From gold jewellery gifted at weddings to investments in gold coins, there are several reasons why we Indians are obsessed with yellow metal.
A notable advantage of gold as an asset is that it is highly liquid and portable. It can be converted to cash when an emergency arises and is considered a friend in need.
Indian expatriates in particular love to buy gold from abroad due to their lower prices and superior quality. However, over the past few years, restrictive conditions and customs duty on gold import are discouraging many people from carrying gold to India.
This article explains the Indian Customs gold duty, the latest rules, regulations, and procedures to be followed while taking gold in and out of India.
- Indian Customs Rules For Gold
- Part 1: Carrying Gold to India During Travel
- Is carrying gold to India legal?
- How much gold can I carry to India without paying customs duty?
- Is the allowance applicable to children also?
- Can I bring gold coin, gold biscuit or gold bar within the allowance amount?
- What are the conditions for carrying gold to India as duty free allowance?
- How much is the customs duty on excess gold jewellery?
- Do I have to declare the gold if I am not asked about it?
- Do I have to pay duty if I had bought the jewellery from India?
- Export Certificate For Gold
- Part 2: Importing Gold As Baggage
- Who can import gold as baggage?
- Customs Duty For Importing Gold
- What is the maximum gold that I can bring above the free allowance?
- I had visited India for few days in the last six months. Can I qualify to bring gold?
- What if I did not complete 6 months of stay abroad?
- Do I have to carry the gold with me while travelling?
- Payment of Gold Duty
- How is the gold price calculated? Can I show purchase receipt?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Indian Customs Rules For Gold
To answer your questions, we will divide this into two parts:
- Part 1: Carrying gold to India during travel (duty free allowance)
- Part 2: Importing gold to India as baggage (by paying customs duty)
Part 1: Carrying Gold to India During Travel
Let’s start with the most obvious question:
Is carrying gold to India legal?
Absolutely! An Indian national can legally carry gold jewellery to India subject to certain restrictions on the quantity. The quantity allowed and customs duty payable will depend upon his residency status and the duration of his stay abroad.
How much gold can I carry to India without paying customs duty?
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 a male passenger)
- 40 grams, subject to maximum value of Rs. 100,000/- (in the case of a female passenger)
Please note that since the current market price of gold per gram is more than Rs 2,500/gram you cannot take 20/40 grams. So the limit will be the value of Rs 50,000/Rs 100,000.
|Passenger Type||Stay Abroad||Gold Type||Maximum Value|
|Male Indian passenger||More than one year||Gold Jewellery||Up To Value of Rs 50,000|
|Female Indian passenger||More than one year||Gold Jewellery||Up To Value of Rs 100,000|
|Male or Female||Less than one year||Any||No free allowance|
Is the allowance applicable to children also?
Yes, the duty-free allowance on gold jewellery is applicable to children also, provided they have stayed abroad for 1 year or more.
Can I bring gold coin, gold biscuit or gold bar within the allowance amount?
No, the allowance is only on gold jewellery. Gold in any other form is liable to pay duty.
What are the conditions for carrying gold to India as duty free allowance?
The main conditions are as below:
- Passenger should be an Indian citizen.
- Passenger should have stayed abroad for one year.
- The gold has to be in the form of jewellery only. Gold coin, gold biscuit or gold bar cannot be part of duty free allowance.
- The maximum duty free allowance is Rs 50,000 (for men) and Rs 100,000 (for women).
- Gold above this limit will be liable to customs duty.
How much is the customs duty on excess gold jewellery?
For those who stayed abroad for more than a year, the discounted duty payable is 13.75%.
Do I have to declare the gold if I am not asked about it?
If you are carrying gold above the normal duty-free allowance, you have to declare it. Import of gold by concealment in baggage coupled with no declaration will lead to confiscation along with the imposition of fine/penalty and the offender may also be arrested.
Do I have to pay duty if I had bought the jewellery from India?
All gold jewellery bought in India is exempt from duty if the passenger exiting the home country duly declares it and secures an export certificate at the airport customs desk.
Export Certificate For Gold
An export certificate is a document issued by customs and contains information like the passenger’s name, passport number and details of the item. In the case of gold jewellery, it will have weight, description etc.
Passengers departing India can avail of the facility of obtaining an export certificate for high-value items if they intend to bring such items back on their return to India.
Once you have this export certificate for a piece of jewellery, you can bring it in or take it out any number of times without any hassle.
How To Get Export Certificate From India
You would have to fill up the form and apply with the purchase invoice/valuation certificate from the authorised testing centre. Also, the item needs to be produced for examination to the Customs Officer along with a boarding pass and passport.
Please check with your departure airport well in advance about this as the procedure is different for some airports.
Export Certificate Validity
The export certificate will be valid for three years and must accompany the item, when brought back into India by the passenger or any member of his or her immediate family, in order to clear the item without paying any customs duty on gold.
Part 2: Importing Gold As Baggage
Who can import gold as baggage?
Any passenger of Indian Origin or a passenger holding a valid Indian passport, coming to India after a period of not less than six months of stay abroad can import gold as baggage.
However, short visits during these six months shall be ignored if the total duration of such short visits does not exceed 30 days and the passenger has not availed of the exemption under this scheme, at the time of such short visits.
Except for these passengers, no other passengers are allowed to import gold in Baggage.
Customs Duty For Importing Gold
The customs duty payable for importing gold is as below:
|Period of Stay Abroad||Duty-free Allowance||Duty Payable|
|One year and above||Max value of Rs 50,000 for male;|
Max value of Rs 100,000 for female
|Up to 1 kg: 13.75%|
|6 months to one year||No Allowance||Up to 1 kg: 13.75%|
|Less than 6 months||No Allowance||38.5%|
What is the maximum gold that I can bring above the free allowance?
Holder of Indian passport who is having at least one-year continuous stay abroad can bring in up to 1 kg of gold on payment of duty. This can be jewellery or crude gold or gold coin or gold biscuits.
I had visited India for few days in the last six months. Can I qualify to bring gold?
Short visits to India of 30 days or less are ignored in calculating this period of six months. If during the preceding six months, the total days on short visits to India is less than 30 days, you can import up to 1 kg of gold on payment of duty.
What if I did not complete 6 months of stay abroad?
In case the passenger bringing in the gold has not stayed abroad for 6 months, then the duty @ 38.5% may be charged on all the gold the passenger arrives with.
Do I have to carry the gold with me while travelling?
The passenger can either bring the gold himself at the time of arrival or import the same within fifteen days of his arrival in India as unaccompanied baggage. There is no restriction of the sale of the gold in India.
The passenger can also obtain the permitted quantity of gold from Customs bonded warehouse of State Bank of India and Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation subject to the same conditions.
Payment of Gold Duty
For paying customs duty at a discounted rate you have to bring foreign currency. If the duty is paid in Indian Rupees, the rate of duty would be 38.5%.
If the passenger is not able to furnish authentic information for the gold jewellery they bought or money to pay the duty, the only course available to customs officials is to detain the jewellery giving an option to the passenger to release the gold jewellery on payment of duty OR to hand over the gold jewellery to the passenger when he is going to a foreign country (which is called re-export).
How is the gold price calculated? Can I show purchase receipt?
The price of gold is calculated based on the value notified by the government of India. This value is subject to change from time to time, according to market conditions. Purchase receipt can be good to show the source. However, prices are calculated as per value on the date of travel.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Am I allowed to carry small jewellery for daily use?
Normally customs officials do not mind if ladies are wearing small jewellery for daily use (eg. a small chain, a pair of earrings etc). To be on the safer side, you can get an export certificate.
Is jewellery studded with stones included in duty-free allowance?
The duty-free allowance is applicable only to pure gold jewellery. Jewellery studded with stones does not qualify for free allowance.
Is there any special allowance if I am returning after cancelling my visa (Transfer of Residence)?
No, there is no special allowance on gold for those who return after end of contract or release from employment.
How much gold is allowed in international flights to India?
The duty-free gold allowance for male passengers is 20 grams (maximum Rs 50,000) and for female passengers is 40 grams (maximum Rs 100,000).
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