There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers\' checks a tourist may bring into India provided he makes a declaration in the Currency Declaration Form given to him/her on arrival. This will enable him not only to exchange the currency brought in, but also to take the unspent currency out of India on departure. Cash, bank notes and travelers\' checks up to US$ 10,000 or equivalent, need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money on the form of travelers\' checks, drafts, bills, checks, etc. in convertible currencies, which tourists wish to convert into Indian currency, should be exchanged only through authorized money changers and banks who will issue an encashment certificate that is required at the time of reconversion of any unspent money into foreign currency. Exchanging of foreign exchange other than through banks or authorized money changers is an offense under the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act 1973.
CUSTOMS FORMALITIES AND REGULATIONS
Visitors are generally required to make an oral baggage declaration in respect of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. They are also required to obtain the Currency Declaration Form from the Customs. They should fill in the Disembarkation Card handed to them by the airline during the course of the flight. There are two channels for Customs clearance: Green Channel: for passengers not in possession of any dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage. Red Channel: For passengers with dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high value articles to be entered on the Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form.
Foreign tourists should be in possession of their Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate conforming to International Health Regulations, if they are originating or transiting through Yellow Fever endemic countries.
FOREIGN TRAVEL TAX
Passengers embarking on journeys to any place outside India from a Customs airport / seaport will have to pay a Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs.500/- to most countries and Rs.150/- on journeys to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
In case of transit passengers, provided they do not leave the Customs barrier, Transit passengers traveling by air who have to leave the airport on account of mechanical trouble but continue their journey by the same aircraft and the same flight number by which they arrive are also exempt from FTE. Transit sea passengers leaving the ship for sightseeing, shopping, etc., during the ship\'s call at any of the Indian ports will not be required to pay FTT.
INLAND AIR TRAVEL TAX
An Inland Air Travel Tax is leviable at 10 per cent of the basic fare, on all passengers embarking on an inland air journey. However, those passengers paying their Airfare in foreign exchange will be exempted from payment of this tax. In addition, infants, cancer patients, blind persons and invalids (those on stretchers) are also exempted from payment of this tax after fulfilling certain conditions, stipulated in the relevant notifications.
India is a delight for tourists interested in history and culture. Go for a conducted tour if your stay in a city is short. Most hotels, big and small, have arrangements with local tour operators. Use such arrangements. Carry enough bottled drinking water with you at the start your tour.
Avoid conducted tours if your stay within a city is long. Get a car with a driver from a rental firm and let him take you around at your pace. You can also strike a deal with a taxi driver for a day-long tour of the place you are in, but ask your hotel to get you a taxi driver they know and trust. Invite your driver to join you for the meals you have in the course of the tour. Tip him at the end of the tour.