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Outward Remittance: What You Need to Know

Outward Remittance

In today’s interconnected world, sending money abroad has become commonplace, whether it’s for personal reasons or business ventures. Outward remittance, transferring funds from a domestic bank account to one overseas, is a crucial aspect of international finance. In this blog, we’ll explore what outward remittance entails, its limitations and advantages, and delve into the guidelines set forth by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

What is Remittance?

Remittance refers to transferring money or funds from one place to another, typically from a sender (remitter) to a recipient (beneficiary). This transfer can occur domestically within a country or across international borders. Remittances play a significant role in global economies, as they contribute to the financial well-being of individuals, families, and businesses worldwide.

What is Foreign Outward Remittance/ Outward Remittance?

Foreign outward remittance/Outward Remittance specifically refers to transferring funds from a domestic bank account in one country to a foreign bank account outside the country’s borders. It involves sending money from the remitter’s home country to a recipient or beneficiary in another country. Foreign outward remittances can be made for various purposes, including personal transfers, investment, trade, and payments for goods or services purchased abroad.

Individuals may engage in foreign outward remittance to support family members living overseas, pay for education or medical expenses abroad, invest in foreign assets or securities, purchase property or real estate in another country, or conduct international trade transactions. Similarly, businesses may remit funds abroad to pay for imports, settle trade obligations, invest in foreign markets, or establish overseas subsidiaries or operations.

Outward remittance is simply the movement of money from within one country to an account in another country. People and businesses do this for various reasons:

  1. Investing Overseas: From buying property abroad to investing in foreign stocks, outward remittance fuels global investments.
  2. International Trade: Importers pay foreign suppliers, while exporters receive payments for goods and services sold abroad.
  3. Personal Transfers: Sending money to family members, paying for education or medical expenses overseas, or simply supporting loved ones residing in another country.
  4. Travel Expenses: Covering vacations, business trips, or studying abroad costs.

Types of Remittance:

  1. Domestic Remittance: This involves transferring funds from one location to another within India. It could be between individuals, businesses, or between a person and a financial institution.
  2. Inward Remittance: Inward remittance refers to funds transferred from overseas to recipients in India. These funds could come from family members living abroad, foreign investments, payments for services, or repatriation of earnings by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) or foreign entities.
  3. Outward Remittance: Outward remittance involves sending money from India to recipients outside the country. This could include payments for imports, investments abroad, foreign travel expenses, or remittances for family maintenance.

Outward Remittance

Importance of Remittance in India:

  1. Economic Support: Remittances serve as a crucial source of income for millions of households in India, particularly in rural areas. They help improve living standards, finance education, healthcare, and other essential expenses.
  2. Foreign Exchange Inflow: Inward remittances contribute significantly to India’s foreign exchange reserves, helping stabilise the country’s balance of payments and strengthening the rupee against foreign currencies.
  3. Investment and Development: Remittances can fuel investment and development initiatives in India. They provide capital for entrepreneurship, infrastructure projects, and other economic activities, fostering growth and employment opportunities.
  4. Financial Inclusion: Remittance channels and services promote financial inclusion by expanding access to banking and financial services, especially in remote and underserved areas. This helps individuals and families manage their finances more efficiently and securely.

The RBI’s Guidelines on Outward Remittances

In India, the RBI oversees outward remittances under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. Let’s break down what this means practically:

  1. Authorised Dealers: All outward remittances must go through authorised dealers, typically banks authorised by the RBI to handle foreign exchange transactions. They act as the go-between for the sender and the recipient, ensuring compliance with regulations.
  2. Purpose: The RBI specifies the purposes for which outward remittances are permitted. These include education expenses, medical treatment abroad, investment in foreign securities, and more. It’s crucial to ensure your remittance fits within these categories.
  3. Documentation: To initiate an outward remittance, you’ll need to provide certain documents such as a filled application form, KYC documents (like ID and address proofs), and any additional paperwork specific to the purpose of your remittance.
  4. Limits and Reporting: There are limits on the amount you can remit for different purposes. High-value transactions may need prior approval from the RBI. You’ll also need to submit supporting documents to the authorised dealer.
  5. Prohibited Transactions: Some transactions, like speculative trading or remittances to sanctioned countries, are a no-go.
  6. Tax Considerations: Tax implications of outward remittance depend on the purpose and destination; you may need to pay taxes on foreign income or gains.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provides comprehensive guidelines for outward and inward remittances for companies operating in India. These guidelines are designed to regulate cross-border transactions, ensure transparency, and maintain the stability of the country’s foreign exchange market.

Outward Remittance Guidelines for Companies:

  1. Purpose: Companies can make outward remittances for various purposes, including import payments, investment in foreign subsidiaries or joint ventures, repayment of overseas loans, royalties, technical services, and dividends.
  2. Approval: Prior approval from the RBI or authorised banks may be necessary depending on the purpose and amount of the remittance. Certain remittances may require specific approvals or documentation, such as foreign investment proposals or remittances exceeding prescribed limits.
  3. Documentation: Companies must submit the necessary documentation, including application forms, board resolutions authorizing the remittance, invoices, contracts, and other supporting documents per RBI guidelines and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
  4. Compliance: Companies must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and guidelines issued by the RBI and other regulatory bodies. This includes adherence to Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, and reporting obligations.
  5. Limits and Reporting: The RBI limits the amount of outward remittances permitted for different purposes. Companies must adhere to these limits and report remittances to authorised banks.

Inward Remittance Guidelines for Companies:

  1. Purpose of Remittance: Companies can receive inward remittances for various purposes, including payment for exports, foreign investments, repatriation of profits or dividends from overseas subsidiaries, and receipt of loans or advances from foreign entities.
  2. Designated Accounts: To receive inward remittances, companies must maintain assigned accounts, such as Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) or Non-Resident External (NRE) accounts. These accounts must comply with RBI regulations regarding permissible transactions and balances.
  3. Reporting Requirements: Companies must promptly report inward remittances to authorized banks, providing details such as the purpose of remittance, source of funds, and relevant transaction information. Non-compliance with reporting requirements may result in penalties or regulatory action.
  4. Tax Implications: Companies must consider the tax implications of inward remittances, including withholding tax requirements, transfer pricing regulations, and compliance with Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) where applicable.
  5. Use of Funds: Inward remittances must be used for the specific purpose they were received, per RBI guidelines and regulatory requirements. Any deviation from the intended use may require approval from the RBI or authorised banks.


RBI Approval for Foreign Remittances

If your remittance exceeds set limits or falls under specific categories requiring prior approval, you’ll need the RBI’s green light before proceeding. They evaluate each request based on factors like the purpose of the remittance and compliance with regulations.

Limitations of Outward Remittance:

  1. Regulatory Restrictions: Governments and regulatory bodies impose limits and restrictions on outward remittances to control capital flows, prevent money laundering, and maintain financial stability. These restrictions sometimes hinder individuals and businesses from transferring funds freely across borders.
  2. Currency Fluctuations: Exchange rate volatility can impact the value of remittances, resulting in fluctuations in the amount received by the beneficiary. This uncertainty poses a risk, especially for individuals or businesses making large remittances.
  3. Transaction Costs: Outward remittances often incur transaction fees and foreign exchange conversion charges, which can reduce the overall value of the transferred amount. These costs vary depending on the service provider, transaction size, and destination country, making remittance expenses unpredictable.
  4. Complex Documentation: Initiating outward remittances requires compliance with extensive documentation and regulatory requirements, including Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and submission of relevant forms. Fulfilling these requirements can take time and effort for remitters.
  5. Limited Accessibility: In some regions, particularly in rural areas or developing countries, access to formal banking channels for outward remittance may be limited. Lack of infrastructure and financial literacy can hinder individuals ability to transfer funds securely and efficiently.

Outward Remittance

Advantages of Outward Remittance:

  1. Diversification of Investments: Outward remittance enables individuals and businesses to diversify their investment portfolios by allocating funds to overseas assets, markets, and currencies. This diversification helps mitigate risks associated with domestic market fluctuations and enhances potential returns.
  2. Access to Global Opportunities: By facilitating cross-border transactions, outward remittance provides access to global opportunities for investment, trade, and collaboration. Businesses can explore new markets, forge international partnerships, and leverage foreign resources, driving growth and expansion.
  3. Supporting Family Members: Outward remittance allows individuals to financially support family living abroad, including funding education, healthcare, and daily living expenses. This helps maintain familial ties and supports loved ones in need.
  4. International TradeBusinesses can use outward remittance to pay for imports, settle trade transactions, and expand their supply chains globally. By facilitating international trade, outward remittance contributes to economic integration, efficiency, and competitiveness in the global marketplace.
  5. Diversification of Risks: Outward remittance safeguards against country-specific risks and economic uncertainties by diversifying assets and exposure across multiple jurisdictions. This risk diversification strategy helps protect wealth and assets from adverse events in any country or region.
  6. Access to Specialised Services: Outward remittance services offered by banks and financial institutions often include specialised features such as hedging tools, forward contracts, and risk management solutions. These services enable remitters to optimise their foreign exchange transactions and minimise risks associated with currency fluctuations.

While outward remittance offers numerous advantages, such as diversification of investments, access to global opportunities, and support for family members abroad, it also faces limitations, such as regulatory restrictions, transaction costs, and currency fluctuations. Remitters must weigh these factors carefully and navigate the process prudently to maximise the benefits of outward remittance while mitigating associated risks.


Outward remittance facilitates global opportunities, supports relatives overseas, and broadens investment horizons. While regulatory challenges and transactional intricacies exist, the benefits of enhancing international trade, promoting financial inclusion, and diversifying risk are evident. By adhering to regulatory frameworks and leveraging specialised services, remitters can effectively navigate the remittance landscape, optimizing advantages while mitigating risks. As we embrace an increasingly interconnected world, outward remittance is a pivotal instrument for fostering connectivity, growth, and prosperity worldwide.


1. What documents are required for outward remittance?

Ans. For outward remittance, you typically need to provide a filled application form, KYC documents such as ID and address proofs, and any additional paperwork specific to the purpose of your remittance.

2. Are there limits on the amount I can remit for different purposes?

Ans. Yes, the RBI limits the amount of outward remittances permitted for different purposes. High-value transactions may require prior approval from the RBI.

3. What are the tax implications of outward remittance?

Ans. The tax implications of outward remittance depend on the purpose and destination. You may need to pay taxes on foreign income or gains, so it’s essential to consider tax obligations beforehand.

4. How long does it take for an outward remittance to be processed?

Ans. The processing time for outward remittances can vary depending on the destination country, the remittance amount, and the bank’s processing policies. Typically, it can take a few business days to complete the transaction.

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