Importing/Exporting Foreign or Indian Currency To/From India
Many people traveling to India or out of India have the following questions:
  • How many Indian rupees can I carry when traveling to India?
  • How many Indian rupees can I carry when traveling outside India?
  • How many US dollars or other foreign currency can I carry when traveling to India?
  • How many US dollars or other foreign currency can I carry when traveling outside India?

This article clarifies the most recent rules as of 2016.

Official RBI Circular

There are many web sites that display outdated information where they indicate that only Indian residents can carry ₹ 7,500 or ₹ 10,000 and non-residents are not allowed to carry any Indian Rupees. Unfortunately, even Indian government web sites, including the RBI web site and Customs web sites are not updated regularly to reflect the current amounts. Therefore, there is a lot of confusion among travelers.

The following rules are the same for all passengers, unless otherwise noted specifically.

Import of Indian Currency into India
Any passenger (resident of India, non-resident of India or foreign citizen excluding citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh) traveling to India can carry up to ₹ 25,000 into India without making any declaration. You can certainly carry any higher amount, but you have to complete Indian Customs Declaration Form. (Note: The sample form is an older version that shows that you have to declare for more than ₹10,000 but the correct amount is ₹25,000).

Most residents of India traveling abroad and most NRIs would carry some Indian currency with them. Of course, they don't need Indian Rupees while abroad. However, they need it as soon as they land at the Indian airport. They can use it for many purposes such as for hotel stay, taxi/auto or other transportation such as bus or train fare, buying a SIM card, or having snacks at the Indian airport while in domestic transit.

Typically, the currency exchange locations in the airport don't have a good exchange rate. Carrying Rupees would help you avoid the need to look for an ATM as soon as you land in India, and also help avoid having to go to the bank or some other currency exchange location immediately after arriving in India.

Import of Foreign Currency into India
Any passenger can bring any amount of foreign currency into India, without any limit.

However, you must fill a Currency Declaration Form (CDF) and declare the currency in the following cases:
  • The aggregate value of foreign currency notes exceeds US $5,000 or equivalent OR
  • The aggregate value of foreign currency in the form of currency notes, bank notes or travelers checks exceeds US $10,000 or equivalent.

Export of Indian Currency from India
Any passenger (resident of India, non-resident of India or foreign citizen excluding citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh) traveling outside of India (other than to Nepal or Bhutan) can carry up to ₹ 25,000 out of India.

Even though Indian Rupees would not be of any use abroad, it can really be very useful when returning to India, as described above.

Earlier limits for Indian Residents only (not allowed at all for non-Indian Residents):
  • Before 2009: ₹ 5,000 per person
  • 2009: Increased to ₹ 7,500 per person
  • September 2013 : Increased to ₹ 10,000 per person

Jun. 3, 2014: Onwards, ₹ 25,000 per person for almost all travelers, as described above.

Export of Foreign Currency from India
Any passenger can carry any amount of foreign currency out of India, without any limit.

However, you must fill a Currency Declaration Form (CDF) and declare the currency in the following cases:
  • The aggregate value of foreign currency notes exceeds US $5,000 or equivalent OR
  • The agree grate value of foreign currency in the form of currency notes, bank notes or travelers checks exceeds US $10,000 or equivalent.