Know your Forex or foreign exchange limits before Travel abroad or to India. We got a query from our reader how much money or cash I can carry while travelling from India to foreign? There are obviously such question arises before every foreign visit viz. how much money I am allowed to carry abroad? How much money can I carry through prepaid forex card?
You may need foreign exchange for your business visits, to meet educational expenses of your child studying abroad, medical treatment abroad, maintenance of close relatives or whatever the purpose may be. Here in this article we will discuss one by one every type of travel and foreign exchange limits for such international visits.
Where I can buy Foreign Exchange ?
You can buy foreign exchange (FOREX) from authorized dealer banks, Full Fledged money changers, selected NBFCs. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has liberalized the rules for purchase of foreign exchange by resident individuals. Now there is no need of approval from RBI for purchase of foreign currency up to a certain limit.
RBI Foreign Exchange Limits under Liberalised Remittance Scheme
Under the revised FEMA 2000, Foreign Exchange limit / Forex Limit for foreign visit is subsumed under LIBERLIZED REMITTANCE SCHEME. Under the LRS Scheme, Authorised Dealers may freely allow foreign exchange or remittance , to resident individuals (including minors) up to USD 250000 per financial year (April to March). But the scheme is not available to corporate, partnership firms, HUF, Trusts etc.
In Case of minors, the LRS declaration form shall be signed by guardian on behalf of minor.
Foreign Exchange Limits for Foreign Visits / Travel Abroad
- Travellers going to all countries other than Iraq, Libya, Iran, Russian Federation and other republic of Commonwealth of Independent States are allowed to purchase foreign currency notes / coin only upto USD 3000 per visit. Balance Amount can be carried in form of store value cards, travellers cheque, Demand Draft, debit /credit card.
- Travellers visiting to Iraq and Libya can draw foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes and coins upto USD 5000 or its equivalent per visit.
- Travellers visiting to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation and other Republics of Commonwealth of Independent States can draw entire foreign exchange up to USD 250,000 in the form of foreign currency notes or coins.
- For travellers proceeding for Haj/ Umrah pilgrimage, full amount of entitlement (USD 250,000) in cash or up to the cash limit as specified by the Haj Committee of India.
Gift / Donation
Any Resident individual may remit upto USD 250000 in a financial year as gift to a person residing outside India or as a donation to an organization outside India.
A person going abroad for employment can draw foreign exchange up to USD 250000 in a financial year from any AD in India.
A person who wants to emigrate can draw foreign exchange up to amount prescribed by the country or USD 250000. Remittance of any amount of foreign exchange outside India in excess of this limit may be allowed only towards meeting incidental expenses in the country of immigration and not for earning points or credits to become eligible for immigration by way of overseas investments in government bonds; land; commercial enterprise; etc
A Person can draw foreign exchange up to USD 250000 or its equivalent for study abroad without any estimate from the foreign University. However, further remittance exceeding USD 250000 may be allowed based on the estimate received from the institution abroad.
Medical Treatment Abroad
A person going abroad for medical treatment can avail foreign exchange up to USD 250000 or its equivalent without any estimate from a hospital / doctor in India/ abroad.
However, further foreign exchange exceeding the above limit, may be allowed after an estimate from a hospital/ doctor in India / abroad.
Additionally, The person / attendant who is accompanying the patient going abroad for medical treatment is also allowed to foreign exchange up to USD 250000.
An Individuals going abroad in connection with attending of an international conference, seminar, specialised training, apprentice training, etc., are treated as business visits. For business trips to foreign countries, resident individuals can avail of foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 in a Financial Year irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year.
However, if an employee is being deputed by an entity for any of the above and the expenses are borne by the latter, such expenses shall be treated as residual current account transactions outside LRS and may be permitted by the AD without any limit, subject to verifying the bonafides of the transaction.
Maintenance of Close Relatives Abroad
Any resident individual can remit up to USD 250000 in a financial year towards maintenance of close relatives abroad. (Relative as defined in Section 6 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956).
Important Note :
The person going abroad can purchase foreign exchange value up to Rs. 50000 by Cash. If the total value exceeds Rs. 50000 then entire foreign exchange should be purchased through crossed Cheque, Demand draft, banker’s Cheque etc.
Residents may book their tickets in India for their visit to any third country. For instance, residents can book their tickets for travel from London to New York, through domestic/foreign airlines in India. However, the same (air tickets) would be a part of the traveller’s overall LRS entitlement of USD 250,000.
Foreign Exchange can be bought 60 days in advance from the proposed date of travel abroad.
What is Limit on Indian Currency that can be brought into India from foreign
- Indian Resident, who has gone abroad (other than Nepal and Bhutan) on temporary visit may bring into India Indian Currency upto an amount not exceeding Rs. 25000/-.
- A person may bring into India from Nepal or Bhutan, currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes, in denomination not exceeding Rs.100.
- NRIs or foreigner (not being a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh) visiting India may bring into India currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 25,000 while entering only through an airport.
- Any person resident in India who had gone to Pakistan or Bangladesh on a temporary visit, may bring Indian currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 10,000 per person.
Foreign Exchange Limits for travel to India
There is no limit on foreign exchange that a person can bring while traveling to India from abroad. However, if the aggregate value of the foreign exchange in the form of currency notes, bank notes or travellers cheques brought in exceeds USD 10,000 or its equivalent and/or the value of foreign currency alone exceeds USD 5,000 or its equivalent, it should be declared to the Customs Authorities at the Airport in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), on arrival in India.
Time Limit to surrender Foreign Exchange after Returning from Foreign Visit
Traveller after returning to India from a foreign trip may surrender unspent foreign exchange within 180 days of return. However, they are free to retain foreign exchange up to USD 2,000, in the form of foreign currency notes or TCs for future use or credit to their Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) [RFC (Domestic)] Accounts. The resident can hold foreign coin without any limit.
Use of International Debit Card (IDC) / International Credit Card (ICC) on traveling abroad
Banks authorized to deal in foreign exchange can issue IDC /ICC to resident individual visiting abroad. IDC/ICC may be used by individual for drawing cash at ATM terminals, making payment to a merchant abroad within the LRS Limit. Authorised dealer banks can also issue Store Value card, charge card, smart card to resident travelling abroad on private / business visit abroad for making various payments.
No prior permission of RBI required for issue of such cards but usage of these cards should be under the LRS Limit of USD 250000.
International Credit Cards and Debit cards can be used for travel abroad in connection with various purposes and for making personal payments like subscription to foreign journals, internet subscription, etc. However, use of ICCs/IDCs is NOT permitted for prohibited transactions indicated in Schedule 1 of FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules 2015 such as purchase of lottery tickets, banned magazines etc.
These instruments can not be used for payment in foreign exchange in Nepal and Bhutan.
Disclaimer : The information provided in this article is solely to help our readers on subject discussed. The author has tried his best to keep the content error free. But you may not take the decision on the basis of information provided in this article as there are updation from time to time in FEMA rules and regulations. The author will not be responsible for any error, ambiguity, mistake or discrepancy in the post.