Taking cash in or out of India? Read this.

TransferWise
07.10.18
3 minute read

If you’ve never considered a trip to India, you should think again. From the food to the stunning religious monuments, India has plenty to see and experience. But regardless of your reasons for visiting, the reality is still that there are restrictions on how much cash you can take in or out of India. Read on to learn what you need to know about carrying cash through customs.

How much cash can you bring into India? What are the limits?

Importing Indian rupees isn't allowed for foreigners. Residents of India are allowed to carry up to Rs. 25,000 though. There’s no limit, however, to how much foreign currency you can bring into India. Although, you will have to declare it if the amount exceeds US$5,000 in notes and coins, or US$10,000 in notes, coins and traveller’s cheques.

What are the penalties if you bring in too much cash to India?

Breaking customs rules in India can result in having your cash confiscated, being fined, or, in serious cases, even being arrested and prosecuted.

What qualifies as cash anyway?

Coins and banknotes in any world currency count as cash. Traveller’s cheques also count toward your cash total.

Countries/Regions from which a declaration isn't needed if you’re travelling to India

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering India, if the amount is US$5,000 or more in coins and notes, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes and traveller’s cheques.

Countries from where declaration is needed if you’re travelling to India

Travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when leaving India, if the amount is US$5,000 or more in coins and notes, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes and traveller’s cheques.

Declaring cash at your arrival

Indian Customs Declaration Forms are available from customs officers at international airports and seaports. They may be handed out on planes or cruise ships before you land in India, but if not, they can be picked up at the airport as you make your way through customs. You can also download the form here and fill it out ahead of time.

How much cash can you take out of India?

Exporting Indian rupees is strictly prohibited for non-Indian residents. Residents of India can travel abroad with up to Rs. 25,000. There’s no limit to how much of a foreign currency you can take out of India, but if it’s US$5,000 or more in banknotes and coins, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes and traveller’s cheques, it will have to be declared. It’s also important to remember that the country you’re going to may have its own rules about how much cash you can bring in. Make sure to do your research depending on the country you’re headed to.

Exchanging currency in cash is very costly

Exchanging foreign currency in cash for Indian rupees is probably not the cheapest way to pick up cash for your trip. Using an exchange service, even if it advertises no fees, often means you’re paying more for a marked up exchange rate. The cheapest way to get cash in most countries is to use your debit card to withdraw cash in the local currency from a local ATM. You may be charged an ATM fee, but you won’t have to pay for an unfavorable exchange rate.

Keep in mind that whether you’re bringing cash to India from your home country or withdrawing it once you arrive, it’s never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash with you while you’re visiting a foreign country.

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Hopefully, with these tips in hand, your trip to India will go off without a hitch. Safe travels!

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