Visa & Foreign Exchange Formalities
 
VISA: All foreign tourists visiting India must be in possession of a valid passport and visa. The passport must be valid for a period of 6 months minimum at the time of entry to India. Visa can be obtained from Indian Consulates / Embassies in the country of your origin. There are also certain parts of India that require a special permit to visit. This will be advised to you at the time of booking the tour. Visa fees may vary from country to country. It is recommended to obtain a multiple Entry Tourist Visa since this simplifies the procedure for visiting neighbouring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka. Indians holding foreign passports would also have to obtain an Indian Visa before entering India. Government of India has recently introduced a system of GRANTING VISA ON ARRIVAL to a select few countries on a trial basis. These countries are FINLAND, SINGAPORE, NEWZEALAND, JAPAN and LUXEMBOURG.

HEALTH: Tourists coming to India via Africa and South America or any other yellow fever infected area must have yellow fever vaccination certificate. No other vaccination certificate is mandatory though you may like to consult your doctor for inoculation against typhoid, and meningitis. Inoculations for cholera and hepatitis A and anti-malarial pills are recommended. It is also advisable (not mandatory) to have certificate from your local Doctors of clearance of H1N1 virus.

EXCHANGE CONTROL FORMALITIES: Exchange Control formalities to be observed by foreign visitors coming to India are quite simple. Mercury Travels has foreign exchange facilities available at its offices. There are a few regulations on certain items. Those relating to all key areas are summarised below:

CURRENCY AND JEWELLERY

  • FOREIGN CURRENCY:
  • Foreign exchange comprising foreign currency notes, travellers cheques, and drafts drawn on banks in India or bank letters of credit can be brought into India from any place outside India, without limit. The bringing in of foreign exchange is subject to making a declaration on arrival to the Customs authorities in a Currency Declaration Form (CDF) as follows:

    (i) Where the value of foreign currency notes exceed US $ 5000 or equivalent, and
    (ii) Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange including foreign currency notes exceeds US $ 10,000 or equivalent.

    A copy of the CDF duly certified by the customs will be handed over to the declarant. This declaration is to be produced at the time of conversion of foreign currency into Indian currency by the tourists and also at the time of reconversion of their unspent balances of Indian rupees into foreign currency at the time of their departure from India. Blank Currency Declaration Forms are available with the airport/seaport Customs.

  • INDIAN CURRENCY :
  • Bringing in Indian currency of any denomination into India is prohibited. Foreign tourists returning to India from Nepal are, however, permitted to bring with them unspent Indian currency which needs to be declared. There is no restriction on bringing into India of cheques/drafts issued by overseas bank and denominated in Indian rupees drawn on banks situated in India.

  • PERSONAL JEWELLERY :
  • Foreign tourists are permitted to bring with them their personal jewellery either worn on their person or as part of their personal effects in accordance with Customs Baggage Rules. The Rules, inter alia, require an endorsement by the Indian Customs on the tourists' passports about the jewellery brought by the latter. In order to facilitate Customs clearance of the same personal jewellery at the time of the tourist's departure from India, details thereof are endorsed on the tourist's passports at the time of entry.

  • CARRYING FOREIGN/INDIAN CURRENCY OUT OF INDIA:


  • FOREIGN CURRENCY: Foreign tourists are permitted to take out with them unspent foreign exchange not exceeding the amount brought into India by them against the production of Currency Declaration Form, wherever issued at the time of arrival.

    INDIAN CURRENCY: Taking out of any Indian Currency is prohibited. Foreign visitors going to Nepal from India can, however, take with them in denominations of Rs. 100/- and below, Indian currency acquired out of sale of foreign exchange brought into India by them.

PROCEDURE FOR ENCASHMENT OF FOREIGN CURRENCY:

A foreign visitor should present his/her travellers cheques or foreign currency notes to an authorised dealer or licensed money-changer along with identification document (passport) and the Currency Declaration Form (CDF) if one was filled up at the time of his arrival in India. Requests for payment in cash may be acceded to, to the extent of US$ 3000 or its equivalent.

Mercury Travels is an authorized money changer and provides encashment facilities at its offices in India. Please retain the Encashment Certificates handed over at the time of encashment, to facilitate reconversion of unspent Indian currency into foreign exchange at the time of their departure from India. Unspent balances of Indian currency can be re-converted into foreign currency at the time of departure from India, only against Encashment Certificates, which are valid for 3 months from the date of their issue. In the absence of any Encashment Certificate, a maximum of Rs. 10,000/- will be allowed to be re-converted into foreign currency at the exit point.

  • PAYMENT OF HOTEL BILLS:

  • Foreign nationals can pay their hotel stay and other related expenses in foreign exchange or in Indian Rupees. International Credit Cards / Travellers Cheques are accepted in most hotels.

  • TRAVEL WITHIN INDIA:

  • For travel within India, foreign tourists can pay for airfares in foreign exchange or Indian Rupees. Payment by International Credit Cards are also widely accepted by airlines in India.

  • BOOKING RETURN PASSAGE FROM INDIA:

  • Foreign tourists not holding return tickets purchased abroad may book their passage tickets for travel out of India through any airlines/shipping company or licensed travel agent. The passage fare has to be paid in foreign exchange or in Indian currency obtained in an approved manner.

  • UNACCOMPANIED BAGGAGE:

  • Foreign visitors are required to pay charges for their excess baggage or freight on their unaccompanied baggage in foreign exchange. Payment in Indian rupees is also acceptable if supported by valid Encashment Certificates.

  • PURCHASE OF GOODS/ARTICLES BY FOREIGN TOURISTS:

  • Shops/emporia selling goods or providing services to foreign tourists are permitted to accept payment in foreign exchange against all major Credit Cards/ Bank Drafts, Travellers cheques. Foreign tourists are permitted by Indian Customs to take with them goods purchased in India without any value limit. There are restrictions on the export of antiquities and art objects more than 100 years old. Export of most wildlife products is prohibited or strictly regulated: therefore avoid buying any thing made of ivory, reptile skin, fur, musk, tortoise shells and any part of wild animals, provided the goods are purchased out of funds brought from abroad. The visitors have to complete a tourist's questionnaire which is available with shops/travel agencies and submit it along with their Encashment Certificate. Some shops and emporia also undertake to send the goods abroad as unaccompanied baggage at the request of the tourists.

  • OPENING OF BANK ACCOUNTS:

  • A foreign tourist may open a temporary Rupee account with a bank in India by sale of foreign exchange brought or against remittance received from abroad. Such accounts can be maintained for a maximum period of 6 months and have to be closed before the account holders leave India.