Saturday, December 3, 2016

NRIs have finally started sending Rs 500/1000 Notes in Flights with Colleges/Friends due to Demontization

After waiting for almost a month for a better alternative to exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes overseas after the announcement of demonetization of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes on 8th November 2016, NRIs seems to start accepting their fate and started sending cash with friends and colleagues traveling to India before 30th December.

I have many Non Resident Indian colleagues which have more15 to 20K Indian currency mainly in Rs 500 notes and worried of becoming worthless, finally decided to send it via friends/colleagues traveling to India in coming weeks. Even though this is possible, this is not easy because of unknown risk of customs declaration on cash and checking.

NRIs which are not willing to take risk are politely refusing to take the cash even with the authorisation letter because custom doesn't allow you to take Indian rupees in cash. As per currency rules, import of Indian rupees is prohibited, except for citizens of India importing up to INR 25,000. So, if you take even 10K INR for a couple of friends, you exceed that limit and you need to declare that to custom and you don't know how custom will react with that.

Some of my readers also asked me whether they can send the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes via courier, registered mail, and International shipping careers e.g. FedEx, UPS, DHL and other International Mail Services. Well, you cannot send cash via DHL, FedEx or any other means of shipment. DHL clearly says that Cash (legal tender – bank notes, currency notes, and coins) and traveler's cheques are prohibited commodities for DHL Express service and I believe every other career also follows the same rule.

NRIs have finally started sending Rs 500/1000 Notes in Flights with Colleges/Friends - Demontization

So, the only way remaining for NRIs it to deposit their old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes to NRO account before they become worthless is to find a friend or colleague who is taking less than 25000 INR and traveling before 30th December. I bet it's not easy to find that out given everybody is now searching for those lucky NRIs who have booked tickets to travel India before 30th December.

Just remember that Any person residing outside India e.g. NRIs and PIO and visiting India for vacation or meetings or any purpose, 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. This can be both old and new notes, so don't worry about that.

Another thing you must keep in mind that you can only deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes into your NRO account and if you are asking someone else to deposit the cash e.g. friends, relatives or colleagues then they must have your authorization letter stating that you authorise them to deposit your money in original along with their photo ID cards.

If they have scanned copy of the authorization letter then they must carry the self-attested copy of the passport of NRO account holder to deposit the cash. You can read how to deposit old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes into NRO account for more information.

You should also remember some important points given in this article before depositing a large amount of cash in terms of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in your NRO accounts to avoid scrutiny on the source of income.


  1. How can foreigners exchange the 500 and 1000 notes that they have with them after their trip to India and not planning to travel again to india before 30 dec?

    1. Their only option is to authorize someone on their behalf to exchange cash at RBI offices. I am not sure if RBI except authorization from foreigners but so far there is no other option.