Frequently Asked Questions - Moving to India


Q: What documents are required for import customs clearance of goods into India?

Ans: To import goods through Indian custom we require Importers Original Passport, Original bill of lading (Signed on Reverse), Inventory of articles ( Please mention Value, Make, Model, Serial number & Year of purchase for electronic & high value goods) Other forms like Transfer of Residence Forms, Unaccompanied baggage forms, Declaration, Authorisation letter etc. will be provided by us - for your signatures.


Q: How safe are the Indian Port & Bonded warehouse?

Ans: Generally the Indian ports are safe provided adequate care is taken. However in some Indian ports, there have been stray incidents of pilferage or mix up with other consignments. We suggest the use of plywood liftvans or crates for high value & small loose items.


Q: For Full Container loads - is it better to ship the goods as Loose Load or in Plywood Liftvans?

Ans: It is always safer to ship goods in plywood liftvans. However, due to the high costs it may not always be possible to do so. So we suggest the use of plywood liftvans or crates for high value items.

Q: Are all goods sent to India physically examined?
Ans: Yes, generally all import consignments are physically inspected 100% as per Indian customs regulations. However, we find that in some cases if there is a proper packing list and if the goods randomly checked, tally with the packing list the customs officially do not check all goods but only open about 20 or 30%.

Q: Can the goods be customs cleared before I arrive into India?

Ans: No, all goods can be custom cleared only after arrival of owner of the goods into India.

Q: Should I be personally present during customs examination?

Ans: Owner's personal presence is generally a must and is advisable. This is required to answer any queries of the customs officers. However, In cases, if owner cannot be present due to exceptional circumstances, a power of attorney can be executed in favour of a friend, relative or us, provided completed customs forms should be duly signed and attested.

Activity FCL Shipments LCL Shipments
Unloading from vessel & Placement of container or de-stuffed goods in Customs bonded warehouse Day 1, 2 & 3 Day 1 to 8
Customs Inspection and assessment of duty Day 4 Day 9
Payment of duty and release of goods Day 5 Day 10
Delivery in same city as POE & unpacking of goods Day 6 & 7 Day 11 & 12
Delivery in different city as POE Add 2 to 3 days Add 2 to 3 days

Q: I live in a city in India where there is no Sea Port? So how do I clear my consignment?

Ans: In cases where there are no Sea ports? Consignments can be booked upto Inland Container Depots (ICD) - Such facilities re available in Major Cities like Delhi, Bangalore & Hyderabad. However, there are certain restrictions for Less Than Container Load (LCL) consignments. In such cases goods have to be moved from the port of entry to ICD under customs bond - which involves providing a bank guarantee & filing a personal bonds etc with customs. However a word of caution - Customs bond can be very expensive & time consuming - so it is always advisable to clear goods at the port of entry.

FAQs about Import Duties & Transfer of residence

Q: Under what rules can good be imported?
Ans: Household goods can be imported in to India under Transfer of Residence or As Unaccompanied baggage.

Q: What is the difference between Transfer of residence & Unaccompanied baggage?
Ans: Under transfer or residence goods can be imported at an concessional duty of 15% whereas under unaccompanied baggage the duty is 40%.

Q: Who is eligible to avail Transfer or residence?
Ans: Indians, foreigner, including those of Indian origin, transferring their residence to India or coming to India on employment, can import their personal effects & household goods into India under Transfer of Residence rules. However, some of the other conditions which apply are that the owner of the goods must have stayed abroad for a minimum period of 2 years, further the owner must not have visited India for more than six months in the preceding two years. The law also states that the goods must be shipped out within 30 days of arrival of the owner into India. If there is a delay then goods can be cleared only if the delay is condoned by the customs authorities. Every case is decided on its merits. Foreign nationals must have a resident / business / work / entry visa to avail transfer of residence.

Q: Are all my goods dutiable under Transfer or residence?

Ans: No, Personal effects and house-hold goods like furniture, clothes, books, kitchenware, small appliances like mixer, juicer, iron etc. are allowed to be imported duty free if these goods are old and have been used by you.

Q: Can I import all my goods under Transfer or residence?

Ans: No, as per the latest update to the Indian Baggage regulations as on 8 Jan 2004, under transfer of residence, besides used furniture and personal effects, following items can be brought in to India duty free.

  • Video Cassette Recorder or Video Cassette Player or Video Television Receiver or Video Cassette Disk Player.
  • Washing Machine
  • Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range
  • Personal Computer (Desk Top Computer)
  • Laptop Computer (Notebook Computer)
  • Domestic refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres or equivalent

Under Transfer of residence duty for the following items the import duty has been reduced to 15%

  • Colour Television or Monochrome Television.
  • Digital Video Disc Player.
  • Video Home Theatre System.
  • Dish Washer.
  • Music System.
  • Air-Conditioner.
  • Domestic refrigerators of capacity above 300 litres or its equivalent.
  • Deep Freezer .
  • Microwave Oven.
  • Video camera or the combination of any such video camera with one or more of the following goods, namely:-
  • Television Receiver;
  • Sound recording or reproducing apparatus
  • Video reproducing apparatus.
  • Word Processing Machine.
  • Fax Machine.
  • Portable Photocopying Machine.
  • Vessel.
  • Aircraft.
  • Cinematographic films of 35 mm and above.
  • Gold or Silver, in any form, other than ornaments.

Q: Will customs duty be levied on old and used Personal Effects and Household Goods under Transfer of residence?
Ans: No, under transfer of residence rules, duty is not levied on used personal effects and household goods which are more than 6 months old.

Q: I have some new furniture & personal belongings, which, are not in the list of 17 articles. Are these goods dutiable?

Ans: Yes, new items less than 6 month old will be dutiable @ 40%.

Q: What happens if the goods exceed the free allowance limit?

Ans: Customs duty @ 40 % has to be paid on the excess value of the goods

Q: Can other members of a family also claim duty concessions under transfer of residence?
Ans: Transfer of residence concession is provided to a family as a whole. Individual members of a family cannot claim additional concessions.

Q: I do not carry any dutiable goods when I into India. Can I use my free allowance at the time of arrival into the country be used for my unaccompanied baggage?
Ans: No. The duty free allowance of Rs. 12000/- is available for consumption only at the arrival. It cannot be combined for any unaccompanied baggage shipments coming by air or Sea freight.

Q: If I claiming Transfer of Residence concessions - do I have to remain in India?

Ans: No, under the new baggage rules there is no such compulsions.

Q: What are the allowances for import of professional equipment?

Ans: An Indian passenger who was engaged in profession abroad can import professional equipment free of duty upto the value of
1) Rs. 10,000/= if he or she is returning after three months of stay abroad
2) Rs. 20,000/= if he or she is returning after six months of stay abroad
Professional Equipment means such portable equipment, instruments, apparatus and appliances as are required in his profession by a carpenter, a plumber, a welder, a mason and the like and shall not include items of common use such as cameras, cassette recorders, dicta-phones, personal computers, typewriters and other similar articles.

FAQ About Import of Gold, Silver & Jewelry

Q: Am I allowed to import gold into India?

Ans: Yes, if you are an Indian Passport holder or if you are a person of Indian origin (including minors) you can import upto 10 Kgs of gold in any form at a time. However, please note that you must be coming to India after minimum of 6 months of stay abroad. Duty is payable @ Rs. 250/- per 10 grams in convertible foreign exchange. However please note that the gold includes primary gold & ornaments other than those studded with stones or pearls.

Q: Am I allowed to import Silver into India?

Ans: Yes, if you are an Indian Passport holder or if you are a person of Indian origin (including minors), you can import upto 100 Kgs of silver in any form at a time. However, please note that you must be coming to India after minimum of 6 months of stay abroad. Duty is payable @ Rs. 500/-per Kg. However please note that the silver includes silver in any form including ornaments other than those studded with stones or pearls.

Q: Am I allowed to jewellery into India?

Ans: Yes, anybody who has been staying abroad for over one year and is returning to India are allowed to import jewellery free of duty up to a value of - Rs. 10,000 in case of a male passenger and Rs. 20,000 in case of a female passenger. Import of jewelry in excess of the these value will be dutiable

FAQ About Import of Food Stuff

Q: Am I allowed to import food stuff into India?

Ans: Yes, if you are a Foreign national - you can import foodstuff in the main household goods shipment duty free up to a limit of Rs. 50,000/= (USD 1050/=). Besides Foreign nationals who are resident in India can import foodstuff worth Rs. 1,00,000 Per Annum (USD 2100). However, please note that Wine, spirits, beverages, etc. are not allowed duty free under this facility. It is also important that payment for the foodstuff must be made out of funds of the foreign national available outside India.

FAQ About Import of Wine, Alcohol & spirits

Q: Am I allowed to import Wine, Alcohol & spirits into India?

Ans: Yes, you can import wine, Alcohol & spirits, however, please note that the import duties on such items are very high - Approximately - 244%. We would also like you to note that it is not advisable to import liquor into India as most international brands of liquor are available in India at reasonable prices. However, If you must ship Wine or Liquor, please pack them separately and clearly mark them so it is easily identifiable. If you do not disclose them - it could lead to unnecessary problems with customs if found during physical examination.

Q: What are the general goods that I must not ship into India?

Ans: Well like in most countries - Porno-graphic material, obscene literature, narcotics, wildlife items like ivory, horns etc and firearms, ammunition and other weapons should not be bought into India. Should you need further information please contact us prior to shipping.

FAQs about Pet Transport to India

Q: Am I allowed to bring in my pets into India?

Ans: Yes, the importer is allowed to bring in either one dog, one cat or parrot into India. However, Veterinary certificates & other health documents are a must. Should you need further information please contact us prior to shipping.