website, a translated copy of my passport, and proof of medical insurance (up to 30,000 Euro) for 1 year. I schedule my consulate visit for Lublin, Poland, as it seems to be less busy than Warsaw. After waiting 90 minutes after my scheduled time to be seen (this is due to staffing issues and processing delays), I was given a slip of paper with an account number and instructions to the closest Santander bank (5 minutes walk) to pay exactly $182 USD, cash only. There is also a 15 PLN commission fee, which can be paid via cash or card. Thankfully I had exactly 15 PLN in my pocket. The $182 is a different story. The bills have to be new and crisp, and free from marks and tears. One of my $50 American bills had an ink pen mark on one side, and the bank refused the bill. I hustled over to a currency exchange, and hurriedly convinced the grumpy teller to swap out my $50 note–only to make it back to the bank when they were locking the doors 15 minutes early (perhaps to allow the tellers time to close). No amount of persuasion through the glass with the security guard could convince him that I only needed 5 minutes to complete my payment. I returned the next morning and finalized my payment.

    After returning to the consulate office, the D-10 for a 3-month extension was already completed, and I was ready to leave upon showing proof of payment!


    Fast forward 2 months later, and I am working with the same lawyer to prepare a packet for my Temporary Residence Permit (TRP). I have an apartment I’m renting through a contact from a local friend, and my address requirement for the TRP is covered. After providing this to my attorney, she sent the documents the next day to my local Nova Poshta, and I simply went to the Passport Services in Lviv on Slovats'koho St and submitted the packet. I still also needed 1 full year of health insurance, and they sold me a policy on the spot for 980 UAH–approx 300 UAH cheaper than what I paid online for the D-10 requirement. After submitting, and taking a photo, it’s merely a waiting game of the information being sent to Kyiv, and then returning an official TRP card (of which I was notified via SMS when it was ready). Don’t buy a passport cover or wallet in the Passport Services office. I gave in to the impulse buy, mainly because I needed to break a large UAH bill, and was hoping to get change back from the purchase. They only accept payment for these items at a kiosk that puts the change on your mobile top-up plan and doesn’t return cash change. Oh well. Now I have extra money on my data plan with Kyivstar….and a well-protected TRP card.  

       To seal the whole process, I only have 30 days after receiving my TRP to register my address or pay a substantial fine for delaying this step. My landlady was gracious enough to accompany me to the Admin Services Center on Rynok Square. She had a letter stating I was renting from her, as well as proof of her ownership of the flat–and I had my TRP and translated Passport. A short 30 minutes and 65 UAH later, and I had an official 1-page document stating I’m registered!

    Next Challenge: Registering with the Medical database, getting a Tax ID number, and opening a local bank account. 


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