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Exchanging foreign currency...

St Petersburg Russia
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Exchanging foreign currency...

I am in Ukraine now and ran into a problem that I had not heard about. Starting about October 4th 2011, I have a very hard time exchanging US dollars, Rubles or Euros because as all the banks and more professional looking exchange offices said starting early October I had to have a Ukrainian passport to exchange currency. We tried 12 different banks one afternoon. Between the two of us we had 3 passports and that is not the issue. My GF carries her Russian passport although she is Ukrainian and did not have her Ukrainian passport on this trip.

One large bank suggested the train station where some kiosks are not abiding by the new law. That worked but had to accept a worse exchange rate.

Any locals have more information on this?

Kyiv
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1. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Dear Stanj,

actually, The National Bank of Ukraine says that a holder of foreign passport can change EUR, USD etc with showing his/her passport (not Ukrainian passport). They need to give you a special document with a help of which you can change your UAH back to EUR/USD/RUR. It was reported recenly that many banks refuses to change money for foreigners because they don't have form НБУ №377 (that special document I told above).

So - normally, you need to show your passport when changing foreign currency into hryvnias.

P.S. I was surprised to read your girlfriend has two passports, Ukrainian and Russian. Actually, this is illegal and subject to criminal case... Double citizenship is prohibited in Ukraine. Be careful with this.

St Petersburg Russia
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2. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Up until last week we were changing money every few days as we have for years. Suddenly, every bank refused to accept exchanges without a Ukrainian passport. When we found a street kiosk who would handle the transaction the girl even said she was not supposed to do it. She provided the normal form we always get. One teller said it was due to a new law that went into effect this last week. Maybe she was just making up an excuse instead of mentioning their being our of the 377 form.

Kyiv
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3. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Hi Stan,

I did warn about these changes in currency regulations here tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294473-i3662-k482…

But as Marynuk rightly stated above, there were no restrictions on foreign passports by the NBU.

There was not a word in the NBU regulation and letters I’ve seen (not recent though as I’m just back from hols) that *the passport of the citizen of Ukraine* is the only legit document for the currency conversion. I’d assume that the banks could have probably mistakenly interpreted the NBU clarification that *the passport* (i.e. not a driving license or any other document) must be the only eligible ID, and expanded it to «the passport of Ukraine».

The regulation was not entirely clear, it was followed by many letters and statements, therefore I’m not surprised to read about these confusions and misinterpretations. Hope it will settle down, sooner rather than later.

St Petersburg Russia
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4. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Hi Clara

I wanted to update the situation. Marynuk was right, it was a temporary problem with no forms at any regular bank. We figured that because when we got away from Odessa, banks had the form and exchanges were possible. When we returned to Odessa after 5 days, the banks were able to exchange.

So all went back to normal during our absence.

Bucharest, Romania
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5. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Yes, to exchange money you have to show your passport and they have to make copy of your passport in bank. If you are foreigner you have to show your passport and also to prove the origin of money which you exchange. How you'll prove the origin of your money - it is your personal problem but nobody in bank will exchnage your money.

Kyiv
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6. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

This is nonsense. No one in a bank asks to prove "the origin of money from a foreigner" to make an exchange.

There are also no legal grounds for such a request.

St Petersburg Russia
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7. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

They could easily see the origin of my money, it came from my pocket;>)

Kyiv
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8. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

You need to proof the origin of your money ONLY if you're a FOREIGNER exchanging UAH BACK TO FOREIGN CURRENCY!

In that case, you need to show a document issued when you previously exchanged your currency to UAH.

Newfoundland, Canada
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9. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Thanks Marynuk, this is good to know (I didn't know it). A week ago, at Khreschatyk Bank below the Kiev Opera House, I changed $US to $Canadian. First the $US had to be converted to UAH, and then the UAH were converted to $Canadian (the small change was given to me in UAH). I signed my name 6 or 8 times. The banking officer/bank was the origin of the UAH, so there was no problem.

It's a good lesson to keep the receipt when converting money to UAH at banks or kiosks, in case anyone later wants to change UAH to another currency. I guess it's possible that UAH from different banks or kiosks could be mixed together in a wallet, clouding the origin, but I doubt that would cause much trouble (just keep all receipts, as I do anyway).

For the record, I had no trouble anywhere I travelled in Ukraine changing $US to UAH with my Canadian passport. However, at Khreschatyk Bank mentioned above, the officer wanted to know where my passport was issued. The issuing authority in my passport is written solely as Gatineau (one word), unlike my Place of Birth and Issuing Country which include the word CAN (for Canada). I told her that Gatineau is in Quebec, Canada, across the river from Ottawa, Canada. She was satisfied with that answer. If my vague memory serves me correctly, I was asked this question years ago in another country, but it's a rare question (in my case).

Kyiv
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10. Re: Exchanging foreign currency...

Hi Aeolis, thanks for elaborating on this issue.

Of course, UAH from different banks can be mixed. As I understand, the whole point of it that you can't change the amount of UAH bigger than you have got changing foreign currency into UAH.