Ukraine: NBU lifts restrictions on cross-border payments under certain loans from foreign lenders

In brief

Key changes

With effect from 16 May 2023, Ukrainian borrowers are allowed to make payments from Ukraine abroad to repay and service certain cross-border loans from foreign lenders. This applies to the loans that are:

  1. fully or partially backed by a guarantee or suretyship of an international financial institution (IFI);
  2. provided with the participation of (i) a foreign export credit agency, (ii) a foreign state acting through its authorized agency, or (iii) a foreign legal entity owned by a foreign state or a foreign bank (provided that a foreign state is the shareholder of such foreign bank).

The exempt payments should not be made prior to the payment date stipulated in the relevant loan agreement. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has expressly prohibited any amendments to the existing loan agreements that would shorten the payment terms thereunder.


Background information

In May 2022, the NBU permitted Ukrainian residents to make payments from Ukraine abroad under contracts for sale of goods with nonresidents, provided that such contracts are financed by an IFI loan or a loan from the state of Ukraine funded by an IFI loan. Notably, payments from Ukraine abroad under loans extended by IFIs have not been restricted since martial law was introduced in Ukraine in February 2022.


These recent changes come amid the martial law regime, which has been in effect in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. The martial law led to significant restrictions on capital outflow and tightened foreign exchange controls. Although the changes mentioned above can be viewed as a positive development, the broader foreign exchange regime in Ukraine remains severely restricted, with transactions not explicitly permitted by the NBU remaining prohibited during the martial law period or until the NBU lifts these restrictions.

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