Taking cash in or out of India? Read this.

Gert Svaiko

If you’ve never considered a trip to India, you should think again. From the food to the stunning religious monuments, India has plenty to see and experience. But regardless of your reasons for visiting, the reality is still that there are restrictions on how much cash you can take in or out of India.

What qualifies as cash anyway? All coins and banknotes in any world currency count as cash. Also, traveller’s cheques also count toward your cash total as cash equivalents.

Read on to learn what you need to know about carrying cash through India’s customs.

How much cash can you bring into India? What are the limits?

Importing Indian rupees isn't allowed for foreigners¹. Residents of India are allowed to carry up to Rs. 25,000 though. There’s no limit, however, to how much foreign currency you can bring into India. Although, you will have to declare it if the amount exceeds US$5,000 in notes and coins, or US$10,000 in notes, coins, and traveller’s cheques².

You can also use Wise to send money to India and save on currency exchange rates.

What are the penalties if you bring in too much cash to India?

Breaking customs rules in India can result in having your cash confiscated, being fined, or, in serious cases, even being arrested and prosecuted¹.

Declaring cash at your arrival

Indian Customs Declaration Forms are available from customs officers at international airports and seaports. They may be handed out on planes or cruise ships before you land in India, but if not, they can be picked up at the airport as you make your way through customs.

You can also download the form and fill it out ahead of time.

Countries/Regions from which a declaration isn't needed if you’re travelling to India

If you’re travelling to India from abroad, you may need to declare cash or cash equivalents at the border. The requirement applies to all countries and depends on the amount you’re carrying with you. By law, if the amount is US$5,000 or more in coins and notes, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes, and traveller’s cheques¹, you need to declare it.

Countries from where declaration is needed if you’re travelling to India

Again, travellers from all countries are required to declare cash when entering India, if the amount is US$5,000 or more in coins and notes, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes, and traveller’s cheques¹.


How much cash can you take out of India?

If you’re planning to export cash out of India, expect similar rules that apply for importing currency.

Exporting Indian rupees is strictly prohibited for non-Indian residents. Residents of India can travel abroad with up to Rs. 25,000¹.

There’s no limit to how much of a foreign currency you can take out of India. But, if it’s US$5,000 or more in banknotes and coins, or US$10,000 or more in coins, notes, and traveller’s cheques, it will have to be declared¹.

It’s also important to remember that the country you’re going to may have its own rules about how much cash you can bring in. Make sure to do your research depending on the country you’re headed to.

Exchanging currency in cash is very costly

Exchanging foreign currency in cash for Indian rupees is probably not the cheapest way to pick up cash for your trip. Using an exchange service, even if it advertises no fees, often means you’re paying more because of a marked up exchange rate.

A cheaper option to get cash in most countries, including India, is to use your debit card to withdraw cash in the local currency from a local ATM. You may be charged an ATM fee, but you won’t have to pay for an unfavourable exchange rate.

Or, you can use Wise multi-currency card to get a fair currency exchange rate with no hidden fees.

Learn more about Wise card

Keep in mind that whether you’re bringing cash to India from your home country or withdrawing it once you arrive, it’s never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash with you while you’re visiting a foreign country.

Hopefully, with these tips in hand, your trip to India will go off without a hitch. Safe travels!

Sources used for this article:

  1. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs - Guide for travellers
  2. Gov.uk - India travel advice

Sources checked on 26-05-2022.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more
Travel Tips

ATMs in India

If you’re travelling to India on holiday, you can’t get cash ahead of time. Indian law doesn’t allow foreigners to bring Indian currency into the country,...

08.05.17 3 minute read

Tips, news and updates for your location