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How Much USD Can I Carry From India?

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Dec 16, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

Are you wondering how much USD you can carry from India without facing any restrictions? Perhaps you're curious if there's a limit to much cash you can carry on an international flight.

Fortunately for you, you're generally quite free to carry as much USD (or another foreign currency) as you like from India. However, you should be mindful that, in some instances, you may be required to declare the cash upon arriving at your destination.

In this guide, we answer the question of how many dollars you can carry from India, the alternatives to carrying cash when travelling abroad, and what the declaration requirements are in the US, Canada, and the UK.

How Many Dollars Can I Carry From India?

Strictly speaking, there's no limit to the amount of US dollars you can carry into, or out of, India. There is one catch, however — all foreign exchange exceeding $5,000 in cash or $10,000 in cash and traveller's checks combined will need to have been declared in India.

Because in order to carry USD out of India, the cash forex will need to have been brought into the country at some stage, the customs rules apply here still. Here's how the RBI puts it when it comes to bringing foreign banknotes into India:

"You can bring into India foreign exchange without any limit. If, however, the value of foreign currency in cash exceeds US$ 5,000 and/or the cash plus TCs exceed US$ 10,000 it should be declared to the customs authorities at the airport in the currency declaration form (CDF), on arrival in India."

However, if you're travelling out of India with cash forex exceeding this amount, it'll presumably have been declared already, meaning India's customs requirements shouldn't affect you in the end.

On the other hand, though, foreign exchange requirements in your destination country could require that the USD (or other foreign currency) that you carry from India will have to be declared on arrival. A few notable countries to which this applies include:

Destination

Declaration-Free Maximum¹

More Information

USA

USD 10,000

Customs & Border Protection (🡕)

Canada

CAD 10,000

Border Services Agency (🡕)

UK

GBP 10,000

GOV.UK (🡕)

EU

EUR 10,000

Taxation and Customs Union (🡕)

UAE

AED 100,000

Federal Customs Authority (🡕)

Philippines

PHP 50,000

GOV.UK (🡕)

Australia

AUD 10,000

AUSTRAC (🡕)

Pakistan

USD 10,000

Federal Board of Revenue (🡕)

Last updated: 15/12/2021
¹ Per person, per trip

Finally, it's also worth noting that declaring forex is generally quite easy (more on this later). This means that the declaration-free limit isn't a huge restriction in the end, and for all intents and purposes, you're largely free to carry any amount of USD out of India.

Alternatives To Carrying Cash From India

If you'd like to avoid taking stacks of cash forex with you when leaving India, a great alternative is to use a forex card.

Unlike debit and credit cards, forex cards are prepaid cards, meaning you need to load a balance onto them in order to spend. However, they're usually far cheaper to use abroad than debit and credit cards are because they're specialised for overseas spending. Furthermore, because they're PIN-protected, they're also significantly safer than cash.

In India, forex cards are offered at most banks and specialist forex companies and come in two kinds:

  1. Single-currency forex card: A prepaid card with a single balance in a desired foreign currency.
  2. Multi-currency forex card: A prepaid card with multiple balances in many (up to 22+) different foreign currencies.

In this section, we'll be talking about multi-currency forex cards, but the same principles apply to single-currency forex cards too. Here are some of the key features of multi-currency forex cards:

  • Low issuance, cash withdrawal, and reload costs;
  • Currency conversion costs can be dodged when spending abroad;
  • Comes with global customer support;
  • Some cards come with reward points and airport lounge access.

Still, carrying some cash with you could make sense in some instances because it's useful to spend in cash over a card or to use a combination of both in many countries. The good news is that forex cards can help here, too, as many allow low-cost ATM withdrawals from foreign networks overseas.

warning icon

Due to RBI rules, the balance on your forex card shouldn't exceed USD 2,000 or equivalent.

You can check to see if your bank offers a forex card (most Indian banks do), but the ones we've compared in the table below are the best value-for-money according to our research.

Finally, if you (or somebody you know) lives in the UK, US, or Europe, then the Wise Multi-Currency Account is by far the cheapest forex card for use in dozens of countries across the globe and comes equipped with bank details in several countries too. (Sadly, this product isn't yet available to Indian residents at the time of writing.)

Multi-Currency Forex Card Charge Comparison

In the table below, we compare the multi-currency forex cards of BookMyForex and Thomas Cook (two low-cost forex specialists) with those of a few of the most competitive Indian banks: ICICI Bank, YES Bank, and Axis Bank.

BookMyForex

Thomas Cook

ICICI Bank

YES Bank

Axis Bank

Name

BookMyForex Travel Card (🡕)

Thomas Cook Borderless Multi Currency Prepaid (🡕)

ICICI Bank Forex Prepaid Card (🡕)

YES Bank Multi-Currency Travel Card (🡕)

Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card (🡕)

Currencies

USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, SGD, NZD, HKD, AED, SAR, CHF, JPY, SEK, THB, ZAR, DKK

USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, SGD, AED, CHF, THB

USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, SGD, NZD, HKD, AED, SAR, CHF, JPY, SEK, THB, ZAR

USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, SGD, NZD, HKD, AED, SAR, CHF, JPY, SEK, THB, ZAR

USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, SGD, NZD, HKD, AED, SAR, CHF, JPY, SEK, THB, ZAR, DKK

Card Type

Visa

Visa

Mastercard

Visa

Discover

Conversion

3.5%

4.2%

3.5%

2.75%

3.5%

Issuance

INR 0

INR 150

INR 150

INR 125

INR 300

Reload

INR 0

INR 100

INR 100

INR 100

INR 100

Inactivity¹

USD 5

USD 10

USD 10

INR 0

INR 0

Payment

INR 0

INR 0

INR 0

INR 0

INR 0

Withdrawal

USD 2

USD 2

USD 2

USD 2

USD 2.25

Last updated: 16/12/2021
¹ Per 12-month period since last transaction

Is There Any Cash Declaration Form in Case I Carry USD From India?

Whether you choose to use a forex card or not, if you decide to carry dollars from India, you may need to declare the cash on arrival in your destination country.

As per the list we saw earlier, if you're carrying in more than the declaration-free limit, you'll need to follow the following declaration procedures:

  • United States: You'll be required to complete a FinCEN Form 105, which can be printed and completed by hand here or filled in electronically by answering the questions here.
  • Canada: Upon arriving in Canada, you'll be required to declare your cash at customs (e.g. with a border services officer or at an inspection kiosk). You can also complete a CBSA Declaration Card, although this isn't mandatory if you plan to speak to somebody at customs.
  • United Kingdom: At customs, follow the Goods to Declare or Red Channel signs and notify a customs officer that you wish to declare cash.

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