Driving in Kiev & UkraineKiev Travel Guides

Traveling to Ukraine in Your Car: Entry, Driving in Ukraine and What to Expect

Traveling to Ukraine in Your Car - Entry, Driving in Ukraine and What to Expect

Yes you can travel to Ukraine with your own car, and let me tell you how

Driving is addictive for many, and if you are a driving enthusiast then the idea of a road trip across Europe will sound very seductive.

Entering Ukraine with your own car during such journey is possible of course, and the procedures is straightforward, making it easy for you to travel to Ukraine in your own car. And let me tell you how:

Entering Ukraine in your personal vehicle

If you are planning on traveling to Ukraine with your personal vehicle, you can do so as long as you comply with the rules of temporary car imports and Ukrainian traffic laws.

If you are driving to Ukraine you will be coming from one of the following countries:

  • Belarus
  • Russia
  • Moldova
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Hungary
  • Romania

At the port of entry, you’ll notice long lines of freight trucks. Don’t waste your time sitting in line. Ukraine understands that you’re a busy person and has created lanes specifically for private vehicles, so bypass the lorries and come on in.

When you reach the Ukrainian side of the border, it’s important that the owner of the car be driving, not a friend of travel companion, when the customs officer approaches you, present him/her with the following documents:

  • Valid travel passport
  • Valid Ukrainian visa (if you need one)
  • Your driving license (preferably international driving license)
  • Cars registration papers
  • International insurance policy (Green Card insurance certificate)

The officer will check the information, and once satisfied, will stamp your passport with an entry permission adding to it the car license plate number and return your documents to you.

This procedure should take only a couple of minutes, and you will be on your way.

How long can I stay with my car in Ukraine?

If you are only visiting, you have up to two months to use your car in Ukraine. However, should you fail to leave within this period, you will be fined, and your car may be impounded for failure to pay.

This can happen at the border or when you get stopped at random for a check. This seems to happen more often for drivers with non-Ukrainian plates.

You can also keep the car and use it for up to one year if you undergo the process of replacing the license plates with temporary ones issued by the Ukrainian government.

Custom regulations when entering Ukraine in your car

When you cross the border with your car, you should pay special attention to general customs regulations regarding what you can bring with you and what limitations exist on cash and goods.

Generally, you do not need to pay any taxes on:

  • Alcoholic beverages; beer up to 5 liters (~ 169 ounces), wine up to 2 liters (~ 67 ounces), vodka up to 1 liter (~ 33 ounces).
  • Cigarettes up to 200 pieces
  • Cigars up to 50 pieces
  • Consumables and groceries up to 200 Euro of value.

All personal belongings are also tax-free, including cellphones, laptops, cameras, gadgets, and etc.

Traveling to Ukraine in Your Car - Custom regulations when entering Ukraine in your car

Leaving Ukraine with your car

This is a simple procedure.

When crossing the border, a customs officer will go through your passport and the car’s papers to make sure that you are leaving in the same car that you entered Ukraine in.

Once everything is checked out and approved, you will receive your exit stamp, and you may drive to the other side of the border.

If by chance, you have violated the two month permit period, you must have a valid explanation that follows the administrative protocol and pay your fine.

Leaving Ukraine without your car

If, at the point of exit, you where no driving your car, you will need to offer a reasonable explanation along with any necessary documentation.

The customs and border authorities reserve the right to investigate further if they feel the situation is suspicious, especially if you traveled to Ukraine with a car and left without it.

In this situation, they will most likely suspect tax fraud or that you have smuggled contraband across the border.

This will undoubtedly cause a delay in your travel plans.

Will I be pulled over?

You may run into multiple traffic stops when driving in Ukraine, but it is equally possible that you will encounter none.

This is more likely to happen on the highways outside of the cities.

Your stop can be for a random check, or because you broke a traffic law.

Most commonly, you will be pulled over for breaking speed limits at special sections of the road, near villages and urban areas.

Having non-Ukrainian number plates can also contribute to more stops, not because the police target foreigners, but for more complicated reasons, related to the abuse of temporary car import rules.

First of all, you must understand that temporary imports are for the use of foreign nationals who are visiting Ukraine or staying here on a temporary basis, while citizens and those with resident status must have their cars permanently registered in Ukraine.

However, cars are expensive in Ukraine, the same car can be at least 50% cheaper in neighboring countries, so people started finding and using many loopholes in temporary car import laws and regulations, which has led to massive abuse of the law.

The local media report that there are about one million cars on temporary import in Ukraine, and the overwhelming majority of drivers and actual owners of these are Ukrainians and residents rather than foreigners.

Naturally, authorities are trying to combat this any way they can, looking for violators, and stopping cars with non-Ukrainian plates at checkpoints. These stops are rare nowadays!

What to do if I have an accident while in Ukraine?

Hopefully, you will never experience this, but on the off chance you have an accident on the road, you will have two options. To resolve the matter without involving the police, you may compensate the other party if you are at fault or vice versa.

Your other option is to leave it for the police to decide.

If you opt for the official approach, do not move your car, keep it where it is, take out your phone and document the damage.

When the police arrive explain your part and show them the photos, they will write their report, then take it from there.

Crossing the border and driving in Ukraine is a simple process, and I hope this guide has helped to put your mind at ease.

And when you arrive to Kiev, just get in touch with me to guide you around the city!

See you in Kiev 🙂

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