Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Ukraine is a destination and transit country for persons with international protection needs as well as economic migrants seeking to enter the European Union. The refugee recognition rate is low. Refugees and asylum seekers have little chance of becoming self-sufficient. They have limited prospects for sustainable integration in Ukraine. Many asylum seekers and refugees choose to move on to third countries in search of effective international protection and better integration prospects.

According to the statistics of the Ukrainian State Migration Service and UNHCR, there were 3,257 refugees residing in Ukraine as of 1 January 2018. There is a high concentration of refugees in the cities of Kyiv and Odesa.

UNHCR estimates that 5,500 asylum seekers currently stay in Ukraine. New asylum seekers in 2017 originate mostly from Afghanistan, the Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Syria and Iraq. In 2016 and 2017, the numbers of newly arrived asylum seekers dropped by half.


Refugee Status and Complementary Protection

There are two types of protection status in Ukraine granted by the State Migration Service of Ukraine: refugee status and the complementary protection status. Asylum seekers and persons granted with a protection status have to abide by various government regulations and procedures. Details can be found here.

How to apply for asylum in Ukraine

Asylum Procedures in Ukraine:

To apply for a refugee status or status of a person in need of complementary protection in Ukraine, you must fill out an Asylum Application Form and Questionnaire that can be downloaded in the following languages:

In your application, you need to explain why you fear to return to your country of origin or permanent residence.

Every family-member who is eighteen years old or older should submit a separate application. Information on children below the age of eighteen should be included in the application of a parent or another legal representative of the child.

In addition, it is important that you make a photocopy of your Asylum Application Form and the Questionnaire for future reference.



Asylum seekers and refugees, who are registered with UNHCR Partners rendering legal assistance, may approach UNHCR partners rendering social assistance for social, medical, and welfare assistance.

Standard Operating Procedures for provision of material and social assistance to persons of concern in Ukraine, January 2020

Reception at the UNHCR Country Office in Kyiv

One of the roles of the UNHCR Representation in Ukraine is to provide free of charge legal and social services to persons wanting to apply for asylum. Only the Government of Ukraine can award refugee status or complementary protection and therefore legal rights in Ukraine.

UNHCR can only help apply and support a case through these legal procedures. For this reason, it is essential that refugee status or complementary protection is applied for through the Government of Ukraine.

Reception of persons of concern to UNHCR is normally done at the premises of UNHCR NGO partners. The UNHCR Country Office in Kyiv has reception hours for counselling on individual requests. Details can be found here.

Contact details of other Legal and Social NGO partners of UNHCR around Ukraine can be found here.