Connecting Businesses with Opportunities in India

Exchange Rate and Travel Tips

Submitted by Mahendra Pratap on Thu, 08/04/2016 - 4:48pm.

From the traffic perspective, can there be anything more chaotic than what happens on the streets of Delhi? Anyone who has been to Delhi even for an hour during anytime of the day will say, ‘No’.

Vehicles can be driven on any side of the road, from any direction to any direction. It is like a puzzle on the road where the moment you see an empty spot, you try to fit-in (your vehicle, of course J).

‘Red Light’ at road crossing has no meaning.

It is just SCARY to be on the road even while crossing it at a zebra crossing, if there is any.

I live in US and visit India once in few years. Every time I come here it seems to be worse than before. I have driven on Delhi roads for years earlier, but now it is un-imaginable. What do I do?

For a stay of 2 to 3 weeks in India, I just can’t take chances by taking to the steering wheel. Of course Uber, Ola are excellent choices but when one has to cover multiple locations in single day, even these services become expensive.

So, I did some online searching for getting verified drivers in Delhi. I looked at the websites of many such services providers that offers driver on demand. With some pre-defined criteria like use of mobile app, verified drivers, hourlr rates for selecting a service provider, I chose DRIKU (http://www.driku.com). DRIKU app is available on both Android and iOS.

It was flawless, so to say. Someone has set a benchmark. I used the app to book the driver. It was just in few minutes a driver accepted the request, called me and assured he will be there AND he was on time (very unlike of how things get done in India). When the driver came, he showed me his license and also the Police Clearance Certificate. I can tell you that there was a great sense of safety I felt at that moment. At the end of the service, charges showed on my mobile with a feedback form. No denial, the first thought appeared was that the change is happening in India.

I am sure such on demand driver services will do very well in India and peole will be able to hire a verified driver on demand in every part of India.

On my next trip to India, I will use DRIKU to get a driver.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Sun, 10/25/2015 - 5:16am.

Repatriation is very simple now which was difficult in the past, planning can probably make it very easier.

NRIs are permitted repatriation of funds up to USD one million, per financial year, from NRO account subject to tax compliance. The limit of US dollars 1 million includes sale proceeds of up to two immovable properties held by NRIs/PIO/OCI.

Planning steps:

  1. Consult CA before selling property in India for guidance as to how to accept money from the sale proceeds and what documentation to get.
  2. CA is the right Accounting professional who can prudently assist you in calculating as well as methodically paying taxes that may be due, on the sale of property.
  3. CA has to verify that taxes have been paid on 'Form 15CB'

Private money transfer, known as 'Hawala' is an illegal method of remittance which involves a great risk and possibly, you may lose your money.
Documentary proof evidencing source of money is required when transferring money abroad which must first be deposited in an NRO bank account and tax compliance is must before repatriation. If you have an ordinary account opened before you became NRI/PIO/OCI, please issue necessary instructions to your banker to convert the same into NRO account.

By - Bhagwan Dass Ahuja, LLM EsqIndian Attorney & Counselor at Law / Supreme Court of New York Licensed Legal Consultant.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Tue, 10/20/2015 - 11:11pm.

The following are the formalities by Government of India for the foreign nationals traveling to India:

  1. If you are entering India on a Student, Employment, Research, Medical or Missionary VISA, which is valid for more than 180 days, you are required to register with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Officers) / FRO (Foreigners Registration Offices) under whose jurisdiction you propose to stay. This should be done within 14 days of arrival in India irrespective of your actual period of stay.
  2. Foreigners who are visiting India on any other category of VISA that is valid for more than 180 days are not required to register themselves if their actual stay does not exceed 180 days on each visit. If such a foreigner intends to stay in india for more than 180 days during a particular visit, he/she should get registered within 180 days of arrival in India.  PIO (People of Indian Origin) Card holder should also register for first stay exceeding 180 days.
  3. The following categories of foreign nationals are exempt from registration:
    • People visiting India on any short term VISA i.e. valid for 180 days or less
    • Children below 16 years of age. This is irrespective of any type of VISA
    • People holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) VISA

Note: Make sure you visit http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in/ for any updated information regarding your stay and registration formalities with the Indian government.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Sat, 10/17/2015 - 10:35am.

Atleast 3 banks have their ATMs in the T3 Arrival section of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport: Citibank, Kotak Mahindra and IndusInd Bank. There are 2 ATM kiosks before the customs and atleast 2 after.

Your foreign cards shall work at all the ATMs in the airport, atleast, unless your bank has imposed any restrictions on withdrawing cash in foreign countries.  Make sure that you call and inform your bank of your trip and I would recommend you to have some upper cash limit set on your ATM withdrawl.

ATM transactions certainly don’t give you better exchange rates and, additionally, they can be expensive due to ATM charges and transactional fees.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:13pm.

Consider this…you are traveling to India and you lose or ruin your passport, credit cards or other travel essentials like medical prescription, emergency contact numbers, travel tickets, etc.  Trust me my traveler friends that if you are not prepared for this scenario then it can be your nightmare.

Sure you must be vigilant in protecting your documents in the first place but a simple step of making photocopies of the documents ahead of time and having accesss to them if needed will be of immense help to you.

For this, you can either carry these copies with you or place the copies with your trusted people or keep an online-backup of them.

Security is cetainly an issue with the option of backing-up these documents online like emailing the images of these documents to yourself and, so, do some research to find out who offers a more secured solution.

One thing you can do about online backup of these documents is to make a password protect zip file of the images and then email them to your account.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Thu, 10/01/2015 - 12:07pm.

Before finalizing your plan for traveling to India, it is advisable to check any travel alerts or warnings that either the Government of India or your country of origin has issued.

  • US Department of State, travel.state.gov Choose the country India under International travel. The site provides travel warning, alerts, travel insurance, medical facilities, etc.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov, 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) The site provides information on vaccinations and other health precautions.
  • World Health Organization’s (WHO), http://who.int/countries/ind/en The site provides information on disease outbreaks in India and lists reports & guides on health risks and safe food for international travelers.who.int/countries/ind/en
  • Many places in India require Govt. of India’s permission to visit. For details, visit Foreigners’ Division, Ministry of Home Affairs website mha.nic.in or call, +91-11-2309-2011.
Submitted by Navin Pathak on Fri, 09/25/2015 - 1:08am.

Updated on July 8, 2019

There are 4 currency exchangers in both the arrival and departure section (Terminal 3) of  Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, India

  1. Punjab National Bank
  2. Central Bank of India
  3. EbixCash
  4. Thomas Cook

The counters of all the 4 exchangers are open 24 hours.

The exchange rates for both buying and selling foreign currency offered by all the 4 exchangers is mostly the same.  You can use the Airport’s interactive map to see where the currency exchange counters are located.

Indian Passport holder at the International Departure Terminal

   You are traveling to a foreign country and you want to buy foreign currency

i) You can convert maximum of Rs. 49,999 in cash to a foreign currency.

ii) After the security check, the limit of Indian rupees that can get converted to foreign currency drops to Rs. 25,000

iii) If you use your credit card, then Indian currency equivalent to US$ 3000 can be converted to foreign currency. This means that if the selling rate of 1 USD is Rs. 60, then Rs. 1,80,000 ($3000 x 60) from your credit card can be converted to the foreign currency.

Important Note: Indian currency cannot be purchased after security check

Indian Passport holder at the International Arrival Terminal

   You are arriving in India from a foreign country

i) If you are arriving within 6 months of your departure from India

In exchange of your foreign currency, you can get Indian rupees equivalent to US$ 1,000 in cash (maximum)

ii) If you are arriving after 6 months of your departure from India:

In exchange of your foreing currency, you can get Indian rupees equivalent to maximum of US$ 3,000 in cash

If you are bringing more than US$ 3,000, let’s say US$ 5,000 then for $3,000 you will get Indian currency in cash and for the rest $2,000 you will get either check or online transfer to your bank account.

Foreign Passport holder at the International Departure Terminal

   You are leaving India and you want to buy foreign currency by selling the Indian rupees that you may have left with

Now, let’s take an example: From the time you arrived in India, you converted $5,000 (cash) to Indian currency altogether and withdrew $700 from ATM within the last 7 days before your departure date. Of course, for every currency exchange transaction and ATM withdrawal, you get a receipt.

i) In case you lost all your receipts:

Rs. 10,000 (maximum) can be converted to the foreign currency.

ii) In case you have all your receipts:

You will get Indian rupees equivalent to the maximum amount of $3,000 converted to foreign currency. The calculation is done on the basis of the selling rate of USD for that particular day.

So, if the selling rate of 1 USD is Rs. 60 on the day you are departing, then the maximum India currency which you can get converted to foreign currency will be $3000 x Rs. 60 = Rs. 180,000.

Anything over this amount doesnt get converted to the foreign currency.

So, considering the case above, let’s say you are left with Rs. 200,000 and the selling rate of US$ that day is Rs. 60.  This is equivalent to $3,333 (Rs.200,000/60). Now, according to the rule, you can get Indian currency equivalent to $3000 converted. Therefore, you will be left with Rs. 19,980 not converted back to foreign currency.

Keep in Mind: After the Immigration and Security Check at the Airport

  • Indian currency is NOT converted to foreign currency
  • Foreign passport holders cannot carry more than Rs. 10,000

Foreign Passport holder at the International Arrival Terminal

   You are arriving in India from a foreign country

You can exchange your foreign currency to Indian currency equivalent to the maximum amount of US$ 3,000 cash.

So, if the buying rate (USD to India Rupee) is Rs. 70, then the maximum Indian rupees that you can get converted to will be: $3000 x Rs. 70 = Rs. 210,000 (max)

There is a very small Tax amount (GST) that will be deducted from the total payout to you.

Important insights:

  • The exchange rate for your foreign currency to Indian rupee is generally lower at the airport than from what you can get in the city.  So, get your foreign currency exchanged to little over your immediate requirement at the airport and when you are in the city you can visit branch of any bank or authorized non-banking exchangers to get the rest of foreign currency converted to Indian Rupees (INR).
  • There is no limit to the foreign currency that you can bring with you but the amounts exceeding US Dollar 5,000 (or equivalent) in cash or US Dollar 10,000 (or equivalent) in traveler's cheques must be declared.

 

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Mon, 09/14/2015 - 9:10pm.

People who lose their passport with their valid Indian visa must contact their respective country's Embassy for their new replacement passport and apply for an exit visa with the Foreigner's Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Government of India. This process takes up to 2-3 business days. You cannot leave India without this visa. More information on obtaining an exit visa will be provided when you come to apply for a replacement passport. Exit visas are not issued on weekends or Indian holidays.

Foreigner's Regional Registration Office (FRRO)

Level 2, East Block 8
Sector 1, R.K. Puram 
(Behind Hyatt Regency)
New Delhi

Phone:  +91-11-2671-1348 / 1443

Hours: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Lunch:  1:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Websitehttp://www.boi.gov.in/

You must report the loss of your passport and visa to the local Indian Police and obtain a police report.  Please report the loss of the visa to the Fraud Prevention Unit at:  support-india@ustraveldocs.com.

  1. Your name, date and place of birth, and nationality.
  2. Your address and phone number.
  3. A photocopy of the lost visa, if available, or the date and place of issuance, if known.
  4. A photocopy of the bio-data page of your lost passport, if available.  If not, the nationality and number of your lost passport as well as the issuance and expiration dates, if available.
  5. Circumstances of the loss: When and how your passport was lost or stolen.
Submitted by Navin Pathak on Sat, 09/12/2015 - 11:29pm.

U.S. citizens whose passports have either been stolen or lost while in India should:

  1. File a police report with the Indian authorities as soon as possible. If you think you know where your passport was lost or stolen (in a hotel, airport, railway station, etc.) you should report the loss to the authorities at that location.
  2. Make an appointment online. Note: If you are traveling in the next week, no appointment is necessary. Please bring the required documents and fees to the Embassy on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and friday. The Embassy is closed on U.S. and Indian holidays.
  3. Complete passport application online and Form DS-64: Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport.
  4. Print application and prepare required documents before the interview (whether you have an appointment or not)

Make an appointment here and print appointment letter.

Complete and print your online application here. 

Complete Form DS-64 Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport

Required Documents for Passport Replacement:

  • Police report
  • Proof of your identity and U.S. citizenship, if available.
  • One recent 2"x2" (5 cm x 5 cm) color photograph taken against a white background. No other format will be accepted. More information
  • Completed passport application form. Please do not use two-sided printing.
  • Do not sign the forms; you will do so in the presence of a consular officer.
  • Completed Form DS-64 Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport

Fees

Complete fee information is available down below. If applying in person, you may pay with cash dollars, cash rupees (at the current exchange rate), demand draft or by credit card. Personal checks are not accepted. ACS fees are nonrefundable.

  • Adult U.S. Passport Replacement (Lost, Stolen, Damaged): $135
  • Minor U.S. Passport (under age 16): $105

Questions?  Email: acsnd@state.gov

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Wed, 09/09/2015 - 10:30pm.

American Citizen Services has compiled a list of medical facilities, most with English-speaking staff.

This list includes providers only in the New Delhi Consular District.  The New Delhi Consular District includes Delhi, Chandigarh and the states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Doctor and Hospital List, New Delhi Consular District

The names listed in this list are not endorsed by U.S. Embassy.

Submitted by Suresh Arya on Tue, 09/08/2015 - 10:12am.

Electricity Voltage in India is 220 volts AC, 50 cycles. Some upscale hotels in India do have provisions for 110 volt shavers, electric tooth brushes etc.

However, it is still a good idea to take along a voltage converter if you have small electrical gadgets that you intend to use during your trip to India.

If possible buy an electric plug adapter as the electric plugs in India are rounded.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Sun, 09/06/2015 - 8:56pm.

In case of emergency involving an American citizen, please call the 24-hour operator at (+91-11) 2419-8000 and ask for American Citizen Services. If you are calling from within India, but outside Delhi, first dial 011-. If you are calling from the United States, first dial 011-91-11-.

 
The American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi can assist when a U.S. citizen in India is arrested, missing, is a victim of violent crime, becomes ill or dies, or when there is otherwise a need for immediate help. ACS can assist with information on local resources and by contacting family members in the United States apprised of the circumstances, so that they can make necessary decisions and provide financial and logistical support.

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