ABSTRACT The study was carried out to assess whether water uptake could be improved in sugar beet seeds and salt tolerance at the germination and early seedling stage by soaking the seeds for 10 h in distilled water (control), 100, 150 and 200 mg L(-1) GA3. Electrical Conductivity (EC) values of the NaCl solution were 0.0 (control), 4.7, 9.4 and 14.1 dS n(-1) NaCl. Priming increased the final germination percentage and the germination rate (1/t 50, where t 50 is the time to 50% of germination) under saline condition. Water uptake of primed seeds also increased significantly with increasing concentration of GA3 as compared to control. Priming also alleviated the adverse effect of salt stress on sugar beet in terms of roots and shoots lengths and fresh weights of plants, roots and shoots.