Monday, January 5, 2015


A Indian tourist is a passenger. Who is not normally a resident in India. - 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, such as - touring, recreation, sports, health, family reasons, study, religious pilgrimage or business. The term "Baggage" is defined as "Baggage that includes unaccompanied baggage  but does not include motor vehicles". 

A passenger (tourist) is required to comply with certain provisions of the Indian Customs Law. The owner of any baggage shall, for the purpose of clearing it make a declaration of its contents to the customs officer (no written declaration is needed and oral declaration is usually acceptable). The rate of duty and tariff valuation, if any, applicable to the baggage shall be the rate and valuation in force on the date, on which a declaration is made in respect of such baggage. In respect of the goods personally brought in by the passengers it means approximately the retail price of the goods paid abroad. The prerequisites for treating any articles or goods as baggage is that they were in use of the passenger or were brought and paid for by the passenger. Personal and household effects are treated as baggage and can be imported freely without any restriction as to the value of the goods. How ever, they should be imported in reasonable quantities. Goods in commercial quantities may be allowed to be imported as baggage based on the merits of the case. 

Lady  Passenger

The duty free allowance on jewellery for an Indian passenger, who has been residing abroad for over one year or a person who is transferring residence to India, has been raised to Rs 1 lakh in case of a lady passenger from Rs 50,000 earlier. 

Male  Passenger

For a male passenger, this has been raised to Rs 50,000 from Rs 10,000. 

Moreover, precious stones will become cheaper as the basic customs duty has been cut to 2 per cent from 10 per cent on pre-forms of precious and semi-precious stones.

India Currency Regulations..
While Traveling to India or to any other foreign country, it is important to be updated about that particular country's currency and customs duties. Chalking out a meticulous plan about what and how much to carry and the customs formalities that needs to be followed better equips the traveler than being a novice on his/her tour.
It is advisable to carry a mix of cash and travelers cheques to guard against any situation.

US Dollars are the easiest currency to change with euro coming a close second. Other hard currencies such as Yen, British Pound, Deutsche Mark can also be changed in tourist areas and big cities. 

The baggage clearance at the major International Airports in India consist of two channels for clearance.

Green channel: not having any dutiable goods to declare.

 Red channel: having dutiable goods to declare. Non declaration & wrongful declaration of the dutiable goods may attract confiscation of goods, fine or penalty. Serious offences like attempting to smuggle Gold, without declaration may lead to arrest & prosecution. 

The Indian Revenue Department has specified a list of items, including the size, that can now be imported duty-free as part of the baggage. 
This list includes: 
Personal Jewellery 1 camera with film rolls not exceeding 20 1 video camera/camcorder with accessories and with video cassette not exceeding 12. 
1 pair of binoculars.
1 portable colour television not exceeding 15 cms in size.
1 music system, including compact disk player (CD Player). 
1 portable typewriter.
1 perambulator. 
1 tent and other camping equipment. 
1 Computer. ( Laptop/notebook) 
1 Electronic Diary. 
1 portable wireless receiving set. (Transistor radio) Professional equipments, instruments and apparatus of appliances including professional audio/video equipment. 
Sports equipment such as one fishing outfit,one sporting firearm and fifty cartridges, 
One non powered bicycle,
One canoe or range less than 51 meters long, 
One pair of skis, two tennis rackets, 
One golf set(14pcs. with a dozen golf balls). 
1 Cell Phone. 
These goods, other than those consumed during the stay in India, are re-exported(taken) when the tourist leaves India for a foreign destination

 I. Generally items imported as baggage are subjected to a uniform rate of duty for ease of assessment.

II. The general rate of duty for items imported in excess of the permissible free allowance is 60% (Notification No. 136/90 as amended by Notification No. 20/2001-Cus dated 1-03-2001)

 III. The rate of duty applicable to items in Annexure II imported by passengers transferring their residence or returning to India after a stay of 365 days abroad in the preceding two years is 30% (Notification No. 137/90 as amended by Notification No. 24/2002 dt.01-03-2002). The total aggregate value of such goods may be upto Rupees five lakhs.

 IV. Alcoholic drinks and Tobacco products imported in excess of the free allowance are charged to duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports.

 These rates for some of the items are as follows:- 
(i) Cigarettes - 150%

 (ii) Whisky * 
(a) Not exceeding US $ 25 per case 413.24% (Notification No. 54/2001 as amended by Notification No. 24/2002 dt.01-03-2002) 
(b) Exceeding US $ 25 per case 339.92% (Notification No. 54/2001 as amended by Notification No. 24/2002 dt.01-03-2002)

 (iii) Wines and Beer *
 (a) Not exceeding US $ 25 per case 264% (Notification No. 54/2001 as amended by Notification No. 24/2002 dt.01-03-2002)
 (b) Exceeding US $ 25 per case 212% (Notification No. 54/2001 as amended by Notification No.24/2002 dt.01-03-2002) 

V. Gold is charged with a duty of Rs. 250 per 10 gms. for passengers importing gold under the prescribed scheme 

VI. Silver is charged to a duty of Rs. 500 per Kg. For passengers importing silver under the prescribed scheme * 

The duty on Alcoholic Beverages is calculated in following manner 
A. Suppose the value of item is Rs. 100
B. Basic Customs Duty (BCD say 100%) = Rs.100 
C. Value plus BCD = Rs. 200 
D. Additional Duty (AD say 75%) on C = Rs.150 
E. Value + BCD +AD = Rs.350 
F. Special Additional Duty (SAD 4%) = Rs.14 
G. Total Duty (BCD+AD+SAD) = Rs. 264 

Note: Incase the value of one item exceeds the duty free allowance, the duty shall be calculated only on the excess of such amount.

Should i buy anything from abroad?
  • It's always a double edge sword, a person not having correct knowledge might get into a lot of trouble.  
  • Even there is not a lot of information available online, and people are  not always sure of what they are talking about customs.
  • The decision whether to buy from abroad lies upon you, if you're willing to take the risk you might get the fruits as well.
  • Remember You might not always have to pay customs.

Prepared & Collection by M.Ajmal Khan.

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