It may be the trip of a lifetime or perhaps just frequent travel for business, going abroad is not a big deal anymore! In terms of booking tickets or finding accommodation, everything is now available at your fingertips. When it comes to Foreign Exchange however, there is still a universal lack of awareness. Foreign exchange in India can at first seem to be a complicated process. Questions such as – “How much foreign currency am I allowed to carry?”, “How much of Forex can I carry on a Prepaid Forex card?”, “What are my currency limits as a student?” etc, pop up before every international trip.
Fear not, for we have compiled an at-a-glance list of RBI prescribed limits up for different category of travelers, to make your Foreign Exchange purchase a seamless process.
Know your ForEx Limits!
Type of Travel
|Before 2015 (p.a)||Since July 2015 (p.a)|
|Leisure||USD 10,000||USD 2,50,000|
|Business||up to USD 25,000 (to any country other than Nepal and Bhutan)||USD 2,50,000|
|Students||Estimate given by an institution abroad or USD 30,000 per academic year, whichever is higher||USD 2,50,000|
|Medical||USD 25,000 + If required approved by the doctor||USD 2,50,000|
|Employment||USD 5,000||USD 2,50,000|
|Emigration||USD 5,000 or the amount prescribed by the country of emigration||USD 2,50,000|
|Before 2015- Travelers were allowed to carry foreign currency notes/coins only up to USD 2000 per trip. Balance amount can be taken in the form of traveller’s cheque, Prepaid cards or banker’s draft.After 2015- You can carry a total of USD 3000 . Carrying your money on a Forex Card is the best thing to do. It’s easy to carry, convenient to use, safe and secure. Read more about the benefits of Forex Cards here.|
|Before 2015- For the purpose of studies abroad, exchange for maintenance expenses is released in the form of (i) currency notes upto USD 2,000, (ii) the balance foreign exchange may be taken in form of traveler’s cheques, prepaid cards or bank draft payable overseas.|
|Cash Limit- US$ 3000 or its equivalent Per traveller, Per trip. You can carry the remaining amount on a Forex Card|
What kind of traveler are you?
Depending on what the purpose of your visit abroad is, there are different criteria for the amount of forex that you can take. Although the basic amount has been the same for everyone now since July 2015, it helps to know which category you fall under and the special restrictions that may be apply.
Leisure travelers or Holidaymakers
If you are planning a private visit abroad, viz., for tourism purposes, you fall under this category. In which case, you are allowed to draw foreign exchange up to $2,50,000 in one financial year for one or more private visits abroad.
* This is only valid for countries other than Nepal and Bhutan
* This is valid for one financial year, irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year.
If you are a proprietor of a firm, visiting in connection with attending of an international conference, seminar, specialized training, study tour, apprentice training, etc., you will be treated as a business traveler.
As per RBI regulations, resident individuals/ individuals under this category 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.
If you are moving abroad for the purpose of employment, you can take foreign exchange up to $2,50,000 per annum. You will be required to fulfill a self-declaration in Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’.
If you are planning to immigrate to another country, you will fall under this category. The amount in such a case would be the amount prescribed by the country of emigration or USD 250,000 whichever is higher.
* You can purchase only from AD Category I and AD Category II banks.
* It cannot be used for undertaking any capital account transactions such as overseas investment in government bonds; land; commercial enterprise; etc
* No amount of foreign exchange can be remitted outside India to become eligible or for earning points or credits for immigration.
If you are a prospective student at any educational institutions abroad, you can draw up to USD 2,50,000 equivalent per academic year for studying abroad. Studying abroad covers all expenses related to education, including admission fee, tuition fee and purchase of study material. However, if you require funds in excess of $2,50,000, you will need to produce an estimate from the institute you intend to study to the concerned bank.
If you are a person visiting abroad for medical treatment or check-up, the RBI may release foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 or its equivalent to resident Indians for medical treatment abroad on self-declaration basis in Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’, without insisting on any estimate from a hospital/doctor in India/abroad.
* If the individual wishes to take money over the prescribed limit, s/he will have to provide an estimate from a hospital or doctor.
* An amount up to USD 250,000 per FY is allowed to a person for accompanying as attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/check-up.