Services

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:

GENERAL


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 travel abroad?
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 those countries.

Q) What are the various purposes for which foreign exchange can be drawn by traveller?
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 foreign exchange?
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 exchange.

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 cheque/payorder/demand draft.

Q) Can a person get the foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes/coins?
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 abroad?
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 travel.

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 any limit.   

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.

PRIVATE VISITS

Q) Is a resident eligible for foreign exchange for private visits abroad?
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 money-changer (FFMC).

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?
A) No.

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 facility.

Q) Can a person holding a student visa and proceeding abroad for studies get exchange under BTQ?
A) Yes.

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?
A) Yes.

Q) Are persons going to neighboring countries by land route eligible for BTQ facility?
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?
A) No.

BUSINESS VISITS
Q) What is the procedure for drawal of foreign exchange for business visits abroad?
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 established.

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.

NOTES

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 / study tour?
A) Course fee upto US $5000 (applicable to training only). Maintenance upto US $300 per day for a period upto 30 days.

NOTES
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 also?
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.

STUDIES ABROAD

Q) What are the criteria for release of foeign exchange for studies abroad?
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 the facility.

Q) Can a student desiring to go abroad for school education get foreign exchange?
A) Yes.

Q) What is the procedure for drawal of foreign exchange for studies abroad?
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 expenses.

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 abroad?
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 authorised dealers.

Q) Can a student who had earlier gone abroad for prosecuting studies without availing of exchange draw exchange for the balance period of studies?
A) Yes. Provided he holds an Indian passport and produces appropriate documentary evidence ,indicating that he is continuing studies abroad. 

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Q) What is the procedure for availing exchange facility for medical treatment abroad?
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 doctor/hospital.

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 medical treatment?
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 checkup/consultation abroad?
A) Yes. Authorised dealers can remit upto US$500 for this purpose. (This is being revised to US$1000).

EMPLOYMENT?EMIGRATION ABROAD

Q) How much foreign exchange can a person going abroad on employment avail of?
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.

OTHER PURPOSES

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 outside India?
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 recommendation.

Q) Can Indian sports persons undertake training in sports activities abroad?
A) Yes. Authorised dealers have been permitted to release exchange for the purpose on the basis of the terms offered by the overseas parties.

                                                                                                     Back to Services

All Rights Reserved 2002
www.guptatravels.com