Moving to India

Country Guide: India

India Flag

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
  • Packing list
  • List of electronic items
  • Authority Letters (Diplomats)
  • Duty-free Exemption Certificate issued by Diplomatic Mission in India (Diplomats)
  • Original Ocean Bill of Lading (OBL) / Copy of Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Original Residence Permit (foreigners)
  • Visa (foreigners)

Specific Information

  • The shipper 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.
  • Air shipments must be dispatched from the origin airport within 15 days after the arrival of the shipper in India.
  • Sea shipments must be dispatched from the origin seaport within 1 month after the arrival of the shipper in India.
  • Shipments may arrive at the India airport / seaport 2 months prior to arrival of the shipper; 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. 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

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.
  • Left-hand drive vehicles cannot be imported.
  • 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 15-15.3% 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 (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 35 to 61%.
  • The following items may qualify for free import if within the limits indicated:
    • Foodstuffs import duty free (excluding fruit products) up to cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of INR 50,000
    • 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.

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.

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