Duty-free allowance Moving to a new country is always an adventure, but it can be tricky navigating customs regulations. If you’re relocating from the USA to India, you may be wondering exactly what you can bring without paying import duties.
India allows returning citizens and foreign nationals transferring residence to import their personal belongings duty-free within certain limits. But you need to meet the eligibility criteria and be aware of prohibited items. Read on for a guide to importing your household goods and personal effects duty-free when moving to India.
Eligibility for Duty-Free Import
To qualify for duty-free import of household goods and personal effects under the transfer of residence rules, you must fulfill the following criteria:
⦁ You have stayed abroad for a minimum of 2 years immediately before arriving in India.
⦁ Your total stay in India during those 2 preceding years does not exceed 6 months.
⦁ You have not claimed transfer of residence concessions in the past 3 years.
The customs authorities may allow shortfalls of up to 2 months in your stay abroad if you can provide valid reasons like vacation or terminal leave. You can also get exemptions for short visits exceeding 6 months with proper justification.
Allowances Under the Indian Customs Duty-Free Allowance
When you transfer residence to India, customs regulations allow duty-free import of used personal and household goods up to a total value of Rs 5 lakhs. Remember, you can only import one unit of each item per family.
Major items permitted duty-free within this limit include:
⦁ Used appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, fridges (up to 300L capacity).
⦁ Personal computers and electronics like laptops, cameras, watches.
⦁ Clothing and other personal effects.
⦁ Furniture and linens used in your household.
⦁ Jewelry worth up to Rs 50,000 (men) or Rs 1 lakh (women).
You can also import foodstuff duty-free up to Rs 50,000 under your Indian Customs Duty Free Allowance.
High Duty Items
The following items attract comparatively high import duties even when transferring residence:
⦁ Large appliances like refrigerators above 300L capacity, microwaves, dishwashers – 36% duty
⦁ Electronics like televisions, DVD players, home theaters, cameras – around 36% duty
⦁ Vehicles like cars and motorbikes – duty of approx. 200% on cars and 185% on bikes
So carefully consider if you want to ship these, as the import costs can be substantial.
Prohibited and Restricted Items
Of course, not everything can sail through customs. Be aware of prohibited and restricted items that you should avoid packing:
⦁ Alcohol, wines, and spirits – duties exceed 160% plus fines
⦁ Tobacco also falls under import restrictions
⦁ Narcotics and drugs
⦁ Pornographic material
⦁ Counterfeit goods
⦁ Radio transmitters
⦁ Endangered wildlife products like ivory, horns, furs
⦁ Firearms, ammunitions, weapons
Import of drones by air passengers is banned, so don’t pack these either.
You’ll also need the proper permits and licenses for items like pets, seeds, chemicals etc. When in doubt, check with the destination country’s customs authority beforehand.
Smoothing the Customs Process
With the right preparation, you can breeze through customs when you move to India:
⦁ Maintain detailed inventories describing each item you import.
⦁ Keep purchase invoices and receipts handy to prove ownership and value.
⦁ Pack smartly and label clearly for easy inspection.
⦁ Avoid last-minute restricted item slip ups that could hold you up.
⦁ Use an experienced international moving company to take care of customs formalities.
The customs clearance process may seem intimidating, but when armed with the right knowledge of allowances and prohibitions, you can import your belongings smoothly. Consult a specialized moving company for hassle-free assistance getting your goods into India.
With the proper paperwork and transparent declarations, customs officers will welcome you and your beloved possessions into India. Just remember – moving your life across the world is exciting, but moving contraband is not!