How To Exchange Foreign Currency In India – A Complete Guide

If you are looking to exchange foreign currency online, then click below to place an order.

If you want to know more about foreign currency exchange in India, then read our article below;

  1. What is foreign currency exchange?
  2. Infographic: The ideal foreign exchange journey of a traveller
  3. Different ways to exchange forex in India
  4. Which is the cheapest money exchange option?
  5. Documents required for foreign currency exchange
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

What is Foreign Currency Exchange?

Foreign currency exchange means both buying and selling of foreign currencies and forex cards.

Buying Foreign Currency – Exchanging Indian Rupees for required foreign currency, either as cash or loading it in a forex card. That is converting INR to USD, CAD, GBP, EUR etc.

Selling Foreign Currency – Exchanging Foreign Currency in hand, which could be either in the form of currency notes or in a forex card, for Indian Rupees. That is converting USD, CAD, GBP, EUR etc to INR.

Infographic: The Ideal Foreign Exchange Journey of a Traveller

  1. Plan Your Currency Exchange Early: Buy your foreign currency at least 1 week before your travel. Avoid doing last-minute currency exchange at the airport (where it’s very costly) and save 10-15% on exchange rates. 
  1. Compare & Buy Forex From Authorized Providers: Select forex vendors authorized by the RBI for safe and genuine transactions. Research to find the best rates and trustworthy providers.
  1. Understand Forex Limits: RBI allows an annual forex limit of up to $250,000 USD or equivalent. When travelling abroad, you can carry up to USD 3,000 equivalent as cash and use forex cards to carry additional funds if required.
  1. Overseas Cash & Card Usage: Use cash for small transactions and your Forex card for larger expenses and ATM withdrawals, enjoying convenience and security.
  1. Sell Leftover Forex: On returning to India, you are allowed to hold balance forex up to USD 2,000. Excess amounts must be declared and should be encashed within 6 months. 

Also Read: Travelling Abroad? Don’t Bring Back These 10 Foreign Currencies

Different Ways To Exchange Forex in India

1. Exchange Foreign Currency Online

do money exchange online via

Gone are the days of running around to physical banks or waiting in long queues at money changers. 

With online currency exchange platforms like, you can easily book forex transactions from the comfort of your home or office. 

Choose foreign currency and enter the amount. Then compare exchange rates and service fees of forex stores in your town or city and choose the best deal.

Buying foreign currency? It’s delivered to you. Selling? They’ll pick it up from you and the INR for it will be deposited in your bank account. 

The whole process is both easy on your mind and light on your pocket.

2. Exchange Foreign Currency in Banks

With the foreign currency in hand visit your bank where you hold an account. For example, if you are an SBI bank account holder, you can exchange foreign currency in SBI.

Please Note: You won’t be able to do the exchange in a bank where you don’t hold an account 

Ask for the exchange rate of the foreign currency and the service fee quoted by your bank.

Usually, the exchange rate banks give is not the best in the market. 

This is because, for banks, buying and selling foreign currency is not the main business. It is just an extra service they provide. 

Thus they are not very bothered about giving attractive rates to customers and have an attitude of take it or leave.

Also Read: How Do Banks in India Get Foreign Currency?

3. Exchange Foreign Currency with RBI Licenced Money Changers

Image Source:

Approach an RBI-licenced money changer to exchange currency.

Examples of such money changers are Unimoni (formerly UAE Exchange), Transcorp, EbixCash, Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings etc.

Their advantage is that, unlike banks, a person does not need to have an account with them to buy or sell foreign currency. Also, money changers are more competitive than banks. Thus they offer attractive exchange rates to grab customers.

Please Note: When going to a money changer store for foreign currency exchange, make sure they are licenced by RBI. Many dubious unregistered currency exchanges advertise very cheap exchange rates but sometimes give fake currencies. If you use these fake currencies abroad, it could cause legal issues for you in that country.

4. Exchange Foreign Currency at The Airport

Airport inside people shops currency exchange counters

Source: Career Employer

Airports are the last place where a traveller going abroad has the chance to buy foreign currency. Similarly, it is the first place for selling foreign currency when flying back into the country.

Currency exchange counters at airports know this fact. They know that travellers always come to them out of urgency to buy foreign currency or for easily selling foreign currency. 

Thus they provide forex services at at outrageous exchange rates! 

Also, everything inside an airport is pretty costly. Ever had a cup of coffee in an airport and paid more than 4x what you pay outside?  Yeah well, forex counters there are also like that.

Pro Tip: Avoid doing currency exchange at airports unless you have no other option. Plan ahead and buy forex early on or sell forex at your bank or any RBI-licenced money changers after coming out of the airport.

Which Is The Cheapest Money Exchange Option?

Let’s take a look at the cost of buying top 5 currencies from all the currency exchange options;
(22 Feb 2024 Rates)

Top 5 CurrenciesGoogle
Money Changer
1 USD82.86
(interbank rate)
1 EUR89.93
(interbank rate)
1 GBP105.08
(interbank rate)
1 CAD61.58
(interbank rate)
1 AUD54.56
(interbank rate)
Green – Lowest margin on buying forex (cheapest option)
Red – Highest margin on buying forex (costliest option)

*these figures are sourced from publicly available exchange rate information

As you can see from the table above, consistently the online option beats the other options in terms of cheaper exchange rates. 

Booking foreign currency exchange online, with companies like, is the most cost-effective option. 

At ExTravelMoney, we provide “wholesale exchange rates” to our customers which they won’t be able to get as a walk-in customer with any other bank or money changer.

You also get to enjoy features like door delivery of foreign currency (buying) or door pickup (selling forex). 

Conversely, Airports are the costliest option for buying or selling foreign currencies.

Also Read: The Secret Behind Who Determines Exchange Rates in India

Documents Required For Foreign Currency Exchange in India

Documents-required-for-currency-exchange-passport India

When buying/ selling forex through your bank or a chosen money changer, you’d be required to provide KYC (Know your customer) documents. This is in compliance with RBI rules and all banks and authorized exchange houses must adhere to this rule.

Buying Forex

The documents required for buying foreign currency in India are ;

  1.  Indian Passport
  2. Confirmed Air Ticket showing travel within 60 days
  3. PAN Card (PAN – Aadhar Linking Mandatory for Forex Transactions?)
  4. Valid Visa (Mandatory for some countries)

Selling Forex

The documents required for selling foreign currency in India are ;

  1. Indian Passport (Mandatory for transactions above Rs.25,000)
  2. PAN Card & any one of the below documents
  3. Driving License
  4. Voters ID
  5. Aadhar Card

There you have it – your straightforward guide to exchanging foreign currency in India, from finding the best rates to knowing the KYC documents required. Remember, a little bit of planning and researching options can save you a good amount of money on exchanging foreign currency. Whether you’re buying or selling forex, keep this guide handy, and you’ll navigate through the process like a pro. Safe travels and happy exchanging.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which all foreign currencies can you buy in India?

The popular foreign currencies you can buy in India are; 

  1. Australian Dollar
  2. British Pound
  3. Canadian Dollar
  4. Euro
  5. Japanese Yen
  6. Malaysian Ringgit
  7. New Zealand Dollar
  8. Singapore Dollar
  9. Thai Baht
  10. UAE Dirham
  11. US Dollar

2. What is the maximum amount of forex you can buy and carry abroad?

Every Resident Indian is allowed to buy and transfer foreign exchange up to USD 2,50,000 in a single financial year. 

So the maximum amount of forex you can buy is USD 2,50,000 equivalent.

For carrying forex abroad, you can carry a maximum of USD 3,000 or its equivalent as cash. The rest can be carried in a Forex card.

3. What should I do with balance foreign currency from a trip abroad?

Generally, on return from a foreign trip, you have to encash unspent foreign currency. This is especially true if you have more than USD 2,000 equivalent. Foreign exchange in cash exceeding this USD 2,000 limit must be deposited in a bank within 90 days, and the traveller’s cheques must be surrendered within 180 days of returning.

If you have unspent foreign currency or a traveller’s cheque below USD 2,000 equivalent, you can keep it for future use.

Also Read: How Much Tax You’ve To Pay On Foreign Exchange Transactions In India?


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