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).
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.
What is the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of USD 2,50,000 ?
Under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme, all resident individuals, including minors, are allowed to freely remit up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year (April – March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both. Further, resident individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the purposes mentioned in Para 1 of Schedule III of FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules 2015, within the limit of USD 2,50,000 only. If an individual remits any amount under LRS in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted. In case of remitter being a minor, the LRS declaration form must be countersigned by the minor’s natural guardian.
What are the prohibited items under the Scheme?
The remittance facility under the Scheme is not available for the following:
- Remittance for any purpose specifically prohibited under Schedule-I (like purchase of lottery tickets/sweep stakes, proscribed magazines, etc.) or any item restricted under Schedule II of Foreign Exchange Management (Current Account Transactions) Rules, 2000.
- Remittance from India for margins or margin calls to overseas exchanges / overseas counterparty.
- Remittances for purchase of FCCBs issued by Indian companies in the overseas secondary market.
- Remittance for trading in foreign exchange abroad.
- Capital account remittances, directly or indirectly to countries identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as “non- cooperative countries and territories”, from time to time.
- Remittances directly or indirectly to those individuals and entities identified as posing significant risk of committing acts of terrorism as advised separately by the Reserve Bank to the banks.
Can remittances under the LRS facility be consolidated in respect of family members?
Remittances under the facility can be consolidated in respect of close family members subject to the individual family members complying with the terms and conditions of the Scheme. However, clubbing is not permitted by other family members for capital account transactions such as opening a bank account/investment/purchase of property, if they are not the co-owners/co-partners of the investment/property/overseas bank account.
Can an individual, who has availed of a loan abroad while as a non-resident Indian repay the same on return to India, under this Scheme as a resident?
Yes, this is permissible.
Is it mandatory for resident individuals to have PAN number for sending outward remittances under the Scheme?
Yes, it is mandatory to have PAN number to make remittances under the Scheme. However, PAN card need not be insisted upon for remittance made towards permissible current account transactions up to USD 25,000.
Are there any restrictions on the frequency of the remittance?
There are no restrictions on the frequency of remittances under LRS. However, the total amount of foreign exchange purchased from or remitted through, all sources in India during a financial year should be within the cumulative limit of USD 2,50,000. Once a remittance is made for an amount up to USD 2,50,000 during the financial year, a resident individual would not be eligible to make any further remittances under this scheme, even if the proceeds of the investments have been brought back into the country.
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, any resident can obtain foreign exchange up to an aggregate amount of USD 2,50,000, from an Authorised Dealer or FFMC, in any one financial year, irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual has already remitted any amount under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for travelling purpose for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.
The resident individuals shall have to fill Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’ while availing foreign exchange for travelling purposes from AD banks and FFMCs.
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 any limits. For denominations of Rs 500 and Rs1,000, the limit is Rs 25,000.
Further, all tour related expenses including cost of rail/road/water transportation charges outside India and remittances relating towards cost of Euro Rail; passes/tickets, etc. for Indian travellers, and overseas hotel/flight charges have been subsumed under the new enhanced limit of USD 250,000. The tour operator can collect this amount either in INR or in FCY.
How much foreign exchange can a resident send as gift / donation to a person resident outside India?
Any resident individual/ entity (trust; company; partnership firm, etc.), may remit up-to USD 2,50,000 in one financial year as gift to a person residing outside India or as donation to an organization outside India. Remittances exceeding the limit of USD 2,50,000 will require prior permission from the Reserve Bank. It is clarified that a resident cannot gift to another resident, in foreign currency, for the credit of the latter’s foreign currency account held abroad under LRS.
Further, general permission is available to persons other than individuals’ to remit towards donations up-to one per cent of their foreign exchange earnings during the previous three financial years or USD 5,000,000, whichever is less, for (a) creation of Chairs in reputed educational institutes, (b) contribution to funds (not being an investment fund) promoted by educational institutes; and (c) contribution to a technical institution or body or association in the field of activity of the donor Company. Any additional remittance in excess of the same shall require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.
How much foreign exchange is available to a person going abroad on employment?
A person going abroad for employment can draw foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 per financial year from any Authorised Dealer in India on the basis of self-declaration in Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual remits any amount under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.
How much foreign exchange is available to a person going abroad on emigration?
A person going abroad on emigration can draw foreign exchange from AD Category I bank and AD Category II up to the amount prescribed by the country of emigration or USD 250,000. This amount is only to meet the incidental expenses in the country of emigration. Further, this remittance is not for undertaking any capital account transactions such as overseas investment in government bonds; land; commercial enterprise; etc. No amount of foreign exchange can be remitted outside India to become eligible or for earning points or credits for immigration.
How much foreign exchange can a person resident in India remit towards maintenance of close relatives abroad?
A person resident in India can remit up-to USD 250,000 per financial year towards maintenance of close relative (‘relative’ as defined in section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956) abroad. . This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015. If an individual remits any amount under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for such individual would be reduced from USD 250,000 by the amount so remitted.
How much foreign exchange is available for a business trip?
For business trips to foreign countries, resident individuals/ individuals having proprietorship firms can avail of foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 in a financial year irrespective of the number of visits undertaken during the year. This limit has been subsumed under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme w.e.f. May 26, 2015.
Visits in connection with attending of an international conference, seminar, specialised training, apprentice training, etc., are treated as business visits. Release of foreign exchange exceeding USD 2,50,000 for business travel abroad, irrespective of the period of stay, by residents require prior permission from the Reserve Bank.
However, if an employee is being deputed by a company and the expenses are borne by the company, then such expenses shall be treated as residual current account transactions and may be permitted by the AD bank, without any limit, subject to verifying the bonafides of the transaction.
How much foreign exchange can be drawn for medical treatment abroad?
AD Category I banks and AD Category II, may release foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 or its equivalent to resident Indians for medical treatment abroad on self-declaration basis in Form A2 and ‘Application cum declaration for purchase of foreign exchange under LRS of USD 250,000’, without insisting on any estimate from a hospital/doctor in India/abroad. However, a person visiting abroad for medical treatment can obtain foreign exchange from AD banks exceeding the above limit, provided the request is supported by an estimate from a hospital/doctor in India/abroad.
In addition to the above, an amount up to USD 250,000 per FY is allowed to a person for accompanying as attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/check-up.
How much foreign currency can be carried in cash 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 per visit. 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 per visit; (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 (up-to USD 250, 000) in the form of foreign currency notes or coins.
For travellers proceeding for Haj/ Umrah pilgrimage, full amount of BTQ entitlement (USD 250, 000) in cash or up to the cash limit as specified by the Haj Committee of India, may be released by the ADs and FFMCs.
How much Indian currency can be brought in while coming into India?
A resident of India, who has gone out of India on a temporary visit may bring into India at the time of his return from any place outside India (other than Nepal and Bhutan), currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000. A person may bring into India from Nepal or Bhutan, currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes, in denomination not exceeding Rs.100. Any person resident outside India, not being a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh and also not a traveller coming from and going to Pakistan and Bangladesh, and visiting India may bring into India currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 25,000 while entering only through an airport.
Any person resident in India who had gone to Pakistan and/or Bangladesh on a temporary visit, may bring into India at the time of his return, currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs. 10,000 per person.
How much foreign exchange can be brought in while visiting India?
A person coming into India from abroad can bring with him foreign exchange without any limit. However, if the aggregate value of the foreign exchange in the form of currency notes, bank notes or travellers cheques brought in exceeds USD 10,000 or its equivalent and/or the value of foreign currency alone exceeds USD 5,000 or its equivalent, it should be declared to the Customs Authorities at the Airport in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), on arrival in India.
How many days in advance one can buy foreign exchange for travel abroad?
Permissible foreign exchange can be drawn 60 days in advance. In case it is not possible to use the foreign exchange within the period of 60 days, it should be immediately surrendered to an authorised person. However, residents are free to retain foreign exchange up to USD 2,000, in the form of foreign currency notes or TCs for future use or credit to their Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) [RFC (Domestic)] Accounts.
Can one pay by cash full rupee equivalent of foreign exchange being purchased for travel abroad?
Foreign exchange for travel abroad can be purchased from an authorized person against rupee payment in cash below Rs.50,000/-. However, if the sale of foreign exchange is for the amount equivalent to Rs 50,000/- and above, the entire payment should be made by way of a crossed cheque/ banker’s cheque/ pay order/ demand draft/ debit card / credit card / prepaid card only.
Is there any time-frame for a traveller who has returned to India to surrender foreign exchange?
On return from a foreign trip, travellers are required to surrender unspent foreign exchange held in the form of currency notes and travellers cheques within 180 days of return. However, they are free to retain foreign exchange up to USD 2,000, in the form of foreign currency notes or TCs for future use or credit to their Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) [RFC (Domestic)] Accounts.
Should foreign coins be surrendered to an Authorised Dealer on return from abroad?
The residents can hold foreign coins without any limit.
Is there any category of visit which requires prior approval from the Reserve Bank or the Government of India?
Dance troupes, artistes, etc., who wish to undertake cultural tours abroad, should obtain prior approval from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (Department of Education and Culture), Government of India, New Delhi.