Moving to India

Country Guide

Country Guide: India

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

Updated: June 21, 2018

Used 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 / Overseas Citizen of India card
  • 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 (unless coming to India on a Transfer of Residence)
  • 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 200% of the value assessed by customs
  • 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.
  • Individuals can bring (1) used imported car only if coming to India on ToR
  • Motor vehicle must be in passengers ownership and possession for minimum 1 year prior to importation into India
  • Only right-hand drive vehicles are allowed to be imported (excluding diplomats)
  • Only cards that meet Euro III pollution norms are allowed (must have manufacturer’s certificate)
  • Used vehicles can only be imported through the Customs port at Mumbai.

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Advance NOC from the Animal Quarantine department in India

Specific Information

  • Only one cat, dog or parrot may be imported by the passenger who is coming to India on Transfer or Residence
Restricted/Dutiable Items
  • New items are subject to duties (invoice must be supplied).
  • Customs duties are approximately 16.50% to be levied on the following items:
    • Televisions (Old technology
    • Video home theatres
    • Dishwashers
    • Domestic Refrigerators above 300L or equivalent
    • Deep freezers
    • Video cameras
  • 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. Foreign nationals may be allowed import of foodstuff up to Rs. 1,000,000 in a year.
    • It is advisable to check with the respective destination agent and then include in the shipment.
  • Plasma/LCD/LED Tvs of similar technology are dutiable at 38.5% duty whether used or new.
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.

Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for India

Wikipedia Entry for India