Indian Customs Rules For Carrying Cash (2023 Guide)

Indian Customs Rules For Carrying Cash

With the number of Indians travelling abroad at its highest level, many of us will have to decide how much cash to carry on our international flights. Even though it is safer to carry money as a credit or debit card, there are some situations where we have to keep some currency notes for our day-to-day expenses.

Indian Customs Cash Limit 2023

There are specific guidelines by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the maximum limit of cash that can be carried through Indian airports by travellers including residents, NRIs and foreign tourists.

This article explains the Indian Customs rules for carrying cash as well as the cash limit allowed at Indian airports (Indian Rupees and Foreign Currency) while travelling to and from India.

Cash Limit on Indian Currency At Indian Airports

According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Customs (CBDTC) guidelines, a resident of India who is returning from a visit abroad is allowed to bring in or take out Indian currency up to Rs 25,000.

NOTE: A person coming to India from Nepal or Bhutan may bring Indian currency notes only in denominations not exceeding Rs 100 (which means currency notes of Rs 200, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 are not allowed).

Traveller TypeIndian RupeesForeign Currency
Indian residents returning from a visit abroad Rs 25,000Unlimited (see condition 1 below)
Indian residents going abroadRs 25,000Unlimited (see condition 2 below)
Foreigners* or NRI coming to India Rs 25,000Unlimited (see condition 1 below)
Foreigners* or NRI going back from IndiaRs 25,000Not more than what was bought in by them
Currency allowance during travel to and from India

* If the traveller is a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh or coming from and going to either of the countries, carrying Indian currency is not allowed.

Condition 1: Passengers carrying foreign currency have to fill up a Currency Declaration Form (CDF) before Custom officers in the following cases:

  • Where the value of foreign currency notes exceeds US$ 5,000 or equivalent.
  • Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeds US$ 10,000 or equivalent.
Foreign Currency ValueDeclaration Required
Foreign Currency value less than US$ 5,000No
Foreign Currency value equal to or more than US$ 5,000Yes
The total value of Foreign Exchange is equal to or more than US$ 10,000Yes
Conditions when currency declaration is required

Condition 2: Foreign currency taken out of India has to be purchased/issued by RBI-approved/authorized foreign exchange dealer as per norms.

Exceptions Allowed With RBI Permission

According to Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020, “the Reserve Bank may, on an application made to it and on being satisfied that it is necessary to do so, allow any person to take or send out of India to any country or bring into India from any country currency notes of Government of India and /or of Reserve Bank of India subject to such terms and conditions as the Reserve Bank may stipulate.” (source)

Foreign Currency

Cash Limit on Foreign Currency At Indian Airports

According to CBDTC, any person (Resident, NRI or Tourist) can bring into India, from a place outside India, foreign currencies without any limit (subject to declaration limit).

Traveller TypeMaximum Limit
Resident, NRI or Tourist bringing Foreign Currency to IndiaUnlimited (see condition 1 above)
Resident taking Foreign Currency out of IndiaUnlimited (see condition 2 above)
NRI or Tourist taking Foreign Currency out of IndiaNot more than what was bought in by them
Foreign currency limit while travelling to and from India

Passengers can also use the ATITHI app to file a declaration of dutiable items as well as currency with Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.

Currency Limit When Going Abroad From India

Indian residents travelling abroad can take Indian currency notes (Indian rupees) not exceeding Rs. 25,000. Indian residents who went outside can also bring back Indian currency notes not exceeding Rs. 25,000.

Non-Residents, tourists including foreign citizens (except citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh),

  1. may take outside India currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 25,000 per person *
  2. may bring into India currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 25,000 per person *

*or such other amount and subject to such conditions as notified by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time.

How much money we can carry on international flights from India?

Indian residents traveling abroad can take foreign currency without any limit. This is as long as the same has been purchased or issued by an RBI approved/authorized foreign exchange dealer as per the norms.

Tourists or NRIs while leaving India are allowed to take with them foreign currency not exceeding an amount brought in by them i.e. unspent foreign exchange left over from the amount declared in the Currency Declaration Form at the time of their arrival in India.

Currency Declaration Form India
Currency Declaration Form Sample

Important Tips On Currency Declaration Form

In case a visitor to India does not wish to encash all the foreign exchange declared on arrival they should retain the Currency Declaration Form with them for production to Indian Customs at the time of their departure from India to enable them to take with them the unutilised balance.

No declaration is required for bringing in foreign exchange/currency not exceeding US$ 5,000 in currency notes, or its equivalent. This is also applicable to foreign exchange in the form of currency notes, bank notes or traveller’s cheque not greater than US$ 10,000 or its equivalent.

Generally, tourists can take out of India with them at the time of their departure foreign exchange/ currency not exceeding the above amount.

How much cash can I carry on a domestic flight in India?

There is no specific limit on the amount of cash that can be carried on a domestic flight in India. However, you are responsible to provide a valid reason and source (with proof) for carrying cash more than INR 200,000 (Rupees 2 lakhs).

Please note that income tax laws in India prohibit any cash transaction exceeding INR 200,000. Recently, there have been incidents of domestic travellers being caught with cash exceeding this limit.

Foreign Currency Limit For NRI

An NRI coming into India from abroad can bring foreign exchange without any limit.

In case, the total value of foreign currency notes, traveller’s cheques, etc. exceed US$ 10,000 or its equivalent and/ or the value of foreign currency exceeds US$ 5,000 in currency notes or its equivalent, it should be declared to the Customs Authorities at the Airport in the Currency Declaration Form, on arrival in India.

Foreign Currency Limit for Medical Treatment Abroad

To meet medical treatment expenses outside India, you can purchase foreign currency self-certification for up to US$ 50,000. Banks may also release exchange for amounts above US$ 50,000 if they receive estimates from doctors or hospitals in India or overseas.

Also, foreign exchange of up to US$ 25,000 is available for the patient and accompanying attendant on self-certification in order to meet boarding/lodging/travel costs.

Foreign Currency Limit for Studying Abroad

The maximum amount of foreign exchange you can buy per academic year is US$ 30,000 or the estimate from the institution abroad, whichever is higher. There must be documentary evidence indicating the requirement.

Important Tips on How To Avoid Currency Issues at Airport

  • If you are bringing foreign currency (in big amounts) from abroad, fill up the Currency Declaration form, get it stamped by Customs and keep it with you while returning.
  • If you are buying foreign currency from India, buy from an authorised dealer or bank and keep the transaction receipts with you.
  • On any travel, keep less than Rs 25,000 in Indian Rupees. Know the additional restrictions if you are travelling to and from Nepal or Bhutan.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much foreign currency can I carry to India?

There is no limit on the foreign currency that you can carry to India. However, you need to file a declaration if the currency value exceeds USD 5,000 or the total foreign exchange exceeds USD 10,000.

How much Indian currency can I carry outside India?

When going abroad, Indian residents, NRIs or Foreigners (except citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh) are allowed to carry Indian currency notes of up to Rs 25,000.

Do I have to pay any tax on the foreign currency being imported to India?

There is no tax on the foreign currency you are importing to India. You just need to file a declaration if the currency value is above USD 5,000 or foreign exchange is above USD 10,000.

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Reference: CBEC Customs Guide for Travellers, Reserve Bank of India Circular No. 45/2015, RBI Notification No. FEMA 6 (R)/2015-RB

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114 thoughts on “Indian Customs Rules For Carrying Cash (2023 Guide)”

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  1. Bhandari Lal Sharma

    Hello sir,
    One of my friend from UK came to India who was carrying a demand draft of worth 50000 dollars. The flight landed on 07-09-2023. The customs people Firstly contacted me to inform the arrival. At the same time the demand from me Rupees 49900/- to allow her to enter to India. After that the customs lady again call me telling that she is carring DD of worth
    foreign currency of 50000/- the value of which is approx Rupees 47,00,000/-.
    Again customs lady demand from 99000/- assured me that they will allow to the UK visitor to India.
    At the same time she assured me that after said amount is paid, they will allow the UK visitor to enter to India. As a courtesy I paid RS. 49900.00+99000.00+ 15000.00 (one day lounge charges at Mumbai international Airport) = total Rupees 163900.00 .
    The interesting thing is that the account details on which they asked payment from me, belong to a lady Sabita Das’s personal account number :-
    ((Account name: Sabita Das
    Account number: 0259104000260466
    Ifsc code: IBKL0000259
    pan: HZDPD0528M
    address: barddhaman
    Idbi bank.))
    Now custom lady Pooja call me and told me that the visitor has not produced Income Tax clearance certificate, for which if you Rupees 1,75,000/- , we release the visitor.
    Since I had transferred the huge ammount, I refused to customs lady that I am not able to make the payment as you are charging with us. I ask the customs lady to send the visitor back to UK. It is a talk of 08-09-2023.
    Now I donot know whether they had returned the visitor back to UK, as vistor has Neither access to Mumbai international Airport to talk or chat on WhatsApp Nor Customs lady picking my phone call.
    I humbly request you to explain me please what is happening? Is it fair with the foreign visitors who are our welcomed guests.
    What the customs rule says??
    Please guide me regarding this situation.
    Can I get back my Amount paid to Mumbai international Airport customs people PERSONAL ACCOUNT?
    Thanks & regards

  2. Hi
    I am travelling to India by next week from UK, I have saved as cash some INR2000 denominations, I have more than 2 lakhs with me, None of the FOREX is accepting the denominations due to recent announcements of withdrawal of Rs 2000. Will it is ok to carry to India to deposit in India bank accounts?
    Other question to you is ,I understand only Rs25000 is allowed to carry according to Customs Rule to India by NRI’s.
    In this case, I shall declare Indian rupees and take as much I can?
    I appreciate your response.
    Gobinath S

    1. Officially , you are allowed to bring in only Rs.25000 per person. But many travellers have told me that because of withdrawal of Rs.2000 note & that RBI has made no arrangement for people who have these notes & are living overseas, the customs at Indian airports are generally relaxed about this issue. But if you declare them, you may have a problem.

  3. soumitra choudhury

    I shall be travelling to Nepal. Credit/Debit cards issued to us in India are not permissible for use in Nepal and Bhutan as specifically mentioned on cards. I understand I can carry a maximum of Rs.25000/- in Indian currency. How then am I supposed to meet my expenses in Nepal if they exceed Rs.25000/- ??

  4. My question is filing declaration above $5K and total 10K monitory policy is for per person , or per adult person or per family?
    If an NRI coming to India with Family
    Say husband & wife, 3 kids (5 year, 9 year & 13 year)
    Can we carry maximum of 5K * 5 =25K
    5K * 2 =10k

  5. If foreigner comes india with DD more then 20k us doller so any charge will taken for FRRO certificate like 1.2 lakh approx and then for police verification they are asking 75 thousand and all this money they want in indian rupees so please someone reply that is this a rule in india ? And how will the person from other country will arrange it in indian currency

  6. If foreigner comes india with DD more then 20k us doller so any charge will taken for FRRO certificate like 1.2 lakh approx and then for police verification they are asking 75 thousand and all this money they want in indian rupees so please someone reply that is this a rule in india ? And how will the person from other country will arrange it in indian currency

  7. If foreigner comes india with DD chq and it is more than 10k us$ so is there taken charge for FRO certificate as amount 1.2 lakh and then for police verification approx 1 lakh rupees and all money they want in indian rupees . Pls someone answer it ,is it a rule here in india ? And if yes so how will the foreign person will arrange it the changes money in indian rupee pls some one reply its urgent

  8. Biplab Kumar Biswas

    I am first time in foreign. Now I’m in Gabon. How much can I carry US$ while returning to India.

  9. Pls i need answer..
    If a person from London bringing 300000 ponds bringing through demand draft.. what is the proper procedure in Indian any airport??

    1. I also want the ans for same question only difference in currency about 40k dollar ,if some one give answer you then please send answer me also because my 2 lakh cash was invested in this and then after they are not releasing that person and they want more 75 thousand rupees for police verification so please give me answer if someone vive you answer

  10. Gobinath Sureshkumar

    I couldnt see any link to fill and upload , is there any online link to fill and submit . plz advise

  11. Can a foreigner (Not a NRI) can bring Indian Rupees to India? Although the article says that foreigners could bring 25000 Indian rupees, the travellers guide in Indian Custom Department says it is prohibitted to do so. Please advice.

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