I'm Officially a Ukrainian Permanent Resident.

 It's been a long journey, but as of a few days ago, I am now a green card holder of Ukraine, which makes me a Permanent Resident. The process technically started in March 2021, but in reality, it's been something on the back of my mind for a lot longer than that. 

In 2008 I left my life in California to travel and live aboard. I was perfectly happy living in endless summers, on beautiful beaches, and without a responsibility or care in the world over the next 10 years. I had traveled through 50 different countries, while spending months in Thailand, Malaysia, the Caribbeans, Spain, Mexico, and Sri Lanka not to mention the test runs of 30 days in Portugal, Greece Bulgaria to see if I wanted to live there. 

Ultimately I chose to settle down in Ukraine. It's a difficult question to answer on why I chose Kyiv out of all the capital cities in the world, but for me personally, I had a bond, a calling, and a kinship to this place. I knew it was somewhere I wanted to live at least half the year from now on, but during the covid lockdowns, I realized that floating around on tourist visas would no longer be an option. That's when I decided to make an investment and apply for permanent residency in Ukraine.

Why Ukraine? 

This is the most common question I get as an American living in Kyiv, and also the most difficult question for me to answer. Was it for beautiful Women? Yes. But there are beautiful Women everywhere in the world including Thailand, Colombia, Brazil, Russia, and all over Eastern Europe.

So was it because of the cheap costs of living? Yes. I love the relative affordability and good deals in Ukraine. But Kyiv isn't actually cheap, and it's much cheaper to live in Thailand or Tbilisi for an example. A 1-hour massage in Kyiv would cost 3x as much as in Bangkok, and an apartment to rent would be double the price in Kyiv than in Tbilisi. 

Okay, then it must be the food. And yes, I love Ukrainian food. But to be honest I love Thai food and Mexican food even more sometimes. And what about the people, culture, live music, walkability, fast wifi, things to do? Yes, yes and yes. I love all of it. 

So what was it then? Why do I live in Ukraine? Why did I chose to make this my permanent home? The answer is "it's all of the above, a whole lot more." 

For me Ukraine has the perfect balance of everything I like about food, culture, people, costs of living, and is a perfect blend of everything I like about the East (Asia, etc) and the West (US, Europe). Even geographically it's directly in the middle, and at least before the airports closed, it was really easy to fly to anywhere in Europe, but also to places like Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, and the East.

How I got Permanent Residency?

It was a long, expensive and complicated process and I wouldn't wish it on anyone if you value your sanity. But basically, I went through the "Ukraine permanent residence by investment program" which is done through a minimum of a $100,000 USD investment into a business in Ukraine. Technically the process takes 1 year and $100k, but it ended up costing me close to $200,000 all in and 18 months of headaches. However, the saving grace was that I had a great lawyer walk me through the process and hold my hand as without her, I never would had completed the process successfully on my own. 

Below are two videos that I made walking through the 18 month process and my mindset on why I chose to go this route of getting permanent residency and why I chose Ukraine to do so. The lawyer I used is Tetiana from ContactUkraine whom I highly recommend. But if you end up actually going through with me, I would suggest you get on the phone with someone like me or someone who's actually done it before to walk you through what we would had done differently and the mistakes we made, as it'll end up saving you a lot of time and money.  

What Now?

To be honest, it would had been easier, and cheaper if I had just given up on Ukraine after the war started.  I could had easily sold my apartment in Kyiv for the same amount I invested it in, as believe it or not real estate prices haven't actually fallen in the city center of Kyiv since the war, mainly due to lack of supply in other regions, and the influx of people moving to the capital. The same with my car. 

I could had just forgotten about Ukraine, and moved to a sunny beach in Thailand, to South America, or even back to the USA with no real financial loss for me. 

But I couldn't imagine just turning my back to this country during it's time of need. I decided to stay and go through with finalizing my permanent residency status and continuing to live here during the war, even though it means I have suffered through power, water, and internet blackouts on a daily basis. 

I believe in a bright future for Ukraine and want to be a part of it. I've stated to learn Ukrainian and in 5 years hope to apply to be a Ukrainian citizen assuming the rules change before then and I'm allowed to keep my American passport along with it. Until then, Slava Ukraine, Glory to Ukraine and to all those who support our freedom and independence. 

With love from Kyiv,

Johnny FD

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  1. Hey, Johnny, I can say, as a Ukrainian, that I'm happy you have become a part of our society. I believe you will be able to have both citizenships in the future because, to be honest, Ukraine as a state has no other option but to change. We have already changed on February 24th. Thanks for your work of opening Ukraine to the world. Дякую, друже.

    1. Thank you Alex! And yes I agree that I think Ukraine will start to allow it soon enough.

  2. Whatever happened with the apartment in Kharkiv?

  3. Where are you ? You get your Ukrainian residency the start bombing Kyiv and your missing ??

  4. Hi Johnny! Could you pls make a new income report:) I always love reading your income reports because they always inspire me.

  5. Johnny, is your apt. in Kiev still standing?


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