Buying Dollars in India - Reconverting Rs to USD

#1 Mar 20th, 2010, 14:53
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  • travelerindia is offline
#1
Hi All:

I have been in India about 3 months and getting ready to leave very soon. I find myself with an excess of cash in Indian rupees, about USD 2,000 worth. These are rupees that I got from the ATM machines in India from my US based bank account.

My understanding was that I could walk into any foreign currency exchange place and convert the rupees into dollars (after showing the ATM receipts).

I went to two such places today, they said no, and then I went to Thomas Cook, and they also said no.

They all seem to be saying that as a foreigner, I can get USD 200 from them, that’s it. Two of them even said that I have to wait until 24 hours before departure to get the 200 bucks.

This is a WTF moment for me because I didn’t bother with how much rupees I withdrew because I was under the impression that I could change it back (at a less favorable rate, no matter) to USD if I didn’t spend it.

I have looked at other forum threads on this, but couldn’t find a solution.

Does anyone have any idea what options I have available? I do know that I cannot take the rupees out of India, and I really don’t want to either because it is not of much use to me outside.

HELP please!

Thanks much
#2 Mar 20th, 2010, 15:14
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#2

Buying $ For RS

Yes this is a problem.

There are unofficial money changers in all major town/cities, the rate will not be very good but better than what you were offered already. Ask a few local shopkeepers, they will know where they are.

There is another problem; the authorities are concerned that the money could be used to finance terrorist operations.

I don’t know you circumstances but you could look around the local hotels and the airport for US personnel arriving, they usually need to change dollars for local currency.

Get some of your friends to change some for you, that’s if you can trust anyone locally

Take it with you and offer it to personnel leaving your arrival airport for India.

The Bureau de change is one big rip off. Forget those.

Good luck anyway.
#3 Mar 20th, 2010, 15:40
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  • austinivor is offline
#3

money changer

this is not a problem at all......... just go to any of the money changers that exist in all big cities, and tell them you want to buy dollars........they'll give you the day's going rate. your hotel/shopping area will direct you to these moneychangers. if you have the time,shop around for the best rate, and check the notes you receive..stay cool .....hotels usually give a very low rate.
#4 Mar 20th, 2010, 15:42
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#4
If you have ATM receipts covering whatever rupees you have left over you can change them back into dollars at the airport after you have checked in but before you go through emigration. The State Bank of India, Thomas Cook and the Punjab National Bank all have 24-hour exchange counters in the departure hall at Delhi airport.
#5 Mar 20th, 2010, 16:28
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#5
I wish I could find that had accidentally accumulated over Rs80,000 in my pocket! How on earth! ...

My understanding is the same as yours. What do they do with the dollars that people have given for rupees? Surely the currency dealer needs to sell as well as buy currency?
#6 Mar 20th, 2010, 17:49
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golghar View Post If you have ATM receipts covering whatever rupees you have left over you can change them back into dollars at the airport after you have checked in but before you go through emigration. The State Bank of India, Thomas Cook and the Punjab National Bank all have 24-hour exchange counters in the departure hall at Delhi airport.
Yup; I just changed Rupees back into Euros at Mumbai airport, no problem. No ATM slips asked for either I don't think (but they'd be nonetheless good to carry on you anyhows. Or bank exchange certificates, for those of us who still get their money at the bank; it's the slip you're handed when exchanging money.) When I checked at home later, I seemed to have gotten a better rate than the official one Somewhat to my surprise, the guy had his change down to a 20 cents piece even (!)

I thought changing Rs. back into foreign currency used to be impossible for the longest time, but when I asked the guy about it, he didn't know what I was on about.

Thing is, I wasn't carrying thousands of Euros' worth, rather 150 or so. So I guess this might indeed pose a problem. I suppose the airport would be a little late to find out if it is...

So no real advice, sorry Instead of speaking to some money changers, I'd ask with a few more mainstream banks, State Bank of India and the likes (HDFC, State Bank of Baroda). Thomas Cook refusing you is perhaps not a good sign though, but give it a try; after all, TC isn't a bank as such, or not that I'm aware of. At the other end of the spectrum, I suppose there ought to be some folks of the less-than-official variety out there who are willing to take them off of you yes.
#7 Mar 20th, 2010, 17:59
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#7
The amount OP mentioned is huge, trying to change that kind of money at the airport may be problematic. If at all they do it the ATM slips will definitely be required to prove that the money was legally acquired out of OP's forex account. But as Mach said it may be too late and remember that you can not take out Indian currency with you when you are leaving India.
#8 Mar 20th, 2010, 18:08
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#8
Indeed; I was thinking the OP should be able to get rid of those Rupees at home.

Thing is I like most may carry out a few hundred or perhaps even thousand Rupees, but not 90,000 of them, and I wouldn't suggest you try, no way Beavis. You could end up in deep doodoo if caught, I suspect.

So if all else fails, that'll be some handsome souvenirs and a farewell banquet (or five) I guess.
#9 Mar 20th, 2010, 18:14
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#9

Lightbulb

A thought: How's about buying traveler's cheques (in dollars) for them?

No idea if it would work, could be worth a shot.
#10 Mar 20th, 2010, 18:19
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#10
No that won't work Mach. Buying forex travellers cheques in India you need an Indian passport. And as you mentioned that if Thomas cook has refused it is definitely a bad sign.
On a lighter vein OP if you are in Delhi, host a IM meet up. The Delhi members won't let you down I bet.
#11 Mar 20th, 2010, 18:21
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#11

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jyotirmoy View Post On a lighter vein OP if you are in Delhi, host a IM meet up. The Delhi members won't let you down I bet.
Not at all a bad idea See here, scroll to the end of it for the latest: New Delhi Meetups (or if in another city, there may be a meetup thread for it, or you could start one. Attendance may be rather less though: IndiaMike Meetups forum.)

(ps Yes I see about those cheques. Would have been a little too easy, nah.)
#12 Mar 20th, 2010, 18:42
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#12
I have been reconverting varying amounts of Rupees into Euros while flying out of Delhi for the past few years. According to the people at the exchange counters in the departure hall the rules are as follows:

1. Rs 10,000 may be exchanged into foreign currency - no questions asked. Machadinha's €150 would lie just below this threshold. In such cases the boarding card is stamped, presumably to prevent one from going to the next counter and changing another Rs 10,000.

2. If you happen to be in possession of a PAN-card, i.e. paying taxes in India, you can change upto Rs 50,000. They note the PAN-card number and presumably inform the tax authorities.

3. Any amount as long as you have encashment certificates, ATM receipts etc. in your name covering the relevant amount. There is of course a maximum ($5,000 in cash only, $10,000 in cash and travellers cheques) that one can bring into the country in foreign currency without declaration. Any sum above this maximum will be exchanged only if one has the original declaration form filled out and stamped at the time of entry. I don't know what the situation is if your ATM withdrawals exceed this amount.
#13 Mar 20th, 2010, 19:03
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#13
When I left through Delhi Airport - I had several tens of thousands of rupees ( cash refund from an honest travel agent due to cancelled segment of our holiday through fog complications!)
I did not have ATM dockets enough to cover the amount - and was simply asked to sign a pre-printed docket which stated that I had mislaid the appropriate exchange certificates.
A simple routine procedure - with no hassle whatsoever.
#14 Mar 20th, 2010, 19:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obione980 View Post A simple routine procedure - with no hassle whatsoever.
Indeed, India has its pleasant surprises!
#15 Mar 20th, 2010, 19:17
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#15
Frankly Golghar - the large cash refund was surprising in itself.

We were indeed fortunate to have chanced upon such an honest (and professional) TA.

On reflection - perhaps not! We met many people in 8 weeks in India - and almost all those with whom we had actual 'dealings' were honest and competent.

Sure we came across the touts and scam merchants - but really they were incidental, and painfully 'obvious' anyway!

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