Outward Remittance: How to Send Money from India to US or abroad?

About four months ago, before my trip to United States, I landed in a situation where I had to send a $500 check to my landlady in United States. And it was a disaster ! Never before I had known that it is so difficult to send money from India to other countries overseas. Perhaps the reason for this is that Indian Rupee is a managed currency. So RBI is obliged to keep a close watch on rupees which are converted to US Dollars or other international currencies. Sending money outside from India is also called outward remittance. After having one terrible experience, I think I now know some of the best ways to send money from India to a country abroad, which i will share in this post.

Sending a Check from India to USA or abroad

Remember that simply sending a Indian Rupee to someone outside does not work. The person located abroad will not be able to cash the check because of restrictions of Indian Government or RBI. Yes, you are right- you can receive a check in US dollars or other international currencies, RBI does not have a problem with that. but you cannot send a check in Indian Rupees. However you can send a check in US dollars or other international currency . To do this, you will have to go through the following procedure:
  1. Go to your local Bank and ask them that you want a check in foreign currency. You will have to take a letter from the bank saying something like : you have a savings (or checking) account with them with account number so & so, and an amount of $500 US (or any other amount you want) may be debited from your account for the purpose of sending outward remittance.
  2. With this letter you will probably have to go to other Branch of your Bank which handles foreign currencies. There you give the letter and fill out some form and wait to receive your check in US dollars or other currency.
What you should carry along with you :
  1. You Passport.
  2. Your Bank Account Passbook.
  3. Reason for sending money outside and proof for that reason. For example, an email, or an invitation letter or any other such document.
Caution: The above process may look simple, but unfortunately it is terribly handled. The reason for this is perhaps outward remittance is not that common and officials are usually not aware of the procedure. I had first tried to get a US dollar check from Central Bank of India, and all that happened with me was different branches kept sending me to other branches and I never managed to get my overseas check. One of the bank manager asked me to furnish details of the bank account of the person to whom I was sending the dollar check. Isn't that ridiculous? If the person whom you are sending money to is not your close relative or friend why would he/she give her private bank account details to you? I almost hate Central Bank when I have to deal with transactions like this. I recommend you try State Bank of India, if you have an account with SBI. I got the job done in couple of hours without any harassment or having to furnish private bank account details of the person to whom I was sending outward remittance.

Other ways of Sending money from India to USA or Abroad
Because of the hassle involved, check is not the best way to send money from India to outside. There are other ways which you can try.
  1. Send Money by Paypal: It is very easy to send money by paypal to anyone (no matter the location) with an email address. You can add funds in your Paypal India account using a credit card and paypal will transfer the funds to the paypal account of the person whom you are sending money. Opening a paypal account takes minutes. No filling up of forms required. Only disadvantage is that the person you are sending money to needs to open a paypal account.
  2. ICICI Outward Remittance by Wire Transfer or Foreign Currency Demand Draft: There are some services offered by ICICI Bank or others where you can send money from India to a person abroad. You will still have to fill up some forms but i believe (have no first hand experience) that the process is lot easier than getting a check in US dollars.
There are also several other options of money transfer between two countries discussed in detailed in my post Send Money Abroad.

I encourage you to share any experience you have regarding sending money abroad with the readers in a comment.

Articles on Money Transfer

  • Send Money Overseas or Abroad: The most popular and best ways to send money to your home country.
  • Xoom Money Transfer Review
  • Ikobo Visa - A new way to send money abroad where you send a re-loadable visa card to the beneficiary.
  • MoneyGram Money Transfer and Money Order service.

  • Online Remittance to India
  • SBI Remittance Review - My most preferred method of sending remitting money to India. Good exchange rates.
  • Send Money to India by Paypal
  • HDFC QuickRemit

  • External Links
    Western Union Money Transfer -
    A trusted way to send money where beneficiary collects cash from a Western Union location.
    MoneyGram - International Money Transfer and Money Order. You send money, beneficiary collects cash from a chosen MoneyGram agent or location.
    iKobo - Send Money Worldwide
    Money Transfer by ATM Card. Useful for those who have to send money frequently. Check foreign exchange rates on the homepage of iKobo.
    Xoom Money Transfer - Online Remittance from United States to various other countries. Xoom Fees are around $8 per transaction.

    Send Money to India
    ICICI Remit to India
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    ICICI Exchange rates.
    SBI Remittance
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    SBI exchange rates.
    Remit2India
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    Remit2India exchange rates.
    HDFC Quick Remit
    Remit Money to India online from U.S., U.K., Europe and Singapore.
    HDFC Quick Remit exchange rates.
    CitiBank Online Remit
    Remit Money to India from US.


    Disclaimer
    I have been sending money to India for quite a few years. I have been involved in at least 50 money transfers to India and used 4 to 5 different methods of online remittance. Although I do make efforts to provide accurate information about services related to online remittance, none of the opinion, experience or reviews in this post should be used for making any decisions to remit money to India or any other country. It is easily possible that my experience or opinion about a particular remitting service is different from yours. It is your money that you want to remit. So please verify the information from your own authentic sources before making a choice for remitting your money. I do not accept any liability for incorrect or inaccurate information. Some of the links in the posts may be affiliate links, however the opinions and reviews presented in the post remain honest and unbiased.

    May 19, 2009

    28 comments:

    Rohan May 27, 2009 at 5:12 AM  

    thank you so much
    i guess i will do the paypal way !

    harshwardhan February 23, 2010 at 2:41 PM  

    Hey nice initiative dude.
    My case :-

    -My savings accnt in ICICI bank pune.
    -i was in need of $500 cheque for my university in USA.
    - i filled up 2 forms (including details of remitter address, account number ,reason for remittance (in my case it was sending a deposit money to university to confirm my admission.) and the name to which the amount is payable. )

    - i need to pay Rs.250 for $500 check.(100 rs extra for non-accnt holders.)

    - i had been told to wait for 3-4 hrs(the time period is variable from bank to bank.)

    - always better to call the local branch first and confirm whether they have OUTWARD REMITTANCE facility and then visit the bank.

    - Useful Links:--
    http://www.icicibank.com/pfsuser/icicibank/depositproducts/outward_remittance/out_rem_faq.htm#7

    Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience
    I will try SBI

    Anonymous March 13, 2010 at 5:33 AM  

    Thanks so much, This information was such a help for me.

    -ROY

    Anonymous March 30, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

    Excellent peice of information. And, thanks for Harshwadhan's comment too.

    Vibz April 13, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

    very informative...thanks!

    Anonymous April 20, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

    I am a Indian Citizen living permanently in Europe,recently i sold a property in India and would like to transfer the money to Europe ..What would be the best and leagal way to do that?And how much maximum can i transfer?

    Investo Blog April 21, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

    @anonymous

    For conversions of foreign currency over $10,000 (in one year) I really do not know the exact legal procedure. As far as I understand wiring the money would be the best option as far as reliability and good conversion rate is concerned. However, I do not know what forms you have to fill in order to make this 'legal' or declare this to the government. If I were you, I would contact my bank in India and ask them about the procedure before wiring money.

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    Anonymous May 10, 2010 at 9:19 PM  

    Hello,

    i want to send money through wire transfer from SBI, can u tell what all will be required, i want to send the money in Germany and USA, also can i send money from SBI bank to deutsche bank, that is inter bank transfers, is that possible, if not then what are the other methods available, also i can't wait for days for it to happen.

    Thanks!!

    sam May 21, 2010 at 7:18 AM  

    There is another way and it worked for me. First thing you have to do is get the copy of the money transferred from US to India. Example if you transferred $5000 to indian currancy in last 5 years by using ICICI bank. Then take a copy of all transactions then you go to ICICI bank in india tell them that you want to exchange the indian currency to US currency.

    They will give you the US check with nominal fee. NO other charges.

    Hope this information helps.

    Anonymous June 8, 2010 at 1:49 AM  

    I have recently wire transferred some money from my HDFC bank to a bank in USA. It's relatively simple procedure, go the branch, fill-up a form and they will do the transfer, it will take about 3-4 days to get the funds transferred to the US bank.

    Anonymous June 28, 2010 at 7:24 PM  

    Hey! thanks for sharing your experience, very informative.

    senguttuvan.e June 29, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

    thanks for your information.last time i send 6o.00 euro from indian postal office agent bank of hdfc to uk.by e.serans

    Anonymous June 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM  

    @sam

    I want to do the same. Did Bank asked for any other documents ?

    Which ICICI branch you went to?

    Thanks,

    Rajan July 6, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

    Always ask the Bank official whether their bank do the outward remittance,if they do then fill FORM A2( Declaration form) and printed request letter for Forex and with your passport copy, address and Swift account of receiver and proof for money transfer,and the money is transferred from your account to receiver,it took hardly 15 minutes if thereis No rush at the counter...
    rajan pande

    shashikant August 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

    Thanks for your information.I also
    tried here and there.But just two days ago I sent $47 to china for some electrinc parts purchase by
    paypal and it was done. No problems.I tried icici but not easy.I think best is paypal.

    Ratnakar Reddy Katipally August 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

    Very useful info.. Thanks alot..

    Anonymous November 14, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

    yes India is super power in 2020...we only receive...we don't give...we don't want funds going out..but we are happy to receive funds from outside..we are a one way road country.

    pramod December 1, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

    even the the way SBI does is Wire transfer. I needed US $2000 urgently from India for travel Purpose. my Brother decided to send 90,000 INR. which makes $2,000. SO SBI charged Rs.850 as Wire transfer FEE. the money just got deposited in to my Account. it is showing US $1937.32 pending status. so it will be cleared in 24 hrs. But the sad thing is even after charging 850 rs as fee, SBI took nearly US $65 dollars (that is Rs.2900) as commision, which is too high that i expected. they almost tooks RS 1.10 as commsion per dollar. where i was expecting about 50 paisa. Still i am happy that money came in so fast. and I guess all banks charge commssion about the same. the transfer just happend hours ago, and i am happy with SBI service.

    Richard December 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM  

    Paypal is one of the largest online money payment channel online. It is as simple as you transfer money from your one bank account to another. The security systems are extremely good and very stringent. I have had several bad experiences about buying things online, especially when it comes to buying sexual heal supplements. I was searching for a good male sexual health supplement that would help me and then there were several companies offering numerous products. I then found Musli based Indian product Invigo which is completely herbal and the best part is that they accept payment through Paypal. I purchased two bottles of Invigo and paid through my paypal account. I got an instant confirmation about the payment and Invigo was delivered in 6 days through FedEx.

    astik January 8, 2011 at 5:37 PM  

    PAYPAL IS NOT ACCEPTING TRANSACTIONS TO AND FROM INDIA SINCE A LONG

    Significance January 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM  

    Thanks a lot and I appreciate your ways.

    I tried to send cash transfer through International Visa Debit card through the US company form which generally will be accepted in US, but not the bank here. How stupid and I got a letter from US company that it is the bank that does not accept conversion of Indian Rupee to US dollars and how ridiculous and I came to know only when I emailed the US company as to why it was not processing being an International Visa Card. I was directed by Bank (Dhanalakshmi) to a customer service in Bangalore where I was told that it can be done through NFT (some bank employees dont known tat what NFT means but the customer knows!!!), again stupidity!!! When I approached the bank again, I was told it was not possible. Just imagine my situation and it has been 3 days running pillar to post to send small amount to US. Horrible!!! Then I approached postal service where the minimum pay acceptance is 100$ where I only want to register for my site tat is 49.95$ or 99.95$ per year and so strange that postal told me that it is his first time in sending an International MO as in front of me he was calling another postal guy on how it can be done, but they get good monthly salary of Rs. 20,000 for useless service. I work for Amazon company and they send me regularly checks any amount to me directly to my home with the check which the Indian banks are so happy to receive it because of commission they get, which is about 300 to 400$ but they can't do a nice service for me. I didnt approach SBI and tat was misunderstanding. I will approach SBI and let us see what happens. I think it should work but I dont know wat to do. Please help me in getting this amount transferred over to US company (sureshsd2006@gmail.com).

    Government employees get paid of all benefits and salary for "NO WORK DONE AND BEING IDLE AND USELESS". Please mark these special quoted words.

    Now I need help!!!

    deb January 22, 2011 at 2:04 AM  

    I tried the SBI transfer to transfer money from India to USA. Can anybody tell me how long it takes to be deposited to US account. its kind of emergency

    viji January 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM  

    remiting is a headache still. i tried to remit $65 for samples from china and the bank has charged $28 to do it.!! and with a warning , i got to produce the "bill of entry " or the "Courier billof entry" within 3 months " OTHERWISE...i dont know what he meant. Actually i had used Paypal..and direct International VISA trasfer to purchase some online services (unlocking my mobile) and payment was instant and no bank charges. I was Astonished to see my Bank charge $28 to transfer $65 !!!

    SL TONS February 1, 2011 at 9:24 AM  

    Thanks for the information. I will go for ICICI.

    SUDHEER REDDY N March 23, 2011 at 1:19 PM  

    Hi All,

    I recently transfered 45,000 rupees to Citi Bank account in US. This is so simple with ICICI bank Wire transfer(upto my experience). Just go to a branch having ForEx service. U just need to fill 2 forms (Don't take a print out of the form available in the net as it is an old one). U need to have the receipient Banks name and address, swift code, routing number and account number. They charged just 250 rupees. If you have salary account in ICICI then u can get some discount in ForEx. Amount will get credtited in just 1 day.

    Anonymous June 23, 2011 at 9:59 PM  

    Hey,
    Lots of info! thanks..

    I'd like to know, if at ICICI, they charge any other commission apart from the Rs250 fee.

    Also, do I need any proof as to why the money is being trasnferred, etc?

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