Restricted Currency List: Countries with Limited Currency Convertibility in 2024

Restricted currencies refer to currencies that have been subjected to specific controls by the respective government to ensure the relative stability of those currencies, at least that’s often the official stance. This in contrast with freely convertible currencies or closed currencies.

List of Restricted Currencies

Restrictions keep on changing from time to time. Therefore, to be sure about the restricted currencies, visit your local bank or embassy so that you can know whether you can buy, sell or send the following currencies.

CountryRestricted Currency
AngolaAngolan Kwanza (AOA)
ArmeniaArmenian dram (AMD)
BahamasBahamian dollar (BSD)
BarbadosBarbadian dollar (BBD)
BelizeBelize dollar (BZD)
BrazilBrazilian real (BRL)
CameroonCentral African franc (XAF)
ChileChilean Peso (CLP)
ChinaChinese yuan or Chinese Renminbi (CNY)
CubaCuban peso (CUP)
EgyptEgyptian pound (EGP)
EthiopiaEthiopian Birr (ETB)
FijiFijian dollar (FJD)
GeorgiaGeorgian lari (GEL)
GhanaGhanaian cedi (GHS)
IndiaIndian rupee (INR)
IndonesiaIndonesian Rupiah (IDR)
IranIranian rial (IRR)
Sri LankaSri Lankan rupee (LKR)
LibyaLibyan dinar (LYD)
MauritiusMauritian rupee (MUR)
MoroccoMoroccan dirham (MAD)
MyanmarBurmese kyat (MMK)
NamibiaNamibian dollar (NAD)
NepalNepalese Rupee (NPR)
NigeriaNigerian naira (NGN)
North KoreaNorth Korean won (KPW)
PakistanPakistani rupee (PKR)
Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinean Kina (PGK)
PhilippinesPhilippine Peso (PHP)
SamoaSamoan Tala (WST)
RussiaRussian ruble (RUB)
South AfricaSouth African Rand (ZAR)
SudanSudanese pound (SDG)
TunisiaTunisian dinar (TND)
UkraineUkrainian hryvnia (UAH)
UzbekistanUzbekistani som (UZS)
VenezuelaVenezuela bolivar (VEF)
VietnamVietnamese Dong (VND)

Sending money to a country with a restricted currency

When a country’s currency is restricted from trading, the cost of sending money to that country will be significantly more expensive. Even with services such as Transferwise.

Understanding Currency Restrictions: Causes and Consequences

Currency restrictions serve various purposes, ensuring economic stability and safeguarding national interests. One primary reason behind these restrictions is to shield the country’s economy from the adverse effects of currency fluctuations. By maintaining control over their currency, governments aim to prevent any sudden devaluation that could harm their economic stability. Simultaneously, these measures enable authorities to retain the ability to regulate the money supply, a crucial tool in monetary policy.

The impact of currency fluctuations extends to trade imbalances, which can render an economy fragile. On the flip side, restricting the free trading of currencies can potentially lead to inflationary pressures. Until the late 1980s, many countries rigorously enforced currency regulations, effectively keeping their currencies confined within their borders. However, a significant shift occurred as numerous nations began to ease these restrictions.

Currency fluctuations

Currency fluctuations are influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including monetary policies, economic growth, and the value of a country’s goods. For nations with vulnerable economies, changes in supply and demand can have both positive and negative consequences on their export competitiveness. These fluctuations can significantly impact the overall economic landscape, requiring governments to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of currency controls.

Several reasons underpin the implementation of currency restrictions. They encompass preventing currency devaluation, curbing capital flight (as exemplified by China), and managing foreign access to specific industries and tourism (as observed in Cuba). These measures, often rooted in economic strategies and geopolitical considerations, exert a profound influence on shaping a nation’s financial framework.

Some key reasons for currency restrictions include:

  • Safeguarding against currency devaluation.
  • Controlling capital flight, as seen in the case of China.
  • Regulating foreign access to specific sectors and tourism, exemplified by Cuba.

Types of Currency Restrictions

Currency restriction is carried out in different ways from one country to another. However, the following are some common types of currency restrictions.

  • Limiting the purchasing of foreign currency
  • Restricting the use of foreign currency in a country by banning residents from holding foreign currencies
  • Fixing exchange rates instead of allowing exchange rates to be determined by market forces
  • Limiting the amount of currency one can import or export
  • Prohibiting the exchange of currencies in a country or allowing currency exchange to be carried out by government retailers only

Reasons why currencies are restricted

If a country is facing an economic crisis, the government may limit the exchange of currency. Among the reasons of restricting currencies is supply and demand factor. When many people buy currency, the exchange rate rises and when few people sell currency, the exchange rate declines. This in the end helps to inflate the value of the currency artificially.

On the other hand, by limiting international currency exchange, it helps to avoid a country’s currency from reaching the market. This makes it difficult for investors to trade their currencies in other countries without having to exchange it in their home country. In some countries, such as Venezuela and Cuba, currency restrictions are carried as a political decision. This is done especially due to sanctions and a way of controlling trade and people from visiting the country.

Bitcoin and Currency Restrictions

The rise of Bitcoin has significantly challenged the enforcement of currency restrictions. China’s attempts to regulate Bitcoin serve as a pertinent example of the complexities governments encounter in this regard.

On one hand, governments aim to retain control over the flow of money within their borders, safeguarding their economic interests. Simultaneously, they grapple with the realization that Bitcoin could potentially evolve into the global currency, which would put their nation at a significant disadvantage if they persist in attempting to “ban” Bitcoin for an extended period. Complicating matters further, many political figures have opted to invest in Bitcoin, reflecting the evolving landscape of digital currencies.

Closed Currencies and Freely Convertible Currencies

Unlike restricted currencies, a freely convertible currency is a currency that does not have any government restriction during the currency exchange. Convertibility allows for the conversion of money into liquid cash. Examples include the US Dollar and the Euro.

A closed currency is a currency that is only available in the country of origin and not freely available in other countries. These closed currencies are only available in the country of origin, and it is illegal to travel out of that country with the currency. You can see our list of freely convertible currencies and closed currency list.

Restricted currencies FAQs

Is INR a restricted currency?

The Indian Rupee (INR) is a restricted currency.

Is KRW a restricted currency?

The Korean Won (KRW) is a restricted currency since 1997.

List of restricted currency in Malaysia

Israeli Shekel (ILS) is a restricted currency in Malaysia. This means that carrying, importing, or exporting physical notes or coins of Israeli Shekel is prohibited in Malaysia. However, this restriction does not apply to electronic or digital representations of the currency.

Is THB a restricted currency?

No, the Thai Baht (THB) is not a restricted currency.

Is IDR a restricted currency?

Yes, the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is considered a restricted currency.

Is MYR a restricted currency?

No, the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is not a restricted currency.

Is VND a restricted currency ?

Yes, the Vietnamese Dong (VND) is a restricted currency.

Vincent is a writer and researcher with an interest in finance, banking, startups, and remittance. He holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Statistics with computing. He founded Nexin Startups, an online platform offering startup advice to investors and entrepreneurs. Read more about us and our authors.