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Forex Facilities for Residents

Forex Facilities for Residents

The legal framework for administration of foreign exchange transactions in India is provided by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), which came into force with effect from June 1, 2000, all transactions involving foreign exchange have been classified either as capital or current account transactions.

All transactions undertaken by a resident that do not alter his / her assets or liabilities, including contingent liabilities, outside India are current account transactions.

In terms of Section 5 of the FEMA, persons resident in India1 are free to buy or sell foreign exchange for any current account transaction except for those transactions for which drawal of foreign exchange has been prohibited by Central Government, such as remittance out of lottery winnings, remittance of income from racing/riding, etc., or any other hobby, remittance for purchase of lottery tickets, banned / proscribed magazines, football pools, sweepstakes, etc., payment of commission on exports made towards equity investment in Joint Ventures/ Wholly Owned Subsidiaries abroad of Indian companies, remittance of dividend by any company to which the requirement of dividend balancing is applicable, payment of commission on exports under Rupee State Credit Route, except commission up to 10% of invoice value of exports of tea and tobacco and payment related to “call back services” of telephones. Foreign Exchange Management (Current Account Transactions) Rules, 2000 – Notification [GSR No.381(E)] dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time, is available in the Official Gazette as well as, as an Annex to our Master Circular on Miscellaneous Remittances from India-Facilities for Residents available at our website www.mastercirculars.rbi.org.in.

Travel Related Matters

Who are authorized by the Reserve Bank to sell foreign exchange for travel purposes?

Foreign exchange can be purchased from any authorised person, such as Authorised Dealer (AD) Category-I bank and AD Category II. Full-Fledged Money Changers (FFMCs) are also permitted to release exchange for business and private visits.

Who is an Authorized Dealer?

An Authorised Dealer is any person specifically authorized by the Reserve Bank under Section 10(1) of FEMA, 1999, to deal in foreign exchange or foreign securities (the list of ADs is available on www.rbi.org.in ).

How much foreign exchange can one buy when traveling abroad on private visits to a country outside India?

For private visits abroad, other than to Nepal and Bhutan, viz., for tourism purposes, etc., any resident can obtain foreign exchange up to an aggregate amount of USD 10,000, from an Authorised Dealer, in any one financial year, on self-declaration basis, irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year. This limit of USD 10,000 or its equivalent per financial year for private visits can also be availed of by a person who is availing of foreign exchange for travel abroad for any purposes, such as, for employment or immigration or studies.

No foreign exchange is available for visit to Nepal and/or Bhutan for any purpose.

A resident Indian is allowed to take INR of denomination of Rs.100 or lesser denomination to Nepal and Bhutan without limit.

How much foreign exchange is available for a business trip?

For business trips abroad to countries, other than to Nepal and Bhutan, a person can avail of foreign exchange up to USD 25,000 per visit. Visits in connection with attending of an international conference, seminar, specialised training, study tour, apprentice training, etc., are treated as business visits. Release of foreign exchange exceeding USD 25,000 for business travel abroad (other than to Nepal and Bhutan), irrespective of the period of stay, requires prior permission from the Reserve Bank.

No release of foreign exchange is admissible for any kind of travel to Nepal and Bhutan or for any transaction with persons resident in Nepal.

Investments in Bhutan are permitted in Indian Rupees as well as in freely convertible currencies. If investment is made in freely convertible currency/ies, sale/winding up proceeds are required to be repatriated to India in freely convertible currencies

How much foreign currency can be taken while buying foreign exchange for travel abroad?

Travellers going to all countries other than (a) and (b) below are allowed to purchase foreign currency notes / coins only up to USD 3000. Balance amount can be carried in the form of travellers cheque or banker’s draft. Exceptions to this are (a) travellers proceeding to Iraq and Libya who can draw foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes and coins not exceeding USD 5000 or its equivalent; (b) travellers proceeding to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation and other Republics of Commonwealth of Independent States who can draw entire foreign exchange in the form of foreign currency notes or coins. For travellers proceeding to the Haj/Umrah pilgrimage, full amount of BTQ entitlement in cash or up to the cash limit specified by the Haj Committee of India, may be released by the ADs and FFMCs.

Forex Facilities for Residents

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