You should buy foreign exchange ONLY from authorized dealers. RBI has given authority to some dealers, banks and Full Fledged Money Changers to deal in foreign currency. They charge a commission for buying and selling foreign exchange. Forex dealers charge lower commission compared to banks. There will be some private dealers who might charge lower for the foreign exchange but they could be illegal. You should not buy from foreign residents as well.
2. How much foreign currency am I allowed?
The amount of foreign currency that you can take depends on the purpose of our visit.
- If you are going on a private visit (e.g. Tourism), you are allowed to obtain maximum foreign currency worth USD 10,000 per calendar year.
- If you are going for a business trip, you are allowed to take foreign currency up to worth USD 25,000 for one calendar year. Business trip includes attending conferences, seminars, training etc.
- If you are going for medical treatment, you can take up to USD 100,000 from authorized banks. You can take more provided you have an estimate from the doctor/hospital abroad.
- If you are going as a student, you can take foreign exchange up to the amount indicated by the educational institute that you are going to join.
- If you are going for employment or are emigrating to a new country, an amount up to USD 100,000 is allowed to be taken.
You can use other means to meet your expenses as well. You can use international credit cards for expenses incurred abroad. The limit is fixed by the card issuing organization. International debit cards can be used in shops, restaurants etc. The exchange rate used will be the rate that prevails at that time. You will have to incur a currency conversion charge.
You can use prepaid forex cards as well. They are loaded with the cash you have asked for. There is no conversion charge unlike money changers or debit and credit cards.
It is good to use credit cards, debit cards or prepaid forex cards so that the risk of carrying so much cash can be avoided.
4. What kind of documentation should I have?
You normally require to take your passport to get foreign exchange. You should insist on a receipt for exchange received.
Hope this information helps you in your preparation to travel abroad. Have a safe trip!
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