Slowly and steadily after a long gap, several countries have opened their door for foreign tourist. Last two years have been worse hit for travelling both domestic & international whether for fun or for business and education etc. But now since this restriction is almost over so for those who intend to pack their bags & head to for destination – a covid respite here is some information in relation to permissible limit of foreign currency that they can carry while travelling.

When Travelling is for studying Abroad:  After a long Covid break almost all universities are open for international students. So, if you going outside India on student visa, you can buy foreign exchange which is higher of

  • USD30,000
  • Estimate given by your university

When Travelling is for Medical Treatment:  If you are travelling internationally for medical treatment that you can buy foreign exchange up to USD 50,000   for covering your medical expenses. Additional USD 25000 can also be taken to cover travelling and lodging, boarding expenses.

Legitimate Foreign Currency while travelling Abroad

When Travelling for Employment Abroad: If you are going outside India under work permit then you can carry USD 5000 without any restrictions.

When you want to Gift outside India:  If you want to gift your loved ones outside India or you want to make any donations outside India than you can buy USD 5000 pa.

If you are travelling outside India for Vacations or Business Travel:  You can buy USD 10,000 for tourism or for private travel without taking any prior permission from Reserve Bank of India. This limit is not available on visit to Nepal and Bhutan. There is no restriction laid by RBI with regard to currency for Nepal and Bhutan.

When Foreign Currency should be purchased

Foreign currency can be purchased from money changers or any bank who is authorized to deal in foreign exchange.

This purchase can be made 60 days before the journey date and in case if journey could not be undertaken with in the specified limit than this foreign currency should be surrendered to respective bank or money exchanger.

If payment is made through International Credit Cards

Use of international credit cards by Indian Residents are free from all restrictions. A person can spend up to limit restricted by credit card itself. But in any case ICC cannot be used for purchased of prohibited items E.g.: Lottery tickets, banned as prohibited items etc.

Surrender of Foreign Exchange on Return:

  • You can retain foreign coins indefinitely.
  • You can retain foreign exchange currency up to USD 2000, either in the form of foreign currency note or in the form of travelers’ cheque.
  • Any foreign currency in excess of USD 2000 has to surrender to bank within 90 days and in case of travelers’ cheque, they have to be surrendered within 180 days of return.

Foreign Exchange brought in India:

A person coming into India can bring any amount of foreign currency without any limit however if aggregate amount of foreign currency bank notes as travelers cheque exceeds USD 5000 then person need to declare to custom authorities at Airport itself, on arrival to India.

Penalty for Possession of Foreign currency in India above the Specified Limit:

If any contravention is made with regard to above mention provisions, then person will be liable to pay penalty which can be equal to thrice the sum involved or up to two lakhs where the amount is not quantifiable. Apart from this authorities may confiscate all foreign currency and incase default continues then individual can be liable to pay fine of Rs 5000 per day. Further to add here violation of foreign exchange activities may attack criminal punishments under conservation of foreign exchange and prevention of smuggling activities,1974 (COFEPOSA).

About the Author

Ruchika BhagatAuthor is Ruchika Bhagat, FCA helping foreign companies in setting up and closure of business in India and complying with various tax laws applicable to foreign companies while establishing a business in India. Neeraj Bhagat & Co. Chartered Accountants, is a well-established Chartered Accountancy firm founded in the year 1997 with its head office at New Delhi.

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Qualification: CA in Practice
Company: Neeraj Bhagat & Co.
Location: New Delhi, New Delhi, IN
Member Since: 28 Feb 2019 | Total Posts: 128
Neeraj Bhagat & Co. is helping foreign companies in opening up of Liaison/ Branch Office in India and complying with various tax laws applicable to foreign companies while establishing a business in India. Neeraj Bhagat is the founder of Neeraj Bhagat & Co. Chartered Accountants, a Chartered View Full Profile

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