Forms of Asylum and Refugee protection

There are two legal statuses providing international protection in Ukraine: 1) refugee status and 2) status of person in need of complementary protection.

Who is an asylum seeker?

An asylum seeker is a person who expressed their wish to apply for asylum through the submission of the asylum application documents to the state authorities.

Who is a refugee?

In line with international law, Ukrainian legislation defines a refugee as a person, who

  •  is not a citizen of Ukraine; and
  • owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality/ citizenship, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality/citizenship; and
  • is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country

Who is eligible for complementary protection status?

Ukrainian legislation defines a person in need of complementary protection as a person, who is not a refugee, but is in need of protection because of a threat to their life, safety or freedom in the country of origin, owing to a fear of death penalty, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, punishment, or generalised violence in situations of international or internal armed conflicts, or systematic human rights abuses.

Responsibility for the provision of protection status and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees remains with the Government of Ukraine. It is in accordance with obligations accepted by Ukraine through its ratification of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Only the State Migration Service of Ukraine is entitled to grant international protection (refugee or complementary protection status) in Ukraine.

UNHCR’s main objective in Ukraine is to assist the Government in protecting the rights of the asylum seekers and refugees as well as to provide free of charge legal and social services to persons who apply for asylum in Ukraine.

Please find below the links to the asylum leaflet, which provides you with more detailed information: