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

Indian-Currency

UPDATED: 3 MARCH 2021

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 year (since the announcement of new rules in early 2016). Even RBI and Customs website has pages that 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.
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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.
READ  All you need to know about NRI investing in Mutual Funds

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.
READ  All you need to know about NRI investing in Mutual Funds

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.
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

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  1. Avatar
    Himanshi Dhoundiyal

    Thank you so much. Being a tourism student I really wanted to clarify my concept regarding Forex regulation.

  2. Avatar

    I have a query as one of my friend visting India for short term got stuck up at Kolkata Airport Authority by Custom Department as he was carrying 47 gms of gold jewellery and had no idea of Custom duty fee. Now he did not have much amount to be paid at Custom so I helped him by paying INR 85,000 so the Jewellery will not be seized by custom officials. When I made a contact with an Airport Authority person, Shyamolima Kashyap Dutta, she said the amount paid is all reimbursed to you within 12 hours of payment as they keep it just for security purposes. But I still have no clue for the amount paid as I did not receive any notification so far. Please help….
    Please reply if I will get INR. 85,000 back ??

  3. Avatar

    Does this apply for EACH person within a family? Example, family of 5 traveling to India – is each person allowed 25000 INR (including children)?

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