Foreign Exchange from India to UK
The United Kingdom’s official currency is the pound Sterling (£). While traveling from India to the UK, travelers often wonder about the amount of cash to carry along. Residents of India can carry along Indian currency notes up to an amount not exceeding Rs 25,000 per person while traveling overseas. Beyond this amount, travelers need to provide details and fill up the Indian Customs Declaration Form.
Regarding taking along foreign currency while traveling out of India, passengers are asked to declare if the amount is worth US$5,000 or more in banknotes and coins, or US$10,000 or more in banknotes, coins, and travelers’ cheques. For convenience and security, it is important to consider the pros and cons of carrying cash as compared to other monetary instruments such as cheques, debit/credit cards, prepaid currency cards, and others.
Alternatives to Carrying Cash from India to UK
Though credit and debit cards are termed as the safest and most convenient money to travel with, some cards are not widely accepted or recognized in the UK. Travelers have complained about the difficulty in using cards such as American Express, Discover, or Diners Club. Also, small stores request a minimum purchase before accepting payment through cards. For people traveling from India, it is advisable to get prior information about the acceptability of major credit or debit cards across the UK. Apart from credit and debit cards, cashless payment through Apple Pay is accepted at major points-of-sales in the UK. Though travelers’ checks are extremely useful during traveling abroad, they are inconvenient in the UK as most hotels, shops, and restaurants do not accept them. Prepaid currency cards, also, charge higher ATM cash fees.
Hence, it is a good idea to keep some cash in local currency notes and coins while traveling to the UK, to take care of cab fares, tips, or small purchases. However, the amount should not be too high as one might risk over-spending or losing the money in case of theft or loss of baggage. Further, it has been observed lately that bars and cafes in big cities of the UK are refusing payment in cash and are only accepting card payments. In such a scenario, it does not make sense to carry along a high amount of cash while traveling from India to the UK.
>> Also Read: Travel Insurance Plans
Taking Cash to UK
In case, the UK exits the European Union (EU) without a deal, passengers traveling alone from any non-EU country with cash in the form of currency notes and coins, cheques (including travelers’ cheques), and bankers’ drafts worth £10,000 or more would be required to declare it 72 hours before their arrival in the country. If traveling as a family or a group, cash over £10,000 needs to be declared while entering the UK.
How to Declare Cash While Entering UK?
The form C9011 should be downloaded and filled while declaring cash over £10,000 in the UK. While filling the form online, passengers are requested to gather all information and complete it at one go as partly completed form cannot be saved. It is important to make a copy of the filled-up form. If a traveler fills the form at the airport or port, a carbon copy is automatically generated. The copy of the filled-up form needs to be left in the drop-box while the other copy is required to be shown to customs officers.
Failure to Declare Cash While Entering UK
If a traveler fails to comply with customs regulations and does not declare cash over £10,000 or provides incorrect information, he or she might face a penalty of up to £5,000. Further, if customs officers suspect a crime even if a passenger has declared cash, they can seize the cash and hold it up to 48 hours before getting a court order.
Carrying Cash to Take Care of Emergency Needs in UK? Insurance Might be A Better Solution
Seasoned travelers are aware of the perils of carrying a large amount of cash while traveling. Though cash can take care of small expenses, it can never be enough in case of medical or non-medical emergencies in a foreign land. Especially in a country such as the UK, a medical emergency can prove to be a nightmare without insurance coverage.
The country’s National Health Service (NHS) offers medical coverage to residents only and travelers without an overseas travel insurance plan might find it difficult to clear the medical bills. As a responsible traveler, it is extremely important to invest in travel insurance that provides comprehensive coverage overseas. Religare's Travel Insurance for Indians visiting UK is one such travel insurance that takes care of any unexpected medical emergency with benefits such as hospitalization expenses, in-patient care, dental expenses, and medical evacuation among others. Further, non-medical emergencies such as trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, and loss of baggage or passport are also covered.