On August 21, 2023, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) issued a public notice in local newspapers reiterating the rights and obligations associated with holding and exchanging foreign currency.
The notice emphasized that foreign exchange-dealing license holders can perform foreign currency exchange business in the country with both cash and travelers’ checks. The permissible foreign currencies for sale at money changers include US dollars (USD), euros, Singapore dollars (SGD), Thai baht (THB), Malaysian ringgit, Chinese yuan, and Japanese yen.
The CBM has regularly warned the public that internal residents can only possess amounts of foreign currency equivalent to USD 10,000 for up to six months from the date of receipt.
Under the Foreign Exchange Management Law, internal residents are:
- individuals who have resided in or have had their main establishment in Myanmar for a period of at least 183 days during the preceding twelve-month period, with the exception of diplomatic personnel from foreign countries and foreign civil servants who carry out similar assignments;
- companies, organizations, and offices formed under any domestic law and companies, organizations, offices, and branches formed legally in Myanmar under any foreign law; and
- diplomatic or other personnel appointed by Myanmar in foreign countries.
If foreign currency is not used within six months, it must be sold to and exchanged by licensed foreign currency exchangers at the official exchange rate (currently 1 USD to 2100 MMK) or deposited in a bank account. Anyone who possesses foreign currencies without permission or without the necessary license will be subject to penalties under the Foreign Exchange Management Law.
For more details on foreign currency exchange in Myanmar, or on any aspect of the country’s financial regulations, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].