No rupees past departure lounges at international airports.
By Rajiv Theodore
NEW DELHI: If you are a non-resident Indian (NRI) or a foreigner visiting India and there is local currency in your possession when you leave for back home, you better watch out—the Indian customs officials can prosecute you.
According to the latest directive by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), any NRI or a foreigner leaving India cannot have any Indian currency on their person. But they could carry Rs. 10,000 in person into the airport till duty free shopping or departure lounges, but cannot have it in their possession at boarding.
He or she would have to surrender the Indian currency into a foreign currency of their choice before boarding. This would be facilitated by kiosks near the immigration counters at international airports where the exchange of the rupee for foreign currency would be rendered before boarding their flight.
It had been common among NRIs to carry Indian currency while departing, mainly for the convenience of not having to exchange Forex into rupee when they return the next time.
This rule has been lying dormant as part of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). It is only now that the central bank is trying to enforce it.
The RBI has already allowed Forex changers to open outlets at international airports to facilitate NRIs and foreigners opting to exchange Rupee for other currencies before boarding.
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