Sale of foreign exchange
(I) Private Visits/ Business Visits
For Private and Business visits abroad, other than to Nepal and Bhutan, any resident can obtain 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. The limit has been subsumed under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme w.e.f May 26, 2015. If an individual has already remitted any amount under Liberalised Remittance Scheme in a financial year, then the applicable limit for travelling purpose for such individual would be reduced from USD 2,50,000 by the amount so remitted.
Further, all tour related expenses including cst of rail/road/water transportation charge outside India and remittances relating towards cost of Euro Rail; passes/tickets, etc for Indiantravellers, and overseas hotel/flight chages have been subsumed under the new enhansed limit of USD 2,50,000. The tour operator can collect this amount either in INR or in FCY.
Q. What are the purposes under FEM (CAT) Amendment Rules, 2015, under which a resident individual can avail of foreign exchange facility?
Ans. Individuals can avail of foreign exchange facility for the following purposes within the limit of USD 2,50,000 only on financial year basis.
Private visits to any country (except Nepal and Bhutan)
Gift or donation.
Going abroad for employment
Maintenance of close relatives abroad
Travel for business, or attending a conference or specialised training or for meeting expenses for meeting medical expenses, or check-up abroad, or for accompanying as attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/ check-up.
Expenses in connection with medical treatment abroad
Any other current account transaction
Any additional remittance in excess of the said limit for the above mentioned purposes shall require prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.
Q. How much foreign currency can be carried in cash for travel abroad?
Ans. 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 Forex Travel Cards, 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.
Q. Is there any time-frame for a traveller who has returned to India to surrender foreign exchange?
Ans. 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.
Bringing in and taking out of Foreign Exchange
(i) Foreign exchange in any form can be brought into India freely without limit
provided it is declared on the Currency Declaration Form (CDF) on arrival to the Custom Authorities. When foreign exchange brought in the form of currency notes or travellers' cheques does not exceed US$10,000/- or its equivalent and / or the value of foreign currency notes does not exceed US$5000/- or its equivalent, declarationthereof on CDF is not insisted upon.
(ii) Taking out foreign exchange in any form, other than foreign exchange obtained from an authorized dealer or a money changer is prohibited unless it is covered by a general or special permission of the Reserve Bank. Non-residents, however, have general permission to take out an amount not exceeding the amount originally brought in by them subject to compliance with the provisions of sub-para (i) above.
Purchases of Foreign Currency from Public
(i) Authorized Money Changers (AMCs) / franchisees may freely purchase foreigncurrency notes, coins and travellers cheques from residents as well as non-residents.Where the foreign currency was brought in by declaring on form CDF, the tenderer should be asked to produce the same. The AMC should invariably insist on production of declaration in CDF.
(ii) AMCs may sell Indian Rupees to foreign tourists / visitors against International Credit Cards and take prompt steps to obtain reimbursement through normal banking channels.
(a) AMCs may issue certificate of encashment when asked for in cases of purchases from the public. These certificates bearing authorized signatures should be issued on the letter head of the money changer and proper record maintained.
(b) In cases where encashment certificate is not issued, attention of the customers should be drawn to the fact that unspent local currency held by non-residents will be allowed to be converted into foreign currency only against production of a valid encashment certificate.
Purchases from other AMCs and Authorized Dealers
AMCs may purchase from other AMCs and ADs any foreign currency notes, coins and encashed travellers’ cheques tendered in the normal course of business. Rupee equivalent of the amount of foreign exchange purchased should be paid only by way of crossed account payee cheque / Demand Draft / Bankers' cheque / Pay order.
i. The Reserve Bank will not generally, prescribe the documents which should
be verified by the AMCs while releasing foreign exchange. In this connection,
attention of AMCs is drawn to sub-section (5) of Section 10 of FEMA, 1999.
ii. In case of issue of travellers’ cheques, the traveler should sign the cheques in the presence of an authorized official and the purchaser’s acknowledgement for receipt of the travellers’ cheques should be held on record.
iii. AMCs may release foreign exchange for travel purposes on the basis of a
declaration given by the traveler regarding the amount of foreign exchange
availed of during the financial year.
iv AMCs may accept payment in cash up to Rs. 50000/- (Rupees fifty thousand only) against sale of foreign exchange for travel abroad (for private visit or for any other purpose). Wherever the sale of foreign exchange exceeds the amount equivalent to Rs. 50000/-, the payment must be received only by a crossed cheque drawn on the applicant’s bank account or crossed cheque drawn on the bank account of the firm / company sponsoring the visit of the applicant or Banker’s cheque / Pay Order / Demand Draft. For this purpose,where the rupee equivalent of foreign exchange drawn exceeds Rs. 50000/-either for any single drawal or more than one drawal reckoned together for a single journey visit, it should be paid by cheque / Banker’s cheque / Pay Order/ Demand Draft . In addition to the payment by Rupees/ through crossed cheque / Banker’s cheque / Pay order/ Demand draft, AMCs may also accept the payments made by the traveler through debit cards / credit cards / prepaid cards for travel abroad (for private visit or for any other purpose) provided- (i)KYC / AML guidelines are complied with, (ii) sale of foreign currency / issue of foreign currency travellers’ cheques is within the limits (credit / prepaid cards) prescribed by the bank, (iii) the purchaser of foreign currency / foreign currency travellers’ cheque and the credit / debit / prepaid card holder is oneand the same person.
v. The sale of foreign currency notes and coins within the overall entitlement offoreign exchange, should be restricted to the limits prescribed by the ReserveBank from time to time for the country of visit of the traveller currently it is USD 3000.
Sales against Reconversion of Indian Currency
AMCs may convert into foreign currency, unspent Indian currency held by nonresidents at the time of their departure from India, provided a valid Encashment Certificate is produced.
Note (1) : AMCs may convert at their discretion, unspent Indian currency up to Rs.10,000 in the possession of non-residents if, for bonafide reasons, the person is unable to produce an Encashment Certificate after ensuring that the departure is scheduled to take place within the following seven days.
Note (2) : ADs Category - I and ADs Category - II may provide facility for
reconversion of Indian Rupees to the extent of Rs. 50,000/- to foreign tourists (not NRIs) against ATM Receipts based on the following documents.
• Valid Passport and VISA
• Ticket confirmed for departure within 7 days.
• Original ATM slip (to be verified with the original debit/ credit card).
Know Your Customer (KYC) – Identification of Customers
For purchase of foreign exchange less than US $200 or its equivalent, photocopies of the identification document need not be kept on record. However, full details of the identification document should be maintained.
For encashment of foreign exchange between US $200 and US $2000 or its
equivalent, the photocopies of the identification document should be maintained for one year and until completion of statutory audit.
For encashment in excess of US $2000 or its equivalent, the photocopies of the identification document should be maintained for a minimum period of five years.
Purchase of Foreign Exchange by AMC
a) For encashment of foreign currency notes and / or Travellers' Cheques up to US $500 or its equivalent, production of passport need not be insisted upon and any other suitable document of identification like ration card, driving license, etc. can also be accepted.
b) For verification of the identity of customer for encashment in excess of US $500 or its equivalent, a photo identity document such as passport, driving license, PAN Card, voter identity card issued by the Election Commission, etc. should be obtained
c) Requests for payment of sale proceeds in cash may be acceded to the extent of US $1000 or its equivalent per transaction. All encashment within one month may be treated as single transaction for the purpose. Requests for payment in cash by foreign visitors / Non-Resident Indians may be acceded to the extent of US $3000 or its equivalent. In all other cases, AMCs should make payment by way of 'Account Payee' cheque / demand draft only.
d) Where the amount of forex tendered for encashment by a non-resident or a person returning from abroad exceeds the limits prescribed for Currency Declaration Form(CDF), the AMC should invariably insist for production of declaration in CDF.
In all cases of sale of foreign exchange by AMC, irrespective of the amount involved,
for identification purpose the passport of the customer should be insisted upon. Thesale of forex should be made only on personal application and identification.Payment in excess of Rs. 50,000/- towards sale of foreign exchange should be received only by the applicant’s crossed cheque / crossed cheque drawn on the bank account of the firm/company sponsoring the visit of the applicant / Banker’s cheque /Pay Order / Demand Draft. Such payment can also be received through debit cards/
credit cards/ prepaid cards provided (i) KYC/ AML guidelines are complied with, (ii)sale of foreign currency/ issue of foreign currency travellers’ cheques is within the limits (credit/ prepaid cards) prescribed by the bank, (iii) the purchaser of foreign currency/ foreign currency travellers’ cheque and the credit/ debit/ prepaid card holder is one and the same person. All purchases by a person within one month may be treated as single transaction for the purpose. Encashment Certificate, wherever
required, should also be insisted upon.
Establishment of business relationship
Relationship with a business entity like a company / firm should be established only after obtaining and verifying suitable documents in support of name, address and business activity such as certificate of incorporation under the Companies Act, 1956,Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, registration certificate of a firm (if registered), partnership deed, PAN Card, etc. A list of employees who would be authorized to transact on behalf of the company / firm and documents of their identification together with their signatures, should also be called for.
Copies of all documents called for verification should be kept on record.