I arrived from Turkey to Kiev Boryspil Airport and got the shock of my life when I was stopped from getting my visa on arrival. “All my documents are complete, sir. I have my visa form all filled up. My hotel booking is done. I have my return ticket and my dollars and credit card. Then, what is the problem?” I asked the visa officer. “You don’t have your travel insurance document. That is the problem.” I was baffled because my visa service company had not told me about this at all. Otherwise, I would have bought it along with me.
“Sir, I was not told this. Where is it written that I need a travel insurance document?” The visa officer showed me the Ukraine Embassy website and said, “Here, on our website”. I was now stranded at the airport “But sir, I have my Citibank Prestige card that gives me automatic travel Insurance all around the world.” The visa officer wasn’t pleased. “Sir, help me. I assure you, I am a genuine tourist and a travel blogger. I am here to write about your country and tell the world about how great your country is”.
After some time, the officer walked into another room and I was asked to go and give my interview to a Ukrainian lady who quizzed me on why I was here and the purpose of my visit. She had a stern look on her face and was aggressive in her cross-questioning. I answered calmly to all her questions and showed her all my relevant documents including my website and my blog.
It was over three hours that I had been waiting for my visa and now, I was getting a bit frustrated. I had a few more Indian fellow passengers with me who were equally hassled by the shabby treatment given to them. I called up my visa service company VisaHQ.com to inquire but since it was Sunday, I got no reply. Luckily for me, after 4 hours of wait and a lot of pleading, I finally was granted my visa and was allowed to go.
So this is just a warning to all who are travelling to Ukraine: Please carry your travel insurance document with you if you want a smooth entry into the country. It’s possible that the embassy website has not updated this but keep it handy with you anyway.