Travel Alert: NRIs need to show old notes to Customs, Fill declaration form

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NRIs and Indian nationals abroad can deposit up to Rs. 25,000 of the demonetised currency during the 3-6 month grace period, but only if they show the junked notes to Customs officials at the airport and get declaration form stamped.

The declaration will have to be submitted at specified branches of the Reserve Bank while depositing the junked currency, a finance ministry notification stated.

While the 50-day window for such deposits at banks or post offices ended on December 30, the government has offered a grace period for those who were abroad.

The window for Indian nationals who were travelling abroad is till March 31 and for NRIs, it is June 30, 2017.

Declaration form to be filled at airport

“For the period from up to March 31, 2017 or June 30, 2017, as applicable, a declaration form will need to be filled by resident Indians and non-resident Indians coming to India and carrying SBNs for depositing these SBNs in the specified offices of RBI in India,” the notification said.

  • “At the airport/land Customs stations etc on entry, Customs stamp on the said forms shall be affixed and the same shall be submitted along with other documents to RBI offices.”

A one-page form has been worked out for the purpose.

Customs officer to keep copy of the form

Since the form to be filled in by the passenger bearing the Customs stamp will be crucial in subsequently facilitating the deposit of SBNs at the specified issue offices of RBI, the finance ministry asked the Customs formations to keep a copy of the same, preferably in a scanned format.

“The Customs officer shall strictly count the number of notes and tally the total amount mentioned before stamping the form submitted by the passenger,” the notification said.

Passengers should be informed

The ministry said since it is a facilitation step to enable resident and non-resident Indians to deposit SBNs when they arrive in India, measures should be taken to make passengers and airlines aware of the new dispensation.

“While discharging the above task, care may be taken that due courtesy is extended to the declarants and that no unnecessary inconvenience is caused,” it said.

The government had declared 500 and 1,000 denomination bank notes as illegal tender from November 9, 2016.

Subsequently, the President approved the promulgation of the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance) Ordinance, 2016 on December 30.

“The ordinance imposes penal liabilities on the holders of SBNs after the specified date,” the notification said.

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It makes holding, transfer and receiving of the demonetised notes a criminal offence, punishable with a fine of Rs 10,000 or five times the cash held, whichever is higher.

“The details of the declaration and statements that are required to be submitted along with the SBNs at the time of deposit in RBI issue offices will be separately announced by RBI. Any false declaration will invite a fine of Rs 50,000 or five times the amount of the face value of the SBN tendered, whichever is higher,” a ministry statement had said after the Ordinance was promulgated on Friday.


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Published on 2 January 2017

1 Comment

  1. The latest Minstry notification said that the NRIs who approach customs in Indian Internatioanal airports would be treated with courtesy etc.But When you read the RBI circular and the appropriate tendering form ANNEX.2, the practicability of ultimate credit of Rs. Max 25000 (USD say 350) looks a very difficult task,effortwise and cost wise! NRIs,who were absent from India from 9th Nov 2016,
    in their individual capacity Only ONCE during the period from 9th Nov 16 till 30-6-17 can TENDER at at any of the ONLY 5 Regional offices in Bombay,Chennai,Calcutta,Delhi and Nagpur,along with
    tendering form annexe 2 along with a number of documents regarding Currency declaration at landing customs, NRO statement of bank accounts,with KYC compliance, Passport copies with seals of
    details of Travel from and to India, details on when the Rupees were taken out, and after verification, RBI will credit to the NRO account, the eligible/permissible amount under intimation to the address/email provided in the annexure 2 application. Now think of some points:
    1)NRI if includes Foreign citizen of Indian origin with OCI as permitted under FEMA for NRO accounts.
    2)Even if the passenger has a joint account NRO with both holders are NRIs, only 25000 Max is allowed,theoratically. So it is per passenger cum account holder.When the same NRIs were permitted
    a fixed amount (NO CLARITY on what amount was permitted with exact dates.) Government expects
    every NRI to visit India to encash the old notes, and 3rd party transactions not permitted even for Joint account holder families!Since varying amounts were permitted to be carried based on destination
    it gets complicated.,In practice, every NRI family abroad would have carried on different trips small amounts, by different members, while coming to India and while returning abroad.Now when the question of Demonetisation all such notes would be pulled out and depending upon how much was permitted in the past determines the number of passengers now to carry the money to India!
    Say husband and wife carried 18000 when individual eligibility to take out was 10000 and next time
    the net went up by another 12000,totalling now in hand as 30000.Either two people should take the 30000 , or RBI can reject credit of 5000 excess! Such thing was not there for Indians who resided in India, but NRIs who were loved by the country in 1990s are now the sufferers, with very little logic.
    RBI notification reads::
    “TENDERS WILL BE RESTRICTED TO MAXIMUM OF Rs.@%))) PER INDIVIDUAL DEPENDING UPON WHEN THE NOTES WERE TAKEN OUT OF INDIA AS PER RELEVANT FEMA RULES”

    NRIs in Middle east were permitted Rs.5000 to 25000 during the last 5 years! The RBI notifications
    of 29th Dec 2015 was carried by prime media even on 20th June 2014 enhancing the amounts generally to Rs.25000 except for neighbouring countries of Bhutan/Bangladesh,Pakistan etc.
    The families had accumulated balances .
    Even when Maximum amount is a very small amount in International value, why cant the permission be a liberal with no chances for discretion and cover ups? Whether the Govt wants the passengers to tell lies to exchange just 25000 with no questions asked per account holder in about 8 months!
    Will anybody abroad will have record of when he, his wife, or children who visited Indian brouhgt back totally say some 50000 when the family has 3-4 members usually!

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