Travel Guide : How much currency can you carry to India?

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This article explains the Indian Customs limit on the amount of cash (Indian and Foreign currency) you can carry in and out of India with you.

Ever since India Government announced the ban on higher denomination currencies (Rs 500 and Rs 1000) overnight, there has been lot of panic among Indians as on how to exchange the currency in their hands.

While Indian residents can exchange or deposit the money in banks until 30 December 2016, the options for NRIs are limited. The most suitable option is to either take the money with them or send with someone who is travelling to India soon (Read more here).

The next question is how much money they can take by hand. Unfortunately, there is lot of confusing information online, including some official websites, which are not updated in the past one year (since announcement of new rules during early 2016). Even RBI and Customs website have pages which are not updated.

Here is the up-to-date information based on Reserve Bank of India notification dated 4 February 2016.

Importing Indian Currency

  • As RBI norms, passengers (excluding citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh) coming to India may carry Indian currency up to Rs. 25,000.

The information you see on most websites – like Rs 7500, Rs 10000 etc – are old limits prior to 2016. For those who need to see official confirmation from government, see the RBI notification:

Detailed explanation from Reserve Bank of India Notification

“Any person resident outside India, not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, and visiting India …. may bring into India currency notes of Government of India and Reserve
Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000 (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) per person”


Exporting Indian Currency

  • As RBI norms, passengers (excluding citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh) may take out of India (other than to Nepal and Bhutan), Indian currency up to Rs. 25,000.

Detailed explanation from Reserve Bank of India Notification

“Any person resident in India …. may take outside India (other than to Nepal and Bhutan) currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000 (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) per person.”

“Any person resident outside India, not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, and visiting India …. may take outside India currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000 (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) per person”


Importing Foreign Currency

Any person can bring into India, from a place outside India, foreign currency without any limit.

However the currency must be declared by filing CDF (Currency Declaration Form) in the following cases:

  • the aggregate value of foreign currency notes is in excess of USD 5000 or equivalent OR
  • the aggregate value of foreign exchange in the form of currency notes, bank notes or traveller’s cheques is in excess of USD 10,000 or its equivalent.

Detailed explanation from Reserve Bank of India Notification

“A person …. may bring into India from any place outside India without limit foreign
exchange (other than unissued notes) subject to the condition that such
person makes, on arrival in India, a declaration to the Customs authorities in
Currency Declaration Form (CDF). It shall not be necessary to make such
declaration where the aggregate value of the foreign exchange in the form of
currency notes, bank notes or travelers cheques brought in by such person at
any one time does not exceed US$10,000 (US Dollars ten thousand) or its
equivalent and/ or the aggregate value of foreign currency notes brought in by
such person at any one time does not exceed US$ 5,000 (US Dollars five
thousand) or its equivalent”


Exporting Foreign Currency

  • There is no limit to carry foreign exchange from India to any country.

However the currency must be declared by filing CDF (Currency Declaration Form) if :

  • the aggregate value of foreign currency notes is in excess of USD 5000 or equivalent OR
  • the aggregate value of foreign exchange in the form of currency notes, bank notes or traveller’s cheques is in excess of USD 10,000 or its equivalent.

Detailed explanation from Reserve Bank of India Notification

“any person may take out of India … a. foreign exchange possessed by him in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Possession and Retention of Foreign Currency) Regulations, 2000 ; b. unspent foreign exchange brought back by him to India while returning from travel abroad and retained in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Possession and Retention of Foreign Currency) Regulations, 2000”

“any person resident outside India may take out of India unspent foreign exchange not exceeding the amount brought in by him and declared in Currency Declaration Form (CDF).”


Conclusion

To sum up the complicated rules :

a) Passengers can bring up to Rs 25,000 and take out Rs 25,000 in Indian currency.

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b) Passengers can bring in or take out unlimited foreign currency, but has to fill up declaration form if total cash amount is more than USD 5000 or total is more than USD 10,000.

Sources :

CBEC Customs Guide for Travellers, Reserve Bank of India Circular No. 45/2015

- Published on 12 November 2016 

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67 Comments

  1. India does not care. They never cared when one miniscule community who still think or believe that they are Indians being true nationalists were hounded out of Kashmir their homeland. It was a hallucast and reign of terror let loose on these hapless. They are rerefugees

  2. I AM COMING FROM OMAN ON 8 FEB’ 2017 TO INDIA (BIJU PATTANAIK AIR PORT,BHUBANESWAR ,HOW CAN I CHANGE MY OLD 500 RUPEE AND 1000 RUPEE.

  3. 19. While going abroad how much Indian currency can be taken out?

    A person going out of India can take out with him Indian currency notes within the limits given below:

    a. upto Rs.5000 to any country other than Nepal or Bhutan, and

    b. any amount in denomination not exceeding Rs.100 to Nepal or Bhutan.

    https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=11

    • Hi Sudipta, The page you have quoted is very old – from 2004. You can see the date on top of the page. This rule has been changed but the page has not been updated by RBI.

  4. i m coming from oman and how can exchange my old carrency 500,1000
    my total 80000 and not exchange period i not available in india

  5. I am going to USA on IMMIGRANT VISA in April,2017. How much Indian currency Can I take with me. & How much DOLLARS can I carry with me as on date as per RBI Guidelines. Please advise quickly. Thanks.

  6. on the reference lin k on the bottom of the page, it says “Import of Indian Currency is prohibited. However, in the case of passengers normally resident in India who are returning from a visit abroad, import of Indian Currency upto Rs. 25,000 is allowed.”
    do you have a more updated source/link/official reference that I can use if i am stopped in the airport?
    Thanks

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