NRIs Here’s how to convert your 500, 1000 Rupee notes!

Update: Finally, there is some clarity on what NRIs can and cannot do with their INR notes in possession. Here are the updates.

  1. Update on Jan 2, 2017 – An India who was out of the country during November – Dec period can deposit old notes to his NRO account via RBI’s assigned centers in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Nagpur till June 30th, 2017. NRI citizens, who were abroad during this period, can exchange their defunct notes up to June 30, 2017. However there is a limit of R.25,000 per person.
  2. If an NRI has INR old 500 and 1000 in possession with him/ her abroad, the only way it can be exchanged with new notes is by either flying down to India or by authorizing a person who might be flying to India soon, to deposit in your NRO account.
  3. You can authorize a person to carry your old 500 and 1000 Rupees by writing a letter of authorization and the person providing a valid ID like Aadhar Card at the bank when in India.
  4. Any amount can be deposited to the NRO account but for amounts above 2.5 Lakh Rupees, sources have to be stated.
  5. Sources should be declared with valid supporting documents like salary slips with data that matches your ID.
  6. Amounts deposited should match with the user’s profile (income to deposit ratio). If not, questions can be asked and details have to provided at the bank.
  7. For huge amounts (suspicious amounts rather), Income Tax department might be involved and you will be required to show proof of income to the IT department.
So, in summary, you can get your old notes exchanged if the amount is under 2.5 Lakhs, with authorization. If under 25K Rupees you have to either go to the bank in India yourself or send it via a friend with proper authorization. In either case, you need to have an NRO account to be able to exchange old notes.

Sources: BS, RBI.


If you are an NRI and have Rupees you carried with you all the way outside India, you have bad news. India Government just cancelled all the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes in circulation as void. Which means, you have almost a month to return all your 500 and 1000 Rupees notes to your nearest bank or post offices. This is an initiative by India Government to curb circulation of black money.

Here’s everything you need to know.

  • All 500 & 1000 rupee notes currently in circulation have to be turned over to the bank before December 30th 2016
  • These places will take your old 500 & 100 Rupee notes.
  • New 2000 and 500 Rupee notes will be brought into circulation “soon” (no dates available yet)
  • On November 9 and in certain places on November 10, 2016 ATMs will not work.
  • Government hospitals will accept old Rs. 500 and 1000 notes till 11 November midnight. (Might need Doctor’s letter in certain cases)
  • Petrol pumps and retail outlets will have to record and monitor every entry of cash transaction in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes till November 11.
  • Crematoriums and cemeteries will also be allowed to transact in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes till November 11.
  • There will be no change in any other form of currency exchange be it cheque, DD, payment via credit or debit cards etc.
  • Those unable to deposit Rs. 1000, Rs. 500 notes by December 30 for some reason, can change them till March 31, 2017 by furnishing ID proof
  • Notes of Rs. 2000 and Rs. 500 will be circulated soon, RBI has decided to limit the notes with higher value.
  • There are efforts going on from organizations such as GOPIO requesting Govt. of India to help NRIs and PIO exchange their notes at all RBI offices. Source

Question is, if you are an NRI and had carried some money with you when you flew out of India, what do you do? I had a few 500 Rupees with me and was wondering what do to with it? Will it go invalid if I take them back to India?

Well, the good news is that, NRIs with 500 and 1000 Rupee notes can get them converted to local currency (US Dollars or UAE Dirhams or whatever) at once place – an Airport near you (or a currency exchange center). [Update – This doesn’t seem to be working anymore as they’ve paused transaction in INR until further notice. Check the comments for updated details]

Airports have foreign money exchange stations (currency exchange), which will accept the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes until December 30th 2016. So, if you have any Indian money (Rupees) that you carried with you in change lying around, go to the nearest Airport (or any legal money exchange centers) and get them converted to the local currency before it is too late. [Update – Not working anymore]

One thing to note though. I’m talking about small change money I carried with me to pay for Taxi when I land in India (not stashed money). Because it is illegal to carry huge sums in and out of India anyways (hope you already know it).

How much money in cash, can you carry to India while traveling?

(Indian residents can carry up to Rs. 7,500 Rs. 25,000 in Indian cash when traveling to India. (Source) And you can carry up to USD 5000 in cash or USD 10,000 as traveler’s cheques but should be declared with the customs at Airport). The point is that NRIs aren’t supposed to be carrying huge amounts of INR with them, it is illegal and might fall into the category of black money.

Can NRIs convert Rupees in consulate/embassy abroad?

No. At least not at the moment. According to the RBI, some provisions will be made for NRIs to be able to exchange their old currency notes with new denominations through RBI offices before March 17th 2017. But there is no clarity on whether these offices are going to be in India or abroad.

Also, when you go to the money exchange center, make sure you carry a valid ID. You cannot get foreign money exchange done without a valid ID (passport, Driving licence etc).

Alternate Option 1 – If you want something done quicker, you should try sending whatever money you have back to India via a money transfer service. You will need to get to them physically and hand over the money though. Here  is a list of money transfer services to India, you could make use of.

Alternate Option 2– Alternatively, send all the money you have to someone in India (or your own NRE/NRI/NRO account) using a remittance service from your country. You will have to go to their local outlet to convert the money though.

So, all the best! Let me know how it goes.

Update 1 (Nov 8th, Morning): (Banks and currency exchange centers WILL NOT accept Indian Rupees (unless they have a currency exchange center running along side). I just got it confirmed with State Bank of California and few other banks in USA and UAE.) Some banks which have a currency/foreign exchange running are were accepting Indian Rupees, I’ll update the list here shortly. Do check back later.

Update 2 (Nov 8th, Afternoon): NRIs currently outside India can get their liquid money exchanged by authorising another person in India (relative perhaps) in writing (like power of attorney) to deposit the 500 and 1000 Rs notes into your bank account with the authority letter and identity proof such as Aadhaar card, driving licence, voter ID card, passport, NREGA card, PAN card etc.

Update 3 (Nov 8th, Night): Some NRIs are of the opinion that the best way to convert your money is to send it through someone you know who is traveling to India. While this might be a good idea, it’s not a dependable or scalable one. Some of you might have friends or family going to India, and you can give your money to them and have it deposited at an Indian bank by your friend/relative. But then again, this is not a permanent fix.

Update 4 (Nov 8th, 930 PM, PST): There is some clarity on the issue finally from reliable sources that NRIs who are currently out of India (traveling or working abroad) will get a chance to convert the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes at selected RBI offices before March 2017. Although the list of RBI offices that will accept this is still unclear. Also, this will be considered an extra ordinary circumstance and NRIs will have to provide proof/evidence that you were abroad during this time (from Nov 2016 to whenever you are converting) on work, travel etc.

Update 5 (Nov 9th, Noon): A “band-aid” solution is to send the cash that you have through a relative/friend who is traveling to India before December 30th and have him convert the money at any Indian bank. You can arrange him to pay you back the money when back. But hey, this is a temporary fix and many things can go wrong here. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if there is some kind of emergency and you are desperate to get this done, without having to wait, then go for it. Just make sure you don’t fall in to some kind of trap sending money with an unreliable person.

Update 6 (Nov 11th, Night): Another proposed possible solution to this issue by a gentleman from Seattle (who wants to remain unnamed) is that the India Govt. temporarily lift the ban on being able to send Rupee notes via post to India from abroad. At the moment, sending currency via regular post to India is illegal. But he says, if Govt. will lift the ban temporarily, say up to December 30th, 2016, then Indians abroad will be able to send their money (under 25K as it is the allowed limit) to India to their relatives and have the notes converted. He mentions that there is also a possibility for people with black money to abuse this system, so there should be some kind of restriction the weight of the mail, which will restrict the amount of notes sent. But this too, I think will be abused by folks with black money, as they might try and send different packages to India. Regardless of that, it is a possible solution, if the ban is lifted or sending currency via post is regulated and made legal. (like sending gifts to India via customs is legal at the moment)

How to exchange Indian Rupee in UAE?

Many of my friends from UAE are asking if situation is any different in gulf countries. Are they able to exchange or convert 500 and 1000 Rupees from Dubai or other Emirates. Well, as of all the details we have now, no. UAE Exchange, one of the leading money transfer agencies in UAE has officially issued a declaration that they are temporarily holding off on accepting any Indian Rupees at their outlets, until further notice. They are citing the reason that Govt. of India hasn’t given any clarity on what to do with the 500 & 1000 Rupees notes they are getting. I contacted few employees there and they mentioned that they are awaiting an official “nod” from India Govt. to start accepting Indian Rupee notes. Once they do, they’ll resume accepting, but as of now, there’s a pause on everything.

The problem with converting Indian Rupee notes via NRO account

Many sources (including Indian banks overseas) are quoting the RBI’s citation about using an NRO account to convert your old 500 and 1000 Indian Rupees. But there is a problem here.

NRO accounts are like regular savings account for NRIs, but in India. For example, if you have a house given out for rent in India, and you are living abroad as an NRI, the tenant can deposit the rent in INR into your NRO account in India, on your behalf (or you can directly when you are in India). If you are an NRI, living abroad and have old 500 and 1000 Rupees lying around in India, you could authorize anyone with a written letter to go deposit that money in the bank (to your NRO account) and have it converted.

The problem is for NRIs who are carrying liquid cash with them (smaller amounts for cash change, say Rs.25,000 for Taxi or something). Currently, there is no way for them to physically move the money back to their NRO accounts in India, as you cannot deposit money to your NRO account from abroad. You have to physically be available in India to deposit the money in to your NRO account.

I think there was some kind of overlook in this part by the Govt.. International travelers, temporary Indian workers (H1B, L1 etc), NRIs who aren’t planning to go back to India, but holding liquid cash in smaller amounts, are all in the same boat – with no real legal options to convert this money to new denomination. Hopefully, there will be an update soon.

Can you exchange Rupees from Australia, Europe or other countries?

Just like USA, UK or UAE, countries like Australia, Canada are kept in dark as of now. Many people have reported from European countries too that foreign currency exchanges there aren’t accepting Indian Rupees. But they too are hoping that this is a temporary issue and will be cleared soon.

Update Nov 10th – Let’s ask the PM! Please ReTweet

At the moment, there’s no official word but there’s one thing we can do to. Let us tweet to the PM and bring it into his attention that there are many of us NRIs here in the US, Canada, UAE, Australia (well, all over the world) who have liquid cash with them, and don’t know what to do. I’ve taken the first step and has tweeted to the Govt authorities! If you want to support, pease ReTweet my tweet, or tweet on your own. Here it is..

 

 

Related reading

1. How to identify a fake 500 Rupee note.
2. What’s the best way to send money to India from USA and the UK?
3. 10 Best mobile apps for transferring money to India from anywhere abroad.

Disclaimer: Please do not use any of the things mentioned in this article as legal advice or official information. I’m not a legal expert. Everything mentioned in this article is purely for educational purpose and on personal research and could be wrong. Please use your judgement.


About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life. This blog is read today, by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! :)

249 Comments

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  • Was anyone able to deposit their amount held in India(safe deposit or home)?

    I have a significant amount at home and not able to travel. How do I get it deposited in my existing NRO account?

    Please advise!!

    • You cannot as of now, unless you are carrying it with you from abroad to India and have it declared via customs. If you have cash in India, you are too late now, as the last date has expired.

  • Hello Karthik,
    I am Indian citizen with Permanent residence in Canada- I was out of country during the demonetization period, I have 250,000 rupees in safe in India with known source- Would I be able to open an NRO account & deposit this in NRO account per your latest updates on top of this page ?

    • Hi Kumar,

      As far as I know, it’s going to be difficult because you are late. The time allowed for people in India to exchange their currencies is over now. However if you have cash abroad, then NRIs who have valid Indian passport can take with them up to 25K INR through customs red channel and have it deposited in their NRO account up until March 30th. Since your money is in India, getting it converted is going to be tough. I suggest you check with RBI office directly.

      Wold appreciate if you let us know here, with what happened.

      All the best!

  • Hello Kartik,
    If I cannot make a trip to India this year and sending money through someone else after giving authorization, do they still have to go through red channel, fill out papers for me and go to RBI ?? What other options if I don’t want them to go through too many steps. Can they deposit to their account ??

    • Hi Manju,

      Yes, even if they are carrying your money with / without authorization, they need to take the red channel and get the declaration from customs. Authorization has problems lately, I know of cases where customs didn’t allow to take someone else’s money and that amount got stuck nowhere.

      If they manage to take it with them, with custom declaration, they can only deposit it to their KYC enabled NRO bank accounts via RBI.

  • Hi Kartik,

    I am in US from last 9 months and in india at home i just got to know have 18500 cash (500 &1000 notes).
    What should i do,can i authorize a person in India to deposit my money to 1 of the RBI offices mentioned?

    • You can. Instead of authorizing, I personally would hand over the money to your friend/relative if they are going to India and have the money deposited in their account (unless you are going to India yourself.) because I’ve seen that for the authorities are skeptic about authorizations and there’s a chance they might not let them convert the money, in which case you’ll be stuck.

  • Hi Kartik,

    I am an NRI and i have been outside the country between Nov and Dec. Unfortunately i have Rs 10500 with me and almost 100000 at my home in India (Unfortunately the safe key is with me so except me nobody can open that safe 🙁 ) in old currency. I will be arriving in delhi soon, i know I can declare Rs 10500 at customs and get the relevant documents. What can I do about the rest, any suggestions?

    Thanks in Advance!
    Shishir

    • Hi Shishir,

      Getting 10,000 exchanged should not be an issue as 25K is allowed per person. Make sure you declare it with customs when you return and get the document certifying it from them. You can use this to deposit the 10K in your NRO account in India via RBI bank. (See details above).

      Reg: the 1 Lakh at home, tough luck, you can try and talk to the RBI officers about it, but I doubt if they will accept it.

      Please let me know how it goes.

  • I just talked to RBI and here is the update.

    1) current scheme is ONLY for Indian passport holders. It does not matter where you were born or if you have oci/pio
    2) in few weeks they will announce new scheme for foreign passport holders.
    3) send your grievances to [email protected] as this email is being used to define new scheme. I have let them known that 25k is not worth my money to travel to big city. Please email them and ask them to facilitate this in all RBI offices.
    4) still have questions, please Call:
    02222 602 944
    02222 602 804

    • I emailed to the address above and got a reply stating the current rules for exchange ,which excludes OCI.

      For those affected by the policy(OCI),there is a petition online requesting signatures(goal is to get 1000 signatures).If interested,please go to nricafe.com under the article “Grace period for exchange of currency does not apply to OCI/PIO”. You scroll down to the comment section where one of the commentators has put the link for petition.

  • Hi,

    I am an US citizen. I have 15,000 rupees in old currency. Do I have to declare it? If not, what’s the fine for not declaring? How can I exchange it?

    Please let me know.

  • Hey,

    thanks for the thorough description. I had a question. I’m a German citizen (German passport) but I was born in India and am an OCI VISA holder. Am I able to exchange my money somehow? Or is there any other possibility, I can exchange the cash I have?
    Let me know!

    With best regards

    • Hi Manas,

      If you don’t have an Indian passport, I think your chances are very less. But a friend might be of help.

  • I am USA citizen passport holder with oci. A week ago I landed Ahmedabad Gujrat airport and declared old bills total amount Rs 25,000 & got declaration form from airport.

    They advised to go Reserve bank to Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur, Kolkata, New Delhi.

    Question : is this for NRI means USA green card holders who have valid Indian passport?

    — OR– Also for aUSA citizen or USA citizen OCI?

    Pls let me ASAP. I am 72 years old with handicapped .

    Email: [email protected]

    • Hi Hasu,

      As far as I can understand, any NRI with Indian passport is eligible to do it. You will need an NRO account though.

  • Hi Karthik,

    I am an Nri and i have been outside the country between Nov and Dec. Unfortunately i have Rs 100000 in old currency. I will be arriving in Mumbai soon, i know I can declare Rs 25000 at customs and get the relevant documents. What can I do about the rest, any suggestions?
    Also i do not have an NRO account can I open one now? My wife is a foreigner can she carry another Rs 25000 in old notes when we arrive, is it legal.
    Awaiting your advise.

    Thanks for your time.

  • Hi Mani,

    I read on twitter that NRIs who are landing in India after 30 December need to declare their old notes at the customs at the Airport.
    Customs will give them an approval clearance receipt which they need to take to RBI branch and then they can deposit their old notes.

    Is this information true ?

    • That is true Divya. The initial time frame was up to Dec 30th. So anyone (NRI) returning to India after Dec 30th will need to get a declaration from customs at the Airport (about how much money you are carrying, up to 25K per person allowed), which you’ll need to show before the designated RBI office. The RBI office will then deposit the amount int your KYC compatible NRO bank account. That’s the process as of now.

      • does that mean you cannot deposit the amount to your indian bank account even if you are an Indian who was abroad for last 5-6 months? Why would an Indian open an NRO account?

        • You can. The time for NRIs to deposit old notes have been extended to June 2017 (see details in the article). But in order to do that you need to get the document from Customs from the airport. And this money (up to 25K) will be deposited to your KYC compliant NRO account not NRE account. (Read the article to understand why, I’ve explained it in detail there.)

          Thanks

  • Here is the link to new RBI directive. It is not clear if 25k can be carried on behalf of spouse as well or is the 25k per person is restricted to per individual passing thru red channel.

    It is shame the facility is restricted to only 5 RBI offices in major cities. Do the math now! Ridiculous is the word how NRIs have been treated by Modi, and now hebis seeking brain gain after assuring babugiri is still alive!

    https://m.rbi.org.in/scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=10808&Mode=0

  • There is a new statement that NRI can deposit money till June end 2017. Not clear whether exchange is allowed at RBI offices or only deposit into NRO a/c. Many of us do not have any account in India,so we might be stuck with the old notes.They should allow exchange in Indian banks in US,UK etc.The statement is in hindustantimes website

  • I am Indian citizen, travelling to USA till 15 feb. And do not have NRO account. Can you suggest option for me after I go back? I have 25K INR.

    • It’s totally up to you Suraksha. I know some folks who gave their left over change to friends who traveled to India. But since the amount was small, they either worked it out between themselves. It’s a one on one thing IMO. Not something recommended as technically you are not allowed to do it.

  • Kathik, can you kindly link to rbi clarification issued on 30th November. You’ve linked only to the rbi homepage. It will be more helpful to read their clarification on this matter. I’ve search on RBI website to the point which clarifies on this topic, yet was not able to locate it myself. Thanks for your help.

  • Does anyone have any further updates for those living outside of India? Im UK based but still clueless with what to do with the hard earned cash I have…

  • so there’s still no solution to this stupidity? I heard on news that now this stupid govt is saying that demonetization was done with the recommendation of RBI so essentially blaming RBI for this stupidity but when it was announced by the chaiwala, it was announced as a master stroke by modi and only him. Those with useless indian currency outside india, don’t expect them to do anything for you. Hell they can’t even do anything for their citizens in their own country let alone doing anything for you. Your best bet is sending it with someone. I sent majority of my cash but I still have some left to send. BTW look at how low rupee is going. It was about 68 per USD when I last checked and I am sure it will go down further so don’t worry you will get a bigger return when you exchange it to rupee next time. Every foreign news media is bashing this and calling it an utter failure.

    • Jack,

      You mention “I sent majority of my cash but I still have some left to send. “. Why would you be hoarding so much with you. It’s a risk and illegal. Hope you know it. Petty cash is ignorable I guess but large sums will raise eye brows. Don’t you think?

      • no man it’s not that much it’s only 20k but since this note ban everyone is scared to take more cash back to india so the person wasn’t able to take all and he was also bombarded by other relatives to take their cash as well lol. What do you think about sending it by USPS or something? Someone said he sent 12k by USPS mail and it was safely delivered.

  • In India,you no longer can exchange 500 or 1000 INR. This is a new order from 24 November. You can still deposit these notes in bank till 31 December. The govt. Is allowing use of 500 notes in specific places(like petrol station,payment of school fees etc). And “foreign citizens”can exchange up to 5000 INR per week and that would be documented in their passport. Whether foreign citizens includes NRIs is not clear.Also,not clear what is the limit of this weekly exchange. All this info is in the latest Indian newspapers.

  • Don’t expect Indian Govt to exchange old notes in Foreign lands. Providing exchange facilities outside India is like opening can of worms. It is very hard for indian Government to control these facilities in foreign lands and they can be misused to exchange counterfeit or black currencies. Even though, Most of the NRIs are law abiding folks with white money, However, fear of misuse will force Govt to not take any chances. Imagine ISI getting hold of backdoor access to a middle eastern exchange location?? It will defeat the purpose of Modi’s grand exercise. So, I don’t see any situation where Modi govt will assist or even try saving NRIs. To them, They are collateral damage for the betterment of the nation.

    So, in a nutshell, you have few options
    1) Travel to India (if amount is large enough to make sense)
    2) send with Friends ( remember 25K only, otherwise they will no longer be your friends when they come back)
    3) Search for Folks looking for better deals. I had someone buy my Rs. in Toronto for 63 to a dollar. about 15% loss, but I cannot travel in near future so its worth it.
    4)Keep it as collectors items. Your grandchildren may able to sell it 100 Years from now for better gain. who knows??

      • Search Buy/sell sites like kijiji, craiglist, angieslist,
        Not sure which area you are from but GTA/southern ontario has tons of people looking for better rates due to people going for weddings in india. New Jersey/Edison is another place if you are close by

        eg. I just searched kijiji for “indian currency 500” and got 2 hits looking to buy

          • Agreed. But someone is trying to rob Honest NRIs of their Hard earned white money. So, everything is fair game for NRIs who is now trying recoup their loses. tough luck if you feel it is wrong

          • As the deadline approaching closer less people willing buy old rupees now as they also find it difficult. The person I dealt with was near Jane/weston also stopped doing so, unfortunately, the window has either closed or closing quickly. Try jewellers on albion road but I suspect the rates will be very unfavorable.

    • This is an excellent point Kumar. I completely agree. This is probably the reason why we should not expect exchanges to happen outside NRI – it defeats the purpose. However, I disagree with point 3. Finding people to sell and exchange your old INR is technically an illegal thing to do.

  • I am a US citizen and have substantial amount of INR in 500 and 1000 denominations. I do plan to trave to India in Jan or feb of 2017. I don’t have any NRI/NRO/NRE account. I do have bank account in India which I trying to eliminate. I have many cousins in India that may be able to help if I request provided I don’t have to ask them for illegal favor.

    My question: what exactly is the guideline from RBI for NRIs to deposit the notes before 2017 March? I have only seen a single line statement that “they will be allowed until march 2017 with provision of proof”. Proof of what? What kind account I will need?

    Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Raj,

      Let me try and answer it with the best of my knowledge.

      Q > what exactly is the guideline from RBI for NRIs to deposit the notes before 2017 March?
      A > When you are back in India, you will be able to return the money via NRO account provided you show the source (income,salary, gift etc). If the amount is huge, my hunch is that you will have to show more proof. For small amounts, I do not think you’ll have trouble.

      Q > Proof of what? What kind account I will need?
      A > Proof of your source of income. Since you are a US Citizen, you earn in dollars. So, how did you get the INR? Was it gifted? Was it carried by you when you traveled out of India? etc.

      Does that answer your question?

      • Hello mani, thank you for reply. I had carried 1.5L with intention of exchanging into USD at the airport in India. But I didn’t get chance due to traffic etc. This was about two years back. I had withdrawn money from local bank in India so I should be able to provide that proof.

        So far I have not declared any of my Indian accounts with US tax filing -my intention had been to eliminate Indian bank accounts. By opening an NRO I fear it will bring mysef back into US tax filing dilemma.

  • Hi i am an Indian, lcurrently residing in UK. I dont have any NRO a/c and I am not travelling to india before march 30th 2017 and also i dont have anyone here who is travelling to india before dec 30th 2016 but i do have some INR cash which is 500 &1000 notes .. and its hardearned money.so please help us to convert this INR in to either GBP or plz tell me if I can exchange this money once I reach India may be around MAY2017.

  • I am NRI in Singapore, have about 35,000Rp (all old 1000 bills). Exchanged in Mar 2016 to travel to India but trip got cancelled. I did not convert the Rp back due to commitments. If I travel to India the cost will be higher than the 35,000Rp, so not worth it. I have trusted relatives in India. How can I exchange these Rp before the deadline? Thank you

  • Came across this page today while searching for an answer to the Rs500/Rs1000 conundrum for NRIs.

    Have much the same experience as all of you do and have gone to as many places as the others. Called up pretty much the NYC consulate, the Indian Banks in NYC and all the money exchanges

    ICICI Bank NRI Services has only been asking me to be patient on the matter and they will be getting back.

    For now – this is what I found today in the Mint website

    Hope this panel finds answers soon

  • I read in Hindustan times online this morning (again,previously it was on times of India) that Indian embassy in UK is trying to get assistance from Indian govt so that NRI there could exchange these demonetized INR notes through Indian banks there.
    How can NRI in US get together to do the same? Any ideas folks???

  • I’m a UK resident and this is all getting very frustrating now to say the least…all of this has caused so much disruption and difficulties for those living in India and only leaves me questioning 1) the poor organisation from Indian Gov in making such a spontaneous change without considering the wider implications, and 2) whether us foreigners really will be given any opportunity to do something with our hard earned cash!

    Worse case scenario I may have to make a trip to India to deposit the money into someones account until all this hoo-haa settles. Do you know if there is a limit to how much can be in an Indian account before it gets taxed?

    On a side note, thank you so much Mani for having this site and updates…of all the searches I did when this change took place, this site has been the most helpful with information and updates. I check your site every day and hope we all are able to see a light at the end of the dark tunnel very soon! Keep up the good work…

  •  hi … This is the email I got from Icici nri services today…so nri can go to India and deposit to rbi with passport copy after Dec 30 ..even if it is after March 2017

    Dear Mr xxxx

    This is in continuation with the FAQs shared on the Withdrawal of Legal Tender Character of existing ₹500/- and ₹1,000/- Bank Notes, please find below the reiteration of the important FAQs for your reference.

    IMPORTANT NOTES for NRIs/PIOs: Q.I am currently situated overseas and I have some ₹500 & ₹1,000 bank notes. What should I do? The specified bank notes can be exchanged or deposited in the NRO bank account by December 30, 2016 by visiting any of the ICICI Bank branches in India. 

    In case it is not possible for you to visit a branch in India by December 30, 2016, an opportunity will be given to you to do so at specified offices of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), along with necessary documentation as may be specified by the RBI.

    Further, you can authorise a representative who can deposit the cash in your NRO account on your behalf.

    The authorised representative can approach the branch with the following documents: •Copy of the Authority letter signed by the account holder(s) •Copy of the Passport of the account holder which is self attested by the account holder (Incase the authority letter is a scanned copy) •Valid Identity proof* of the authorised representative  (*Valid Identity proof is any of the following: Aadhaar Card, Driving License, Voter ID Card, Pass Port, NREGA Card, PAN Card, Identity Card Issued by Government Department, Public Sector Unit to its Staff). Q.Whether I can deposit old bank notes into my NRO account? Yes, you can deposit old bank notes into your NRO account.

    However, in terms of Question 4 of the RBI FAQs on Miscellaneous forex facilities 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 ₹25,000 while entering only through an airport. 

    Q.I have a mandate holder in the NRO account. My mandate holder in India will be visiting the branch to deposit the cash? Do I require to give another authorisation request for acceptance of the cash? 
    No, since the representative visiting the branch is the existing mandate holder to the non resident account no separate authorisiation request is required. Please ask your mandate holder to carry a valid identity proof for identification while visiting the branch in India.

     Q.I am an NRI/ PIO. I have only a NRE account. I do not have a NRO account. Can I deposit my cash in the NRE account?
     You cannot deposit INR cash in the NRE account. You will need to make a request for opening of a NRO account in the same customer ID through the Internet banking logged in section or by calling our 24×7 Customer Care or making a request at the branch in India. The account will be opened within 2 working days. Post which you or your authorised representative may deposit the cash in the NRO account 

    Q.I am an NRI/ PIO. Do I have to complete the Re-KYC in my account to be able to exchange or deposit the specified bank notes? For accounts where the Re-KYC or FATCA declaration is due, the Branches in India are authorised to accept the cash up to a maximum limit of ₹50,000.

    Post completion of Re-KYC & updation of FATCA details in the account, the specified banknotes may be deposited in the NRO account without any limit. The account holder can submit the Re-KYC documents and the FATCA declaration through Internet Banking*.  *Applicable to account holders residing in FATF countries only.

    Q.I am an NRI / PIO. Do I have to submit my PAN details to deposit the specified banknotes of value ₹50,000 or more?Yes, PAN is required for INR cash deposits in the NRO account of value equal to or greater than ₹50,000/- . 

    You can update your PAN details in your account through internet banking or by making a request through our 24×7 Customer Care.

    Incase you do not have a PAN card, you may submit a Form 60 for depositing the cash in the NRO account. For any clarification or more information, you may write to us at [email protected] your registered e-mail ID or call our Customer Care.

    Looking forward to your co-operation in helping us serve you better. Sincerely, 

    Bharat Sharma
    Head – NRI Services and Global Remittances

    • Hi i am an Indian, lcurrently residing in US.. I dont have any NRO a/c and I am not travelling to india before march 30th 2017 and also i dont have anyone here who is travelling to india before dec 30th 2016 but i do have some 8000 INR cash which is 500 &1000 notes .. and its hardearned money.so please help us to convert this INR in to dollers here in US. plz help.

  • How indians exchange 500-1000 old notes with new notes in Australia who are citizen of australia or on visitor visa upto april 2017

    Pl reply

  • Update from Singapore:

    1. Mustafa doesn’t exchange 500 and 1000 rupee notes
    2. ICICI and SBI banks don’t exchange 500 and 1000 rupee notes. They even don’t accept 500 and 100 rupee notes to deposit to SGD account locally or NRO account in India

    Hope it helps for people in Singapore..

  • Hi Mani,

    You mentioned that UK based Indian banks accepting the 500/1000 currency notes in UK. Do you have list of banks or any information from banks stating the same. Please share the contact details or bank name as it would be really helpful for people in UK eagerly looking for this info.

    Thanks

      • Yes we went to bank of India in Manhattan and now they said they don’t get any email or confirmation from india and they did not take any 500 or 1000 notes.

  • Mani, I understand there is no solution for US based NRIs currently (no forex place is accepting INR, SBI bank branches are not accepting), short of physically traveling to India. Thank you for tracking this issue and posting updates. Appreciate your time and service.

  • I am in New York USA, I have 30k cash with me that I would like to exchange. I have contacted local SBI branch by email and phone but no reply, I have also try to contact our local banks and they are not taking it either, What is the plan for money that NRI may have with them?

    • Sam, local banks will not accept these notes directly anyways. The foreign exchange centers can, and they were accepting before Nov 8th 2016. Not any more.

      Currently, there are no legal ways to address this as India Govt. haven’t issued any clarification except the provision that if you go to India, you can use your NRO account to convert the cash you have. Read the comments below and the update in the article for other ways currently available.

    • I have checked all over the NYC/NJ area and no one, including SBI, ICICI, Bank of Baroda NY branch, all currency exchange outlets as well as any major bank like Chase, etc have ALL suspended all transactions from INR.

      If we wait, there is a chance some guidance will be given, and there may an opportunity.

      If someone we know is going to India, seems like the best approach.

      They will announce a provision for NRI’s to exchange after 3/31, but is likely to be complex, chowing different kinds of proof, etc.

      I am hoping after the rush in India dies down, they will announce something simple for people outside of India.

  • Mani, before I forget, thanks for your post and your selfless service on this top

    Another option for NRIs is to donate their money to Indian Government, by not converting them. I am planning to just keep my approx 13000 NR as souvenir from Indian Government.

    May be RBI can come up with a list of Indian Charities and a process by which they can accept cash donations upto 25000 INR. Hope these charities will somehow put our hard earned money to good use.

    Wondering if somehow those politicians, businessmen, film stars, corrupt govt officials, power brokers, sports persons, underworld and other unscrupulous people who actually hoard crores of INR as black money had already found a way to encash them into their accounts as purely legal after tax money while we as so called “Common Men (Women)’ left out in the cold in this grand clean-up.

    Also not sure how the Govt will prevent the new notes turning into black again as the underlying business practices have not been addressed anyway…

    Now you know one of the reasons we all left India…. Enjoy!

    • Hi Vekly,

      >> Another option for NRIs is to donate their money to Indian Government, by not converting them.

      Brilliant idea. I whole-heartedly support it. Perhaps we can come up with some possible options and share it with everyone who wants to support.

  • Hi, I am based in New Jersey, US and have retweeted Mani’s comment and my own to key people like Sh. Modiji, Sushmaji, Arun Ji and also key institutions like RBI, SBI, PMO, Ministry of Finance etc. , also NDTV, but haven’t got any response till now. Can someone suggest how can our tweets/comments get any visibility with key people or media/offices?
    I would suggest to all readers of this site to keep tweeting to important people/media/institutions/offices in the hope that they will be read by someone and some help provided. Whatever small amounts we holding like Rs. 5k/10k/20k etc. is still all hard earned money and wouldn’t like it to go down the drain.

  • Almost 90% of NRIs are having bank account in their current residing places.If that foreign bank allows to change the INR in to local currency with the proof of pancard/ aadhaar/ ARC/passport in addition to the account number of Indian bank then it reduces many issues. Once after collecting INR that money can be transfered by that foreign bank in to the Indian bank account provided by the NRI.

    • There are many of us who do not hold any bank account in India. So to make it easy for all,they should allow option of exchanging it for local foreign currency .

    • I don’t think banks will be able to accept INR directly, but only through foreign exchange. Currently, they are temporarily not accepting INR. Hope that changes soon.

      But also during this time, I’ve learned that it is technically not allowed for NRIs to take INR outside of the country. NRIs can bring up to 25K in cash at Airports but that is I think under the assumption that you have converted your foreign exchange at the Airport (not converting the cash you carried when you left).

      Many people (including me) take small amounts with them knowingly or unknowingly for Taxi change etc and technically this is illegal. But since these are small amounts, they don’t enforce this.

      Technically, when you fly out of India, you are not allowed to carry any cash in INR (but have it exchanged to the corresponding foreign exchange), which is why they allow up to 10K in hand, which I assume is meant to be used at the Airport/Duty free.

      I personally think that this is grey area that the Govt. hadn’t thought about. Or is perhaps ignored because these are small amounts (which when totaled will account to huge numbers).

      The problem here is that there are people hoarding INR in cash abroad (beyond the 10 or 25K they carry) which is clearly illegally parked money (even the small amount is, technically). And I don’t think Govt. will take any step to help you bring it back as it is clearly black money.

      • This is so wrong. NRIs CAN carry upto Rs.25000 in Indian Currency Notes as I mentioned earlier. Here is the official RBI Notification on it:
        https://rbi.org.in/scripts/NotificationUser.aspx?Id=10268&Mode=0

        Reproducing the relevant section here [point no. A. (b) ]

        b) Any person resident outside India, not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, and visiting India,
        may take outside India currency notes of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs.25,000 (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) per person
        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 (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only) per person

    • All Indian Banks with Branches in Foreign countries only accept foreign currencies. I already checked with ICICI bank as well as SBI in Toronto, they do not touch INRs. I think If foreign Branches of Indian Banks start accepting INRs then it will defeat the purpose of PM Modi’s intentions. Imagine, ISI dumping INRs through middle east branckes of Indian banks?? At the end of the day, Indian Govt has Launched Financial strikes against Bad apples and NRIs are going to be collateral damage

  • I am also an Indian working abroad and holding 6500 with me. This is normal practice of people like me who keep some cash for the purpose of their immediate expenses like taxi and hotel for the day when they land back in India.
    Whatever decision Indian Government has taken we respect and abide by the same. But we should be given a chance of exchanging that old currencies within one or two months of their return to India. And certainly we can not fix any time period for this because somebody may return within weeks but others may return even after two years as per their work contract.
    Alternatively Indian Embassies can collect those cash and issue some certificate to bearers which is encashable when somebody returns to India.

  • Request govt to allow NRIs to deposit old rupees into NRO accounts in foreign branches of Indian banks.
    Govt can put reasonable limits like freeze funds above Rs. 10,000 for 12 months to allow for banks or IT department to check source of funds.

    • This is a good solution Ras. Currently a lot of people are misinterpreting the RBI’s clarification that NRIs can use their NRO accounts to deposit cash. But these NRO accounts are in India and you cannot deposit cash to those from abroad. If they make this option (being able to deposit cash to NRO accounts from abroad) that will be a good legal solution.

      Still, people without NRO accounts will be helpless.

  • How much longer do we have to wait till we find out if this stupid indian govt will do anything for NRIs who don’t want to return to their stupid country for the sole purpose of exchanging money. I have around 27k in 1000s and 500s. I hope these dumbasses realize that all those people with black money have more ways of exchanging their money while us, the common people and NRIs, are the ones stuck with their useless currency. I don’t understand why all these people praising this stupidity. This is nothing but a hassle to exchange for a common man especially NRIs because we have no other choice but to send it with someone and if that someone is willing to take it because this stupid govt likes to target common people instead of those hiding hundreds of crores. I am so glad not to be living in this corrupted dumphole. I just want to exchange my hard earned money in US and I am done with this crap. **Why is my comment DELETED???**

      • are you sure that it’s illegal to take out INR out of india? If it is then that’s the most stupidest rule ever made but I don’t expect anything sensible out of indian govt anyway lol. How does the govt expect tourist to pay for their expenses right after landing in india? They expect us to convert it at the airport at a ridiculously low rates lol that’s not happening. If it is really illegal, I am sure 99% of the people outside india has already broken this rule. But thank you for all the info you have in this blog and please keep us updated if they ever introduce exchange service for NRIs which I hope they do.

        • @Jack, (or whatever your stupid real name is)

          If you don’t like India, that is fine, your opinion.
          But there is no reason to whine about it here.

          Also, with so much hatred towards India, you have no business to ask favor from Indian government to send/convert your stupid 27K INR black money to white money.

      • Hi Mani Karthik,

        I might be wrong here. If carrying INR outside India is illegal, why should foreign exchange centers were accepting INRs earlier (before Nov8th,2016).

  • Hi,

    I am currently in London and recently sent an email to SBI London, regarding depositing denominations of 500/1000 rs or getting them exchange in Pound as I am carrying 16500 and here is what reply I got:

    Dear Gaurav,

    Thank you for your recent email.

    We are not accepting Rupee Currency at SBI UK Branches and will not be in a position to handle the Rupee note exchange process (including withdrawal of old notes).

    Please visit the Reserve Bank of India website https://www.rbi.org.in or contact the India Helpdesk 0808 101 7633

    So there is no provision in UK as well as on date.

  • we have just around 10k rupees brought in when we left india in may, what is the best way to exchange in dollars while still in USA. Plans are to visit india in late February 2017. we are US citizens and have been here many, many years. Any advise will be helpful.

  • It is very common for Nris to have around 50k to 60k which might have been over a period of few years. government suggestion is to send thru family or friends but they have their own to carry and worried about limits. If they are really close they may dare and take more but that’s not a viable solution . This is our hard earned money too. Why should we write it off . I guess government didn’t think about Nris before making this decision.

    • Yes I agree that govt didn’t consider nri … nri keep Indian currency handy so that they don’t suffer multiple times exchange losses or to meet expenses in first week or so on going to India instead of withdrawing from ATM as soon as landing there.. And anyway it’s legal to have 25 k while entering India..

  • The fact of matter is, It is illegal for NRI to take INR out of India. I do not think indian governments will take any action for NRIs as those monies are illegal to begin with. Only way is to send it with friends or visit india yourself. There are people buying INR at discounted rates here ( I used one myself at 63=1CAD, I had no choice) but they are far and few. Your best option now is send it someone visiting india before Mar 17

    • Kumar,

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I stand corrected. It is indeed illegal to take Rupees outside of India as per this source. But it is a common practice for people to take small petty cash along with them (like for Taxi etc), not sure if we will have to write it off now. Sad.

      • Hi Mk your source is dated in 2013… The 25000 rs updating was in 2014..so it supercedes and we can take back 25000 to India … And to avoid confusion here is the FAQ link from RBI website … so no more confusion

        https://m.rbi.org.in/scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=66

        Q 4. How much Indian currency can be brought in while coming into India?
        Ans. 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.

        • The above is fema rules as of August 2016 from RBI website … and we can take 25 k in to India .. so when we can legally take out/bring in 25000 in inr govt has to make some provision right !!!

        • Those 25K are the INR exchanged from foreign funds for the purpose of visiting India. This 25K are the money allowed to Indian National on a temp visit to foreign country or Foreign National on a temp visit to India. However, INR taken out of India for safekeeping for future visit does not count. Even though, Most of NRI does it for the purpose of convenience, we are essentially breaking law. We assumed that there was no expiry dates to the notes, unfortunately it turned out false. Anyhow, Toronto Area NRIs, check out our famous local buy/sell site, there are some options available there (however, at 15-20% cut)

  • Hi Mani,
    I have been sending money to my father in India, a kind of saving to buy some property down the lane. Its all come from our salary, legal money. I just asked my dad to take that money out and hand it to my mom, now my mom has close to 9 lakhs sitting in the house, in 500 notes and 1000 notes. I have all legal paperwork of transfering the money, using a money transfer service, both western union and world remit, money has generally gone via bank transfer to their bank. Is there a way out of it. I dont mind the money going to my bank account in India. Can it be done now

    • Shail,

      I think you (your parents) should be able to deposit that money back to your NRO account (or their savings account) if they can provide the sources (which is not a problem I assume).

  • Any updates from india govt on exchanging 500 &1000 INR in to dollers here in US.. plz inform.. even i have some amount of 500 INR with me n i wanna exachange it .. plz help

  • Hi Karthik,
    Good forum for updating each other. Kudos! Don’t want to repeat what people already know. However, would like to add that it may not be illegal to send currency through USPS. Unsafe yes, but illegal no. See the link below.
    http://www.snopes.com/legal/postal/sendcash.asp
    Can anyone tell if icici or sbi branches in new York are changing the notes.
    Thanks.,
    Umang

    • Hi Umang,

      Sending it within US may not be illegal, but to India is. (Only few countries like India have this restriction) If it wasn’t the case, there was no need of currency exchange, right? 🙂

      • Old currency notes can get lost in the mail.
        However, it’s no longer illegal to mail. Per PM – it’s not legal tender anymore. It’s only a piece of paper now.

  • “How much money in cash, can you carry to India while traveling?”

    Is this 25,000 or 7,500 INR? Most of the customs site say that its 7,500. Did they increase the amount to 25,000 INR in light of the current situation?

    • Yes Sri, it is 25K, they increased the limit some time back. Check the source I’ve linked to in the article. You can carry above 25K, as long you will declare it to customs and can prove source and give reason why.

  • I just read Times of India online article which states that Indian high commissioner in UK is going to look into option (for UK NRIs) of allowing them to deposit or exchange the default INR notes at a local Indian bank(in UK). I hope a similar proposal is planned for NRIs in USA.

  • I am in Edmonton, Canada and have around 7-8k INR. I tried to get them exchanged in CAD but every bank/forex exchange agencies refused to accept Indian currency.

  • I checked with Bank of America, and Chase Bank in the US and they have stopped accepting Indian OHD currency. I was informed by a Bank of America official that they are aware that the OHD notes can be exchanged with RBI till Dec. 2016 but have paused accepting OHD notes till they get additional clarity on the matter. So maybe Bank of America might revise their stand but till then, anyone abroad having OHD INR currency is stuck with it.

  • all freezed here in canada. i have one question though:

    my friend is traveling to India with his family. as i know the limit is 7500 rs per person but nowhere i can see the age limit.

    he has 4 year old kid traveling with him, his wife. So can he carry 22500 rs in total?

    • Hi Nik,

      I think that’ll be a risk. Because, above 7.5K you’ll need to show proof of income. Not sure how you’d deal with that. Even otherwise, it’s not a good idea to let someone else take the money with them that’s not theirs.

  • I would urge all to relax. We have officially 50 more days to figure out unless you have huge sums of cash. and by the way i would like to point out, this move may curb tax defaulters and black money, it has its negative effects if many indians living abroad have less INR say 2 or 3k like me (who planned on carrying it on the next visit just to pay for taxi from airport to house) would just discard off this little amount than to go through hassle of converting or depositing it. For example I have HDFC NRO account, if there is HDFC branch here in Germany then it is definitely far away from where i live so i would not bother to travel all the way to a big city and take so much trouble of exchanging a little sum of money. If many do the same then just imagine there are millions of indians living abroad and even if a 10% of those decide not to take the trouble of exchange then this is huge loss for Indian economy as that money is just wasted and doesn’t have a value of a nickel

  • Reading thru your post on ways for NRI’s to change 500s and 1000 bills, I have the below question. Hope you can help. 1)Can I send rupee bills through western union or money transfer companies from usa to india.
    2)Can the money be send to parents local account in india.

    • Hi Raje,

      1. No you cannot sent rupee bills via Western Union or money transfer companies from USA to India.
      2. When you say “money”, if it is 500 and 1000 Rupee notes, no you cannot. You can travel to India and carry it with you if the amount is under 25K INR though.

  • Hi,

    I am a Canadian Citizen. I have quite a bit of liquid INR currency around 2 lakh. I was planning on exchanging them with Cad$ but now no bank or money exchange would take them.

    Since its a big amount, I cannot take them with me either.

    Do you have any suggestions for people who have big amount of INR currency with them in foreign countries.

  • i have retweeted mk’s tweet …so i urge all of you to do the same ..please tweet , retweet with #whataboutNRIs to @PMOIndia @RBI @narendramodi….only if a lot of NRIs tweet we could get some sort of reply hopefully!!!

  • Actually it was Rs 7500 couple of year back , then increased to Rs 10000, currently from past 2 years its Rs 25000 in currency which can be taken back to india without declaring in customs. Source

    but now the question is what if we are not planning to travel until march 2017….surprised that govt or rbi has not issued directive on this considering millions of NRIs living all over the globe

  • Here I got and email reply from SBI New York:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    We thank you for the email.

    Government of India has given the following options for exchange of the banknotes:

    “The scheme closes on 30th December 2016. The OHD banknotes can be exchanged at branches of commercial banks, Regional Rural Banks, Urban Cooperative banks, State Cooperative Banks (Located In India) and RBI till 30th December 2016.
    For those who are unable to exchange their Old High Denomination Banknotes on or before December 30, 2016, an opportunity will be given to them to do so at specified offices of the RBI, along with necessary documentation as may be specified by the Reserve Bank of India.”

    There may be other options available by an authorization letter through another person. More information in this regard can be obtained from the website of Reserve Bank of India at https://rbi.org.in/.
    The complete FAQs on the scheme can be accessed at the Reserve Bank of India website.

    A Non-Resident Indian / Person of Indian Origin need to have a NRO Account at a Bank branch in India for crediting Indian Currency.
    For more information on NRE/ NRO Accounts please contact the toll –free number from USA at 1866-328-4209 or visit the website for NRI Services of State Bank of India.

  • Dear Mani
    The question in your tweet is already answered as ” Deposit into NRO account”
    The real question is:
    How should NRI’s living overseas with no plans to come to India soon convert their Rupees overseas itself

    Also, giving money to others is a complete violation of law. Nobody can carry more than a reasonable amount of say INR 5000. If someone carries much more than that, and upon arrival declares this, he will be deemed to violate the foreign exchange law of carrying more than the permitted amount out of the country in the first place – and penalized.
    If he does not declare, and is caught by customs, he is deemed a ‘smuggler’
    And if he declares that this is someone else’s money, he will be termed as a ‘carrier’
    A lot of crooks will be trying various stunts to make use of all available loopholes, including NRI money.
    So, even genuine persons will be clubbed under the same racket.
    Either which way, you lose.
    This is not a good idea at all, even if someone caries passport copies, and letters of the NRI’s authorizing him to deposit the money on their behalf.
    Better to wait for official announcement

    • Hi Mahesh,

      Thanks for the comment.

      > Nobody can carry more than a reasonable amount of say INR 5000.

      This is right. Some sources say the amount limit is Rs.7,500. Beyond that is not permitted.

      And I agree that carrying money from others for the sake of it isn’t recommended and is unlawful. Unless it is your friend or close relative, and you are in some dire emergency, I don’t think that this should be done.

      Crux of the matter is, any amount above Rs.25,000 will be frowned upon.

      Also, the “use your NRO account” doesn’t make sense, right? NRIs abroad who aren’t going back to India anytime soon, cannot deposit money to their NRO accounts anytime soon. And what about people who don’t have an NRO account? Can they get an account when they are back? So many questions unanswered.

  • MK, Thanks for sharing the tips on this topic.
    One thing that is being missed in the discussion is the role of (some) NRIs in Black money.

    If you had a lot – hundreds of thousands – of currency notes with you while traveling overseas, ask yourself: Has the money had already been taxed in India? If yes, just hold on to the currency till your next trip back to India and follow RBI guidelines

    Updated tips.

  • Really good initiative from you. Thank you. In France the situation is same, no indian official banks accept indian notes 🙁 I am wondring my self how even offical banks (boi, sbi) coulad accept these notes. Even no money exchangers accept indian currency. Really disappointed with this schema.

  • Good article but few things are missing. NRIs only , you have time upto 31st March 2017 to take the money to India and you can deposit to Indian NRO account in specific branches. Like I use citibank, I have 25k Indian currencies all including 500 and 1k bills. It is sad that Indian administration always come up with inconvenient pathways and make life hell for NRIs. Most people have already encountered another blow on getting Indian visa or OCI . The renunciation fee sky rocketed like hell $300.00, and that is call height of corruption. I can only say God bless all NRIs.

    If you are not travelling this year, you can still change them until March 31, 2017 by furnishing ID proof.

  • How much one can take Indian rupees who is nri is there any limits?
    I have worth 20,000 ruppes total in 500, and 1000
    My friend is going to India so I can send and they deposit In my acc
    Vijay

      • Amandeep, as far as I know, there’s a limit of 7.5K (some sources say 5K) INR in cash that you can take with you while traveling to and from India (other than Nepal and Bhutan, which has no limits). You can carry USD of up to 5000 (in cash or traveler’s cheque) but you will need to declare it to the customs if it is above 5K USD (through the immigration form you fill up while arriving to India). So, technically there is no limit to how much USD (or other foreign exchange) you can carry, just that you have to let customs know and prove your sources.

  • I am US Citizen and recently went to India and came back with Rs40000 in cash that I was planning to use on my next trip in about 2 years. Not sure, what to do with those now. Indian Govt should provide some direction to NRIs and Other nationals who hold small travel expense in cash.

  • I went to GWK Travel counter in The Hague, Netherlands
    which is a popular foreign currency agency in Netherlands. They said that they have stopped temporarily accenting Indian Rupees.

  • Hi Mani,

    I really appreciate ur helping nature.. This blog is really helping me a lot about this Currency issue.. I got few Indian currency with me which are not accepted by any of the exchange centres here in California.. Its so annoying that Indian notes are getting waste.. I really hope if they ( banks, exchange centres ) can start accepting Indian notes.. Please let me know if any better chances on the way..

  • Hi , i am working in US ..10 days back sent some money to my parents account ,they with draw that amount through ATMS.

    so now they are having liquid cash all are 500 & 1000 rs notes,

    is there any issue for them to deposit whole money back to same account ..

    will they ask any questions on how you got that money & source of income .. if that is the case what type of document do i need to send to my parent (as i am the source for that income).

    Please advise me

    • RK, No I don’t think they’ll have any trouble depositing the money back to the bank. They won’t be able to deposit it back if it’s the NRI account but they can deposit to their own bank accounts (ex: savings). As for income source, it’d help if they have the transfer receipt to your transaction. But assuming it’s not a huge amount, they should be completely OK.

      • Thanks Karthik for your reply .

        i am concern about amount only . it’s bit huge amount only around 8 to 10 lks .

        in this case will it be required any docs

        • Hello, I think they can claim the money as “Gift money” as long as they have the receipt of western union OR whatever the mode of transfer you opted to send the money.

        • If you have sent the money through official channels into their account, they can deposit the same back into the same account.

          There may be an inquiry later on to ask the need to withdraw 10 laks in cash. You parents can always say you feel more secure with cash, unless they have a better answer.

  • In Toronto, Canada also neither currency exchange nor bank exchanging INR at all ! Thanks Karthik for valuable input it helped

    • True. I tried the SBI branch in Scarborough, Ontario and they too said they do not accept Indian currency.
      Can anyone confirm if any foreign exchange outlets in Scarborough, Toronto who still accept these 500/1000 notes

  • While I welcome this decision, I am quite surprised that no preparations were done to implement this. I am in Texas and have some money in INR cash. There is no provision for us left to return Indian currency. None of the banks / Credit Unions / Foreign Exchange centers are accepting INRs?
    What are our options? Wait for a friend or relative to travel to india? This is ridiculous for Government to expect that sort of arrangement. I hope some provision is made sometime soon to resolve this problem.

    • Mayank, I don’t think Govt. overlooked this part for NRIs. We are allowed to carry liquid cash with us, but it’s definitely not supposed to be a huge amount. And from what I hear RBI will be providing options for NRIs to return their liquid cash to authorized offices before March 2017. Just that we don’t have clarity on where these offices will be at the moment. Hold on and stay tuned. I’ll update as soon as we have an answer.

      • Yeah, but the RBI offices will be in India only. They won’t be in US, Canada, UK, Australia, UAE.

        NRI’s, OCI’s, PIO’s, even Indian residents who are abroad and won’t be going to India till March 31, 2017 and have small INR in 500, 1,000 Rs. Notes are screwed. These are not terrorist or black money guys.

        These are hard working honest individuals who carry a small amount of INR with them, so that when they go back to India they have money for taxi, eating etc at the airport. And also for the first couple of days, till they get time to visit banks, currency exchange counters etc. Also every time you exchange money you lose in exchange rate and its time consuming and a hassle. So people tend to keep some left over money with them for return trips.

        Maybe Indian embassies and consulates here should take the INR money back with proper ID’s etc and give a voucher or card which is redeemable in India for a year. Or banks like ICICI, SBI etc which have branches abroad should take INR cash back, within limits ofcourse with proper ID’s. RBI needs some guidelines on this.

        We are talking about small amounts say maximum $ 500 per person. Black money guys will have hundreds of thousands, not such small amounts and also will hesitate to give ID’s. Honest guys with small INR in their pocket and abroad will welcome this scheme.

        • > Yeah, but the RBI offices will be in India only.

          I hope we are wrong about it. If they are in India, that is not going to help much. I’m hoping they’ll be at Indian consulates or other official establishments abroad.

      • Govt should have considered about NRI’s and provide alternatives. I am sure less than .01% might travel before Dec16; we dont even have details in embassy site.

      • If that is true, it’s a great relief. A lot of people are in big soup. Imagine someone traveling to US for the first time on November 8th and carrying INR to exchange it to USD on US Airport. And when he landed he was denied currency exchange. Poor guy would have been left stranded with no money. 🙂
        I think the best possible solution would be to guide all currency exchange centers to resume buying INR until Dec 30 and they should be provided a means to still be protected. This is the best possible solution because everyone can have an easy access to currency exchange outlets.

        BTW, thanks for following this up. You are doing a great job.

  • Has anyone tried to deposit money in Indian bank branch in other countries. For example ICICI has branch in New York. Could I personally go there or send them 500/ 1000 rupees notes and deposit in my own NRE/ NRO account? Since bank deposits are possible in India without no limits, I am guessing why not in other countries? As long as it is Indian bank and you have active account it.

    • ICICI bank, SBI bank in US are run like US banks and under that jurisdiction and laws, even though they are originally from India. They are not run and operated like Indian banks in India.

      They will not accept or give Indian cash currency over the counter in US or other countries like Canada, Australia, UK etc.
      They will only accept foreign cash like USD, CAD $ , Australian $ , UK pounds etc.

      They will electronically transfer Rs to India, or give you Rupees certified cheque or demand draft. But anything with Indian physicak cash i.e actual notes and bills, they won’t do anything.

  • The option of being able to deposit it in NRO account is not right. Even though the RBI guidelines says something to that effect, I am not sure how much of that is true

    https://www.rbi.org.in/Scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=119

    I spoke to ICICI NRI banking and they just mentioned that there is no way to do that yet even with NRO account. Also that they have not received any guideline.

    If we were in India, why would be need to deposit in NRO, we can deposit it any account or exchange cash from bank. For NRI, there is no option available yet.

  • I’m not an NRI, but a person of Indian origin living in the US and I have a few thousand rupees with me. I don’t have an OCI or PIO card. I don’t know anyone who is going to India in the exchange time frame nor anyone currently there who can help me with this matter. Is there any way as of right now for me to be able to exchange my rupees for dollars here in the US?

  • hello, i am an iraqi refugee holding a protection card from the UNHCR office and i have been in india for about a year i have converted some dollars which i have brought with me from iraq at an currency exchange and i have now nearly twenty thousands rs but i don’t have a bank account so how can i replace the 500 rs notes i have now

    • You can exchange at any post office or bank in India for the new notes. I think there is a daily limit of Rs. 4,000 per day or week or something like that for exchange. They might check your ID too.

      For deposit into bank account there is no daily or weekly limit. Rs, 20,000 is a small amount, so you shouldn’t have any issues, if it was a big amount I would be worried.

    • As a foreigner, you will need to show your original transaction receipt.
      If you lost it or changed from the street, then pose as a local and convert 2000 daily – no ID required.

  • Hello,I’m from UAE one month back I came from India and I carried up to 12000 INR tell me how can I convert to new currency because I will use that money when I go home. is there any possibility to exchange in Indian banks in UAE

    • No banks in UAE will not accept INR in 500 or 1000s. Neither will UAE exchange or other money transfer agencies (as of me writing this). Your best best is to have it send over to India by a friend or relative and have it deposited in your NRI/NRO account.

  • I am in LA area in CA, tried calling 17 different forex agent and banks including wells fargo, chase, bank of america and none of them is accepting Indian Rupees.

    • Sadly yes, they stopped accepting INR somewhere about morning 10 AM PST following instructions. Few of them are hopeful that this is a temporary problem and they should be able to accept INR in smaller quantities from NRIs who have IDs and documents to prove. Most of them said no more INR transactions “until further notice”.

  • Thanks for updating . Good important information for NRI and OCI card holders.
    PLEASE TELL THAT FOR OCI SAME PROCIDURE IS THEIR ?

    PLEASE ALSO TELL THAT ANY BODY IS ON VISITER VISA IN AUSTRALIA FOR ONE YEAR AND WILL ARRIVE AT INDIA AFTER 31sr MARCH 2017, I. E . AFTER CUTOFF DATE TO EXCHANGE MONY , HOW THEY CAN EXCHANGE THEIR ₹ 500 & ₹ 1000 CURRENCY NOTES IN AUSTRALIA ?

    Pl . ADVICE

    • Hi Mr. Patel,

      As of now (Nov 8th 9 PM IST) there is no official reply on what can be done in such a situation. However, there are unconfirmed reports that Govt. will be opening up a window for NRIs with smaller INR amounts of 500s and 1000 Rupee notes in consulates that will help you convert it, provided you have valid travel documents etc. There is no official confirmation on this though. You will have to wait and see what the update is.

  • As mentioned in your alternate option 2 that old high denomination (OHD) notes can be sent to NRE account, I would like to make note that old high denomination notes can be deposited to NRO account only.

    Further thanks for your valuable efforts and inputs.

  • right way for any nri’s is to send with someone to india as RBI is going to accept till end of march 2017 with proper documentation that you were out of country.

    • Mark, Currency exchanges aren’t accepting 500 and 100 notes anywhere as of now.

      However there’s ray of hope. There’s unconfirmed reports that NRIs who have liquid money (under certain amount) will be able to get it converted via a special program before March 2017. No official confirmation on this though.

      • Why before March 2017? I am not planned to return to India till end of 2018 due to work abroad. Indian government policy allows NRI to carry upto Rs.25,000 in cash when they go abroad. When the government had such a policy, what option are they providing for such NRI returnees beyond March 2017?

  • I have 6500Rs I hv 500Rs and 1000Rs notes I Stay in NJ jersey city where I can exchange my Indian rupees .money exchange refuse to exchange the Indian notes .I want to know can State Bank of India accept my Indian money in newYork there is state Bank of India can i transfer that money to India bank .state Bank of india where my dad has account I don’t want to west this money atlest my dad can use this money or can I exchange this money in dollars where I can exchange please guide me which airport they accept India 500Rs and 1000Rs we hv Newark airport near do they accept.

    • I’m not entirely sure of Newark, but State Bank of India anywhere in the US isn’t accepting INR. Currency exchanges at Airports aren’t completely ruling it out. They were accepting it early morning but not now. They’re pausing any transaction in INR “until further notice”. Hopefully they’ll open soon.

  • In Bay Area, CA, none of the exchange counters at the airport (SFO/OAK/SJC) accepting 500 or 1000 till further notice as of 2PM 11/8/2016

  • I hope there will be a proper way where we might be able to get a new currency note from a proper channel. (Consulate/etc). The cash we have here is not illegal. It will still be entertained somehow. I dont have a lot with me that would bother me, but I am sure the government will have some service in these countries to get it exchanged.

    • I agree Jay. I usually carry cash (both Dollars and Rupees) every time I travel, but it’s never a big amount. But from different journeys I had some cash left around. I’m sure others have smaller chunks with them un-intentionally.

      I hope the Govt. and Consulate arrange a way to convert all that amount legally.

  • Hi,
    I just tried at a currency exchange at Atlanta airport. They said they are not taking indian currency at the moment. Its been temporarily suspended.

    • I just talked to a currency exchange employee and he mentioned that it is “temporary” as they are trying to figure out how the India Govt: will deal with the money they have. So, yes it is temporary I hope.

  • Thanks for posting. We called three to four foreign exchange offices in L.A, they refused to accept Indian currency for exchange in USD. Some even have ceased any transactions in INR until further clarifications. Even exchange office at airport refused to exchange INR for USD.

    • I agree Ritika. However, there’s some ray of hope as they are reluctantly admitting that things will change soon. Travelers etc who are carrying liquid cash do need an opportunity to convert. It’s just that the exchange centers don’t know what to do at the moment.

  • I returned from India few days back.
    I have some Indian currency (Rs 1000 and Rs 500 ) which I have to exchange.
    After reading your Post
    I called Travelex Currency Services and requested for Indian currency exchange.
    I was told that they suspended accepting Indian currency for exchange.

    • Hi,
      I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I have some Indian currency about 5000 INR in 500 and 1000 notes, it was unintentionally lying around. I used them for cabs etc. when I flew back from India last time. I called up NZ banks and currency converters in Auckland but could not find anyone who deals with Indian rupee. There are a few Indian banks in Auckland i called them as well, they informed me that they dont deal with cash in rupee.

    • Sure thing Jabir. I just called up few banks to confirm this. They also mentioned that some regular money exchange shops in malls etc also accept Indian Rupees and you can convert them. Many of them are experiencing long queues at the moment though.

      • Hello Karthik,

        I called a couple of Travelex foreign exchange counters here in San Diego and seems like nobody is accepting 500 and 1000 rs notes right now. Have you spoke to any that are accepting? Are these in California??

        • I have some 500 and 1000 rupee notes with me too. I live in San Diego. Called SBI here. They are not offering exchange on Indian currency. Not sure what to do?

          • Barkha, give it some time. Like I mentioned earlier, the Govt. is reported to be making arrangement for NRIs to return their liquid cash via authorized RBI outlets/approved centers soon before March 2017. If you’re in a hurry the best bet is to give the money to a friend or family who is traveling to India and have it converted in India. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

      • Hi Karthik,
        I live in east coast. Just called Travellex in Newark and New York airport. They said they got explicit orders not to exchange Indian currency. So not sure how to do it. Let me know if you have any specific places where they accept Indian currency.

          • I have 1000 INR notes after my travel to India in Feb this year. I live in MD and after calling banks and travelux etc was told that no one is accepting INR till” further notice”. I will follow this blog for updates. Please post details as you come to know.Thanks

      • Hi Mani,

        Thanks for the post. I called Wells Fargo, Lincoln, NE for currency exchange. They will not accept old notes. I am not sure if it is the case with all exchange centers. If you know any exchange centers who is accepting old notes, please let us know.

        • There should be a way
          I have left over cash up to one and half lakh . all 500 and 1000 notes hate to see get wasted . No one wants to carry to India . They are scared

          • i also visited the biggest money changer here in singapore and they say that all transactions are stopped. i have about 50K from gifts and loose cash. will wait for some window. would there be restrictions in carrying it to India also? would there be any questions at the airports?