Driving in Ukraine is one of the best ways of getting around: fuel is relatively inexpensive, and the country is beautiful once you get out of the cities. If your movement area is limited within centre in Kyiv, it’s ok to use the subway and other public transport, due to the constant traffic jams.

One more tip. Do you know why well off locals prefer the off-roaders the most? Ukrainian roads even in the large cities are rather far from the European standards, especially in the winter season. If you plan to stay in the countryside or visit that regularly, it’s better to leave your economy car in its cosy shelter at home.

The following things are worth you knowing:

Entering Ukraine in a car

Besides basic compulsory personal documents (international passport, visa if needed for representatives of your country – more in our Visa section) availability, to enter Ukraine by a personal car or moto you need to hand in the vehicle registration certificate, issued in the home country, the international driving license and the “Green card” international insurance policy. (We strictly recommend purchasing beforehand, not at the border).

The custom officer will stamp the sign of “temporary import” in your passport according to the license plate number of your car. The Ukrainian legislation defines 2 months term for using non-Ukrainian numbers plate. Upon this time expiration, the unregistered car may be arrested if its owner refuses paying fine. 1 year period of deferment coveres any employees of the foreign companies and using a vehicle for commercial purpose as well. The local media describes the cases the cars with the foreign numbers were arrested due to their owners hadn't registered them within 10-days term upon crossing the Ukrainian border. The lawyers consider such attempt as illegal and advise to appeal.

If you travel to Ukraine from Europe, you are apparently to cross one of the check points from Poland, Hungary or Slovakia side. Don’t stand in line behind the trucks and goods vehicles – a few lanes for personal and passengers transport are assigned. Taking Ukraine is not a member of Schengen area, you need to stop for double checking: for border and custom control.

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Leaving Ukraine in a car

First of all try not to leave the country on the eve of main holiday – Christmas and New Year, The May holiday, the Constitution day – many locals set off abroad by their private cars and tourist buses.

While you crossing the boarder, the officer will check if you drive the same car you had entered Ukraine and put the appropriate stamp in your documents. If you temporarily leave without the car you had been in, you should explain the reason, as well as you exceeded two-month term without getting temporary registration for your vehicle. If you had taken a few cars to Ukraine and try to leave without them and without paid tax – you will face a problem.

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Road Accidents

When car accidents occur in Ukraine, drivers are required to leave their cars on the scene of the accident until traffic police come and write up a report. When drivers don’t want to involve police and insurance companies, they agree on a cash settlement on the spot.


Temporary registration for a car

2013 is definitely to be remembered by the Ukrainian car market as one of the most uneven and pessimistic. The last initiative – imposition of the tax on motor vehicles utilization – raised the prices again. That urged many non residents to think of taking a car from abroad. Following the number of typical questions by the ExpatUA Forum members, we tried to clarify this topic. Vadym Volodarskyy, our auto lawyer (email in Russian only please) , defines the legal issues on taking personal cars to Ukraine for temporary usage by non residents.

Trying to protect the national car producers, the Ukrainian car legislation defines diverse rules and procedures depending on the car owner’s category. This approach causes a number of legal nuances. Thus the right on temporary taking a vehicle to Ukraine is determined not by a citizenship, but by non resident status of its owner. (Find the legal definition of the resident and non residents status in our Documents category). "One year" is the officially defined term for temporary taking a vehicle to Ukraine by non residents (The Custom Code, Art.380). Depending on particular personal matters it can be prolonged by the Custom office for maximum 60 days. (In case of a car got damaged in the road accident, the temporary entry countdown gets a pause. If the car is not to be restored, it’s possible to pass it for utilization or to abandon it to the state. Thus informing the Custom service about the accident happened is necessary). On the expiry of that term a vehicle should leave Ukraine. Then it can enter the country again and the new term countdown to be set. (This option is commonly used by those locals, willing to buy a car abroad rather than in Ukraine).
Non residents are not obliged to declare a vehicle in writing.
Take care: vehicles by temporary entry may be used just by those, who took them into the country. The Law doesn’t allow their passing for usage by residents and for business purpose (for cargo and passenger transportation). A resident can drive such a vehicle just at presence of the person who took it to Ukraine. The regulation also bans its condemnation or dekitting.
Only a vehicle, officially registered in some country, can enter Ukraine for temporary usage. If not, just upon all the necessary payments made, a car may be registered and used for driving in Ukraine.

As it was stated above, upon 2 months term expiration a vehicles should be registered by the official body it. That implies the owner should have the officially registered place of residence in Ukraine. On practice, not all the foreigners adhere to this requirement. Besides, tax on the first registration should be paid any way. In case, a car is older than 8 years and has an engine of a large volume, the tax is significant. To avoid those expenses, some non residents follow the ‘shuttling’ practice by the locals, mentioned above.

While getting your car registered in ‘МRЕО’, you left the relevant documents and the number plates for storage there and get them back when crossing off the register.

As opposed to the permanently registered cars, the vehicles for temporary usage may be insured by ‘OSAGO’ (the Third person civil liability) for less than one year term, depending on period off staying in the country. The international insurance policy, so-called ‘the green card’ is valid in Ukraine.
As regards the newly implemented utilization tax, the following vehicles are out of the tax power:
1) the vehicles, registered or reregistered in Ukraine before Sept, 1st, 2013;
2) the vehicles, entering Ukraine for temporary usage;
3) taken by some categories of persons (e.g. employees of the diplomatic missions and international organizations, their family members).
The utilization tax master is the Custom service, consequently its payment linked with the custom declaring procedures (custom treatment).

Procedure and details for obtaining the temporary registration
* The temporary registered car can’t be driven by the other persons, excepting its owner.
* The right-side wheel vehicles are not allowed to be registered in Ukraine.

 The documents, to be submitted for getting temporary registration in Ukraine:
* Statement from the embassy (or consulate) from your home country in Ukraine, proving your permanent residence in that country, validity of all registration documents for your car;
* Document, proving your vehicle registration abroad (exc. non-residents – employees of the International and diplomatic institutions: just the property or the relevant document for a car).

Temporary registration will take up to 3 days for the documents submitting and processing (if you you don’t come across a case of infamous Ukrainian bureaucracy).

Temporary registration is provided with dedicated local Road police service offices – “MREO” (check the list in your location, which ones serve the foreigners).

While being on temporary registration, the temporary (red) plate numbers are used. The origin, foreign, plates are being held by the Road police service by the expiration date of your temporary registration.

If you really love your car, don’t forget what it will face in Ukraine: wretched and dirty roads, aggressive driving culture, local fuel is aligned with Euro-2 standard mostly, actually much of which is just fake. You always have chance to weigh.

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