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The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has forced many Ukrainian citizens to flee their country. Belgian banks immediately assisted Ukrainian refugees by offering them the basic banking service and the possibility of depositing cash Hryvnias (UAH) in their accounts at Belgian banks from 1 June 2022.

The latter arrangement will end soon: from Tuesday 15 November 2022, Ukrainian refugees will no longer be able to exchange their Hryvnias for euros at the counters of bank branches of participating banks. This follows a decision by Ukraine's central bank.  

Belgian banks still continue to offer basic banking service

Since the beginning of the conflict, Belgian banks have offered Ukrainian refugees the basic banking service. This service allows them to open a current account with a debit card to carry out basic transactions. Refugees also have the option of opening a regular bank account.

With a bank account, a refugee can receive wages or social benefits, withdraw money from ATMs, make payments in shops, buy train and metro tickets, etc. This makes it easier to participate in society.

A few more days to deposit Hryvnias into a bank account

Ukrainian refugees still have until Monday 14 November to deposit cash Hryvnias into their accounts through the bank branches of participating banks. This is possible at Belfius, Beobank, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, KBC, CBC and KBC Brussels. This action is now stopped because the Ukrainian central bank judges that Hryvnia holders have now had sufficient time for the exchange. It is therefore not further renewing its agreements with the various eurozone central banks.

As a reminder:

  • A maximum amount of UAH 10,000 can be deposited into the account per adult account holder.
  • No identity documents are required to deposit as these are deposits to an already existing account. The required identity documents were already requested when the account was opened.
  • Only notes of 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 UAH are accepted. Notes being exchanged must be undamaged. Damaged notes will be refused.
  • Cash Hryvnias are converted to euro at the bank and are then credited directly to the customer's existing account. Thus, no cash exchange takes place at the counters of the banks concerned.
  • The account into which the UAH are deposited is credited according to the bank's usual internal procedure. Moreover, it may take some time before the equivalent value in euros is effectively on this account. The period depends from bank to bank. This crediting is done on the basis of the exchange rate fixed by the National Bank of Belgium.
  • No costs or commissions are charged by the bank for the transactions.
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