The Modi government’s sudden step of demonetization not only took the Indian population by surprise but also left many NRIs across the globe in a state of confusion. As a company of legal service experts dedicated to NRI issues, we took the step of sharing what we feel can be done to make the process simpler for overseas citizens. It is likely that most NRI’s have some old  500 and 1000 rupee notes which are no longer considered legal tender. Most NRI’s prefer to keep small amounts of Indian currency to meet their immediate expenses when they arrive in India. Here are some of the things you could do to change 500 and 1000 rupee notes :

  1. Bring the cash with you to India
  • If you are planning to travel to India before December 30, 2016 then you can bring the cash with you and exchange it at any bank or post office in India.
  • In addition, you have up to March 31, 2017 to exchange the money at specified RBI office by furnishing passport and visa details that prove you were out of the country.
  1. You could send the physical money with someone you trust:
  • If you are unable to travel to India you can give the money to someone else you trust who is travelling to India.
  • They could then exchange it on your behalf.
  • For small amounts (less than Rs. 25,000) it would probably not be an issue, but for amounts larger than that it is advisable that you provide an authorizing letter to that person to exchange the bills on your behalf with other valid documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card, Passport copy, Visa copy etc.
  • Please do remember that the limit on currency a traveler can bring into India without declaring is Rs. 25,000.
  1. If you already have cash in India:
  • According to RBI guidelines, if you have old banknotes in India, you may authorise in writing and enable another person in India to deposit the notes into your bank account.
  • The person so authorised has to come to the bank branch with the old notes, the authorisation letter given by you and an identity proof (Valid Identity proof is any of the following: Aadhar Card, Voter ID Card, Pass Port, Driving License, NREGA Card, PAN Card, Identity Card Issued by Gov. Dept, Public Sector Unit to its Staff).
  1. You could deposit the old notes in your NRO account:
  • You can deposit your notes into your Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) Savings Account.
  • However, this is an option only if you are travelling to India before December 30, 2016.
  • There was another option–that of using a certified money exchanger but as of the writing of this blog it is our understanding that a majority of the commercial money exchange outlets have stopped accepting the old 500 and 1000 rupee Indian notes. So this option is no longer viable for most NRI’s, but they may want to check with the local money exchanger.

WHAT IF NONE OF THESE OPTIONS ARE SUITABLE TO ME?

If none of the above options are working for you, there may still be an option made available, states India’s Ministry of Finance. In a press release, the statement says, “For those who are incapable to exchange their 500 and 1000 Notes or deposit the same in their bank accounts on or before December 30, 2016, an opportunity will be given to them to do so at specified RBI offices on later dates along with required documentation as may be specified by the Reserve Bank of India.”

We, at NRI Legal Services, will of course keep you updated as and when new options are opened by the government and the RBI. We urge you to check our Facebook page and website regularly for updated information.

The current demonetisation is unprecedented and historic . Notifications and updates are coming in daily . While we are trying our best to bring you the most accurate and updated Information on this subject it is a possibility that by the time we relay the information it might have been changed. Please verify from the official site of RBI before taking any action (https://www.rbi.org.in/)