U.S. tells Americans fleeing Ukraine to get vaccinated or you might be stuck in a warzone

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4 mins read
A member of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service stands near the border with Belarus and Poland in Volyn region

As tensions flare on the Ukraine and Russia border, Americans have been advised to flee the country ahead of the possible Russian invasion. But, make sure you’re vaccinated before you flee because you won’t be able to get into neighboring Poland without one. In fact, you should also bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Right now, it’s easier for Central and South Americans to cross into the United States than it is for fleeing U.S. citizens to exit Ukraine. For Americans wishing to flee Ukraine into neighboring Poland, the process involves red tape, jabs and a cotton swab up your nose.

“The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threats of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice.  U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” the U.S. Embassy in Poland said in a statement.

Poland has indicated to the U.S. government that U.S. citizens may now enter Poland through the land border with Ukraine.  No advanced approval is required. 

“We encourage those traveling into Poland by land from Ukraine to cross at the Korczowa-Krakovets or Medyka-Shehyni border crossings.  U.S. citizens must present a valid U.S. passport and proof of COVID-19 vaccination.  Travelers are also encouraged to present a negative test result from a PCR or antigen COVID-19 test, which will facilitate entry into Poland,” the embassy notice continued.

Also, make sure you have all of your forms in order before fleeing the Russian invasion.

U.S. citizens wishing to depart Ukraine by land to countries other than Poland should refer to the Message to U.S. Citizens: Ukraine Land Borders.  U.S. citizens who decide to remain in Ukraine and who do not depart immediately as advised, should complete this online form so we may better communicate with you. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that the U.S. government will not be able to evacuate U.S. citizens in the event of Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine. 

Here are some other things the U.S. embassy is recommending:

  • Visit the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv’s webpage to view the most recent safety and security alerts for U.S. citizens. 
  • Regularly monitor local and international news and social media news channels. 
  • Ensure travel documents are valid and easily accessible. 
  • Review your personal security plans and always have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance. 
  • Get a COVID vaccine to facilitate your travel. 
  • Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.