Central Bank of Myanmar’s Foreign Currency Conversion Requirements

On April 3, 2022, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) issued far-reaching requirements for nearly all individuals, companies, and other organizations in Myanmar to convert foreign-currency income received from abroad to kyat (MMK) within one working day of its receipt. These requirements are effective immediately for all transfers, and apply retroactively to foreign currency balances already in the country.

CBM Notification No. 12/2022 and Directive No. 4/2022, issued in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management Law, instruct Myanmar banks that hold an authorized dealer (AD) license on converting foreign currency. Together, the notification and the directive stipulate that all foreign-denominated income received by “internal residents” from abroad into a foreign currency account opened at an AD-licensed bank must be exchanged into MMK within one working day, unless subject to regulatory exclusions. “Internal residents” include locally registered companies, organizations, and offices; Myanmar branches of foreign companies; and individuals residing or established in Myanmar for at least 183 days (excluding foreign diplomatic staff and foreign civil servants).

Following further clarifications with various chambers of commerce and embassies, CBM has exempted some businesses from Notification 12/2022 via the issuance of letters on 20 April 2022 and 16 June 2022. The list of exemptions are as follows:

  1. Foreign direct investment carried out under Myanmar Investment Commission (“MIC”);
  2. Companies that are more than 10% foreign owned and registered at Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (“DICA”);
  3. Investments operating in the Special Economic Zone;
  4. Foreign diplomats and their family members, and foreign staff of rank similar to diplomats employed by embassies established diplomatic relations with the Union of Myanmar;
  5. Staff of the United Nations and its agencies established in the Union of Myanmar and Myanmar national holding UN laissez-passer;
  6. Foreign staff under foreign development agencies working in aid projects in the Union of Myanmar;
  7. Foreign staff of diplomatic rank from international organisations, international non-governmental organisations and development agencies; and
  8. State-owned and citizen-owned international airlines.

Source: CBM