Demonetization: What people outside India can do with the currencies?

Demonetization: What people outside India can do with the currencies?

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banned rupees

On November 8, 2016 the Indian Government has announced the so-called demonetization or ban on two Indian Rupee notes: 500 and 1000. The Reserve Bank of India has issued a new 500 Rupee and 2000 Rupee notes. There is no replacement of 1000 Rupee notes. Currencies of all other denominations (1 – 100) are not affected. People living across the world including the PIOs, NRIs and visitors who have returned to their country of residence and possess these notes are not clear on what to do with those.

First of all – most Indian banks outside India are not ‘Retail’ banks hence they cannot do regular bank transactions. Secondly, in most countries Indian banks (e.g. SBI) which are in retail space cannot legally accept any Indian currency.

So, any currency exchange or deposit has to happen in India only.

If anyone has these currencies and would not like to let those go waste here are few ways they can deal with it.

A. If you are planning to travel to India before December 30

  1. You can carry your cash and deposit to your NRO account in India.
  2. Get it exchanged at any bank branch.

Deadline is December 30. Important point to note: Each person is allowed to carry only 25000 Rupees.

One needs to bring valid IDs such as the Passport with some proof of residence.

B. If you do not have plans to visit India before December 30 

  1. If you know someone trustworthy travelling to India before December 30 you may give an authorization letter for them to deposit the money in your NRO account (again, per person limit is 25000 Rupees). They have to present the letter and a valid ID of the carrier for the deposit.  A trustworthy person can get it exchanged at a branch for you if you or the friend/relative wants to ‘make use’ of those immediately.
  2. If you are not travelling before December 30 and also can’t find anyone traveling to India to help you out then you may have another window of opportunity open. Earlier, it was announced that one could exchange those until 31 March 2017 at specific Reserve Bank of India (RBI) branches. However, RBI website has been updated recently without mentioning the deadline. The new statement says: “For those who are unable to exchange their Specified Bank Notes on or before December 30, 2016, an opportunity will be given to them to do so at specified offices of the RBI, along with necessary documentation as may be specified by the Reserve Bank of India.” As further intimation on the deadline is awaited, it would be safe to assume 31 March 2017 as the extended deadline. You may approach a designated RBI branch after 30 December 2016, you can submit passport and visa/residence card to prove that you were abroad during the grace period.

If one is still not sure and have more questions may visit the website of local Indian Embassy or Consulate or directly contact them.

Manoj Mahapatra Speaking in Boston

Boston area NRIs invited  Deputy Consul General  of India in New York Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra (with flower)  on November 20 and he eloquently addressed many issues related to NRIs and PIOs including domestic and social issues, VISA/Passport and OCI related matters and also the burning questions related to this demonetization of two currencies.  The event was hosted by Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (,
Milan USA (,, The Foundations TV (

This article is published in response to the queries we have received on this subject.


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