FAQS

Who are authorized by the Reserve Bank to sell foreign exchange for travel purposes?Who are authorized by the Reserve Bank to sell foreign exchange for travel purposes?

Foreign exchange can be purchased from any authorised person, such as Authorised Dealer (AD) Category-I bank and AD Category II. Full-Fledged Money Changers (FFMCs) are also permitted to release exchange for business and private visits.

What is the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) of USD 2, 50,000?What is the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) of USD 2, 50,000?

Under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to USD 2, 50,000 per financial year (April – March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both. Further, resident individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the purposes mentioned in Para 1 of Schedule III of FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules 2015, within the limit of USD 2, 50,000 only. If an individual remits any amount under LRS in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.

In case of remitter being a minor, the LRS declaration form must be countersigned by the minor’s natural guardian.

What are the purposes under FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules, 2015, under which a resident individual can avail of foreign exchange facility?

Individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the following purposes within the limit of USD 2, 50,000 only on financial year basis.

  1. Private visits to any country (except Nepal and Bhutan)
  2. Gift or donation.
  3. Going abroad for employment
  4. Emigration
  5. Maintenance of close relatives abroad
  6. Travel for business, or attending a conference or specialized training or for meeting expenses for meeting medical expenses, or check-up abroad, or for accompanying as attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/ check-up.
  7. Expenses in connection with medical treatment abroad
  8. Studies abroad
  9. Any other current account transaction

Any additional remittance in excess of the said limit for the above mentioned purposes shall require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.

“Any other current account transaction” as given at (ix) above is to cover any other current account transactions which were available to individuals in the erstwhile Schedule III to FEM (CAT) Rules, 2000 dated May 3, 2000, and which do not appear above/ in Schedule III to FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules, 2015.

However, for purposes such as emigration; expenses in connection with medical treatment abroad and studies abroad, individuals may be permitted to avail of exchange facility for an amount in excess of the overall limit prescribed under the LRS, if it is so required by a country of emigration, medical institute offering treatment or the university respectively. (To be read along with Q 21, Q24 and Q25).

The AD bank may undertake the remittance transaction without RBI’s permission for all residual current account transactions which are not prohibited/ restricted transactions under Schedule I, II or III of FEM (CAT) Rules, 2000, as amended from time to time. It is for the AD bank to satisfy themselves about the genuineness of the transaction, as hitherto.

The resident individual needs to fill up the Form A2 as well as the ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’.

How much foreign exchange can one buy when traveling abroad on private visits to a country outside India?

For private visits abroad, other than to Nepal and Bhutan, any resident can obtain foreign exchange up to an aggregate amount of USD 2, 50,000, from an Authorized Dealer or FFMC, in any one financial year, irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual has already remitted any amount under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for travelling purpose for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.
The resident individuals shall have to fill Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’ while availing foreign exchange for travelling purposes from AD banks and FFMCs.
No foreign exchange is available for visit to Nepal and/or Bhutan for any purpose. A resident Indian is allowed to take INR of denomination of Rs.100 or lesser denomination, to Nepal and Bhutan, without any limits. For denominations of Rs 500 and Rs1, 000, the limit is Rs 25,000.
Further, all tour related expenses including cost of rail/road/water transportation charges outside India and remittances relating towards cost of Euro Rail; passes/tickets, etc. for Indian travellers, and overseas hotel/flight charges have been subsumed under the new enhanced limit of USD 250,000. The tour operator can collect this amount either in INR or in FCY.

How much foreign exchange is available to a person going abroad on employment?

A person going abroad for employment can draw foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year from any Authorized Dealer in India on the basis of self-declaration in Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual remits any amount under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.

How much foreign exchange can a person resident in India remit towards maintenance of close relatives abroad?

A person resident in India can remit up-to USD 250,000 per financial year towards maintenance of close relative (‘relative’ as defined in section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956) abroad. . This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual remits any amount under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.

How much foreign exchange is available for a business trip?

For business trips to foreign countries, resident individuals/ individuals having proprietorship firms 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. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015.

Visits in connection with attending of an international conference, seminar, specialized training, apprentice training, etc., are treated as business visits. Release of foreign exchange exceeding USD 2,50,000 for business travel abroad, irrespective of the period of stay, by residents require prior permission from the Reserve Bank.

However, if an employee is being deputed by a company and the expenses are borne by the company, then such expenses shall be treated as residual current account transactions and may be permitted by the AD bank, without any limit, subject to verifying the bonafides of the transaction.

How much foreign exchange can be drawn for medical treatment abroad?

AD Category I banks and AD Category II, 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. However, a person visiting abroad for medical treatment can obtain foreign exchange from AD banks exceeding the above limit, provided the request is supported by an estimate from a hospital/doctor in India/abroad.

In addition to the above, 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.

How much foreign currency can be carried in cash for travel abroad?

Travellers going to all countries other than (a) and (b) below are allowed to purchase foreign currency notes / coins only up to USD 3000 per visit. Balance amount can be carried in the form of travellers Cheque or banker’s draft. Exceptions to this are (a) travellers proceeding to Iraq and Libya who can draw foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes and coins not exceeding USD 5000 or its equivalent per visit; (b) travellers proceeding to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation and other Republics of Commonwealth of Independent States who 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 BTQ entitlement (USD 250, 000) in cash or up to the cash limit as specified by the Haj Committee of India, may be released by the ADs and FFMCs.

How much Indian currency can be brought in while coming into India?

A resident of India, who has gone out of India on a temporary visit may bring into India at the time of his return from any place outside India (other than Nepal and Bhutan), currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000. 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. Any person resident outside India, not being a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh and also not a traveller coming from and going to Pakistan and 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 while entering only through an airport.

Any person resident in India, who had gone to Pakistan and/or Bangladesh on a temporary visit, may bring into India at the time of his return, currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 10,000 per person.

How much foreign exchange can be brought in while visiting India?

A person coming into India from abroad can bring with him foreign exchange without any limit. 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.

How many days in advance one can buy foreign exchange for travel abroad?

Permissible foreign exchange can be drawn 60 days in advance. In case it is not possible to use the foreign exchange within the period of 60 days, it should be immediately surrendered to an authorized person. However, residents 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.

Is there any time-frame for a traveller who has returned to India to surrender foreign exchange?

On return from a foreign trip, travellers are required to surrender unspent foreign exchange held in the form of currency notes and travellers Cheques 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.