Things NRI should know about how to Exchange Currency in India?

How to exchange foreign currency when you are travelling to India?

If you have no clue how to go about doing it, let us look at the various ways of currency exchange for NRIs in India.

Any individual is permitted to bring in foreign currency into India. However, there are a few restrictions imposed on the amount.

You must declare foreign currency to the Indian Customs authorities using the Currency Declaration Form if you bring more than USD 5,000 cash or its equivalent in another currency or is more than USD 10,000 or its equivalent in any other currency either in cash, a forex card or traveller’s cheques.

  • Exchange through banks: 

    You could exchange your foreign currency in the Indian bank where you have opened a NRO Account. For instance, HDFC Bank provides this walk-in facility to all its NRI clients in the form of NRI banking services. The bank charges a nominal transaction fee. At times for verification purposes, the bank may ask for identity proof and address proof. If you carry out a currency exchange in India in this way, the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements should be up-to-date.
  • Approved money exchangers: 

    Another way to exchange your money in India is through a RBI-approved money changer who either is an Authorised Dealer Category II or has a Full Fledged Money Changers licence.

    The advantages of these approved money exchanges are that you do not need to have an account with them to sell your foreign currency. Since they are lots of dealers compared to banks, they may offer competitive exchange rates. There is a wide range of options, so you can choose a money changer that offers the best price. However, you may need to provide certain documents to verify your NRI status and carry out the transaction.
  • ATM withdrawals: 

    The simplest means for currency exchange in India is through an ATM. You could use your ATM Debit Card of the country of residence to withdraw the required amount. Banks may charge an exchange rate transaction fee as well as a service fee when using your ATM card overseas. This is a secure and straightforward means to withdraw a specific amount each time.
  • Direct money transfers: 

    Nowadays, banks offer the facility to transfer direct funds to your home country before commencement of your travel. Using NetBanking and MobileBanking, it is easier to transfer money from one bank account to another.
  • Comparison of exchange rates:

    This is an essential point an NRI should keep in mind for foreign currency exchange in India. Before you begin your travel to India, you should compare the exchange rates and service fees charged by the banks and money changers. By doing this, you will be able to find the best option for you and get the best value for your currency.
  • Documentation: 

    When you exchange foreign currency through your bank or any money changer, you are required to provide them with you KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation. RBI has instructed all banking institutions and authorised money changers to ensure the customer’s identity and address proof.

You’ll need any one of these documents for sale of foreign currency in India:

- Indian passport --  this is obligatory for any transaction over INR 25,000

- PAN card

- Aadhaar card

- Copy of driving license

- Overseas address proof (utility bill, foreign driving licence, etc.)

These are some of the things an NRI should know about how to exchange currency in India.

Looking to open an NRI Account? Click here to get started!

Migrating to India soon? Read more on how to change your NRI investments in India.

* The information provided in this article is generic in nature and for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances.