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Baggage Rules

Baggage means ‘belongings’ of a passenger travelling from one place to another. All items brought into or taken out of India are subject to exchange management and customs duties are imposed at the specified rates. The owner is required to make a declaration of the contents of the baggage to the Customs Officials for obtaining clearance. The declaration is to be made on a prescribed form. The rate of duty and tariff valuation shall be determined based on the date on which the declaration is made.

Baggage 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 passenger’s get a duty free allowance within which they can bring various goods without payment of any duty. When the total value of the goods exceed the duty free allowance, customs duty at a flat rate has to be paid only on the value exceeding the duty free allowance. Personal and household effects are treated as baggage and can be imported freely without any restriction as to the value of the goods. There are certain items for which duty is charged at various rates based on the Custom Tariff and not at the flat rate usually applicable for most baggage items.

Concessions for Transfer of Residence may be availed by a person who has been residing abroad for a minimum period of two years and is transferring his residence for a minimum period of one year. Importers or Exporters are required to obtain a license or Customs Clearance Permit (CCP) and Import Export Code to import/export goods into or out of India.

Duty Free Allowance and Entitlements

A person who is transferring his residence to India shall be allowed clearance free to duty, in addition to “allowances applicable to Indian residents. “ in bonafide baggage to the extent and subject to conditions as mentioned below :

Articles allowed free of duty

(a) Used personal effects and household articles, other than listed at Annex I or Annex II, but including the articles listed at Annex III and jewelry upto Rs. 10,000 by a gentle man passenger or Rs. 20,000 by a lady passenger.

Conditions

1. Minimum stay of two years abroad, immediately, preceding the date of his arrival on transfer or residence.
2. Total stay in India on short visits during the preceding 2 years should not exceed 6 months, and
3. Passenger or any member of his family has not availed this concession in the preceding 3 years

Relaxation that may be considered

a. For condition (1) Shortfall of upto 2 months in stay abroad can be condoned by Deputy/ Assistant Commissioner of Customers if the early return is on account of : i. terminal leave or vacation being availed of by the passanger; or ii . any other special circumstances.
b. For condition (2) Commissioner of Customs may condone short visits in excess of 6 months in deserving cases.
c. For condition (3) No relaxation.

(b) Jewelry taken out earlier by the passenger or by a member of his /her family from India.

Satisfaction of the Assistant Commissioner of Customs regarding the jewelry having been taken out earlier from India.

Household Effects

Household effects consist of items already in use in the household of the passenger like furniture, kitchen utensils, books, cassettes and CDs, wall clocks, fans, lights etc. There is no exhaustive list. Assessing officer will determine on a case-by-case basis whether a particular item can be considered as household effect. However, items listed in Annex I and Annex II can not be considered as household effects. Articles that do not counter under as household effect or under Annex III but are not a part of listed dutiable items either, can be brought as general baggage, which are liable to duty if the total value exceeds the duty free allowance limit of a passenger.

Conditions for Annex II and Annex III items

  • Passenger must provide a declaration the goods 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.
  • Only one unit of each item per family is allowed. The total value of these items along with the items listed in Annex II should not exceed Rs. 5 lakhs. If more than one unit is brought or if the total value exceeds Rs. 5 lakhs, the items(s) exceeding the limit will be charged duty as general baggage items, at the duty rate of 35.7%.
  • Unaccompanied goods must be shipped or dispatched and arrive in India within the time limit.

Professionals

An Indian passenger who was engaged in his profession abroad shall on his return to India be allowed clearance free of duty.

(a) Indian passenger returning after at least 3 months

(i) Used household articles (such as linen, utensils, tableware, kitchen, appliances and an iron) upto an aggregate value of Rs.12,000/-
(ii) Professional equipment up to a value of Rs.20,000/-

(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.12,000/-
(ii) Professional equipment up to a value of Rs.40,000/-

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

Used household articles (such as linen, utensils, tableware, kitchen, appliances and an iron) and personal effects (which have been in the possession and use abroad of the passenger or his family for at least six months) and which are not mentioned in Annexure I, Annexure II or Annexure III, up to an aggregate value of Rs.75,000/-

Annexure I

1. Firearms.

2. Cartridges of fire arms exceeding 50.

3. Cigarettes exceeding 200 or cigars exceeding 50 or tobacco exceeding 250 gms.

4. Alcoholic liquor or wines in excess of two litres .

5. Gold or silver, in any form, other than ornaments.

Annexure II

1. Colour Television or 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.

12. 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.

Annexure III

1.Video Cassette Recorder or Video Cassette Player or Video Television Receiver or Video Cassette Disk Player.

2. Washing Machine.

3. Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range

4. Personal Computer( Desktop Computer)

5. Laptop Computer( Notebook Computer)

6. Domestic Refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres or its equivalent.