Foreign Exchange (FAQ's): Back to Services
Below are the frequently asked questions by residents travelling out
of the country. This document seeks to explain the present position in
regard to how much foreign exchange can be drawn from an authorised dealer
for various purposes and the regulations applicable thereto:
Q) Is it necessary for person to obtain permission for undertaking travel abroad?
A) No. Tickets for travel abroad can be freely purchased by residents from
any airline/shipping company or their Agents in India.
Q) Is permission of the Reserve Bank required for purchase of foreign
exchange for travel abroad?
A) No. Authorised dealers viz., banks authorised to deal in foreign
exchange, have been permitted to release foreign exchange for travel
abroad for various purpose subject to certain guidelines. For the
convenience of the public, persons/firms holding full-fledged
money-changer's licences from the Reserve Bank have also been delegated
powers for release of exchange for certain limited purposes.
Q) What are the basic requirements for obtaining foreign exchange for
A) The traveller should possess a valid passport authorising travel to the
countries proposed to be visited and a ticket issued for a journey to
Q) What are the various purposes for which foreign exchange can be drawn
A) A traveller can draw foreign exchange for private visits, business
visits, participation in conferences/seminars, specialised training, study
tour, higher studies, medical treatment or for employment abroad etc.
Q) How many days before the commencement of journey can a traveller draw
A) 60 days. The ticket held by the traveller should be for the journey
commencing not later than 60- days from the date of drawal of foreign
Q) Can foreign exchange for travel abroad be purchased from banks against
rupee payment in cash?
A) A person can purchase foreign exchange for travel abroad against
payment in cash if the rupee equivalent payable by him does not exceed
Rs.50000/-. If the rupee value of foreign exchange exceeds Rs.50000/- the
entire payment should be made by way of crossed cheque drawn on applicants
bank account or the bank account of the firm/company/sponsoring the
visit. Payment in such cases can also be made in the form of a banker's
Q) Can a person get the foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency
A) Foreign exchange can be released in the form of foreign
currency notes/coins upto US $2000/- or its equivalent.
Q) Is there any exception to this rule?
A) Yes. Travellers proceeding to Islamic republic of Iran, Russian
Federation and other Republics of commonwealth of independent states are
released foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes and coins
upto the full entitlement if the traveller so desire. Similarly, for
travel to Iraq or Libya exchange up to 2 weeks can be drawn in the form of
foreign currency notes and coins.
Q) Can a traveller draw any exchange for enroute expenses?
A) Yes. An outgoing traveller can draw foreign currency notes up to US $50
or its equivalent (up to equivalent of indian rupees 100if he is
proceeding to Bangladesh) from an exchange bureau at an airport or an
seaport for his enroute expenses. He can also draw this amount from a city
branch/office of an authorised dealer one month in advance on Production
of a confirmed journey ticket. This will be in addition to the exchange
purchased by him for travel purpose.
Q) Can a traveller remit a part of his foreign exchange entitlement for
his hotel accommodation, tour arrangement etc. without the prior
approval of the |Reserve Bank?
A) Yes. Out of his exchange entitlement a traveller can send advance remittances
up to a reasonable limits through an authorised dealer towards his hotel
accomodation, tour arrangements, etc., to the countries proposed to be
visited by him.
Q) Can a traveller buy tickets in India for surface transportation
A) Yes. A traveller can buy tickets in India for surface transportation
abroad against payment either in rupees or in foreign exchange from
approved agents of overseas rail/ road transport organisations.
Q) Can a traveller buy telephone card in India to be used abroad?
A) Yes. A traveller going abroad other than for employment or emigration
can buy prepaid telephone card in India against payment in rupees
from approved Indian agents of overseas companies.
Q) Can residents hold any foreign currencies with them and take out
currencies held during their visits abroad?
A) Yes. The Reserve Bank has granted general permission to persons
residents in India to hold foreign currencies up US $2000 or to its
equivalent for personal purposes. They are also permitted to take out the
foreign currencies so held during their visits abroad over the foreign
exchange purchased for purposes of travel.
Q) Wheather unspent foreign exchange brought back to India is required to
be surrendered by a traveller?
A) Yes. He can, however, retain foreign currency up to US $2000 or its
equivalent ( including foreign exchange if any, already held by him) for
personal purposes, under the general permission given persons resident in
India to hold foreign currency and surrender the balance to an authorised
dealer or a money changer against payment in rupees.
Q) What is the time limit for surrender of unspent exchange?
A) Unspent exchange brought back to India by a traveller should be
surrendered within 90 days from the date of return if it is in the form of
currency notes. Exchange in the form of travellers cheques can be
surrendered within 180 days.
Q) What is the time limit for surrender of foreign exchange already drawn,
if the journey is cancelled?
A) In the event of cancellation of the journey, foreign exchange drawn by
a traveller should be surrendered within 30 days from the date on which he
comes to know that the foreign exchange drawn cannot be used for the
Q) If the journey is postponed, can a traveller retain the foreign
exchange already drawn, for his travel at a later date?
A) Yes. Provided the postponed journey commences within 60 days from the
date of drawal of foreign exchange.
Q) Can a traveller take with him any Indian currency when he goes abroad?
A) A traveller can take Indian currency notes and coins while going abroad
(other than Nepal) up to Rs. 1000/-. Persons going to Nepal can take
currency notes of the dominations upto Rs 100/- and Indian coins without
Q) How much amount of Indian currency can a traveller bring back while
returning from abroad?
A) Persons returning from Nepal can bring Indian currency other than notes
in the denominations exceeding Rs.100/- without limit. Persons returning
from other countries can bring Indian currency upto Rs.1000/- which was
taken out by them while going on a temperory visit abroad.
Q) No. The Reserve Bank has granted general permission to incoming
travellers to bring foreign currency into India from any place outside
India without limit, provided they declare to the customs authority, on
arrival at the airport/seaport, the particulars of al such foreign
currency brought in on the Currency Declaration Form(CDF). The declaration
is necessary if the aggregate value of the foreign exchange brought in, in
the form of currency notes, bank notes or travellers cheques at any one
time exceeds US $10000 or its equivalent and /or the aggregate value of
currency notes alone exceeds US $2500/- or its equivalent.
Q) Is a resident eligible for foreign exchange for private visits
A) Yes, under the Basic Travel Quota Scheme.
Q) What is Basic Travel Quota Scheme(BTQ)?
A) Under the Basic Travel Quota (BTQ) Scheme, resident Indian citizens are
permitted to purchase foreign exchange up to US $5000 or its equivalent for
undertaking in a calender year one or more private visits to any country
abroad (except Nepal and Bhutan). The foreign exchange can be purchased
directly from any branch of an authorised dealer or from a full-fledged
Q) Who are eligible for drawal of exchange under the scheme?
A)Resident Indian citizens are entitled to draw BTQ of US$5000 per year.
(Please also see answer to the question * given below)
Q) Can a person ask for exchange beyond the specified limit of US $5000
under BTQ in case of need?
Q) Can foreign nationals avail of BTQ?
A) Only foreign nationals permanently resident in India and not availing
of other facilities of remittance of salary, savings etc., can get this
Q) Can a person holding a student visa and proceeding abroad for studies
get exchange under BTQ?
Q)Can travel under BTQ be combined with visits for other purposes also?
A) Yes, travel under BTQ can be combined with visits for business,
conference, seminar, training, study tour, Haj pilgrimage and employment.
Persons emigrating from India and drawing foreign exchange for that
purpose cannot, however, draw additional exchange under BTQ.
Q) Can a traveller avail of BTQ on outbound (one way) ticket also?
Q) Are persons going to neighboring countries by land route eligible for
A) Yes. Travellers going to a neighboring countries like Pakistan,
Bangladesh or Myanmar including those going by land route, can draw
foreign exchange from authorised dealers/full-fledged money-changers.
Q) Is BTQ facility available for more than one visit?
A) Yes, a person can avail of BTQ for more than one visit abroad provided
the total foreign exchange drawn in calender year does not exceed US $5000
or its equivalent.
Q) Can the unspent balance surrendered to an authorised dealer be drawn
again while undertaking a second visit in the same year?
Q) What is the procedure for drawal of foreign exchange for business
A) The sponsoring firm/company/organisation/(the applicant in case of self
employed professionals) should make an application for the release of
exchange to an authorised dealer or an authorised full-fledge
money-changer by a letter in duplicate indicating the name, address,
nationality, passport number, duration, nature of visit to each country,
foreign exchange required and a certificate from the employer stating that
the expenses are being borne by them.
Q) What is the per diem rate at which a traveller can get foreign exchange
for business visit?
A) The scales for business visits are as under:
Scale per diem rate in (US$)
Chief/senior executives like chairman/managing/executive director up to
US$500, others upto $350. However, exchange up to US $5000 can be released
by authorised dealers regardless of the per diem rate and duration of
visit to cover all expenses including entertainment, secretarial etc.
Q) What is the maximum period up to which foreign exchange can be drawn
from an authorised dealer / authorised full-fledged money changer for
business visits abroad?
A) Authorised dealers and full-fledged money changers are empowered to
release exchange for a maximum period of 45 days.
Q) Can exchange for Entertainment allowance be drawn separately?
A) Chief executives of export/ trading/ star trading/ super star trading
houses can draw up to US $5000 per trip towards entertainment expenses.
Officials of other firms/ companies can draw up to US$2000 per trip
towards entertainment expenses.
Q) Can a traveller undertaking business visits against foreign
hospitality draw any foreign exchange for incidental expenses?
A) Yes. Travellers undertaking visits with foreign hospitality can draw
foreign exchange at the rate of US $50 per day for a maximum period of 45
days with a minimum of US $500. Authorised dealers may release exchange at
a higher scale for longer duration provided the need therefore is
Q) Can a traveller draw exchange in excess of the per diem scale for
business etc.,/ incidental expenses or for a period of stay beyond 45 days
without prior permission of the Reserve Bank?
A) Yes. Authorised dealers have been permitted to release excess of the
prescribed scales and /or duration of the visit abroad provided they are
satisfied about the bonafides of the application and the need for release
of exchange in excess of the prescribed scales.
Q) Can travellers make use of International Credit Cards (ICCs) for
meeting their travel expenses abroad?
A) Yes. However, since the use of International Credit cards involves
reimbursement of expenses to the overseas organisation, persons desirious
of using International Credit Cardshave to designate a branch of an
authorised dealer through which the claims received from overseas
organisations will be settled. ICCs can be used by persons going abroad
for any purpose (except for employment / emigration) for all bonafide
personal expenses, including purchase of goods for personal use with
in their foreign exchange entitlement. Import of such goods would be
government by the baggage rules/ Exim Policy in force. Such cards can also
be used by persons going abroad under BTQ.
PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES/SEMINARS
Q) What is the procedure for availing exchange facility for
participation in international conferences/seminars?
A) Applicant should submit to an authorised dealer a letter in duplicate
from the sponsoring institution (from the applicant in cases of
self-employed professionals). The application should indicate the name,
address, nationality nd passport number, duration of visit, foreign
exchange required and a certificate from the employer that the expenses
are being borne by them. A brochure giving full particulars of the
conference/seminar should also be submitted along with the application.
Q) What is the quantum of exchange released for this purpose?
A) Registration Fee Actuals as per brochure Maintenance up to $500 per day
for the chief/ senior executives like chairman, managing/ executive
director, etc. for the duration of the conference/ seminar plus two days.
Others up to US $350 per day for the duration of the conference/ seminar
plus two days.
a) If the exchange asked for does not exceed US $5000, it will be
released by authorised dealers regardless of the duration of the visit and
the per diem rate of exchange.
b) If participation in the conference /seminar is proposed to be combined
with a business visit, exchange will be released only for the actual
number of days of conference/ seminar.
c) If the registration fee is inclusive of maintenance expenses, US $500
only will be released towards incidental expenses.
d) Exchange in excess of the above scales can be released by authorised
dealers after satisfying the need therefore . Specialised training /study
tour/ apprenticeship training.
Q) What is the procedure for availing foreign exchange for specialised
training /study tour abroad?
A) Applicant should submit to an authorised dealer a letter in duplicate
from the sponsoring organisation (from the applicant in cases if
self-employed professionals). The application should indicate the name,
address, nationality, passport number, details of Training/ study tour,
country to bevisited and foreign exchange required along with a letter
from the overseas institution agreeing to provide the necessary facilities
for training / study tour.
Q) How much foreign exchange can be availed for specialised training /
A) Course fee upto US $5000 (applicable to training only). Maintenance
upto US $300 per day for a period upto 30 days.
a) If the course fee is inclusive of maintenance expenses, exchange
will be released towards incidental expenses only at the rate of US
$50 per day for a maximum period of 30 days.
b) If the exchange asked for does not exceed US $5000, it can be released
regardless of the duration of the visit and the per diem rate of exchange.
c) Exchange in excess of the above scales can be released by authorised
dealers after satisfying the need therefor.
Q) Can foreign exchange be drawn for undertaking apprenticeship training
A) Yes. Persons employed in a manufacturing concern and deputed abroad for
apprenticeship training under the collaboration agreement can draw foreign
exchange upto US $2000 per month for a maximum period of 3 months.
Q) How much exchange is admissible where the entire cost of training borne
by overseas organisation?
A) Exchange upto US $500 for a period upto 10 days and at US $50 per day
for a maximum period of 30 days can be obtained for incidental expenses.
Q) What are the criteria for release of foeign exchange for studies
A) Students holding Indian Passports and who have secured admission
in overseas college/ university, educational institution are eligible for
release of exchange for studies abroad. Students securing articleship
offered by firms of Chartered Accountants in the UK are also eligible for
Q) Can a student desiring to go abroad for school education get foreign
Q) What is the procedure for drawal of foreign exchange for studies
A) The student should apply to an authorised dealer in form TRS alongwith
his passport, original certificates (along with certified copies) of
educational qualifications, syllabus, details of the course of study,
tuition fee payable etc., as also the letter of admission (original as
well as certified copy) received from the foreign university/ institution
indicating the date of comencement of course, degree/diploma it leads to
and the duration of the course.
Q) What is the quantum of foreign exchange released for this purpose?
A) Foreign exchange will be released by authorised dealers on the basis of
the actual requirements towards tuition fees, maintenance, books, minor
equipments, etc., as evidenced by documentary evidence. Authorised dealers
will take into account the amount of assistantship/scholarship received by
releasing exchange for studies abroad.
Q) What i the total duration for which exchange is released?
A) Exchange is released for the actual duration of the course as certified
by the overseas university/institution.
Q) Can a student draw exchange for the entire duration of the course in
the beginning itself?
A) No. Exchange is initially released to meet the requirements for 6
months. Exchange for a further period of 6 months is released towards end
of the initial 6 months period on an application from the remitter in India.
Exchange for further periods is released on the basis of letters from the
overseas university / institution confirming that the student is
continuing his studies and giving details such as further duration of the
course , award of scholarship / acceptanceship etc.
Q) Will students receiving partial/ full assistanceship abroad , be
eligible to avail of normal exchange facilities?
A) If a student is in receipt of full assistance from the university /
institution abroad, he can draw foreign exchange only upto US $1500/-
towards initial expenses. If however student is in receipt of partial
assistance from the university/ institution abroad , he is eligible to
draw foreign exchange towards the balance amount required.
Q) Can a student on full scholarships of close relative etc. get any
foreign exchange towards incidental expenses?
A) Yes. He can get foreign exchange upto US $500 towards incidental
Q) In what form exchange is released by authorised dealers?
A) Exchange for maintenance expenses is released in the form of currency
notes upto US $500, traveller's cheque upto US$1500 and the balance in the
form of bank draft payable at the overseas centre. Tuition fee is
released in the form of a draft drawn in favour of the concerned
foreign university / institution.
Q) Can a student holding foreign passport avail of exchange for studying
A) Students resident in India but holding foreign citizenship by virtue of
their berth in a foreign country while their parents were abroad for
assignment/business purpose and subsequently returned to India for
permanent settlement are also eligible for release of exchange through
Q) Can a student who had earlier gone abroad for prosecuting studies
without availing of exchange draw exchange for the balance period of
A) Yes. Provided he holds an Indian passport and produces appropriate
documentary evidence ,indicating that he is continuing studies
Q) What is the procedure for availing exchange facility for medical
A) Application should be made to an authorised dealer in form TRM1 duly
certified by the treating physician/surgeon together with a copy of
passport of the patient and copies of the correspondence with the overseas
Q) What is the quantum of exchange a person can draw for undergoing
medical treatment abroad?
A) For hospitalisation upto the estimate given by their overseas
doctor/hospital. For pre/post US$ 150 per day up to the period recommended
hospitalisation by the treating physician/surgeon but subject to a maximum
of 2 months.
Q) Is a person accompanying the patient as attendant eligible to avail
of foreign exchange facility?
A) Yes, upto US $150 per day for the period of the stay of the patient.
Q) Whether a person who has fallen ill after proceeding abroad on
business etc., visitor is eligible for release of foreign exchange for
A) Yes, such persons should apply to the Reserve Bank with a certificate
in form TRM2 duly signed by the medical practitionar nominated by the
Indian Mission in the country concerned.
Q) Can foreign exchange be released to a person for medical
A) Yes. Authorised dealers can remit upto US$500 for this purpose. (This
is being revised to US$1000).
Q) How much foreign exchange can a person going abroad on employment
A) Upto US $ 2500/-
Q) How much exchange can an emigrating person draw?
A) Upto US $3000 per person/per member of family or the amount required by
the country of emigration subject to production of document evidence in
support thereof from the Mission in India of the concerned country.
Q) Can a person avail of exchange for visits abroad for private
purposes other than under BTQ Scheme?
A) Exchange is not normally granted for undertaking private visits abroad
except under BTQ scheme. In cases where it is essential for a person to
visit abroad for any specific personal reason, Reserve Bank will consider
the request on merits.
Q) Are any exchange facilities granted for undertaking pilgrimages
A) Exchange facilities for undertaking pilgrimages outside India are
granted only for specific pilgrimages.
Persons intending to undertake Haj and Ziarat pilgrimages should approach
the Haj committee at Saboo Siddique Musafir Khana, 1st floor, Lokmanya
Tilak marg, Mumbai - 400 001.
Pilgrims intending to visit shrines in Pakistan should approach Shiromani
Gurudware Prabhandhak Committee.
Similarly,pilgrims intending to undertake the Kailash mansarovar
pilgrimage should approach Ministry of External Affairs, Government Of
India, New Delhi.
Q) What is the procedure for availing of exchange facilities for
undertaking cultural tours abroad?
A) Dance troupes, artistes, etc., who wish to undertake cultural tours
abroad should apply to the Ministry of Human Resource Development
(Department of Education and Culture), Government of India, New Delhi for
necessary approval. Authorised dealers will release exchange on the basis
of the ministry's approval.
Q) What is the procedure for availing exchange facility for
particular in sports events abroad?
A) Applicants wishing to participate in sports events abroad should apply
to the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Government of India, New Delhi for recommmendation.
Authorised dealer will release exchange on the basis o this
Q) Can Indian sports persons undertake training in sports activities
A) Yes. Authorised dealers have been permitted to release exchange for the
purpose on the basis of the terms offered by the overseas parties.