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Money and duty free for India

Currency and Money

Currency information

Rupee (INR; symbol Rs) = 100 paise. Notes are in denominations of Rs2,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of Rs10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 20, 10 and 5 paise.

The Indian government's decision to take 500 and 1,000 rupee notes out of immediate circulation in November 2016 caused widespread cash shortages, although a different 500 rupee note was later introduced. Updates can be found on the Reserve Bank of India's website.

Note: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller vendors will not take bills larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry a range of rupee notes if you are shopping at bazaars and local markets.

Credit cards

In major cities, banks cards are generally accepted including debit cards, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa.


24-hour ATM can be found in all the major cities and most large towns, however, the number of ATMs is declining. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are amongst the most commonly accepted cards.

Travellers cheques

Travellers cheques are increasingly hard to cash in India and are no longer recommended.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 1000-1600; Sat 1000-1600.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited. However, amounts exceeding US$5,000 or equivalent in cash, or US$10,000 or equivalent in all forms of currency (cash and traveller’s cheques) must be declared. The export of foreign currency is allowed up to the amount imported and declared.

Currency exchange

Currency can be changed at banks, airports or authorised money changers. Many hotels also have facilities to change money but this is a more expensive option. It is illegal to exchange money through unauthorised money changers. US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are the easiest currencies to exchange.

India duty free


The following goods may be imported into India by foreign travellers over 18 without incurring customs duty:
• 100 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 125g of tobacco.
• 2L of spirits or wine.
• Gifts to the value of Rs 15,000

Visitors can now file declarations of dutiable items and currency with Indian Customs by using the ATITHI @Indian Customs app.

Banned Imports

Prohibited items include narcotics, pornography, counterfeit goods, antiquities and firearms. Foreigners also cannot import gold and silver.

Restricted items include ammunition, live birds and animals, plants and their produce (fruits and seeds), and endangered species.

Banned Exports

Export of Indian currency is prohibited. However, Indian residents may export up to Rs 25,000.

Other prohibited items include narcotics, pornography, counterfeit and pirated goods, antiquities, and wildlife and articles made from wild flora and fauna.

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