International Travel: Traveling abroad? This is how much cash you can legally carry

With Covid restrictions being lifted in most countries, international travel is back on the cards for many. But do you know how much foreign currency you an carry when you travel abroad?

Under the Reserve Bank of India’s Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS), Indians are allowed to freely remit up to $ 250,000 (around Rs 1.80 crore) per financial year for any permissible transactions.

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How much cash can you carry?

Travelers are allowed to purchase foreign currency notes / coins only up to $ 3000 per visit. Balance amount can be carried in the form of store value cards, travelers checks or banker’s draft.

Exceptions to this are

  • Travelers proceeding to Iraq and Libya who can draw foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes and coins not exceeding $ 5000 or its equivalent per visit
  • Travelers 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 $ 250,000) in the form of foreign currency notes or coins.

For travelers going for the Haj / Umrah pilgrimage, full amount of entitlement ($ 250,000) in cash or up to the cash limit as specified by the Haj Committee of India.

Notes: There is no limit on cash under Income Tax while traveling so long as there is a proper explanation of its source.

How much Indian currency can be brought back to India?

A resident of India, who left the country on a temporary visit (to any place other than Nepal and Bhutan) may bring back currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs 25,000.

A person may bring into India from Nepal or Bhutan, currency notes in denomination not exceeding Rs. 100.


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


A person coming into India 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 travelers checks brought in exceeds $ 10,000 or its equivalent and / or the value of foreign currency alone exceeds $ 5,000 or its equivalent, it should be declared at Customs in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), on arrival.

How much forex can you carry when going abroad?

While going abroad, Indian residents can carry an unlimited amount of foreign currency subject to filing of declaration form in case of condition of $ 5000 or $ 10000 prescribed and also it has to be purchased / issued by RBI approved foreign exchange dealers as per norms.

Foreigners leaving from India are allowed to carry foreign currency not exceeding an amount brought by them ie they can take with them the unspent foreign exchange left from the amount declared in Currency declaration form at the time of their arrival in India.

Can you pay by cash full rupee equivalent of foreign exchange being purchased for travel abroad?

Foreign exchange for travel abroad can be purchased from an authorized person against rupee payment in cash below Rs 50,000 / only. However, if the sale of foreign exchange is for more than Rs 50,000, the entire payment should be made by way of a crossed check / banker’s check / pay order / demand draft / debit card / credit card / prepaid card only.

If you’ve got a job abroad …

You can buy foreign exchange up to $ 5,000 on production of letter of employment.

If you’re traveling abroad for medical treatment …

You can buy foreign exchange on the basis of self-certification, up to US $ 50,000 to meet the expenses for medical treatment outside India. Banks are also permitted to release exchange required in excess of US $ 50,000, on the basis of estimate from a doctor or hospital in India or overseas.

You can also buy foreign exchange up to US $ 25,000 per person for meeting boarding / lodging / travel expenses of the patient and also the accompanying attendant on self-certification

If you’re going to study abroad

You can buy foreign exchange up to $ 30,000 or up to the estimate from the institution abroad, whichever is higher, per academic year on the basis of simple documentary evidence indicating the requirement.

What are the best options apart from cash?

According to the RBI, you can use your International Credit Cards / ATM Cards / Debit Cards while on holidays outside India to meet your expenses. The use of ICCs by residents while on visit abroad has been made free from all restrictions, without any item-wise limit within the overall ceiling of the credit card itself. The ICCs cannot be used for purchase of prohibited items eg lottery tickets, banned or proscribed magazines, participation in sweepstakes, payment of call-back services etc

Can you keep forex for future use?

You can indefinitely retain foreign exchange up to US $ 2,000 only in the form of foreign currency notes or travelers’ checks (TCs) for future use. Any foreign exchange in cash in excess of this sum, is required to be surrendered to a bank within 90 days and TCs within 180 days of return. Any amount in excess of US $ 2000 can be credited to RFC (D) account.

How much jewelery can be carried abroad?

Taking personal jewelery out of India is as per the Baggage Rules, governed and administered by Customs Department, Government of India. While no approval of the Reserve Bank is required in this case, approvals, if any, required from Customs Authorities may be obtained. An Indian passenger who has been residing abroad for over one year is allowed to bring jewelery, free of duty in his bonafide baggage up to 20 grams with a value cap of Rs 50,000 / – (in case of a man) or up to 40 grams with a value cap of Rs.1,00,000 / – (in the case of a woman).

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