Every year thousands of students look at options to pursue their dreams and explore higher education opportunities in universities abroad. Shortlisting the countries and the universities, checking the eligibility criteria, the alumni data, dissecting the course work, all of this marks just the beginning of what goes into preparing your child to go abroad. While in general people look at Forex needs at the end, we suggest the process should go hand in hand along with the process of shortlisting the universities. To help you get the best deal and to make your task easy, here are some recommendations:
Keep in mind some basic remittance rules:
As per RBI guidelines, the outward remittance limit under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) for Indian individuals is $250,000. These funds can be remitted for leisureor personal visits, business visits, employment abroad, donations, maintenance of close relatives, medical expenditure and for studies abroad. To ensure that your KYC process is smooth keep a copy of your PAN card, passport copy of the remitter, admission letter from the university and form 60 in case a PAN card is not available.If the remitter is transacting through a bank account but hasn’t maintained it for a year or more, then you will have to solicit the copy of latest income-tax assessment order or returns filed. Once you approach a channel to remit money you will need to fill a few forms, Form A2, which is an application-cum-declaration form).
What are the best ways to remit the money?
With the advent of technology there are several routes that are available to easily facilitate the transfer of funds from India to beneficiaries overseas. You may approach banks, Authorised Dealers, , Online Remittance Platforms such as Paypal, Transferwise,etc or Online forex Platforms such as Fxkart.com or Doorstepforex.com. What you need to be mindful of is the quantum of money that you will send and the frequency. Secondly, it is imperative that you keep an eye on the Forex rates and are updated with the policy changes from time to time, and make sure that you compare the rates across online Offline as well as Online platforms. You can even set up ‘rate alert’ feature to get the preferred rate, this will be helpful if you start the process in advance and have adequate time to pay fees.
Remitting money for fees:
Generally, for confirming the admission, the fee payable to the foreign university is required to be remitted from India itself. Check out the remittance charges and compare those charges across platforms including banks. Banks are probably the most popular route of money transfer for college fees. To make this transfer, you need to visit your bank and fill up the transfer form with details like name of the beneficiary,account number,address of the bank and swift code. After you submit this form, the money is debited from your account and transferred to the beneficiary within 72 hours. This facility is offered by most of the banks in India. The other options are Net banking or foreign currency cheques. Alternatively, one can also carry a demand draft towards fees with them while travelling. For banks, remittance is not a core business and hence the customer service may not be the same as those of Authorised dealers or the Online platforms that exist. These options provide convenience and better exchange rates.
Remitting money for travel & stay:
Bank transfer works well when remitting money for fees, however for monthly expenditure you need to choose a right mix of Forex products. A certain amount of cash should be carried in hand that will help in making payments for taxis, food or any out of pocket spends. Apart from this it is advisable to carry a multi-currency Forex card powered by either Visa or MasterCard. These cards are widely accepted at almost all merchant outlets and the added advantage of the Forex card is that it can be topped up from anywhere and almost anytime.This is particularly helpfulfor the students as the students go for a longer duration and hence the forex card reload is the fastest option available with parents to send money to their kids.
In general, we see that an increasing number of students from Gujrat, Punjab, Mumbai, clusters of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh travelling for overseas education and are visiting universities in US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Foreign exchange decisions play an important role while planning to study abroad. While February is the month in which you plan to prepare for the July intake you must never leave Forex for the last minute.This can help you save an average of 5-10 per cent and can help you and your child manage your finances well.
[This is an authored article by Isha Siraj Kedia, Founder of DoorstepForex. All views, opinions and expressions are personal and limited to the author.]