RBI Allows NRIs to Make Merchant Payments through UPI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a circular dated February 10, 2023, enabling foreign nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) visiting India to make payments to merchants through Unified Payments Interface (UPI) during their stay in the country. However, in the initial days, payments in this manner can be made only at certain international airports and by visitors from the G-20 countries. This additional mode of payment would gradually be made available at all entry points across the country.

Considering the prevalent use of UPI in the country, the RBI had earlier released the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies[1] on February 8, 2023, proposing to allow inbound travelers to access UPI to make payments to merchants for the duration of their stay in the country. The circular has been issued in line with this Statement.

The Master Directions on Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs)[2] have been amended to provide for the issuance of PPIs to foreign nationals and NRIs after the completion of their KYC and due verification of their passports and visas. When such PPIs are issued in the form of wallets linked to UPI, foreign nationals and NRIs may make payments to merchants through QR codes. Currently, this mechanism can be used only for P2M (person-to-merchant) transactions.

As per the circular, the amount outstanding in such PPIs at any given time should not exceed the applicable limit. Further, the loading or reloading of such PPIs will be contingent upon receiving foreign exchange in cash or via any payment mechanism.


[2] Reserve Bank of India – Master Directions (