Opening a Personal Bank Account
If you are a foreigner living permanently overseas and thinking of opening a personal bank in Ukraine for business or personal reasons, this guide will help you choose the right bank, understand account opening requirements, and get clarity on what you can and can’t do with your account.
Note that the information provided in this article is unbiased, objective, and without any self-interests. Our only objective in writing this guide was to help our fellow foreigners to successfully navigate through the often confusing and misleading world of banking in Ukraine. We hope you find this article useful.
This article applies to foreigners who travel in Ukraine on business or pleasure as well as temporary residents of Ukraine (for example expats). However it does not apply to permanent residents of Ukraine who open and operate bank accounts under the same rules as Ukrainian citizens.
Type of Accounts
Type of accounts allowed in Ukraine for foreigners
An individual-non-resident of Ukraine may open five types of bank accounts in Ukrainian banks (each of these accounts has its own purpose, rules of opening and use):
- Personal Current Bank Account (can be in national currency of Ukraine Hryvna (UAH) or foreign currency) allows to perform non-commercial transactions for your current needs both in Ukraine and overseas, but such transactions may not related with investment and entrepreneurial activity of foreign individual
- Personal Investment Current Bank Account allows to make investments in Ukraine; note that Ukrainian law allows to pay for investments in Ukraine directly from overseas bank account
- Escrow Account allows the owner of funds to give irrevocable instruction to the bank to send the funds to a specific individual or legal entity subject to occurrence of certain circumstances
- Personal Deposit Bank Account is type of deposit account, which allows to place deposit with Ukrainian bank
- Account of Private Entrepreneur for entrepreneurial activity of foreign individual
This article provides information on procedure of opening and rules of operating Personal Current Bank Account for foreign individual in Ukraine. This article is related to private individuals who are not residents of Ukraine, who have permanent place of residence on the territory of other country than Ukraine.
Choosing a Bank in Ukraine
Choosing the right bank is crucial in Ukraine
One of the most important decisions you will make when opening a bank account in Ukraine is choosing the right bank. This is because in Ukraine, just like most of the other governing institutes, the banking system and banking regulations have been historically very weak. As a result, the many of the banks in Ukraine are governed very poorly and it’s not surprising that many of them go bankrupt and the general public has very low confidence in the banks. Having said that, there are reasonable well positioned banks in Ukraine and almost all of them happen to have a well established foreign bank as their main shareholder. As mentioned in our overview of major banks in Ukraine, almost all of the local banks have very poor governing practices and therefore in this guide, for the best interests of our readers, we have limited our discussion to non-local banks only. If you decided to open bank account in Ukraine, first of all you should carefully choose the the right bank for you. Below you can find important insights which you should consider before choosing bank in Ukraine.
Due to low level of stability in Ukrainian bank system it is important to check bank’s financial situation. Over the last several years the National Bank of Ukraine was working at reformation of bank system of Ukraine and only in 2015 twenty nine banks in Ukraine were recognized by the National Bank of Ukraine as insolvent. Therefore while choosing a bank, you should check information on banks with insolvency proceedings and at the stage of liquidation. Note that some Ukrainian banks have aggressive marketing policy as well as wide spread division network, however loan portfolio can be quite poor. According to Forinsurer Rating, in Ukraine the most reliable banks are Credit Agricole Bank (French capital, the Credit Agricole Group), Credobank (Poland capital, PKO Bank Polskа), Raiffeisen Bank Aval (Austrian Capital, Raiffeisen Bank International AG), Ukrsibbank (French capital, Paribas Group), ProCredit Bank (German Capital, ProCrdit Group) and some others.
Language of Documentation and Support Helpline
In most cases Ukrainian banks will provide you Ukrainian versions of documents necessary to be filled in and signed to open bank account (applications for opening of bank account, questionnaires, account opening and servicing agreements and others). In addition, bank’s helpline mostly provide information in Ukrainian and Russian. For these reasons if you do not know Ukrainian and even Russian, you will need translator to assist you with account opening and future interaction with the bank. However, some foreign capital banks have implemented bilingual documentation as well as English speaking stuff, Internet-banking and telephone helplines (for example Ukrsibbank, Credit Agricole Bank, Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Piraeus Bank ICB).
List of documents, required to open bank account, is envisaged by Regulation of the National Bank of Ukraine # 492 dated 12.11.2003 (see list below in section Documents Required). However banks may require extra documents as per their internal policy. As an example, some banks (including Credit Agricole Bank, Raiffeisen Bank Aval) require filing proof of your address on the territory of Ukraine, such as registration on the territory of Ukraine, lease agreement or receipt from the hotel, where you stay. Whereas Ukrsibbank, Piraeus Bank ICB and some others do not required such document. Therefore you should make sure you have all the necessary documents to open bank account with the bank you have chosen. In addition, according to art. 55 of Law of Ukraine “On Banks And Banking” banks are not allowed to require from the client purchase any additional goods and services as mandatory condition to providing other bank services. However, some banks require conclusion of deposit agreements with the bank if the client is willing to open current account (for example, as we were informed on the helpline of ProCredit Bank, they will open current bank account only upon placement with the bank a deposit not less than 50 000 UAH or 3 000 US Dollars for minimum 3 month term) From our personal experience we would recommend you Ukrssibbank, which in Kiev has separate branch specifically dedicated to the needs of the non-resident clients and of the clients that require English and French stuff. For opening of bank account with Ukrsibbank you will need only documents, specified below in section Required Documents. They will provide you with Ukrainian-English bilingual documentation, necessary to open bank account, and have English speaking stuff at their helpline.
Documents Necessary to Open Bank Account
In order to open bank account in Ukraine you will need to file number of documents to the bank, namely:
- Your passport, issued overseas.
- Temporary residence permit in Ukraine (if any).
- Tax number in Ukraine (if any).
- Application for opening of bank account. Among others, in application you have to indicate your address in Ukraine (where bank will send correspondence) and Ukrainian phone number
- Signature card with signature of private individual and his/her authorized persons. Signatures in the signature card are certified by authorized bank official and notarial certification is not required.
- If you authorize third person to dispose your account in foreign currency, the power of attorney has to be in notarial form (if issued overseas it has to be legalized / apostilled). Additionally, passport and tax number of representative have to be filed.
- Individual and bank’s representative sign account opening and servicing agreement.
No additional documents are required by law. However, Ukrainian law allows banks to require additional documents in accordance with bank’s internal provisions. There fore you should check with the helpline of the bank which you have chosen if you have all the necessary documents with you.
Operating Account in Foreign Currency
Possible transaction to and from account
You are allowed to receive funds into your foreign currency account as follows:
- Transfers from overseas
- Money from your own current or deposit account in Ukraine
- Transfers from own investment account in Ukraine as profit and other money from investment activity in Ukraine
- Proceeds from your deposit account in Ukraine
- Cash declared during customs clearance (the customs slip is valid for one year)
- Cash from your another bank account in Ukraine (a withdrawal slip at the cash-desk or ATM must be provided)
- Cash received by foreign individual as a result of transfers from overseas (respective receipt has to be provided to the bank)
- Cash which was previously withdrawn from bank account and was not used (the bank will require respective bank receipt on withdrawal; note that you can produce such bank receipt within term of your visa or if you do not need visa to Ukraine – within term of your lawful stay in Ukraine).
- Cash withdrawn in Ukraine from foreign debit or credit card account (the bank will require respective receipt)
- Inherited money or received as a gift (necessary documents have to be filed to the bank)
- Amounts under court decisions (necessary documents have to be filed to the bank)
- Amounts bought at Inter-bank Currency Market for UAH, available on your UAH account. Note that some banks do not allow to file applications on purchase of currency through internet banking so you will be required to sign application on purchase of currency in paper at bank division. In addition, you will need paper proof that you previously sold currency for the amount which you are going to purchase.
Note that you are not allowed to receive any money from individuals-residents of Ukraine (both in national and foreign currency). As an exception, residents of Ukraine may send money to your account as voluntary execution of court decision (in UAH or foreign currency as per court decision), as a gift (only in foreign currency) or if resident is your close relative (in foreign currency).
You are allowed to use funds placed in your foreign currency account as follows:
- Overseas transfers.
- transfer within Ukraine to your other own accounts, including deposit or investment accounts.
- withdraw cash from your account in currency of your account (amount is not limited)
- withdraw UAH equivalent from you bank account (amount is not limited)
- At present, it’s prohibited to transfer money from individual non-resident foreign-currency account to the foreign-currency account of another individual (resident or non-resident). But upon sale of foreign currency to UAH, you can transfer UAH to accounts of residents or non-residents individuals in Ukraine.
- payment to creditor as execution under loan, guarantee agreement
- sale foreign currency at Inter-bank Currency Market with crediting your UAH account with respective UAH equivalent. Note that some banks do not allow to file applications on sale of currency through internet banking so you will be required to sign application on sale of currency in paper at bank division. In addition, if in future you may need to buy foreign currency at the cost of not used UAH, you will need paper proof that you sold currency, so in this case you should do sale through bank division with filing paper application on sale of currency.
Operating Account in UAH
Possible transactions to and from account
You are allowed to receive funds into your UAH account as follows:
- salary, bonuses, royalty, prices
- inherited money
- money received under court decision
- money from your own current or deposit accounts
- money from your own investment account in Ukraine as profits and other money, received from investment activity in Ukraine
- money received as a result of sale at Inter-bank currency market of your foreign currency, which is available on foreign currency current account in Ukraine. Note that some banks do not allow to file applications on sale of currency through internet banking so you will be required to sign application on sale of currency in paper at bank division. In addition, if you will need to buy foreign currency for not used UAH, you will need paper proof that you previously sold currency for the respective amount.
- cash, which was earlier withdrawn and not used (the bank will require respective bank receipt on withdrawal; note that you can produce such bank receipt within term of your visa or if you do not need visa to Ukraine – within term of your lawful stay in Ukraine)
- proceeds from your own current or deposit account
You are allowed to use funds placed in your UAH account as follows:
- cash withdrawals
- payments for goods and services in Ukraine
- paying taxes in Ukraine
- insurance installments
- transfers to your own current, investment or deposit account
- transfers to current accounts of other individuals in Ukraine
- purchase foreign currency at inter-bank currency market with the purpose of sending the foreign currency overseas (you will have to provide the bank with source of UAH on your account, e.g. in cases when you previously sold foreign currency to buy UAH but did not use or received UAH from other allowed sources)
Visa / Mastercard Debit Card
You can order issue of debit card to your accounts
You can order issue of Visa or Mastercard debit card to your account. This allows you withdraw money in ATM (in Ukraine you can withdraw only UAH in ATM), pay with such card through Internet, retail commercial chain, e.g. supermarkets, restaurants, hotels etc (both in Ukraine and overseas). If payment is made in other currency than currency of your account, then bank withdraws respective equivalent from your account.
You can pay for goods and services with your debitcard with no limits (including overseas), if otherwise not agreed between you and the bank. In addition, you can indicate daily limit for transactions from your account (can be changed at any time upon your call to the bank). Cash withdrawals are usually limited in accordance with your bank’s policy.
Note that issue of credit cards for individuals-non-residents is not allowed by current Ukrainian law.
In Ukraine you should be careful with choosing a reliable bank with good financial situation, acceptable requirements to documents needed to open bank account and has English-speaking stuff (unless you do not speak Ukrainian or Russian).
Ukrainian law strictly regulates rules of debiting and crediting accounts of individuals-non-residents and envisages exclusive number of transactions which individuals-non-residents can do with their account.
Non-residents have to prove origin of all the cash they have in Ukraine. If you are bringing cash to Ukraine and plan to place it on your account, make sure that you have received customs declaration at Ukrainian customs control (irrespective of the amount). In future you should collect all the receipts when placing or withdrawing cash on your account. In addition, whenever you sell foreign currency (in cash or on Interbank Currency Market) you should collect respective receipt on the transaction (with your name and surname indicated in the receipt) as this document will be required if you want to buy foreign currency for unused UAH.
Note that nowadays in Ukraine the following temporary measures are effective:
- you may receive foreign currency from overseas but you may not receive foreign currency within Ukraine (except from your own account)
- you may not transfer foreign currency to account of individuals in Ukraine (but you may transfer UAH)
- you may buy foreign currency in cash maximum 150 000 UAH equivalent per day within one bank institution
Here are some additional resources that you might find useful :
- Opening Individual Investment Account in Ukraine
- Taxes in Ukraine
- Foreign Investment in Ukraine
For further information, please contact us.