Language law comes into force: Which spheres to be ‘Ukrainianized’

Source : 112 Ukraine

Some norms will not take effect immediately - the transitional period will last until the beginning of 2030
21:58, 16 July 2019

Language law comes into force
112 Agency

The law “On ensuring of the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language" came into force in Ukraine on July 16. Not all of the norm will take effect at once - the most resonant norms will come into force later.

Related: Venice Commission to evaluate Ukrainian language law

However, some spheres of social life will be Ukrainianized starting today:

State authority and local government

Meetings, sessions and working communication between state bodies and bodies of Crimea and local government, state and municipal enterprises should be carried out in state language. If another language is used - you need to have a translation.

Paperwork and document circulation

Regulations and formal notes of the state authorities, Crimea and local government are drawn up and made public in the state language. In Crimea, acts of individual action can also be published in Crimean Tatar language.

Justice system

The courts hold trials and make them public in the state language.

The Armed Forces and other military formations

The Armed Forces of Ukraine and other legal military formations use state language as the language of instructions, training, statutory communication, and service. Ukrainian must be used in normative acts, documentation, and paperwork.

Related: Why Ukraine’s new language law will have long-term consequences

Law enforcement system

Law enforcers must speak with the citizens in the state language and only in case a person cannot understand – in another language. The language of paperwork and document circulation is Ukrainian.

Crossing the border

The border guard officers must speak Ukrainian with citizens of Ukraine and with foreigners – in the language understandable to both.

Elections and referendums

Elections, referendums, ballots, election campaigns must be in the state language. In some regions, agitation materials can be written additionally in the language of indigenous people or national minorities of Ukraine.

Working communication

No, it is not obligatory to speak Ukrainian with the colleagues according to the new law. However, it is provided that the employer cannot make workers use another language, except for the state language. The exception is services to foreigners or stateless persons or drawing up materials for foreigners, foreign companies or organizations.

Employment contracts must be drawn up in Ukrainian (could be additionally translated).


The language of the educational process in educational institutions is the state language. Of course, with the explanatory note.

If it is necessary, kindergartens and elementary schools create separate groups for teaching children in the language of national minority along with the state language. Separate groups and classes in kindergartens and schools are created for Indigenous people to study the indigenous language. It is provided that indigenous peoples will study their native language in national cultural communities.

Related: Ukraine’s Constitutional Court urged to recognize language law illegal

Pupils who went to school before September 1, 2018, until the fall of 2020 continue studying according to previous regulations - with the gradual increase of subjects taught in Ukrainian.

For those who became a pupil before September 1, 2018, and study in one of the official languages of the EU, this term was extended until September 2023.
In general, technical schools, pre-higher education and higher education should teach such a level of proficiency in the state language, that it can be used in profession.


The language of science is the state language. The regulations on the language of scientific publications, defense of theses, etc. will take effect next summer.


Movie posters and cinema entrance tickets must be in the state language. And from July 2021, the rules on the language of events, language of posters, etc. will take effect.


Everything remained as it was before - until 2024: broadcasting in Ukrainian according to quotas established by the law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting.” Now it is 75 and 60% of airtime on national and local channels, respectively; in five years, the quota will increase to 90 and 80%.

Computer programs

The user interface of computer programs must be in the state language. State authorities, state and municipal enterprises and educational institutions should use only programs with a user interface in the state language (with a compromise: English can also be used for creating such an interface).

If it is about specific equipment used in information technology, an interface can be English.

Related: Georgia's network of cinema theaters suspends showing films in Russian language

Mobile applications of state authorities, local authorities, and media registered in Ukraine and those of the companies must be in the state language.


Announcements, directional signs, signboards, messages must be in the official language, although they can be written together with a translation in other languages. The rule does not apply to the ads on the Internet.

Public events

Meetings, conferences, rallies, exhibitions, training courses, seminars, training, discussions, forums, and other events should be held in the state language. If other languages ​​are used, the organizer must provide translation if at least one participant asks for it.

Exceptions are activities for foreigners or for learning foreign languages.

Activities in the languages ​​of indigenous peoples and minorities should be resolved by a separate law.

The medicine

Physicians should communicate with patients in the state language. Since July 2020, medical institutions undertake to maintain documentation in the state language.

Sports activities

In Ukraine, sporting events, including international, are held in the state language. Announcements during such events are also public.

Related: Ukrainian language law comes into force


Transport service should be performed in Ukrainian if the passenger asks to say something in another language.

Since July 2020, the names of airports, ports, stations, stops, and names of transport are submitted in the state language (can be duplicated by transcription).


Consumers have the right to be serviced in the state language.

Full name

Surnames, names and middle names of citizens of Ukraine are performed in the state language. However, a person has the right to transcribe the name of the full name according to national tradition.

Geographical names

Geographic names, as well as the names of public gardens, boulevards, streets, lanes, descents, driveways, avenues, squares, embankments, bridges, and other objects,  are performed in the state language.

Post communication

The language of postal communication in Ukraine is the state language.


The language of the work of the Verkhovna Rada, its bodies and officials is the state language.

To obtain Ukrainian citizenship, an applicant will need to confirm the knowledge of the state language. Until July 2021, the requirements and order of the examination should be elaborated.

January 16, 2020

The language of advertising is Ukrainian.

July 16, 2020

Scientific publications are published in the state language or in the official languages ​​of the EU. The thesis and its defense should be performed in Ukrainian or in English. Technical and project documentation are performed in the state language.

The names of airports, ports, stations, stops, names of vehicles are served in the state (additional transliteration is possible).

The language of office work, document management, correspondence and reporting of public associations, political parties and other legal entities is Ukrainian.

January 16, 2021

Customer service takes place in the state language. Information about goods and services should be provided in Ukrainian.

July 16, 2021

In order to obtain citizenship of Ukraine, the foreigners should pass the state language exam. The requirements and procedure for conducting the exam are established by the National Commission on State Language Standards.

High-ranking officials and candidates for positions confirm the level of language proficiency by the state certificate and discharge from the State Register or by a school certificate.

July 16, 2021

The language of cultural, entertainment and entertainment events is Ukrainian (this does not apply to songs and phonograms). State and municipal theater performances are shown in the state language.

The language of museums and art exhibitions is Ukrainian (information about the exhibits may be duplicated in another language).

Films produced in Ukraine should be demonstrated in the state language. Replicas in other languages ​​should be announced or subtitled in the official language (and their total duration should be up to 10% of the duration of all replicas).

Related: Head of Servant of People party assumes language referendum in Ukraine possible

Other films are duplicated or voiced in Ukrainian.

January 16, 2022

National and regional print media are published either in the state language, or they should have two identical editions (in Ukrainian and other languages). At least 50% of the proposed prints should be in Ukrainian in every newspaper stand.

July 16, 2022

Fines for violation of language legislation.

Usage of non-state language during meetings, public events, working communication, clerical work and document circulation in state and local government bodies; among law enforcement officers; in legal proceedings; at the state border; during elections or referendums would be punished with a fine of 130-260 USD.

July 16, 2024

Increase of Ukrainian-language quotas on TV: 90% of the content in the state language instead of 75% on national TV channels, 80% instead of 60% on local TV channels. The ratio should be maintained in the intervals of 7:00 -18:00 and 18:00 - 22:00.

January 1, 2030

External independent testing in all subjects, except for foreign languages, is conducted Ukrainian.

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