Indian Customs Limits for Carrying Cash to/from India - Indian Rupee vs Foreign currency
The Indian Customs limits on the amount of cash anyone can carry from abroad to India is different for Indian currency (INR) and foreign currency e.g. US Dollars, Pound or Yen. The cash limit for traveling in India is also different for how much you can take to India and how much you can bring from India, also known as i.e. import and export cash limits of India. In this article, we'll take a look at current limits by Indian Customs on the amount of cash both Indian citizen and foreigner can carry to and from India.
In the wake of Demonetization in India, one questions which many NRIs are asking is how much cash in Indian currency they can carry to India? This question is quite important because there is no way to deposit OHD notes Overseas and that's why many NRIs have started sending their old Rs 500/1000 notes in flights with friends and colleagues who are traveling before 30th December 2016, the last date to deposit the old currency notes into their NRO accounts.
Indian Customs Limits for Carrying Cash on NRIs
As I told there are separate Customs limits for Indian and foreign currencies, so let's first take a look how much an Indian national can carry from India to Overseas and another way around.
How much Indian/foreign currency cash Indians/NRIs can take to Overseas?
The Customs limit is different for Indian currency (INR) and foreign currency. If you are going to overseas for travel, employment or study and wondering how much foreign currency you can take with you then this part is relevant to you. There is no limit to carry foreign exchange to Overseas, provided you obtained them from authorized money exchange and carry receipt of that transaction.
However, amounts more than USD 5,000 or equivalent and foreign exchanges in the form or bank notes or traveler's cheques exceeding USD 10,000 or its equivalent must be declared to the customs while going abroad from India.
On the other hand, Indian residents can carry up to INR 25,000 in cash while going abroad. This means NRIs can take cash in the form or bank notes up to 25K INR to overseas while returning back from their trip to India.
In short, no cash limit on foreign currency for Indians but they need to acquire foreign exchange, which includes foreign currency notes, traveler's cheque, draft etc from authorized money exchange or banks. The should also carry receipt of money exchange with them and declare if cash is more than 5000 USD and Cash + traveler's cheque is more than 10,000 USD, and a flat 25,000 Rs limit on cash in form of Indian currency.
How much cash Indians/NRIs can take to India
Once again, no limit on how much foreign currency you can bring to India but you need to declare the amount in CDF (Currency declaration form) at custom channels if cash in the form of banknotes is more than 5,000 USD and cash + traveler's cheque value is more than 10,000 USD.
Coming to local currency, Any Indian resident, including NRIs can only bring 25,000 cash from Overseas. The Nepal and Bhutan are exclusion there. They have separate rules which you can read on Indian Customs website.
Indian Custom Limits for carrying cash for Foreigners
There is no value limit on foreign currency a foreign can bring to India, but the declaration rules are same for him and resident Indians. For example, if he is carrying cash worth more than 5,000 USD or cash + traveler's cheque worth more than 10,000 USD then he must declare those at customs by filling up CDF or Customs Declaration form. Generally, you can declare currency while crossing custom's green or red channel but in some airports in India, you have special counters e.g. in Mumbai International airport there is a special custom counter to declare currency.
The foreign nationals can also take up remaining foreign currency they brought with them but they need to show proof in form of CDF receipt. Again, they also need to fill the customs declaration form if they are taking cash more than 5000 USD and cash + traveler's cheque up to 10,000 USD.
Similar to the Indian resident, they can also take maximum 25,000 INR abroad with them.
Here is a nice summary of cash limit for traveling in India, which clearly shows you how much Indian rupee and foreign exchange you can carry with you:
That's all about Customs limits on the amount of cash anyone can carry to India from Overseas or bring from abroad to India. This is just general information. There are more complex rules depending upon his nationality, currency and the country he is coming from or traveling to. For example, there are special rules for Nepal and Bhutan and Middle east countries like Iraq or Libya, so you must check detail custom rules if you are coming from those countries. The Customs guide for Travelers is available here.
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