How NRIs Can Safeguard Their Money


The government’s demonetisation decision has led to long queues outside ATMs and banks, with people gathering to withdraw money after the existing currency denominations were banned. There have been a flood of questions from NRIs about their money and how they can get it changed. Archit Gupta from which aims to simplify financial lives of taxpayers. Archit is a computer science graduate from IIT Guwahati and runs the company along with his father. If you have further questions, you can post them here

1.How do NRIs living in US/Canada/Autralia/Japan/Singapore change their old currencies which are no longer valid?

Answer: NRIs would personally need to exchange the notes in India or authorise someone to do it for them. The foreign branches of Indian banks, both public and private sector, are not accepting cash outside the country.

If you are travelling to the country any time before the 30 December deadline, you can exchange or deposit it in your NRO account. If you are travelling to the country between 02 January and 31 March, you can visit any of the specified offices of the RBI along with the required documentation and exchange the notes.

If you have the banknotes in India, you may authorize in writing enabling another person in India to deposit the notes into your bank account. The authorized person has to come to the bank branch with the notes, the authority letter given by you and a valid identity proof to deposit the money on your behalf.

If the money is with you abroad, you can send the money across to India through someone trustworthy and authorize them to deposit it on your behalf.

2.Can NRIs deposit all their cash in NRO accounts? Will it be taxable?

Answer: The NRIs can deposit their cash in the NRO accounts. All cash deposits of more than Rs2.5 lakh to a bank account until 30 December will be reported to the tax department by banks. It will then be matched with the depositor’s income tax returns and suitable action taken.

3.Can Indians currently travelling to foreign countries exchange old denominations for the local currency, as they have no other source for exchange?

Answer: Those travelling abroad will have to wait to return to India before they can exchange their notes. For now, they will have to use debit and credit cards, travelers cheques, etc. to buy local currency.

4.What will happen in Nepal, where Indian currency is used? Can the government impose their policies on cash holders in another countries?

Answer: The Indian government is within its rights to demonetise the currencies. I’m sure the government will make provisions for the exchange of these currencies in countries where Indian currencies are legal tender. However, this will take time as some of these places are suspected hot-spots for fake currency entering the country and any exchanges happening need to be monitored carefully.