Indian citizens who are staying abroad on a visa or foreign citizens of Indian origin are entitled to certain duty-free allowances while travelling to India.
Similarly, foreign citizens who stay in India or travel to India as tourists are also entitled to certain duty-free allowances.
However, duty-free baggage allowance rules may vary based on the country of residence, duration of stay abroad and duration of stay in India and a few other factors.
This article explains the Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance for Indian citizens, NRI, foreign citizens residing in India as well as foreign tourists.
- Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance
- Indian Customs Rules For Gold
- Indian Customs Rules For Electronic Items
- Indian Customs Duty on TV
- Indian Customs Rules For Bringing Mobile Phones
- Customs Duty For Bringing Laptop To India
- Customs Regulations For Bringing Drone To India
- Indian Customs Alcohol Allowance
- Indian Customs Cash Limit
- Allowances for Transfer of Residence
- Indian Customs Baggage Rules
- Difference Between Green Channel and Red Channel At Indian Airports
- Indian Airport Customs Declaration Form
- Frequently Asked Questions
Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance
Used personal effects travel souvenirs and articles other than those mentioned in Annexure I, up to the value of Rs. 50,000 if these are carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger.
The duty-free allowance for travellers to India can be summarised as below:
|Traveller Type||Country of Origin||Allowance|
|Indian Residents and foreigners residing in India||Countries other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar||Articles up to the value of Rs. 50,000|
|Indian Residents and foreigners residing in India||Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar||Articles up to the value of Rs. 15,000|
|Tourist of Foreign Origin||Countries other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar||Articles up to the value of Rs. 15,000|
|Tourist of Foreign Origin||Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar||Articles up to the value of Rs. 15,000|
In addition to the above allowance, used personal effects and travel souvenirs can also be brought. However, they should not include the below:
- Fire arms
- Cartridges of fire arms exceeding 50
- Cigarettes exceeding 100 sticks or cigars exceeding 25 or tobacco exceeding 125 gms
- Alcoholic liquor or wines or beers in excess of two litres
- Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments
- LCD/LED/Plasma television of any screen size
Important Points To Note
- Only used personal effects shall be allowed duty-free for infants.
- The free allowance of a passenger under this rule shall not be allowed to be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger.
Under the rules, goods that are not restricted or prohibited may only be imported for bona fide personal use and not for commercial purposes.
Over and above the free allowances, the goods will be charged a duty of 35% + 3.5% surcharge, which works out to be 38.5%. Whenever an item’s value exceeds the free allowance, only the excess of the allowance will be liable for duty.
Difference Between Residents and Tourists
A resident means a person holding a valid passport issued under the Passports Act, 1967 and normally residing in India.
A tourist means a passenger who is not normally a resident in India; but who enters India for a stay of not more than six months in the course of any twelve months period for legitimate non-immigrant purposes.
Below are the items that are restricted in nature with their maximum allowable values :
Indian Customs Rules For Gold
An Indian passenger who has been residing abroad for over one year is allowed to bring jewellery, free of duty in his bonafide baggage up to an aggregate weight of :
- 20 grams subject to maximum value of Rs. 50,000/- in the case of male passenger*
- 40 grams subject to maximum value of Rs. 100,000/- in the case of female passenger*
|Traveller Type||Gold Allowance||Maximum Value|
|Male passenger residing abroad for one year||20 grams||Rs 50,000|
|Female passenger residing abroad for one year||40 grams||Rs 100,000|
NOTE: Gold or silver in any form, other than ornaments – such as coins, biscuits etc – are not entitled to allowances.
Customs Duty on Gold
Concessional rate of duty @ 12.5% + Social Welfare Surcharge @ 1.25% is applicable for gold to Indian Passport holders and persons of Indian origin if the stay is for more than 6 months. Short visits up to a total of 30 days during the six months shall be ignored.
In cases other than those mentioned above, the normal rate of Customs Duty @ 38.5% will be charged. However, the weight of gold (including ornaments) should not exceed 1 kilogram per person.
Indian Customs Rules For Electronic Items
Most electronic items can be included under the duty-free allowance of Rs 50,000. However, there are certain items (like LCD/LED/ Plasma Televisions) that cannot be included under this allowance.
Indian Customs Duty on TV
Flat Panel (LCD/LED/Plasma) Television is NOT included under the duty-free allowance.
All Flat Panel TVs are subject to customs duty, irrespective of their screen size (since 2013).
Customs Duty @ 35% + surcharge of of 3.5% (effective rate is 38.5%).
Customs officials charge the duty based on the assessed value. The assessed value is determined by the model, year of make, and condition of the TV. There is also an internal database with prices of popular models.
You can read our detailed guide to Customs Duty on Televisions and use the duty calculator here:
Indian Customs Rules For Bringing Mobile Phones
There is no special allowance for bringing mobile phones to India. Normally Customs Officers do not mind if you are carrying one used mobile phone for your personal use. If you are carrying extra mobile phones in your baggage, they may be considered under the Rs 50,000 duty-free allowance.
However, some expensive mobile phones like iPhones will not be covered under this allowance due to their high cost. In such cases, you may be asked to pay the duty on excess value.
Customs Duty For Bringing Laptop To India
Any passenger above the age of 18 years can import one laptop computer (notebook computer) over and above the free allowance mentioned above.
Customs Regulations For Bringing Drone To India
According to the Customs Department website, there is no prohibition on the import of drones as baggage. However, passengers possessing drones have to opt for Red Channel and should declare the same in the separate column in the Customs Declaration Form or file the same in advance by using ATITHI mobile app.
For the drones to be imported, the importer must have a permit issued by the Telecommunications Department’s WPC wing mentioning the name, model, and specifications of the drones.
Indian Customs Alcohol Allowance
Following quantities of Alcoholic drinks and Tobacco products may be included for import within the duty-free allowances admissible to various categories of incoming passengers:
|Alcoholic Liquors or Wines or Beer||2 litres|
The rate of duty applicable on these products over and above the above mentioned free allowance is as under :
- Cigarettes BCD @ 30% + social welfare surcharge @ 3%+ CVD+NCCD+IGST (as applicable)
- All alcoholic beverages other than beer and inclusive of wine BCD @ 150%
- Beer BCD @ 100% + Social Welfare Surcharge 10%
NOTE: The imported goods should have a proper pictorial warning on them as prescribed by Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Packaging and Labelling Rules, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Indian Customs Cash Limit
Any person can bring into India from a place outside India foreign exchange without any limit. However, declaration of foreign exchange/currency is required to be made in the prescribed Currency Declaration Form in the following cases:
- Where the value of foreign currency notes exceed US $5,000 or equivalent.
- Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeds US $10,000 or equivalent.
Import of Indian currency is prohibited. However in the case of passengers, who are residents of India and are returning from a visit abroad, Indian currency up to Rs. 25,000 is allowed.
Allowances for Transfer of Residence
Following are the entitlements of a passenger who is transferring residence to India:
|Period of Stay Abroad||Aggregate Value Allowed|
|3-6 months||Rs. 60,000|
|6 months- 1 year||Rs 100,000|
|Minimum 1 year during preceding two years||Rs 100,000|
|Minimum stay of two years or more||Rs 500,000|
These allowances are subject to fulfilment of conditions and are only available on specific items. For further details, Rule 6 of the Baggage Rules, 2016 may please be referred.
These concessions are not allowed for articles in Annexure I & II, such as Color TV, Home Theatre System, Dish Washer, Refrigerator up to 300 litres, Deep Freezer, Video Camera etc.
Indian Customs Baggage Rules
Difference Between Green Channel and Red Channel At Indian Airports
Passengers entering India must pass through the Customs checkpoint after first being cleared by an Immigration Officer and receiving their baggage from the conveyor belts. They can pass through either Green Channel or Red Channel depending upon the baggage they are carrying.
- Green Channels are designated for passengers who do not have dutiable goods to declare.
- Red Channels are designated for passengers who must declare dutiable goods.
So if you are a passenger who is carrying goods in excess of the above allowance, you are liable to pass through the Red Channel. If passengers choose the Green Channel with dutiable/prohibited goods, they may be prosecuted and their goods may be seized.
Please note that ignorance of the law is not a valid reason for wavering of penalty.
Indian Airport Customs Declaration Form
If passengers have prohibited or dutiable goods in their possession or goods in excess of their Duty-Free allowance, they must complete the Customs Declaration Form and check the boxes to verify that the goods are not prohibited or dutiable.
Additionally, passengers can use ATITHI’s mobile app to declare Indian customs any dutiable items and cash before flying to India.
Only passengers who are carrying dutiable or prohibited goods are required to fill a Customs Declaration Form or use ATITHI mobile app to file a declaration of dutiable items as well as currency with Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much liquor is allowed in international flights to India?
International passengers are allowed to take up to 2 litres of Alcoholic Liquors, Wines or Beer without paying any Customs duty.
How many phones can I carry to India?
Normally you are allowed to carry one mobile phone for your personal use and any other phone may be included under Rs 50,000 duty-free allowance.
How much electronics can I take to India from abroad?
You can carry articles up to the value of Rs 50,000 as duty free allowance. However, LCD/LED TV cannot be included in this.
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