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Guidelines for Foreign Tourists regarding 500 & 1000 INR notes withdrawl in India

With Indian government declaring war against black money & corruption by withdrawing the Old High Denomination (OHD) notes, travelling in India might get a little tricky for you from 8th November 2016 to 30th December 2016, unless you go through these important pieces of information.

The current situation is that the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes are being invalidated and some time is being given to exchange old invalidated OHD notes from 8th November to 30th December 2016. But since foreign tourists don’t have bank accounts in India, it is going to cause minor inconvenience. Also that the Indian locals will avoid transactions in the form of these OHD notes. These OHDs will be accepted only at crucial places like Airports, Railway stations, Hospitals, Government supply booths etc. only till 11th November midnight, which is a relief. However, there are certain guidelines you need to follow, to ensure a yet smooth travelling experience in India.

1. Suppose, you have some amount in the form of Indian National Rupee, let’s say Rs. 30,000 INR. In this case, you can go to International Airports Money Exchange and exchange your INR (Indian National Rupee) notes up to a value of Rs. 5000 into lower valid denominations of Rs. 100 (or lesser), before 11th November midnight. Do carry the Proof of Purchase of these OHDs. That should be sufficient for your cash needs for a day or two. New INR notes will arrive by 11th November. For the rest of the amount (Rs. 25,000), there’s a workaround. Convert it into your native currency at the Airport Currency Exchange and wait till the new notes arrive. And when they do, you can convert them back to Rs. 25,000 INR of fresh, validated denominations of Rs. 500 and 2000. No extra fee will be charged in this process.

NOTE: Check out the FAQ by Reserve Bank of India.

I am a foreign tourist, I have these notes. What should I do?

You can purchase foreign exchange equivalent to Rs 5,000 using these OHD notes at airport exchange counters within 72 hours after the notification, provided you present proof of purchasing the OHD notes. 2. Till 30th December 2016, DO NOT accept old Rs. 500 and 1000 INR notes. Old Rs. 1000 notes are being replaced by Rs. 2000 notes and the new notes of Rs. 500 and 2000 will be available from 11th November, 2016. So, there’s no point of accepting those. The appearance and characteristics of these new notes are markedly different from the older ones.

Here’s what the Old notes look like:

Old Currency  

Now take a good look at what the new notes look like:


3. You can still perform transactions at important places like Airport, Government hospitals, Medical stores at government hospitals (carry a prescription), Gas stations etc. with these OHDs notes. 4. You can also perform electronic transfer and some transactions via services like PayPal, which allow direct transfer between foreign accounts. 5. Contact your corresponding embassy for more details. Here’s a link for foreign embassies in India and their contact details:

6. Stay alert and keep up with the news update for further instructions by the government. So, these were some of the important points you needed to know. We will update any further instruction released by the Government of India.

Keep up the spirit of travelling in India with us, because we’re still accepting the Rs. 500 and 1000 bills 😉


Hey Folks. We’ve come to know that you guys have shown tremendous amount of patience in this tough situation in India. We respect your spirit.

As we said, government would try to improve the situations and reveal guidelines for your ease; the good news is: We finally have a great help that’s arrived.

Centrum Group (the leading financial group that deals in Foreign exchange and money transfer services) has launched “CentrumPay” payment solution , in association with Mastercard and YES bank to help foreign tourists facing the cash unavailability issue in India.

About CentrumPay:

This is an absolutely safe and legal payment option as it operates under the umrella of RBI (Reserve Bank of India) as it deals with the Forex activities and registered under SEBI (Securities & Exchange Board of India) as it trades share in the share market of India.

CentrumPay is a unique mobile wallet which also provides a physical card to withdraw money from any ATM or swipe at a POS (point of sale). It can be used to make payment directly through both the Virtual mobile wallet or Physical card for Online shopping, Taxi, Hotels payments and places where MasterCard is accepted. The maximum cash limit for wallet is Rs. 2 lakh for Foreign tourists and Rs. 1 lakh for Indian tourists.

CentrumPay will be launched, tentatively, after the first weekend of December, 2016.

How to get CentrumPay:

Contact the nearest branch of YES bank in India to know about the procedure of retreiving a CentrumPay card and wallet service. The charges for CentrumPay card is Rs. 150.

How to use CentrumPay:

The problem here is that Foreign tourists do have money in their accounts but they cannot use it freely as the limit has been set to Rs. 5000 per exchange. With CentrumPay, you can directly load money into the wallet through your netbanking facility or credit card upto a limit of 2 lakhs and use this service through Mobile Wallet App downloadable on Smartphones.

Though this is still not a complete solution, but it solves the problem of making important payments. Stay tuned with us for more help and updates in this regard.

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