Updated: How India's ban on Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes will affect International Travelers & NRIs

On Tuesday, November 8, the Indian government took a great bold financial step to discontinue Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes in order to fight the rising issue of the flow of black money and prevent the counterfeiting of Indian currency notes in Asia’s third-largest economy. The prime minister addressed the country, emphasizing that the sudden move will make a huge impact on preventing financing of terrorist activities in India, which often uses counterfeit notes and the black money channel. As a par to the scheme, the citizens can walk into their local banks or post office and deposit the outdated currencies until Dec 30, 2016.

International travelers and foreign Indian residents who do not have a bank account in the country or non-residents entering the country will be allowed to exchange their currency of Rs 500/Rs 1,000 notes at the airport for newer currency notes up to Rs. 5000. NRIs living abroad, who have Rs 500/Rs 1,000 currency notes in hand and returning to India will be allowed to exchange the currency until the deadline of June 30th, 2017.  For NRIs living in India, NRIs can deposit their banned notes into their NRO account.

In the case that you are not able to exchange these notes until Dec 30, 2016, you can go to specified RBI offices with proper declaration & documentation until March 31, 2017. For exchange of up to Rs 4000 in cash, you may go to any bank branch with a valid proof of identity. For exchange of over Rs 4000, which will be accorded through credit to bank account only, you may go to the branch where you have an account or to any other branch of the same bank. In case you want to go to a branch of any other bank where you are not maintaining an account, you will have to furnish valid proof of identity and bank account details required for an electronic fund transfer to your account.

Here are some ways NRIs could get the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes exchanged:

  1. Carry the cash with you to India:
    Many non-residential Indians may have scheduled to make their trip to India in coming months – NRIs holding demonetized notes, can now exchange the old Rs. 500 & Rs. 1000 notes and deposit them at RBI Offices till June 30, 2017, in order to allow them adequate time to plan a visit as per their convenience by furnishing ID proof. However, NRIs traveling to India can only exchange up to Rs. 25,000 per person in demonetized currencies and also has a limit of Rs. 25,000 in demonetized notes to bring into India per person
  2. Use money-exchange in your country:
    NRIs or Foreign Nationalists may be able to exchange the outdated notes at a certified money exchange in their city and change their money into dollars, pounds, or other local currency. Please Note: that many money exchangers have already started to refuse accepting the 500 and 1000 notes, but it is a good idea to call and check the money-exchange service providers or your local bank.
  3. Deposit the notes into the NRO account:
    Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) has stated on their website that NRIs can also deposit the notes into a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) Savings Account.
  4. Authorize another person in India to deposit the notes:
    According to RBI guidelines, if you have old banknotes in India, you may enable another person in India to deposit the notes into your bank account by written authorization. The person authorized has to come to the bank branch with the OHD banknotes, the authority letter given by you and a valid identity proof (valid identity proof is any of the following: Aadhaar Card, Driving License, Voter ID Card, Passport, NREGA Card, PAN Card, Identity Card Issued by Government Department, Public Sector Unit to its Staff)
  5. Send the currency with someone traveling to India
    A better option is to send the currency notes, with someone you can trust, to India, who can hand it over to a family member.

Further information is available on our website (www.rbi.org.in) and the website of the finance ministry (www.finmin.nic.in). You may approach the control room of RBI by email or over the telephone: 022 22602201/022 22602944


More information and details are still unfolding, No guarantee of accuracy of information.