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INDIAN RESIDENTS AND FOREIGNERS RESIDING IN INDIA RETURNING FROM TRIP ABROAD
Who are eligible under this category?

Most passengers except tourists coming to India are eligible.

Specifically, these rules are applicable to passengers holding a valid Indian passport and normally residing in India as well as to Passengers holding a passport of a foreign country but staying in India. The rules are applicable in respect of their bonafide baggage when these categories of passengers return from a trip abroad. These rules are not applicable to tourists (either Indian or Foreign) visiting India for a short trip.

The rules vary according to the passenger's duration of stay abroad, the country he or she is coming from and the age of the passenger. Usually all such passengers are entitled to a duty free allowance within which they can bring various goods without payment of any duty. When the total value of the dutiable goods exceed the prescribed duty free allowance, customs duty at a flat rate has to be paid only on the value exceeding the duty free allowance. The passenger is also entitled to bring duty free certain "used personal effects" meant for day-to-day personal use and also one laptop if the passenger is 18 years or above. There are certain items for which duty is charged at various rates based on the Customs Tariff and not at the flat rate usually applicable for most baggage items. Items taken out from India by declaring them to customs after procuring an "Export Certificate" are also allowed to be brought in duty free. For an example on how duty is calculated, please see the write-up titled "Some points to note..." on our homepage.

What value of goods can be cleared free of duty by each passenger ?
(Duty Free Allowance and personal effects)

Goods of various values brought as accompanied baggage or on person can be cleared free of duty by passengers, based on their duration of stay abroad and their age. Goods brought as unaccompanied baggage are not entitled for the concessions mentioned below.

Goods taken out from India by a passenger while going abroad can be imported again into India free of duty provided the passenger had received an export certificate from the Customs in respect of that particular item while going abroad.

Further, Indian passengers (not foreigners), who are working abroad and who have stayed abroad for more three months / six months/ one year/ two year etc., in addition to the usual concessions available to passengers who have stayed abroad for more than three days, get certain other additional allowances for working persons for longer stay abroad.

1. If coming from countries EXCEPT - (a) Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China (see Sl.2 below)
(b) Land Routes specified in Annexure IV (see Sl.3 below)

Note : Passengers coming from Pakistan by Air/Sea can avail the allowances mentioned here.

Duty Free Entitlement
For passengers of age
10 years and above
Below 10 years
(i)

Used personal effects (excluding jewellery) required for satisfying daily necessities of life

Free Free
(ii) Other articles (except those mentioned under Annex-I of the Baggage Rules) carried on the person or as accompanied baggage.

(a) Stay abroad for more than three days


(b) Stay abroad up to three days





Rs.25000/-
(in value)

Rs.12000/-
(in value)





Rs.6000/-
(in value)

Rs.3000/-
(in value)

(iii)
One Laptop computer (notebook computer) imported by a passenger (but not a member of the crew of a ship / aircraft)
Free, if the passenger is of the age of 18 years or above.
(iv)
Cinematographic Films, exposed but not developed
Free
Note: The free allowance shall not be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger
2(a). If coming from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China, other than by land route (i.e. by Air or by Sea)
Duty Free Entitlement
For passengers of age
10 years and above
Below 10 years
(i)

Used personal effects (excluding jewellery) required for satisfying daily necessities of life

Free
Free
(ii) Other articles (except those mentioned under Annex-I of the Baggage Rules) carried on the person or as accompanied baggage.

(a) Stay abroad for more than three days


(b) Stay abroad upto three days

 






Rs.6000/-
(in value)

NIL






Rs.1500/-
(in value)

NIL

(iii)
One Laptop computer (notebook computer) imported by a passenger (but not a member of the crew of a ship / aircraft)
Free of duty if the passenger is of the age of 18 years or above.
(iv)
Cinematographic Films, exposed but not developed
Free
Note: The free allowance shall not be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger.
2(b). If coming from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China by Land Route
Duty Free Entitlement
For passengers of age
10 years and above
Below 10 years
(i)

Used personal effects (excluding jewellery) required for satisfying daily necessities of life

Free
Free
(ii) Other articles (except those mentioned under Annex-I of the Baggage Rules) carried on the person or as accompanied baggage.
NIL
NIL
(iii)
One Laptop computer (notebook computer) imported by a passenger (but not a member of the crew of a ship / aircraft)
Free of duty if the passenger is of the age of 18 years or above.
(iv)
Cinematographic Films, exposed but not developed
Free
3. If coming by Land Routes specified in Annexure IV of the Baggage Rules
Duty Free Entitlement
For passengers of age
10 years and above
Below 10 years
(i)

Used personal effects (excluding jewellery) required for satisfying daily necessities of life

Free
Free
(ii) Other articles (except those mentioned under Annex-I of the Baggage Rules) carried on the person or as accompanied baggage.

(a) Stay abroad for more than three days


(b) Stay abroad upto three days






Rs.6000/-
(in value)

NIL





Rs.1500/-
(in value)

NIL
(iii)
One Laptop computer (notebook computer) imported by a passenger (but not a member of the crew of a ship / aircraft)
Free of duty if the passenger is of the age of 18 years or above.
(iv)
Cinematographic Films, exposed but not developed
Free
Note: The free allowance shall not be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger.
Can free allowances of two or more passengers be added up (pooled or combined) to bring more goods duty free or pay lesser duty ?

Absolutely not. This is a question frequently asked by passengers travelling with family or by passengers travelling in groups.

Example : Say, for example, husband and wife are travelling together and each of them get Rs.25000 free allowance.

Suppose, a TV worth Rs.30000 is being brought. The TV can be declared in the name of one passenger only - either the husband or wife but not both. The person who declares the item has to pay duty on Rs.5000, which is the excess value over his/her duty free allowance, although the husband and wife can bring a total of Rs.50000 worth goods free of duty separately.

On the other hand, say, a handycam worth Rs.25000 is declared by the husband and a music system also worth Rs.25000 is declared by the wife. Then both the items can be cleared duty free as these belong to the baggage of different persons. Had the husband declared both the items as his baggage, he would have to pay duty on Rs.25000 - the amount by which his duty free allowance would exceed.

So far as free allowance is considered, each passenger is considered to be travelling separately with his/her own baggage and their duty is assessed on an individual basis, not on the basis of a group or a family.

What is the rate of duty on the value of baggage exceeding the free allowance?

After adding up the values of all the dutiable goods, if the total exceeds the prescribed duty free allowance limit for a passenger, then customs duty has to be paid on the value which is in excess of the free allowance.

Rate of duty will be 35.7% of the value which is in excess of the free allowance unless stated otherwise.

Example : Assuming that a passenger has brought various dutiable goods worth Rs.50000/- in total and that the duty free allowance applicable to him is Rs.25000/-, the value which is in excess of the free allowance is (Rs.50000 - Rs.25000) i.e. Rs.25000/-. The Customs Duty payable would be 35.7% of Rs.25000 i.e. Rs.8925/-.

Note : While duty on most items are calculated in the above manner, duty on certain items are charged at various rates, either as per the Customs Tariff or as notified separately. These are indicated elsewhere in this website. Apart from that, the Customs can either seize or charge a higher rate of duty, as well as fine and/or penalty on items brought in commercial quantity and on non-bonafide baggage items. Rates of duty on items brought under various schemes like Transfer of Residence (TR) and Mini-TR etc. are also different

How much cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and alcoholic liquors can be brought?

Following quantities of Tobacco products and Alcohols may be included for import within the aforesaid duty free allowances mentioned at Sl. No. 1 to 3 above, as the case may be :

(1) 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms tobacco.
(2) Alcoholic liquor or wines up to two litres.

Duty has to be paid if -

(a) items have been brought within the prescribed limits but duty free allowance is exhausted.
(b) items are brought in excess of the prescribed limits, although the duty free allowance is not exhausted.

What is the duty on Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, alcoholic liquors brought in excess of the above stated amount or exceeding the duty free allowance limit?

Alcoholic drinks and Tobacco products imported in excess of the free allowance are charged to duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports and not at the usual baggage duty rate. The approximate rates of duty for these items are as follows:-

(1) Cigarettes 30% Basic + various amounts of Addl. Duty based on length as per C.Ex Duty rates.

(2) (a) Wine/Beer/Champagne upto US$25 per case* :- 260.6% of the CIF value.
(b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka - upto US$ 10 per case* : 547% of the CIF value. over US$ 10 to US$ 20 per case* : 416.12% of the CIF value.

(3) (a) Wine/Beer/Champagne over US$25 and upto US$ 40 per case* :- 208.06% of the CIF value.
(b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka - over US$ 20 to US$ 40 per case* : 286.34% of the CIF value.

(4) Alcoholic Drinks over US$ 40 per case* :
(a) Wine/Beer/Champagne - 146.26% of the CIF value.
(b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka - 234.84% of the CIF value.

1 case = 9 litre. Pro-rata calculation to be made to determine value where the beverage comes in packages other than cases.
The above rates are the minimum prescribed rates. The actual rate of duty may be more depending on the actual value of the liquor due to the nature of the prescribed Additional Duty rates. For example, the Additional Duty rates for Whisky valued between US$20 and US$40 has been prescribed as 50% or US$53.2 per case, whichever is higher. The calculation above has been made using the % value. However, if the duty using $53.2 comes higher, then that is to be taken instead of the % value. Similar Additional Duty rates are prescribed for other slabs also. The above rates are meant for the passengers to have an idea of the minimum duty rates. Please consult the Customs Tariff if you need the exact duty rates.

What items are considered as used personal effects under these rules?

Used personal effects which are required for satisfying daily necessities of life are allowed duty free.

Although the term "used personal effects required for satisfying daily necessities of life" has not been defined in the Baggage Rules, it is the customs officer who exercises his/her judgement in deciding the nature of the items. There is no point in publishing a list as this can include a whole range of items. Generally, the term includes items like all used items of personal wear, used cosmetics, used bedding, used toiletries, umbrella, walking sticks, used shoes, hair dryer, hearing aid, shaving kit, spectacles, shoe brush & polish etc. and one watch. Any other item can be included, based on the merits and on a case-to-case basis.

Various electronic items, furniture and "white goods" cannot be brought as personal effects. Specifically, the items mentioned at Annexures I & II of the Baggage Rules cannot be brought as personal effects.

Note : Personal effects in respect of Indian residents returning from abroad is not to be confused with the personal effects of tourists who are coming to India on a short trip. Although both types of personal effects are allowed duty free, the tourists' personal effects include, apart from the above items, a list of 15 specified items which must be taken back abroad when the tourist returns. For details on personal effects in respect of tourists, please click here.

What are the additional allowances available to Indian passengers who are engaged in his/her profession abroad returning to India ?

An Indian passenger (not foreigner) who was engaged in his profession abroad shall on his return to India be allowed clearance free of duty, in addition to the duty free allowances mentioned at Sl. No. 1 to 3, articles in his bonafide baggage to the extent as mentioned below:-

(a)

Indian passenger returning after at least 3 months (i) Used household articles (such as linen, utensils, tableware, kitchen appliances and an iron) up to an aggregate value of Rs.12000/-

(ii) Professional equipment up to a value of Rs.20,000/-.

For the purposes of baggage rules Professional Equipment means:
Such portable equipment, instruments, apparatus and appliances as are ordinarily required in the profession such as those of carpenters, plumbers, welders, masons and the like; This concession is not available for items of common use such as Cameras, Cassette Recorders, Dictaphones, Typewriters, Personal Computers and similar items, e.g. persons in the computer profession cannot import computers under this scheme. While the articles mentioned at Sl. No. (i) can be brought by any Indian passenger engaged in a profession abroad, professional equipment can be brought by only those categories of professionals mentioned here.

(b)
Indian passenger returning after at least 6 months
(i) Used household articles (such as linen, utensils, tableware, kitchen appliances and an iron) an aggregate value of Rs.12000/-

(ii) Professional equipment up to a value of Rs.40,000/-

For the purposes of baggage rules Professional Equipment means:
Such portable equipment, instruments, apparatus and appliances as are ordinarily required in the profession such as those of carpenters, plumbers, welders, masons and the like; This concession is not available for items of common use such as Cameras, Cassette Recorders, Dictaphones, Typewriters, Personal Computers and similar items, e.g. persons in the computer profession cannot import computers under this scheme. While the articles mentioned at Sl. No. (i) can be brought by any Indian passenger engaged in a profession abroad, professional equipment can be brought by only those categories of professionals mentioned here.

(c)
Indian passenger working abroad and returning after a stay of a minimum of 365 days during the preceding 2 years on termination of his work and who has not availed this concession in the preceding three years.

( unofficially known as the Mini TR Scheme)

Used household articles (such as linen, utensils, tableware, kitchen appliances and an iron), items listed at Annexure-III of the Baggage Rules and personal effects (which have been in the possession and use abroad of the passenger or his family for at least six months) up to an aggregate value of Rs.75,000/-.

Items listed under Annexure-III of the Baggage Rules and allowed duty free for one unit each, within the above-mentioned value ceiling are as follows :

1. Video Cassette Recorder/Video Cassette Player/Video Television Receiver/
Video Cassette Disk Player.
2. Washing Machine.
3. Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range.
4. Personal Computer (Desktop Computer).
5. Notebook Computer (Laptop Computer).
6. Domestic Refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres or its equivalent.

A passenger can also import jewellery free of duty in his/her bonafide baggage upto an aggregate value of Rs. 10,000/- (in the case of a male passenger) or Rs.20,000/- (in the case of a lady passenger). This is not a Mini-TR specific scheme. The details have been discussed later.

Articles listed at Annexure-II of the Baggage Rules are not allowed free under this scheme, but at a concessional rate of duty of 15.3% flat rate :-

1. Colour Television / Monochrome Television.
2. Digital Video Disc Player
3. Video Home Theatre System.
4. Dish Washer.
5. Music System.
6. Air-Conditioner.
7. Domestic refrigerators of capacity above 300 litres or its equivalent.
8. Deep Freezer.
9. Microwave Oven.
10. Video camera or the combination of any such video camera with one or more of the following goods, namely:-
(a) Television Receiver;
(b) Sound recording or reproducing apparatus;
(c) Video reproducing apparatus.
11. Word Processing Machine.
11. Fax Machine.
13. Portable Photocopying Machine.
14. Vessel.
15. Aircraft.
16. Cinematographic films of 35 mm and above.
17. Gold or Silver , in any form , other than ornaments.

Conditions for the import of the above concessional-rate items :

i) Passenger to affirm by a declaration that the goods at Annexure II & Annexure III above have been in his/her possession abroad or the goods are purchased from the duty-free shop by him/her at the time of his/her arrival but before clearance from Customs.

ii) Unaccompanied goods were shipped or despatched or arrived within the prescribed time limits (within two months before arrival and within after one month of arrival - see rules regarding unaccompanied baggage for details)

iii) Only one unit of each item at Annexure II & Annexure III above is allowed and total value of these items plus the value of the used personal effects & household goods mentioned above, should not exceed Rs.75000/-

How much jewellery can be imported by a passenger?
An Indian passenger who has been residing abroad for over one year is allowed to bring jewellery, free of duty in his bonafide baggage upto an aggregate value of Rs. 10,000/- (in the case of a male passenger) or Rs.20,000/- (in the case of a lady passenger). This is in addition to his/her usual free allowances.

If a passenger who is a Indian passport holder has been working abroad and returning after termination of work following a stay of 365 days abroad during the two previous years, he/she can also bring Gold & Silver in any form other than ornaments (Sl. 17 of Annexure-II) as part of the baggage on paying 15% duty, subject to the upper total value limit of Rs.75,000/- for all listed items.

Passengers of Indian Origin who have stayed abroad for at least 6 months can import raw gold and silver / jewellery in excess of the above mentioned amount on payment of duty at the prescribed rate. However, stone or pearl studded jewellery are not allowed under this scheme. Details of the scheme has been given below.

Import of Gold as baggage on payment of duty
Who can import gold as baggage?
(a) Any passenger of Indian origin (even if a foreign national except Pakistani / Bangladeshi national).

(b) Any passenger holding a valid passport issued under the Passport Act, 1967.

Conditions
(i) The weight of gold (including ornaments) should not exceed 10 Kgs. per passenger.

(ii) Such passenger is coming to India after a period of not less than six months of stay abroad. 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.

(iii) The duty is payable by the passenger in convertible foreign currency at the rate of Rs.255 per 10 gms. if the imported gold is in the form of tola bars. However, if the imported gold is in the form of gold bars (other than tola bars) bearing the manufacturer's or refiner's engraved serial numbers and weight expressed in metric units, and on gold coins, the duty will be Rs.102 per 10 gms.

(iv) Ornaments studded with stones and pearls will not be allowed to be imported under the scheme mentioned above.

(v) 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.

(vi) 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 conditions (i) and (iii). He is required to file a declaration in the prescribed Form before the Customs Officer at the time of arrival in India stating his intention to obtain the gold from the Customs bonded warehouse and pay the duty before clearance.

Note :
1. The jewellery, which is in addition to the jewellery otherwise allowed without payment of duty, only is liable to payment of duty under the above mentioned scheme for import of gold/silver.
2. Import of gold by concealment in baggage coupled with no declaration will lead to confiscation along with imposition of fine/penalty and the offender may also be arrested.

Import of Silver as baggage on payment of duty

Who can import silver as baggage?
(a) Any passenger of Indian origin (even if a foreign national).

(b) Any passenger holding a valid passport issued under the Passport Act, 1967.

Conditions
(i) The weight of silver (including ornaments) should not exceed the quantity of 100 kgs. per passenger.

(ii) Such passenger is coming to India after a period of not less than six months of stay abroad. 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.

(iii) The duty at the rate of Rs.510 per kg. is payable by the passenger in convertible foreign currency.

(iv) Ornaments studded with stones and pearls will not be allowed to be imported under the scheme.

(v) The passenger can either bring the silver himself at the time of arrival or import the same within fifteen days of his arrival in India. There is no restriction of the sale of the silver in India.

(vi) The passenger can also obtain the permitted quantity of silver From Customs bonded warehouse of State Bank of India and Metal and Mineral Trading Corporation subject to conditions (i) and (iii). He is required to file a declaration in the prescribed Form before the Customs Officer at the time of arrival in India stating his intention to obtain the silver from the Customs bonded warehouse and pay the duty before clearance.

Note :
1. The jewellery, which is in addition to the jewellery otherwise allowed without payment of duty, only is liable to payment of duty under the above mentioned scheme for import of gold/silver.
2. Import of silver by concealment in baggage coupled with no declaration will lead to confiscation along with imposition of fine/penalty and the offender may also be arrested.

Export Certificate
If a passenger going abroad is taking any item (non-commercial, personal, private property) as baggage which is intended to be re-imported into India on a later date, to avoid paying Customs duty on that item during such re-importation, the passenger should ask the Customs at the departure terminal to issue an "Export Certificate" in respect of that particular item. The Customs officer will examine the item(s) and certify that the item(s) are being taken out of India by the passenger. The 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/her immediate family, in order to clear the item without paying any customs duty.

The "Export certificate" contains a declaration signed by the passenger, his/her name and address, the description/model number/serial number of the article, identification particulars, value and any other remarks made by the customs officer.

Any dutiable item, even if taken out from India, shall attract duty unless accompanied by a valid "Export Certificate" issued in the name of the passenger or in the name of any member of his/her family.

Can goods be kept in the temporary custody of Customs?
Yes. Goods can be kept in the safe custody of Customs against a Detention Receipt.
Examples of some situations when goods may be kept in the custody of Customs :
  1. Passenger does not have sufficient money to pay duty and/or other dues on the goods at that moment.

  2. Passenger does not have sufficient foreign currency to pay duty on items on which duty is payable in convertible foreign exchange.

  3. Passenger does not want to take the item along with him into India but intends to return with the goods when leaving India.

  4. Passenger disputes the valuation/duty determined by Customs and intends to appeal against the decision to higher authorities.

  5. The goods are prohibited goods and the passenger has declared the items to Customs authorities. However, not all prohibited items can be kept in the safe custody in this manner. Items like Narcotic Drugs, explosives etc. are liable to seizure/confiscation.
If, for any reason the passenger is not able to collect the article at the time of leaving India, the article may be returned to him/her through any other passenger authorised by him/her and leaving India or as cargo consigned in his/her name. Similarly, dutiable goods which passengers desire to clear subsequently, may also be detained temporarily for clearance on payment of duty and/or fine and other dues. Unclaimed packages found in the Baggage Hall and handed over by airlines will similarly be received by the officer in charge of detained baggages for safe custody.

Procedure : Before detention of the Baggage concerned, the same is examined and inventorised. The officer concerned shall issue Detention Receipts (DR) for all goods detained by the Customs, in which the particulars of the goods as well as the name and address of the owner/importer is recorded. The DR is handed over to the owner which has to be produced by him/her when releasing the goods. In case the DR is lost, the goods can be got released against an indemnity bond. The detained package is sealed with Customs seal in the presence of the passenger and his signature is obtained as an evidence. The record of such detained packages are maintained in a separate register and the detained packages are kept in the custody of the Customs department.

Subsequently, when the passenger claims the packages, either for re-export or clearance on payment of duty and/or other dues, he/she has to produce the detention receipt and his/her passport and the goods are shown to the passenger to verify whether the seals are intact and his/her signature is obtained in confirmation of the same. Thereafter, the goods are released to the passenger, either for re-export or release and the necessary entries are made in the register regarding release of the package. If delivery is sought through an agent, a proper authorisation letter containing attested signatures of the authorised agent is needed. An advance notice of 24 hrs. (excluding Sundays) is required for clearance / delivery of valuables like gold jewellery, precious stones etc. No request for subsequent re-assessment of value of the detained baggage is usually entertained.

If the goods are not taken delivery within the period mentioned on the DR, the Customs authorities may initiate action to dispose of the goods as per norms.

 
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