Country Guide: India

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Updated: August 11, 2016

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Original passport (copy of Passport duly certified is accepted for diplomats)
  • Valued list of articles with date of purchase
  • Baggage customs declaration signed by owner of the goods
  • Packing list
  • List of electronic items
  • Authority letters (diplomats / non-diplomats, refer to agents for more information)
  • Duty-free exemption certificate issued by diplomatic organization in India 
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / sea waybill / copy of air waybill (AWB)
  • Original residence permit (foreigners)
  • Valid visa / PIO card for foreign nationals
  • Employment letter / transfer letter / assignment letters


Specific Information

  • The packing list must be stamped by the Consulate / the Embassy for diplomatic shipments.
  • The owner of the goods must be present for Customs clearance.
  • All shipments are subject to Customs examination unless a diplomatic shipment.
  • All containers (except diplomat) are offloaded at the point of entry (POE) / (TOE) and reloaded into vans.
  • Foreign nationals must possess a visa valid for 1 year.
  • Indian nationals must have lived abroad for at least 2 years preceding transfer to India and intend to reside in India for a period of at least 1 year.
    • Owner of the goods must have not must not have visited India for more than 180 days in the preceding 2 years.
  • Air shipments must be dispatched from the origin airport within 15 days after the arrival of the owner of the goods in India.
  • Sea shipments must be dispatched from the origin seaport within 1 month after the arrival of the owner of the goods in India.
  • Shipments may arrive at the India airport / seaport 2 months prior to arrival of the owner of the goods; however, the shipment will be subject to demurrage or detention as applicable.
  • Electronic items should be loaded in the front (opening side) of the container or lift-van
  • A list of electronic items should be provided on a separate sheet.


IAM Note: Customs regulations are the same throughout India. However, the regulations may be interpreted differently amongst the various Customs offices.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport
  • Original manufacturer’s invoice
  • Import license
  • Insurance policy
  • Certificate of title / registration
  • OBL
  • Duty exemption certificate (diplomats)


IAM Note: Not all ports / terminals in India are allowed to import cars. It is advisable to check with the destination agent / branch prior to shipping. 


Specific Information

  • The import of motor vehicles is a detailed, conditional and complicated procedure and is not recommended.
  • Duties are generally higher than 100%.
  • Diplomatic motor vehicles are allowed to be imported free of duty if covered by a duty exemption certificate issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, subject to the Ministry approval.
  • Only right-hand drive vehicles are allowed to be imported
  • Only cards that meet Euro III pollution norms are allowed (must have manufacturer’s certificate)
  • New vehicles may only be imported from the country of manufacture.
  • Used vehicles can only be imported through the Customs port at Mumbai.


Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate


Specific Information

  • Only one cat, dog or parrot may be imported at the time of shipment.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • New items are subject to duties (invoice must be supplied).
  • Customs duties are approximately 15.45% to be levied on the following items:
    • Televisions
    • Digital video disc players
    • Video home theatres
    • Music systems
    • Microwaves
    • Dishwashers
    • Air conditioners
    • Refrigerators above 300 L or equivalent
    • Deep freezers
    • Fax machines
    • Word processors
    • Video cameras
    • Portable photocopying machines
    • Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments
    • Cinematographic films of 35 mm and above
  • Firearms, ammunition and weapons
    • Restricted item must be included with the household goods shipment.
    • A license must be obtained prior to import.
  • Duplicate items or items in sums of excess of Rs. 150,000 (Rs. 500,000 in Delhi and Mumbai) are duties of approximately 36.01 to 61%.
  • Import of foodstuffs / edibles varies between different cities throughout India.
    • It is advisable to check with the respective destination agent and then include in the shipment.
  • The following items may qualify for free import if within the limits indicated:
    • Alcohol (2 L) – transport is recommended as part of the shipment, not as accompanied baggage
    • Wine (2 L)
    • Perfume (59 ml)
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), tobacco (250 g)

Prohibited Items

  • Beef and beef products
  • Narcotics, non-branded drugs and psychotropic substances
  • Obscene literature, photographs or films
  • Politically subversive literature

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.