Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance And Rules (2023 Guide)

Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance Complete Guide

The NRI Guides Team regularly reviews this article to ensure the content is up-to-date and accurate. The last editorial review and update were on 20 October 2023.

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, 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

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 TypeAllowance
Indian Residents and foreigners residing in India (coming from Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar)Articles up to the value of Rs 15,000
Indian Residents and foreigners residing in India (coming from other countries)Articles up to the value of Rs 50,000
Tourists of Foreign OriginArticles 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 items:

  1. Firearms
  2. Cartridges of firearms exceeding 50
  3. Cigarettes exceeding 100 sticks or cigars exceeding 25 or tobacco exceeding 125 gms
  4. Alcoholic liquor or wines or beers in excess of two litres
  5. Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments
  6. LCD/LED/Plasma television (flat screen) 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 is a person holding a valid passport issued under the Passports Act of 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-month 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 a maximum value of Rs 50,000 in the case of male passenger*
  • 40 grams subject to a maximum value of Rs 100,000 in the case of female passenger*
Traveller TypeGold AllowanceMaximum Value
Male passenger residing abroad for one year20 gramsRs 50,000
Female passenger residing abroad for one year40 gramsRs 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 abroad 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.

Here is our complete guide to customs duty on gold.

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. Read our detailed guide on Indian Customs Rules For Electronic Items.

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 is calculated @ 35% + surcharge 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 the 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 Drones To India

The Indian government has banned the import of drones on 9 February 2022, except for use in research, military, and security purposes.

According to the order by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the import of drones that are completely built-up, semi-knocked-down or completely knocked-down form is now prohibited.

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:

ItemMaximum Allowance
Alcoholic Liquors or Wines or Beer2 litres
Cigarettes100 cigarettes
Cigars25 cigars
Tobacco125 grams

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.

Here is our detailed guide on Indian Customs Alcohol Allowance and Duty.

Indian Customs Cash Limit

Foreign Currency

Any person can bring with them into India foreign exchange without any limit. However, a 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 exceeds US$ 5,000 or equivalent.
  • Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeds US$ 10,000 or equivalent.

Indian Currency

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. Here is our guide on how much currency you can carry to India.

Allowances for Transfer of Residence

Following are the entitlements of a passenger who is transferring residence to India:

Period of Stay AbroadAggregate Value Allowed
3-6 monthsRs. 60,000
6 months- 1 yearRs 100,000
Minimum 1 year during the preceding two yearsRs 200,000
Minimum stay of two years or moreRs 500,000

These allowances are subject to fulfilment of conditions and are only available on specific items. For further details, please check customs rules for NRI regarding the transfer of residence to India.

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 Indian Customs Declaration Form and check the boxes to verify that the goods are not prohibited or dutiable.

Additionally, passengers can use the ATITHI mobile app to declare Indian customs any dutiable items and cash even before boarding the flight to India.

Only passengers who are carrying dutiable or prohibited goods are required to fill out a Customs Declaration Form or use the ATITHI mobile app to file a declaration of dutiable items as well as currency with Indian Customs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much liquor is allowed on 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 the 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 a duty-free allowance. However, LCD/LED TV cannot be included in this.

Related Articles:

  1. Indian Customs Rules For Gold
  2. Indian Airport Customs Duty On LCD/LED TV
  3. How Much Cash Can You Carry on Flights To India
  4. Indian Customs Declaration Form

Copyright © – Unauthorized reproduction of this article in any language is prohibited. The information provided on this website is intended for general guidance and informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice, and travellers are encouraged to verify visa requirements and travel advisories through official government sources before making any travel arrangements.

Reference: Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Baggage Rules 2016

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  1. I want to take a foot massager which cost approx, 10K (INR). will I need to pay any tax at india airport. i am flying from Dubai. i am residen of india.

  2. Hi
    I am travelling to india for few months. I will bring a small projector , a screen and Playstation 5 with me . Everything is 1-2 years old. Do i have to pay any duty for that.
    And a personal laptop as well

  3. Col Harish K Banerjee, retired.

    I want to purchase a car roof top tent which at discount sales is costing me AUD 599 only. On conversion it comes to about Rs 32400. Will I have to pay any custom duty if I import it as unaccompanied baggage.

  4. I am comming from UK to chennai, I’m carrying an old iphone 11 pro max and 2 low end samsung mobiles combined value less than 50,000. is it allowed to carry those 3 mobiles (all three are low end mobiles)

  5. Andrew James Grant

    flying into Delhi on 06/09/2023.
    I will have two mobile phones (one will not work in India) total value £75 sterling.
    A personal laptop valued at £600 sterling, a tablet (a back up in case my laptop is stolen or breaks) valued at £149 sterling.
    I will also be bringing gifts to the value of around £175 sterling.
    Will I have to pay customer duty on any of the above?.
    I am also bringing in medication for the duration of my trip, will I need to provide any documentation or declare them when I enter India?.

  6. Sir,
    My laggage includes only clothes and shampoo,milk powder my custom duty bill shows 8000rs to pay.could you please help me to find out the reason why i have to get this big amount

  7. Respected sir,
    My name is syed, my friend is an oci passport at malaysia he want to come india and he have some gold jewellery item how much will take to india.
    Please guide to us.

  8. if i buy a bottle of wine at airport , do i need to ask the duty free shop staff
    putting the wine into a seal bag for direct flight to india, is it a must?

  9. I am a resident Indian and travelling in UK in tourist visa and will return after 3/4 months. Will bring a projector ( cost about Rs 8,000) for personal/home use. Whether I have to pay any custom duty in Indian airports?

  10. Beaulah Dcruz

    I am a resident Indian travelling to Canada & would like to carry gold chains as gifts for my sister & 4 nieces there. Is it permissible

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