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If you’re travelling to India and bringing your laptop, tablet, or other electronic devices, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the customs rules.
In India, certain electronic items, such as satellite receivers and drones, have restrictions on their import. So before you head off on your trip, make sure you know what you can and cannot bring with you.
This article will overview the Indian Customs rules for electronic items. Read on for more information!
Table of Contents
The below information has been prepared after studying the Indian Baggage Rules and traveller guidelines issued by the Central Board of Indirect Customs and Taxes.
Indian Customs Rules for Electronic Items
On arrival from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar, Indian residents and foreigners residing in India can bring used personal effects and travel souvenirs and articles valued up to Rs 50,000.
Tourists of foreign origin can bring used personal effects, travel souvenirs, and articles valued up to Rs 15,000. Here is the complete guide on Indian Customs Duty-Free Allowance.
You can include most of your personal-use electronic gadgets, such as Mobile Phones, Power Banks, AirPods, Wireless Headphones etc., under this duty-free allowance.
In addition to the above free allowance limit, you can bring some electronic items like laptops for personal use. Let’s discuss in detail:
Indian Customs Laptop Allowance and Rules
According to Indian Customs Baggage Rules, any passenger over the age of 18 years may import one laptop computer (notebook computer) over and above the free allowances mentioned above.
Can I bring 2 laptops to India?
You cannot include more than one laptop for personal use under the duty-free allowance. If the second laptop is for personal use and the total values of your articles including the second laptop exceed your duty-free allowance, you are liable to pay Customs Duty.
However, you are allowed to carry one official laptop in addition to your personal laptop. For the official laptop, you need a letter from your organization stating that this laptop will be used for official purposes.
Do I have to declare my laptop at the Customs?
If you are carrying only one laptop, you do not have to declare it. If you have more than one laptop for personal use, you are liable to declare and pay the Customs Duty.
Should I pay Customs Duty on a used laptop?
You are liable to pay Customs Duty if you carry more than one laptop for personal use, even if it is an old and used laptop. Depending on the laptop’s age, you can claim depreciation on the value.
Indian Customs Rules for Mobile Phones
Unlike laptops, there is no special allowance for mobile phones. However, carrying one mobile phone for personal use is generally allowed.
Almost everyone carries a mobile phone nowadays, and Customs officials usually do not ask you to declare it if you have one mobile phone in your pocket. The assumption is that as most normal mobile phones are under Rs 50,000, they can be included under the duty-free allowance.
However, carrying two or more phones in your pocket may not always be a good option (even though this is often allowed).
The rules specify that goods that are not restricted or prohibited can be brought for bona fide personal use only and cannot be brought in a commercial quantity.
Just like laptops, if you have one phone for personal use and another for official purposes, you can get a letter from your organization mentioning this.
One phone in your pocket and another in your cabin baggage is also usually allowed nowadays. But make sure these are open phones (not in their packing boxes) with SIM cards inserted.
Do I have to pay Customs Duty on my iPhone?
Since some iPhones (especially newer models like iPhone 14, iPhone 15 etc.) cost more than Rs 50,000, you may not include them under the duty-free allowance. Recently, there have been many incidents where passengers had to pay Customs Duty for iPhones.
As the authorities are vigilant about smugglers reselling iPhones in India, you must be extra careful if bringing new iPhones in the original box. If you are getting an iPhone to gift someone, a safer option would be to unbox it, insert a SIM card, and carry it as your personal phone.
Note that a satellite phone is not considered a mobile phone. Importing satellite phones without obtaining a license from the Department of Telecommunications’ WPC wing is not permitted.
Indian Customs Allowance on Tablets
Like mobile phones, there is no special allowance or special duty on tablet computers (iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Microsoft Air, other Android Tablets etc.).
So you can include your electronic tablets under the duty-free allowance. Once again, you must be careful about the quantity and not create an impression that you will be reselling these tablets.
Indian Customs Rules for Watches
Indian Customs have no special law or duty for passengers bringing wristwatches. You are free to carry watches for personal use, as long as you do not exceed your duty-free allowance of Rs 50,000.
If you bring expensive watches beyond your duty-free limit, you are liable to declare them and pay the duty. Bringing expensive watches from abroad has landed even famous celebrities in trouble.
Indian Customs Duty for Television
LCD/LED/Plasma TVs cannot be included under the duty-free allowance. Hence you must pay customs duty at 38.5% on their assessed value. Here you can see our guide and calculator for Indian Customs duty for television.
Customs Law on Bringing Drones To India
In February 2022, the Government of India banned the import of drones, except for use in research, military, and security purposes.
According to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the ban includes drones that are in completely built-up, semi-knocked-down or completely knocked-down form.
Indian Customs Rules for Other Electronic Items
Below are some of the other electronic items which people ask about:
|Personal Computer (Desktop PC)||These can be included under duty-free allowance, but are not considered under laptop allowance.|
|Computer Monitor||These are not considered flat-screen televisions. You can include them under the duty-free allowance.|
|Powerbank, External Hard Disk, DVD Player||These can be included under the duty-free allowance.|
|Home Theatre, Sound Bar, Speaker, Music System||These can be included under the duty-free allowance.|
|Kitchen Mixer, Grinder, Toaster etc.||These can be included under the duty-free allowance.|
|Microwave Oven||These can be included under the duty-free allowance.|
|Mobility Assisted Device||These can be included under the duty-free allowance.|
Indian Customs Duty for Electronic Items
Those goods that exceed the free allowances will be subject to duty at 35% plus a social welfare surcharge of 3.5%, for a total duty of 38.5%. Duty is only imposed on the excess amount over the free allowance.
Export Certificate for Re-import of Expensive Items
If you travel out of India with expensive electronic items, you can get an Export Certificate issued by Indian Customs before departure. Usually, this is applicable to digital cameras, laptops, mobile phones, etc., which can be identified by serial number, model name etc.
When returning to India, you can show the Export Certificate to the Customs Officer, who will examine the goods and allow the passage of the imported items without any duty.
Please note that in the case of jewellery, a different process applies and needs a valuation certificate from an authorized vendor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which electronic items are prohibited from being taken into India?
Passengers to India are not allowed to take satellite phones, drones and radio transmitters not approved for regular usage.
What are the penalties for violating Indian customs rules?
If you violate the customs rules, your electronic items may be seized or subject to a penalty.
What should you do if your electronic item is damaged or lost while it is in transit to India?’
If any electronic item in your baggage is lost or damaged, please contact your airline, who will check with the airport authority.
- Indian Customs Gold Allowance, Duty and Rules
- Transfer of Residence to India: Customs Rules
- List of Prohibited Items While Travelling To India
- Indian Customs Alcohol Allowance and Duty
- Indian Customs Declaration Form
- ATITHI App for Indian Customs Declaration
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Reference: Central Board of Indirect Customs and Taxes
Aneesh, the Founder & Editor of DG Pixels, holds a Master’s Degree in Communication & Journalism, and has two decades of experience living in the Middle East. Since 2014, he and his team have been sharing helpful content on travel, visa rules, and expatriate affairs.