Currency issues for India

Sep 23rd, 2009, 07:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 26
Currency issues for India

We were planning on taking Rupees from the US in to India. I am finding out that NO Rupees can be brought in to India. Is this true?

Also, we have one day in Kolkata before going for a week in Bhutan. If we get Rupees and take them to Bhutan, will we be allowed to bring them back in to India after our time in Bhutan?

We just want to abide by their laws with the least hassle.

Stainless is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
While technically, there is a rule on the statute books whichprohibits foreign nationals from bringing Rupees into India, as a practical matter, you can do so. I do it practically every month. India lifted the vast majority of its foreign exchange restrictions in about 2004. The ones which remain are mostly to restrict outflows or Rupees by Indian residents and businesses.

This is not like bringing Cuban cigars into the US. It is more like bringing a copy Rolex into the US. Both are illegal. But the first will get you into bring trouble, while the second is honored more in the breach than the observance.

While there is still a statute on the books which restricts foreign tourists from bring in Rupees, I can assure you that it is no way aimed at, and Indian Customs is completely uninterested in, the typical casual tourist in India. (The statute is on the books to catch people who are bring in Rupees in cash for other reasons, like tax evasion by residents.) Even the US State Department does not mention it as any issue in their consular briefing on India, see . I would not give it a second thought.

In about 100 trips to India, and of the 99 trips in which I was carrying in Rupees, I have never been asked about nor searched for Rupees (nor searched at all.) I am assuming you are not of Indian origin, which might make you slightly more in the targeted group, but more for a DVD player you might be bringing in for a relative than for Rupees you may be carrying.

That being said, I would use ATMs as much as possible just so you get a better exchange rate. I would not convert a lot of money into Rupees, just enough until you can get to an ATM machine.
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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how would anyone know if you were bringing in currency?? unless you plan to bring in a huge amount, i would ignore this rule...

but i would not change $$ in usa to rupees to bring in...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 10:16 AM
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Posts: 26
Thanks for both replies. Gives me a bit more comfort in considering taking in Rupees.
Stainless is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I usually have a few hundred dollars worth of Rupees when I come into India. I have never been asked nor searched. Wasn't even aware there was a rule against it!
lcuy is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2009, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
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An option is to use ATMs which are widely available in most of the metro cities and give a better exchange rate.
travelbug01 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 01:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,844
I never exchange money outside a country. You (almost) always get a better exchange rate in the country. That said, I've bought in Rupees to India that I had left over from a previous trip with no problems (I also almost never change money back).

Before using ATMs, check what YOUR bank's fees are for using them overseas. Some US banks charge some pretty outrageous fees for using ATMs outside the US.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 109
I belong to a credit union and have never been charged a fee for withdrawing rupees from an ATM in India with my debit card. ATMs are everywhere in most areas.
garybear is offline  
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