How to open a bank account in Ukraine as an American

Gabriela Peratello

If you’re moving to Ukraine, or need ways to manage your money in UAH on a regular basis, you might be considering opening a Ukrainian bank account. As a US citizen you can open a bank account in Ukraine either as a resident or a non-resident, but the process isn't straightforward.

This guide walks through some things to consider, and some banks you may want to look at. To help you pick the right service for you, we’ll also touch on Wise, a non-bank provider with a multi-currency digital account you can use to hold, send, spend and exchange Ukrainian hryvnia alongside USD and 40+ other currencies. More on that later.

wise-account

Can you open a bank account in Ukraine from abroad?

To open a bank account in Ukraine, you usually need to visit a branch in person and present the documents required. That means that in many cases, it is not possible to open an account from abroad.

If you want a non-resident business account you might have better luck as some Ukrainian banks do have a better selection of services for non-resident business owners. However, you’ll still need to shop around and look carefully at eligibility rules before you choose.

Can a US citizen and non-resident open a bank account in Ukraine?

You can open an account as a non-resident in Ukraine with some major Ukrainian banks. Each bank will have their own system, process and documents needed, so you’ll need to double check what your preferred bank needs.

Bear in mind also that not all banks will offer all account types for non-residents - and a non-resident account may have less functionality than a full resident account.

How do you open an account in Ukraine?

Double check the process of the bank you’ve picked - but in most cases you’ll need to head to a branch to submit your paperwork and get your account set up.

If you're planning to visit a bank branch to open an account, it's a good idea to call ahead and make an appointment. This is especially important if you don’t speak Ukrainian, so you can check that someone will be able to translate documents for you.

Opening an account shouldn’t take more than an hour or so, and cards are usually ready within a few days.

What documents do you need to open a bank account in Ukraine?

To open a resident bank account in Ukraine you’ll usually need to take documents along to your local branch. The actual documents you need can vary a lot depending on your personal circumstances and the type of account you want to open. Double check what your preferred bank needs - but be prepared to be asked for the following:

  • Passport, including details of your residence and work visa if relevant.

  • Proof of address, such as a rental contract if you’re opening a resident account.

  • Tax reference number (for residents only).

  • A minimum deposit amount. Some banks also charge a small admin fee for opening the account.

Getting anything done in Ukraine tends to require a fair amount of paperwork. It is therefore worth opening your account in a large bank branch in one of the cities if you can. Here the staff are more likely to have experience with opening accounts for foreigners, making the experience smoother.

Popular Ukrainian banks

When opening a bank account in Ukraine, you can choose between the large national banks and one of the international banking groups represented there.

It is worth checking if your home bank works in Ukraine. If they do, you might find it easier to set up a new account with the same firm.

Make sure you choose a large, reliable institution, and that you’re comfortable with its performance and operation. Here are some suggestions of large banks operating in Ukraine:

Privat Bank®

Privatbank¹ has a massive network of branches, and ATMs available for their customers. They offer a broad range of accounts and payment cards alongside sophisticated remote banking options. As with all major modern banks, you can access accounts and make payments via an app, and make contactless payments through mobile wallets like Google Pay® and so on.

Piraeus Bank®

If you have traveled around the Southeastern region of Europe, you are sure to have come across Piraeus Bank². This large Greek owned institution operates thousands of branches throughout the area, and has a wide ATM network. You’ll have a large range of accounts and payment cards to choose from, as well as other products like loans and mortgages.

Pravex Bank®

Pravex³ is a Ukrainian founded bank, now owned by an Italian financial services institution. Customers of Pravex Bank can hold current or investment accounts in either local or foreign currency. The bank has branches and ATMs throughout Ukraine, and offers mobile banking for everyday needs.

Try Wise, an alternative to banks

Opening a Bank account in Ukraine is likely to involve a visit to a branch. As an alternative, to open a digital account you can use to hold and spend UAH conveniently with just your phone, check out Wise.

You’ll be able to manage your money across UAH, USD and 40+ other currencies easily, and get a Wise debit card for convenient spending in 150+ countries. Send payments to 160+ countries, and access the mid-market exchange rate with low fees from 0.43%⁴ every time you need to switch from one currency to another.

Wise isn’t a bank - but it’s a registered Money Service Business in the US and regulated wherever services are offered around the world. That means it’s safe to use, and could save you money too.

This way to easy
international payments

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Ukrainian banking fees and charges

When you open a bank account in Ukraine, you must read the terms and conditions carefully - especially when it comes to banking fees and charges.

Fee structures might be quite different to what you’re used to in the US. It’s not usual for there to be regular charges levied to keep your account open, make bank transfers, or use a credit or debit card. You’re also likely to be charged a set fee for withdrawing cash from an ATM operated by a different bank.

Many expats find themselves needing to move money regularly between accounts which use different currencies. This can be particularly expensive, so do your research to find the fairest deals available.

You may find that your bank will be a costly choice. As well as a processing charge, you’ll usually find there’s an extra fee rolled into the exchange rate used to convert your funds to the required currency.

As an alternative, take a look at Wise to transfer money using the mid-market exchange rate with a low, clear charge.


Navigating a foreign banking system can be tricky - and opening a bank account in Ukraine is likely to have a few challenges.

Use this guide to pick the right bank for you, or try Wise as a non-bank alternative which still lets you hold, send, spend and exchange UAH freely.


Sources:

  1. Privat Bank
  2. Piraeus Bank
  3. Pravex Bank
  4. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing Only Pay for What You Use for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Sources checked on 09.14.2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location