Indian Consulate On-Line

Customs & Baggage Rules


Indian Residents or
Foreigners Residing in India
Tourists Persons Transferring Residence

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BAGGAGE RULES FOR RESIDENTS (OTHER THAN TOURISTS)

(These rules do not apply to persons coming from NEPAL or BHUTAN)


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Indian Residents and Foreigners Residing in India

Duty-free concessions

Used articles of personal wear, excluding jewellery but including one wrist watch, articles of personal use for taking care of the daily necessities of life.

Besides the used personal effects, you are allowed free allowance as under:

Passengers of 12 years of age & above Passengers below 12 years of age
If coming from a country other than Sri Lanka or Maldives or Nepal or Bhutan. Rs. 6000/- Rs. 1000/-
.
If coming from Sri Lanka or Maldives after stay abroad for -
i) 3 days or less Rs. 2000/- Rs. 500/-
ii) more than 3 days Rs. 4000/- Rs. 1000/-

Your free allowance will be as follows if you are travelling on an air ticket which is free or has a concession of 75% or more of the normal fare and returning to India after staying abroad for less than 10 days:

Passenger of 12 years of age or above Passenger of less than 12 years of age
Rs.400/- per day Rs.100/- per day

Note: you are eligible for normal free allowance if your stay abroad is for 10 days or more.

Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, alcoholic liquors

You may include in this duty free allowance the following:
  1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms. tobacco.
  2. Alcoholic liquor & wine upto 1 litre each

Items not allowed free of duty

  1. Firearms and cartridges of firearms exceeding 50 gms.
  2. Cigarettes exceeding 200 or cigars exceeding 50 or tobacco exceeding 250 gms.
  3. Alcoholic liquor & wine in excess of one litre each.
  4. More than Rs.2000/- in value of a VCP/VCR.
  5. Any article that does not accompany you (i.e.unaccompanied baggage).
  6. Gold in any form other than ornaments.
  7. Silver in any form other than ornaments.

Pooling of Free Allowance

General free allowance of Rs.4000/-or Rs.1000/-as the case may be cannot be pooled with any other passenger.

Clearance on payment of duty

Articles which exceed the duty-free allowance of Rs. 4000/- and articles imported as unaccompanied baggage can be cleared on payment of duty at the rate of 100% advalorem. However, articles mentiioned at (1) to (3) above will attract higher duty. Separate rates of duty have been fixed for gold and silver.

Calculation of duty

In case the value of one item exceeds the duty-free allowance, the duty shall be calculated only on the excess of such amount.

In case of television sets, additional duty @ 20% is also chargeable.

Domestic pet

You can bring in domestic pets like dogs, cats, birds, etc. Import of animals and birds is governed by strict health certificate regulations. These are not set out here but your airline or travel agent or our Embassy will tell you what particular Health Certificate you need for your pet.


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Concessions to Persons Engaged in Profession Abroad for Over Three Months

The following additional duty-free concessions are available to persons engaged in profession abroad for over three months.

Household goods which are actually used by the passenger during his stay abroad. These are specifically:

The total value of all these household goods should not exceed Rs. 4500/-

Professioinal equipment

If you are a passenger engaged in your profession abroad for over six months, you are allowed to import free of duty, such portable equipments, instruments,apparatus and appliances as are ordinarily required in your profession, up to value of Rs. 15,000/- (Rs. 7500/- where stay is less than 6 months but more than 3 months).

Please note that this concession is available on items used by carpenters, plumbers, welders,masons and the like and that this concession shall not be available on items of common use such as cameras, cassette recorders, dictaphones, typewriters, personal computers and other similar items.


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Concessions to Passengers Returning on Termination of Work and Stay Abroad of not less than One Year

If you are an Indian Passport holder and returning to India after a period of not less than one year of stay abroad, you may import free of duty your personal effects and household articles upto a value of Rs. 30,000/-. This concession is available subject to the following conditions:

  1. That you have been working abroad and are returning to India on termination of such work after having stayed abroad for atleast 365 days during the two years immediately preceding the date of arrival in India.

  2. You affirm by a declaration that the goods in question have been in your or your family's possession and use abroad for a minimum period of six months.

  3. The concession shall be allowed only once in every three years.


Items (whether used or new) not allowed free but at concessional rate of duty of 25% adv. under the above category:

  1. Colour TV/Monochrome TV*
  2. VCR/VCP/VTR
  3. Washing machine
  4. Electrical/LPG Cooking Range (other than Electrical LPG stoves with not more than two burners and without any extra attachment)

  5. Dish washers
  6. Music system
  7. Personal Computer
  8. Air-Conditioner
  9. Refrigerator
  10. Deep freezer
  11. Micro-wave oven
  12. Video camera or the combination of any such video camera with one or more of the following goods,namely:-
      (a) Television receiver
      (b) Sound recording or reproduction apparatus
      (c) Video reproducing apparatus.

  13. Word processing machine.
  14. Fax machine

Note:TV sets would also be leviable to additional duty.

Subject to the conditions that:-

  1. You affirm by a declaration that the goods have been in your possession abroad or, the goods are purchased from a duty-free shop after arrival but before clearance from Customs

  2. Not more than one unit of the above items is permissible. The aggregate value of the above goods including usesd personal effects and household goods allowed duty-free shall not exceed Rs. 30,000/-

  3. The items brought as unaccompanied baggage were shipped or despatched to India or arrived in India within the stipulated time limit.


Items not allowed free or at concessional rate of duty under this category:


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JEWELLERY

A passenger who has been residing abroad for over one year is allowed to bring jewellery, free of duty, worth Rs. 10,000/- in the case of a male and Rs. 20,000/- in the case of a female.


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What should you do when you leave India?

If you intend taking out with you articles of high value such as a camera, video camera,video cassette recorder or jewellery, be sure to ask the Customs Officer, at the time of your departure, for an export certificate for such articles. He will examine these and certify that they are beilng taken out of India by you. Keep this certificate safe with you and when you return to India, show the Certificate to the Customs Officer who will then be able to pass these free of duty. The advantage of having the Export Certificate is that the concessions you are entitled to, when you return, are not affected.

Please take special care to obtain an Export Certificate in respect of jewellery that you intend to take out to avoid any problem on your return.


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Baggage Rules For Tourist

These rules are not applicable to Tourists of Nepalese & Bhutanes origin coming from these countries.


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Who is a Tourist?

A tourist is a passenger:

  1. Who is not normally a resident in India
  2. Whose visit to India is for a stay of not more than six months; and
  3. The purpose of whose visit is


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Items allowed Duty-Free

Personal effects

All your personal effects like clothing and other articles new or used which you reasonably require, excluding merchandise for commercial purposes will be allowed free of duty. Personal effects which are not consumed during your stay in India are required to be taken back on leaving the country.

Travel Souvenirs

You can bring with you travel souvenirs upto a total value of Rs. 600/- and these will be passed free of duty.

Gifts

A tourist of foreign origin visiting India for a stay of more than 24 hours, can bring articles except Electric Appliances up to a value of Rs. 600/- (Rs. 4000/- for tourists of Indian origin) free of duty, which are intended as gifts, or even for personal use.

Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco, Alcoholic Liquors

Tourists, whether of foreign or Indian origin, are allowed the following items duty-free but within the free allowance:

  1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms. of tobacco
  2. Alcoholic liquor & wine upto 1 litre each.

Special concessions for Tourists of Indian origin to bring articles on payment of duty

Tourists of Indian origin can also import items of personal and house-hold effects for presentation as gifts and souvenirs to friends and such articles which are in excess of the free allowance or which cannot be cleared under free allowance can be cleared on payment of duty. The details of rates of duty etc. can be seen at Clearance on payment of duty of Baggage Rules for Passengers (Other than Tourists).

Carrying of currency

You are not allowed to take out or bring into the country any Indian currency, as export and import of Indian currency without permission of the Reserve Bank of India, is prohibited.

Foreign currency (including traveller's cheques) in excess of US$10,000/- or equivalent has to be declared before the Customs on arrival.

Channels of clearance

There are two channels for Customs clearance:
  1. Green Channel for passengers not having any dutiable goods
  2. Red Channel for passengers having dutiable goods. You are advised to report at the appropriate channel for Customs clearance.


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Mishandled Baggage

In case your baggage has been lost or mishandled by the airlines, please obtain a certificate to that effect from the airlines and get it countersigned by Customs indicating specifically the unutilised portion of free allowance.


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Baggage Rules for Persons Transferring Residence


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Duty-Free Imports

On a bonafide Transfer of Residence to India, you can import free of Customs duty, your personal and household effects without any limit but subject to the following conditions, namely:-

  1. You have been residing abroad for a minimum period of two years immediately preceding the transfer of residence and are transferring your residence to India for a minimum stay of one year;

  2. you affirm by a declaration that the goods have been in your or your family's possession and use abroad for a minimum period of one year.

PLEASE NOTE

These concessions are in addition to the duty free concessions available to you as a non-tourist passenger.

You can also bring in your jewellery but the value of gold jewellery should not exceed Rs. 10,000/- in the case of a male passenger and Rs. 20,000/- in the case of a female passenger. However, these limits will not apply to the jewellery in respect of which the Assistant Collector of Customs is satisfied on the basis of the evidence (Export Certificate) produced by you or a member of your family that it had been taken out of India by the passenger or by a member of his or her family.

Articles (whether used or new) not allowed free of duty but at concessional rate of duty of 25% advalorem:

  1. Colour TV/Monochrome TV*
  2. VCR/VCP/VTR
  3. Washing machine
  4. Electrical/LPG Cooking Range (other than Electrical/LPG Stoves with not more than two burners and without any extra attachment)

  5. Dish washer
  6. Music system
  7. Personal Computer
  8. Air-conditioner
  9. Refrigerator
  10. Deep freezer
  11. Micro-wave oven
  12. Video camera or the combination of any such video camera with one or more of the following goods, namely:-
  13. Word Processing machine.
  14. Fax machine.

*TV sets would also be leviable to additional duty.

Subject to the conditions that:

  1. Such person affirms by a declaration that the goods have been in his possession abroad or the goods are purchased from the duty-free shop by such person at the time of his arrival but before clearance from Customs.

  2. Unaccompanied goods were shipped or despatched or arrived within the prescribed time limits.

  3. Only one unit of each item per family is allowed.

  4. The person claiming this benefit affirms by declaration that no other member of the family had availed, or would avail this benefit. The term "family" includes all persons in the same house and forming part of the same establishment.

  5. The aggregate value of such goods shall not exceed one lakh fifty thousand rupees.

Articles not allowed under transfer of Residence

The transfer of residence concessions do not include:-

Application of Baggage Rules 1994 in respect of persons returning from Nepal or Bhutan on Transfer of Residence

Baggage Rules, 1994 will apply to persons coming from Nepala/Bhutan into India on transfer of residence. However, persons claiming thsese concessions should bring in a certificate about their bonafide transfer indicating that Transfer of Residence benefits are applicable in their cases, from the authorised officer in the Indian Embassy.


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Clearance of Gold on Payment of Duty


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Clearance of Silver on Payment of Duty

PLEASE NOTE:

The jewellery, which is in addition to the jewellery otherwise allowed without payment of duty, only is liable to payment of duty under the above-mentioned scheme for import of gold.


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Import of Firearms

Import of one firearm is allowed to persons bringing their personal and household effects under the Transfer of Residence. You can import firearms subject to the following conditions:

  1. The firearm was in your possession abroad for a minimum period of one year.

  2. The firearm shall not be transferred to any person in India during your lifetime for consideration or otherwise.


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Short Visits to India During Your Stay Abroad

For the purpose of Transfer of Residence Rules, shosrt visits if any, made by you to India during the aforesaid period of two years are ignored if the total duration of stay on these visits does not exceed six months; and on sufficient cause being shown by you, the Collector of Customs can condone the period of stay in India in excess of six months.


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Conditions of Shortfall in Period of Stay Abroad

For the purpose of Transfer of Residence Rules, shortfall upto a period of two months in your stay abroad may be condoned by the Assistant Collector of Customs, if he is satisfied that your early return to India has been caused by your availing of the terminal leave or a vacation or by any other special circumstances.

There is no scope for condoning any shortfall in stay abroad beyond a period of two months.


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Conditions for Leaving India when the Passenger has Availed of Concessions Under Transfer of Residence Rules

A person who has availed of concessions under Transfer of Residence Rules, is required to stay in India for at least one year from the date of arrival in India. However, he can leave India for short visits provided the Assistant Collector/Additional Collector of Customs is satisfied about the duration of the short visit.

Shortfall upto a period of two months in a person's stay in India for one year can be condoned by the Additional Collector of Customs or the Deputy Collector of Customes on sufficient cause being shown for his/her early departure from India. The Central Government has powers to condone such shortfall in the period of stay in India in excess of two months.


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Clearance of Unaccompanied Baggage

The articles of baggage which you were using abroad and which you could not bring with you, can be brought after your arrival. You can clear this baggage at any of the international airports, Customs ports and land Customs stations.

PLEASE NOTE

  1. If you are sending your baggage by sea, ensure that you make arrangements to ship it to India within one month of your arrival in India. If you are sending it by air, you should do so within a fortnight of your arrival in India. The limit can be extended to three months and two months respectively by the Assistant Collector on being satisfied that the goods could not be shipped within the aforesaid period inspite of the passenger having taken all steps for the purpose. The time-limit can be further extended by the Collector.

  2. If you want to send your baggage before your arrival in India, ensure that it is landed within two months prior to your arrival. The time-limit of two months can be extended to four month by the Assistant Collector and one year by the Collector if he is satisfied that the passsenger was prevented from arriving in India within the period of two months due to circumstances beyond his control such as the sudden illness of the passenger or a member of the family, natural calamity or disturbed conditions or disruption in transport or travel arrangements in country concerned.


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Revised on: January, 1995

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