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What is closed currency?

Currency Exchange

Many of us only go away once a year, so it really is worth giving your travel money some thought. You don’t want to risk paying money on unnecessary fees, charges, commission and poor exchange rates. But what happens if you are holidaying in a country with a closed currency?

What is a closed currency?

A closed currency is a currency that you can only get in the country in which it is used. If you are holidaying in a country with a closed currency and need money straight away upon arrival, you will be able to exchange your British pound or withdraw money at the airport.

When you are due to depart for home, you will need to change your unused closed currency back in to British pound before leaving. It’s illegal to take home a closed currency and you could be subject to spot checks on departure.

What countries have closed currencies?

Armenia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe

Top tips

  • Keep calm and don’t panic! You can use the bureau de change in the airport upon arrival to get your holiday currency.
  • You can still shop around for the best exchange rates prior to departure. For example, hotel exchange rates may be higher in Morocco than in Djemma F’naa Square Marrakech.
  • Coins and small notes might not be accepted, so take larger denomination notes if you intend to exchange cash when you arrive.
  • All notes are usually examined by ultra violet light and manual inspection – torn, faded or tatty notes can be rejected.
  • Only exchange the amount of local currency that you need – you don’t want to end up with too much currency left over at the end of your holiday.
  • If you do have currency left over, please be aware that the exchange rate back into British pound sterling, will not be as good as the one you got when you arrived in the country – you will often need to original receipts to do this.
  • Keep your currency exchange receipts, this is to show that you have used official channels to obtain the closed currency.
  • It is illegal to take a closed currency out of the country so we recommend buying yourself something special before heading home.

If you are unsure about the currency of your destination, we would advise you to contact the relevant embassy before you travel. They’ll be able to advise if you can obtain the relevant money in the UK.

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