JEWELLERY


What are the rules regarding Jewellery ?

(a) How much jewellery can be taken out of India as baggage ?

There is no value limit on the export of Gold or other jewellery by a passenger through the medium of baggage so long as it constitutes the bonafide personal baggage of the passenger. A passenger may request the Customs for issue of an export certificate at the time of his/her departure from India, in respect of jewellery carried by him / her, to facilitate its duty-free re-import subsequently. Commercial export of gold jewellery through baggage is not allowed.

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(b) How much jewellery can be brought into India as baggage ?

(i) Indian Residents and Foreigners residing in India returning from trip abroad can bring duty free only those jewellery which had been taken out of India as per process described at (a) above. Same rule applies for all those Indian passengers returning after stay abroad of less than 1 year.

(ii) Passengers who have been residing abroad for over one year and also those who are availing the Transfer of Residence (TR) facility, in addition to the scheme at (b)(i) above, are  also allowed to bring jewellery, free of duty, worth Rs. 10,000/- in the case of a gentleman passenger and Rs.20,000/- in the case of a lady passenger. This concession is in addition to the articles which a passenger is entitled to bring in free of duty. No distinction has been made between an adult and a minor passenger. Value of the jewellery is determined at the normal rates prevailing in the open international market.

Under Transfer of Residence, one can also bring Gold & Silver in any form other than ornaments (Sl. 17 of Annexure-II of the Baggage Rules) as part of the baggage on paying 15.3% duty, subject to the upper total value limit of Rs.5 Lakhs for all listed items.

(iii) Tourists coming from abroad on short trip to India can bring reasonable amount of jewellery as personal effect provided they take those back with them during their return.

(iv) Gold / Silver Jewellery in excess of the duty free amount mentioned above is liable to payment of duty under the scheme for import of gold / silver subject to the prescribed conditions. Jewellery which consist of materials other than gold or silver or are encrusted with stones will be valued according to their international market rate and will be charged duty according to their commercial import duty rates as per the Customs Tariff. Non-bonafide jewellery, concealed and non-declared jewellery and jewellery brought for commercial purposes as baggage are liable to seizure and subsequent imposition of fine/penalty and may even lead to the arrest of the passenger.

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What are the rules regarding Foreign Currency ?

(a) How much foreign currency may be taken out of India ?

Tourists from abroad, while leaving India are allowed to take with them foreign currency not exceeding an amount brought in by them at the time of their arrival in India. As no declaration is required to be made for bringing in foreign exchange / currency not exceeding equivalent of U.S. $ 10000 (see (b) below), generally tourists can take out of India with them at the time of their departure foreign exchange /currency not exceeding the above amount. The export of foreign currency by tourists is otherwise prohibited.

Resident Indian citizens visiting abroad in connection with private visits to countries other than Nepal and Bhutan, for tourism purposes, private travel etc., foreign exchange up to US$10,000, in any one calendar year may be obtained from an authorised dealer on the basis of self certification. The ceiling of US$10,000 is applicable in aggregate and foreign exchange may be obtained for one or more than one visits provided the aggregate foreign exchange availed of in one calendar year does not exceed the prescribed ceiling of US$10,000 (The facility was earlier called B.T.Q or F.T.S.). This US$10,000 (BTQ) can be availed of by a person alongwith foreign exchange for travel abroad for any other purpose, including for employment or immigration or studies. However, no foreign exchange is available for visit to Nepal and/or Bhutan for any purpose.

For some important additional information, please go through the FAQ published by the Reserve Bank of India.

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(b) How much foreign currency may be brought into India ?

Any person can bring into India from a place outside India foreign exchange without any limit. However, declaration of foreign exchange/currency is required to be made in the prescribed Currency Declaration Form (CDF) before Customs in the following cases:-

(a) Where the value of foreign currency notes (cash) exceeds US$ 5000/- or equivalent
(b) Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange (in the form of cash + bank notes, traveler cheques etc.) exceeds US$ 10,000/- or its equivalent.

For some important additional information, please go through the FAQ published by the Reserve Bank of India.

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Indian Currency

(a) How much Indian  currency may be taken out of India ?

Export of Indian Currency is strictly prohibited. However Indian residents, when they go abroad (except to Nepal & Bhutan) are allowed to take with them Indian currency not exceeding Rs. 5000 in any denominations in terms of RBI Regulation 3 (1) (a) and (c) and Regulation 8 of the Reserve Bank Notification FEMA 6/RB-2000 dated 3rd May 2000.

If going to Nepal or Bhutan, a person can carry any amount of Indian currency but not in denomination of Rs.500/- or above.

(b) How much Indian  currency may be brought into India ?

Import of Indian Currency is prohibited. However, in the case of passengers normally resident in India who are returning from a visit abroad (Except from Nepal or Bhutan), import of Indian Currency not exceeding Rs. 5000 in any denomination is allowed in terms of RBI Regulation 3 (1) (a) and (c) and Regulation 8 of the Reserve Bank Notification FEMA 6/RB-2000 dated 3rd May 2000.

If coming from Nepal or Bhutan, a person can carry in any amount of Indian currency but not in denomination of Rs.500/- or above.

Please note that Nepalese Govt. has prohibited sale & purchase within Nepal and import into / export from Nepal of Indian currency notes of Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/-denomination.
 

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Can firearms be imported as part baggage ?

Import of firearms is strictly prohibited.

However, Firearms
may only be brought under Transfer of Residence - Import of firearms is usually prohibited and import of Cartridges in excess of 50 is also prohibited, both being listed under Annexure-I of the Baggage Rules. However, persons bringing their effects on TR can bring one firearm of permissible bore on payment of a duty @153% ad-valorem, subject to the conditions that:- 

(a) the same was in possession and use abroad by the passenger for a minimum period of one year and also subject to the condition that such firearm, after clearance, shall not be sold, loaned, transferred or otherwise parted with, for consideration or otherwise, during the lifetime of such person AND (b) the firearms can be allowed in such cases on payment of applicable duty provided the passenger has a valid arms licence from the local authorities.

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Can Pet Animals and Plants be brought as a part of baggage?

Plants and domestic pets like dogs, cats, birds etc. may be imported. Import of plants, animals and  birds is governed by strict health certificate regulations and quarantine and necessary licences. Please inquire with your airline or travel agent or Embassy for details on this matter.

In general pet animals brought by passengers may be allowed to be brought into the country only against an import sanitary permit issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying or against an import licence to be issued by the DGFT as is done in the case of other live animals in terms of Circular number 9/2002-Cus dt.30.1.2002 as mentioned below. However, following representations from passengers as well as from the field formations, it has now been decided (ref. Circular Number 94/2002-Cus dt.23.12.2002) that import of two pets per passenger (only dogs and cats) may be allowed at one time subject to the production of the required health certificate from the country of origin and examination of the said pets by the concerned Quarantine Officer.  In such cases, the passengers may not be asked to produce the import licences or import sanitary permits as prescribed in Circular Number 9/2002-Cus dt.30.1.2002. The format of the required health certificate has been provided along with the Annexures to the Circular Number 94/2002-Cus dt.23.12.2002. However, the licence regulations as prescribed by Circular number 9/2002-Cus dt.30.1.2002 will be applicable in case of pets other than cats or dogs or if their numbers exceed two cats and/or dogs per passenger.

The health requirements for Dogs and Cats are as follows:

1. Dog - A health certificate from a veterinary officer authorised to issue a valid certificate by the Government in the country of export to the effect that the dog imported -

a)  shows no clinical sign of diseases including rabies, canine distemper, parvo virus infection, leptospirosis  etc..

b)  has been vaccinated for rabies (in case it is more than three months of age) within the time limit recommended by the manufacturer of vaccine licensed and approved by the exporting country (name of the vaccine, batch number and the date of vaccination must be shown on the veterinary certificate)

2. Cat - A health certificate from a veterinary officer authorised to issue a valid certificate by the Government in the country of export to the effect that the cat imported

a) shows no clinical sign of diseases including rabies, feline enteritis, feline pan leukopenia, leptospirosis etc..

b) has been vaccinated for rabies (in case it is more than three months of age) within the time limit recommended by the manufacturer of vaccine licensed and approved by the exporting country (name of the vaccine, batch number and the date of vaccination must be shown on the veterinary certificate)

Circular Number 9/2002-Cus dt.30.1.2002
(not applicable in case of import of two cats and/or dogs per passenger as amended by
Circular Number 94/2002-Cus dt.23.12.2002)

Subject: Import of Pets by Passengers - Regarding.

I am directed to refer to Boards instruction issued vide letter F.No.450/44/2001-Cus.IV(Pt.II) dated 24th September 2001 on the above mentioned subject, wherein it was provided that clearance of live animals, whether as pets or otherwise, may be permitted only against a valid import licence from DGFT and after obtaining clearance from the Animal Quarantine authorities. It has been brought to the notice of the Board by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying that the said instructions are not being followed by the field formations and that one or two live animals are allowed clearance as pets by the Customs without insisting on the requirement of import licence.

2.    It is hereby reiterated that bona fide pet animals brought by passengers may be allowed to be brought into the country only against an import sanitary permit issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying or against an import licence to be issued by the DGFT as is done in the case of other live animals.

3.    Necessary instructions may please be issued to all concerned for compliance of the above requirements.

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Are any concessions available during the import of baggage of a deceased person ?

Used, bonafide personal and household articles of a deceased person are allowed free of duty subject to the condition that a Certificate from the concerned Indian Embassy / High Commission is produced at the time of clearance, regarding the ownership of the goods by the deceased person.

Personal effects of any person who dies or is wounded or is taken prisoner of war while on duty out of India with Indian Naval, Military or Air Forces or with the Indian Navy, when imported into India for delivery to the next of kin are allowed free of duty.

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What are the rules regarding the import of unaccompanied baggage ?


The articles of baggage which a passenger purchased / was using abroad and which could not be brought along with him/her, can be brought after arrival of the passenger as unaccompanied baggage. This can be cleared at any of the international airports, Customs Ports, Land Customs Stations and Inland Container Depots (ICDs).

1. All provisions of Baggage Rules are also extended to unaccompanied baggage except where they have been specifically excluded.

2. The unaccompanied baggage had been in the possession abroad of the passenger and is dispatched within one month of his arrival in India or within such further period as the Assistant Commissioner of Customs may allow.

3.  The unaccompanied baggage may land in India upto two months before of the passenger or within such period, not exceeding one year, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs may allow, for reasons to be recorded, if he is satisfied that the passenger was prevented from arriving in India within the period of two months due to circumstances beyond his control, such as sudden illness of the passenger or a member of his family, or natural calamities or disturbed conditions or disruption of the transport or travel arrangements in the country or countries concerned on any other reasons, which necessitated a change in the travel schedule of the passenger.

4. No free allowance is admissible in respect of unaccompanied Baggage.

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What are the rates of duty on baggage items except for the items which are duty free ?

1. Generally items imported as baggage are subjected to a uniform rate of duty for ease of assessment, i.e. there are no item specific duty rates in case of baggage. The total value of the dutiable baggage, after depreciation, if any, irrespective of its constituents, is the criteria for imposing duty. 

2. The general rate of duty for items imported in excess of the permissible free allowance is 35.7% flat. Say, if the total value of the baggage is Rs.50,000/- and the duty free allowance is Rs. 25000/-, then duty @35.7% is to be paid on Rs.25,000/-, which will be 8,925/-.

3. One unit each of the following items (Annexure-III of the Baggage Rules) imported by passengers transferring their residence or returning to India after a stay of 365 days abroad in the preceding two years can be imported free of duty. If excess items are brought or total value exceeds the respective value limit for items prescribed for the above cases or conditions are violated, duty will be charged at the usual rate of 35.7% or as prescribed otherwise. The items are as follows :

1.    Video Cassette Recorder/Video Cassette Player/Video Television Receiver/Video Cassette Disk Player.
2.    Washing Machine.
3.    Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range.
4.    Personal Computer (Desktop Computer).
5.    Notebook Computer (Laptop Computer).
6.    Domestic Refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres or its equivalent.


3. The rate of duty applicable to the following items (Annexure-II of the Baggage Rules) imported by passengers transferring their residence or returning to India after a stay of 365 days abroad in the preceding two years is 15.3% flat. If items in excess of 1 unit each are brought or total value exceeds the respective value limit for items prescribed for the above cases or conditions are violated, duty will be charged at the usual rate of 35.7% or as prescribed otherwise. The items are as follows :

1.   Colour Television / 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.
11. 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.

4. Alcoholic drinks and Tobacco products imported in excess of the free allowance are charged to duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports. These rates for some of the items are as follows (the rates are subject to change as per budget provisions every year) :-

Following quantities of Tobacco products and Alcohols may be included for import within the aforesaid duty free allowances mentioned at Sl. No. 1 to 4 above, as the case may be :

(1)    200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms tobacco. 
(2)    Alcoholic liquor or wines upto two litres. 

Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, alcoholic liquors in excess of the above stated quantity or if exceeding the duty free allowance limit are charged to duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports. These rates for these items are as follows:-

Alcoholic drinks and Tobacco products imported in excess of the free allowance are charged to duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports. The duty rates for these items are as follows:-

 (1) Cigarettes 30% Basic + various amounts of Addl. Duty based on length as per C.Ex Duty rates.
 (2) (a) Wine/Beer/Champagne upto US$25 per case* :- 260.6% of the CIF value.
      (b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka -
           upto US$ 10 per case* : 547% of the CIF value.
           over US$ 10 to US$ 20 per case* : 416.12% of the CIF value.
 (3) (a) Wine/Beer/Champagne over US$25 and upto US$ 40 per case* :- 208.06% of the CIF value.
      (b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka -
           over US$ 20 to US$ 40 per case* : 286.34% of the CIF value.
 (4) Alcoholic Drinks over US$ 40 per case* :
      (a) Wine/Beer/Champagne - 146.26% of the CIF value.
      (b) Whisky/Cognac/Brandy/Gin/Rum/Vodka - 234.84% of the CIF value.

The above rates are the minimum prescribed rates. The actual rate of duty may be more depending on the actual value of the liquor due to the nature of the prescribed Additional Duty rates. For example, the Additional Duty rates for Whisky valued between US$20 and US$40 has been prescribed as 50% or US$53.2 per case, whichever is higher. The calculation above has been made using the % value. However, if the duty using $53.2 comes higher, then that is to be taken instead of the % value. Similar Additional Duty rates are prescribed for other slabs also. Thus, the above rates are meant for the passengers to have an idea of the minimum duty rates. Please consult the Customs Tariff if you need the exact duty rates.

 * 1 case = 9 litre. Pro-rata calculation to be made to determine value where the beverage comes in packages other than cases.

5. Gold is charged to a duty of Rs. 255 per 10 gms. for passengers importing gold under the gold import scheme. However, if the imported gold is in the form of gold bars (other than tola bars) bearing the manufacturer's or refiner's engraved serial numbers and weight expressed in metric units, and on gold coins, the duty will be Rs.102 per 10 gms. Jewellery consisting of other metals or those which are encrusted with stones are charged duty as per their commercial import rates as per the Customs Tariff, if exceeding the prescribed duty-free limit (if applicable).

6. Silver is charged to a duty of Rs. 510 per Kg. for passengers importing silver under the silver import scheme. Jewellery consisting of other metals or those which are encrusted with stones are charged duty as per their commercial import rates as per the Customs Tariff, if exceeding the prescribed duty-free limit (if applicable).

7. Firearms and cartridges exceeding 50 nos., brought under TR as per the prescribed rules are charged with 153% duty. Duty on passenger vehicles imported during TR is charged duty at the rates prescribed in the Customs Tariff.

8. Other non-bonafide baggage items may also be charged higher rates duty and may also attract fine and penalty and/or confiscation in addition. Items brought in commercial quantity may also attract higher duty, fine and penalty.

In case of a valuation dispute or if the passenger does not have enough money at the moment to pay the determined amount of customs duty, the passenger can leave the goods in the custody of customs against a Detention Receipt (DR) without paying the duty immediately. The goods can be taken over at a later date after paying the duty, on production of the DR.

Note: In case the value of one item exceeds the duty free allowance, the duty shall be calculated only on the excess of such amount. 

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How does the Customs determine the value of an item?

The value of an item is to be determined for the purpose of ascertaining whether the total value of the dutiable articles brought by a passenger as baggage is within the duty free allowance or not and also for determining the amount of Customs Duty payable as, in most cases the Customs duty is imposed as a percentage of the value.

For newly purchased items (less than 3 months old), the value at which the same have been purchased abroad are taken as the value for customs purposes after converting the same to Indian Rupees at the current exchange rates. For old and used or second hand items, the present value of the item is to be determined. For that purpose, the approximate value of the item when it was new (first purchase) and the approximate number of months that have elapsed since its first purchase is to be ascertained. The rate of depreciation is then applied on the initial value to get the present value of the item. The depreciated or present value of the item is the value taken for customs purposes, after due conversion to Indian Rupees at the current exchange rates.

As a proof of the purchase price, the passenger should bring along the original purchase receipt / cash memo / bill etc. issued by the shop, indicating his/her name as the buyer and the date of purchase. Any discount on the printed price or any rebate given by the seller should be specifically mentioned there. Additionally, if possible, the passenger can bring a manufacturer's price list or advertisement or any other document (e.g. printout from internet, indicating the URL, mail order catalogue etc.) indicating the market price / discounted price of the item. Having these documents ready at hand will greatly facilitate the assessment procedure and will result in quick clearance by the customs. This will also minimise any chance of a dispute on valuation.

It may so happen that the passenger cannot produce the above documents due to loss or non-availability of the same or there is a reason to believe for the assessing officers that the documents submitted are forged or unreliable for valuation purposes. In that case, after the passenger verbally declares the value of the item, the airport customs may use their own resources to ascertain the correctness of the value declaration. Most commonly used resources include a price-list of international prices of various items manufactured by various manufacturers and of different models, which is periodically published for departmental use by the Customs department, websites of various companies and traders in the internet, mail order catalogues, manufacturer's price-lists, advertisements, valuation data from previous clearances by general importers and passengers all over India etc. If it is found that the verbally declared price of the passenger is marginally less than the ascertained price, then the passenger's declaration regarding valuation is accepted. However, if the passenger's declared price falls much short of the ascertained price, then the price ascertained by customs will be taken for duty/valuation purposes.

Any willful attempt to suppress or misdeclare the value of an item or misdeclare or attempt to hide/not declare any dutiable / prohibited item may attract fine/penalty and even lead to arrest in certain cases.

In case a passenger disputes the value of an item determined by customs, he/she has the option to appeal to the higher authority (above the assessing customs officer) against the valuation order of the lower officer (after payment of duty "under protest" or without paying duty and keeping the item under customs' custody against a detention receipt or DR). This is a quasi-judicial adjudication process. During the process of adjudication, opportunity of hearing the view of the passenger and the department is given and an unbiased decision is made. Both the department as well as the passenger, has the opportunity to go for appeal against the adjudication order to the next higher authority. In case of a decision in favour of the passenger, any higher amount of duty taken from the passenger is refunded with interest, if applicable. On the other hand, if the decision goes in the favour of the department, the passenger has to pay duty and/or fine/penalty.

For disputes on goods involving lower value a process of Spot Adjudication is resorted to, whereby, the goods are usually released very quickly. Any duty and/or fine/penalty can be paid to the Customs counter at the spot after the issuance of an ASA (Airport Spot Adjudication) order and goods can be released. In case of grievous offences or goods involving very high value, the usual mode of adjudication is resorted to, whereby the goods are detained under a
Detention Receipt pending adjudication process. In both cases, the option of appeal remains open.


 

What are the Green Channel and the Red Channels at the Airport ?

The airlines generally provide a Disembarkation Card to the passengers entering India in the aircraft itself.  Every passenger must fill up the Disembarkation Card clearly, mentioning the quantity and value of goods that he/she has brought.  On his/her arrival, the passenger is first cleared by immigration, who retain the Immigration portion of the Disembarkation Card.  Thereafter passenger takes the delivery of his/her baggage from the conveyer belts & passes through Customs. 

To facilitate the quick Customs clearance of passengers arriving at the international airports from out of India and keeping in line with the practice in the rest of the world, two separate modes of exit through Customs clearance have been formulated on the basis of self-declaration by the passengers.

(i) The Green Channel – if a passenger has nothing to declare to the Customs and is carrying dutiable goods within the prescribed free allowance, he/she can simply walk through the exit marked Green Channel with their baggage on the basis of their Oral declaration/Declaration on their Disembarkation Card, without any other question being asked by Customs.

It is assumed that the passengers opting for the Green Channel have a basic understanding of the Customs Baggage Rules in India, particularly in respect of the free allowance and awareness regarding the items which are dutiable and which are not. List of such items are also prominently displayed at Airport Notice Boards. In case of doubt, ask the Customs P.R.O. present at the Airports before opting for the Green Channel.***

(ii) The Red Channel - The Red Channel is meant for passengers who have something to declare or are carrying goods in excess of the duty free allowance.  The passenger hands over the Customs portion of the Disembarkation Card to any officer on duty at one of the channel counters.  In case the card is incomplete, the Customs officer helps record the Oral declaration (O.D) of the passenger and thereafter he countersigns/stamps the same, after taking the passenger’s signature.  In order to identify the frequent short visit passengers and to determine the extent of the free allowance and other benefits the passenger is eligible for, Customs officers generally scrutinize the passport and other travel documents of the passengers.  The declaration of goods and their values are scrutinized and duty assessed.  On payment of this duty, the passenger is allowed Customs clearance.

***Any passenger found walking through the Green Channel with dutiable/prohibited goods or found misdeclaring the quantity, description or value of dutiable goods at the “Red Channel” (the baggage is examined where misdeclaration suspect), is liable to strict penal action including arrest/prosecution - apart from seizure/confiscation of the offending goods depending upon gravity of violation detected.  In case the passenger brings any goods in baggage which are essentially for commerce & not for personal use, or imports goods in commercial quantity, these goods become liable to confiscation and the passenger liable to strict penal action.  Only bonafide baggage items for personal use or use by members of his family are allowed to be imported freely.  In case of frequent short visit passengers and repeat offenders, instructions exist to the Customs officers to impose higher levels of fines and penalties and even consider prosecution action in the court of law so that there is a deterrent effect & the facilities provided to expedite Customs clearances are not abused. 

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How does Customs deal with Detained and Mishandled Baggage?

Detained Baggage

A passenger may request the Customs to detain his baggage either for re-export without payment of duty at the time of his departure from India or for clearance subsequently on payment of duty. Sometime, Customs may on its own detain a baggage for various reasons. The detained baggage would be examined and full details will be inventorised. Such baggage are kept in the custody of the customs.

Examples of some situations when goods may be kept in the custody of Customs :

  1. Passenger does not have sufficient money to pay duty and/or other dues on the goods at that moment.

  2. Passenger does not have sufficient foreign currency to pay duty on items on which duty is payable in convertible foreign exchange.

  3. Passenger does not want to take the item along with him into India but intends to return with the goods when leaving India.

  4. Passenger disputes the valuation/duty determined by Customs and intends to appeal against the decision to higher authorities.

  5. The goods are prohibited goods and the passenger has declared the items to Customs authorities. However, not all prohibited items can be kept in the safe custody in this manner. Items like Narcotic Drugs, explosives etc. are liable to seizure/confiscation.

If, for any reason the passenger is not able to collect the article at the time of leaving India, the article may be returned to him/her through any other passenger authorised by him/her and leaving India or as cargo consigned in his/her name. Similarly, dutiable goods which passengers desire to clear subsequently, may also be detained temporarily for clearance on payment of duty and/or fine and other dues. Unclaimed packages found in the Baggage Hall and handed over by airlines will similarly be received by the officer in charge of detained baggages for safe custody.

Procedure : Before detention of the Baggage concerned, the same is examined and inventorised. The officer concerned shall issue Detention Receipts (DR) for all goods detained by the Customs, in which the particulars of the goods as well as the name and address of the owner/importer is recorded. The DR is handed over to the owner which has to be produced by him/her when releasing the goods. In case the DR is lost, the goods can be got released against an indemnity bond. The detained package is sealed with Customs seal in the presence of the passenger and his signature is obtained as an evidence. The record of such detained packages are maintained in a separate register and the detained packages are kept in the custody of the Customs department.

Subsequently, when the passenger claims the packages, either for re-export or clearance on payment of duty and/or other dues, he/she has to produce the detention receipt and his/her passport and the goods are shown to the passenger to verify whether the seals are intact and his/her signature is obtained in confirmation of the same. Thereafter, the goods are released to the passenger, either for re-export or release and the necessary entries are made in the register regarding release of the package. If delivery is sought through an agent, a proper authorisation letter containing attested signatures of the authorised agent is needed. An advance notice of 24 hrs. (excluding Sundays) is required for clearance / delivery of valuables like gold jewellery, precious stones etc. No request for subsequent re-assessment of value of the detained baggage is usually entertained.

If the goods are not taken delivery within the period mentioned on the DR, the Customs authorities may initiate action to dispose of the goods as per norms.

Mishandled Baggage

Sometimes the baggage of a passenger does not arrive with the passenger due to mis-handling of the baggage by the airlines concerned. Such baggage comes by a subsequent flight. Conversely, sometimes the baggage of a passenger may arrive by a flight prior to the flight by which the passenger eventually comes due to mis-handling by the airlines concerned.

Thus, packages left over after the normal clearance of baggage by the incoming passengers, are termed as "mis-handled baggage". All such mishandled baggages are collected by the airlines and deposited with the detention officers against the A.O.C cards. Baggage claimed by passengers within 48 hours of their receipt, are cleared straight away through any of the baggage counters on production of the A.O.C cards and landing certificates. Baggages claimed after 48 hours shall be cleared on working days and during working hours only from the regular mishandled baggage counter. The passenger is required to obtain a certificate in respect of the Mishandled Baggage from the airlines and get it countersigned by Customs indicating specifically the unutilized portion of the free allowance. This would enable  the passenger to avail the unutilised portion of the duty free allowance when his baggage is delivered by the airlines.

Mishandled baggages which are not cleared within 30 days of their deposit in Mishandled Baggage Warehouse will be treated as excess landed and unmanifested cargo. Such packages would be disposed off by customs without any further deference to airlines.

 

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What are the items Prohibited for export or import?


1. Possession / trafficking in Narcotic drugs like Heroin, Charas (Hashish), Cocaine or in Psychotropic substances is prohibited and is punishable with imprisonment. The quantum of punishment will be decided in accordance with the law of the country where the passenger is caught carrying such drugs. The punishment can even extend to death sentence.

2. Import of Firearms and cartridges exceeding 50 as baggage is prohibited, except under certain circumstances. Import of explosives are also prohibited.

3. Export of most species of wild life, exotic birds, wild orchids and articles made from flora and fauna such as Ivory, Musk, Reptile skins, Furs, Tiger Skin, Shahtoosh, Sea shells, Peacock feathers etc. are prohibited. For any clarifications passenger should approach the Regional Deputy Director (Wildlife Preservation) Govt. of India or the Chief Wildlife Wardens of State Governments posted at Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Import of certain wildlife articles are also prohibited.

4. Non-declaration, misdeclaration and concealment of imported goods is an offence under the Customs Act, which may result in confiscation, fines, penalties and even prosecution. In case of doubt, contact the P.R.O. of Customs regarding prohibition of any item.

5. Export of Antique items is prohibited. Artifacts/items over 100 years old are considered antiques. In certain cases, articles which are more than 75 years old are considered antiques.

6. Export/Import of Indian Currency is prohibited except by Indian Residents, who can take out/bring in Indian Currency below Rs.5000/- (to/from countries other than Nepal or Bhutan). Bringing in Indian Currency notes above Rs.100/- denomination is prohibited at the moment for persons entering India from Nepal.

7. Import of fictitious stamps and counterfeit coins are prohibited.

8. Import of books, CDs, DVDs, Cassettes etc. containing obscene or pornographic materials and contents encouraging violence or sabotage, and materials showing or questioning the frontiers of India by way of maps or articles etc. are prohibited.

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What are the concessions for import of Professional Equipments ?

For the purposes of baggage rules Professional Equipment means:

Such portable equipment, instruments, apparatus and appliances as are ordinarily required in the profession in which the returning  passenger was engaged. This expression includes items used by carpenters, plumbers, welders, masons and the like; This concession is not available for items of common use such as Cameras, Cassette Recorders, Dictaphones, Typewriters, Personal Computers and similar items e.g. persons in the computer profession cannot import computers under this scheme as it is not in conformity with the definition of a professional under the Baggage Rules. However, accredited journalists and photographers can bring certain items at a concessional rate.

Professional Equipment permitted to be imported to the following persons to the extent indicated below:

1.    Indian Passengers returning after a stay abroad of at least 3 months     :    Rs. 20000

2.    Indian Passengers returning after a stay of at least 6 months               :    Rs. 40000

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What are the concessions for journalists and photographers ?

(A) Accredited Journalists

Personal computers including laptop personal computers, typewriters and fax machines when imported into India by an accredited journalist, shall be exempt from the whole of customs duty and additional duty of customs subject to the following conditions, namely -

(i) the importer produces a certificate from an officer not below the rank than a Deputy Principal Information Officer in the Press Information Bureau in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the effect that the importer is an accredited journalist and that he has not availed on any occasion in the previous two years, exemption under this notification or Notification no. 20/99-Cus dt.28.2.99 or No. 16/2000-Cus dt.1.3.2000 in respect of any of the said goods;

(ii) the exemption under this notification shall be applicable to that portion of CIF value of the said goods which does not exceed Rs.100000;

(iii) the importer gives an undertaking to the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or the Assistant Commissioner of Customs as the case may be, at the time and place of importation to the effect that the said goods shall remain in his possession, control and use and shall not be sold or parted with for a period of two years from the date of importation.

Note : An accredited journalist who had imported the goods through an authorised courier or post would be eligible for duty exemption, provided he fulfilled other stipulated conditions of the notification. However, he would not be eligible to import these goods in baggage of another passenger as in such a situation, that passenger would be treated as the importer.

(B) Accredited press cameramen

Photographic cameras, cinematographic cameras, digital cameras, lenses, filters, flash light apparatus and exposure meters required for use with aforesaid cameras, imported by an accredited press cameraman, shall be exempt from the whole of customs duty and additional duty of customs provided -

(i) the importer produces a certificate from an officer not below the rank than a Deputy Principal Information Officer in the Press Information Bureau in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the effect that the importer is an accredited press cameraman and that he has not availed on any occasion in the previous two years, exemption under this notification or Notification no. 20/99-Cus dt.28.2.99 or No. 16/2000-Cus dt.1.3.2000;

(ii) the exemption under this notification shall be applicable to that portion of CIF value of the specified cameras, lenses and other goods which does not exceed Rs.100000;

(iii) the importer gives an undertaking to the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or the Assistant Commissioner of Customs as the case may be, at the time and place of importation to the effect that the said goods shall remain in his possession, control and use and shall not be sold or parted with for a period of two years from the date of importation.

 

 


 

How can passenger cars/Jeep/Multi-utility vehicles/motor cycles/scooters/ mopeds etc. be imported as baggage ?

           Passenger cars / jeeps / multi-utility vehicles / motor cycles etc. can be imported by passengers coming to India only on Transfer of Residence and by other importers as specified in Public Notice No. 3(RE/1997-02) of Directorate General of Foreign Trade, New Delhi, on payment of customs duty as prescribed in the Customs tariff. Passengers, other than those availing TR are not eligible to import vehicles even on the payment of customs duty. Total customs duty leviable on these vehicles at present, are as follows :

Customs duty for vehicles which had been registered abroad

Vehicle

Basic Duty

Addl. Duty

Total Duty

Cars 105% 24.48% # 159.87% #
Motor cycles / scooters / moped 105% 16.32% # 142.64% #
Customs duty for vehicles which had not been registered abroad

Vehicle

Basic Duty

Addl. Duty

Total Duty

Cars 60% ** 24.48% # 102.16% #
Motor cycles / scooters / moped 60% ** 16.32% # 88.70% #

** if brought in Completely Knocked Down (CKD) condition, Basic Duty will be 20%.
# Education Cess of 2% imposed in the budget has been considered.

DGFT has clarified vide Notification No-31(RE-2001)/97-02 dated 14.9.2001 that the conditions relating to import of vehicles as per  Public Notice No. 4(RE-2001)/97-02 dated 31.03.2001, shall not be applicable on imports made under the provisions of aforementioned Public Notice No. 3(RE/1997-02) dated 31.03.2000. In simple words, the restrictions/conditions imposed on import of car by importers for commercial purpose shall not be applicable in case of the passengers bringing their own car on Transfer of Residence, except that these imports shall be subject to the condition that, the vehicle should have right hand steering and controls (applicable on vehicles other than 2 and 3 wheelers). 

        Value of these vehicles for the purpose of levy of customs duty is CIF value, where C stands for the cost of the goods, I is the insurance and F is the freight. Cost in the case of new vehicle is the transaction value between the seller and the buyer. However in the case of old and used vehicles, cost is arrived at by taking value of the vehicle in year of manufacture and after allowing depreciation at the following rates.

       

(i)  For every quarter during 1st year -

4%

(ii) For every quarter during 2nd year -  

3%

(iii) For every quarter during 3rd year - 

2.5%

(iv) For every quarter during 4th year - 
     and thereafter 

2% 
subject to  a maximum  depreciation of 70%

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What are the rates of Depreciation for old and used items and how to calculate the same ?

Though there are no specific guidelines in the Baggage Rules for according depreciation benefits to old and used items of baggage for the purpose of their valuation, as a matter of practice, the following depreciation benefits are given on the purchase value of old and used items :

(i)  For every quarter during 1st year -

4%

(ii) For every quarter during 2nd year -  

3%

(iii) For every quarter during 3rd year - 

2.5%

(iv) For every quarter during 4th year - 
     and thereafter 

2% 

In case of cars the maximum depreciation given is 70%. For other items, the assessing officer uses his / her judgement and discretion for determining the maximum limit. The depreciation for each year is supposed to be calculated on the reduced value of the previous year and not on the original value. However, for quick calculation and clearance, usually the straight line method of calculation of depreciation is followed at the airport, which incidentally is more beneficial for the passenger.

Example : Suppose a passenger is bringing an item purchased in January 1998 at a cost of USD 5000. We want to calculate the depreciation during November 2003.

For February 1998 - January 1999 depreciation would be 16% (for 12 months, i.e. 4 quarters)
For February 1999 - January 2000 depreciation would be 12% (for 12 months, i.e. 4 quarters)
For February 2000 - January 2001 depreciation would be 10% (for 12 months, i.e. 4 quarters)
For February 2001 - January 2002 depreciation would be 8%   (for 12 months, i.e. 4 quarters)
For February 2002 - January 2003 depreciation would be 8%   (for 12 months, i.e. 4 quarters)
For February 2003 - October 2003 depreciation would be 6%   (for 9 months, i.e. 3 quarters)

Thus, total depreciation would be 60% and hence the depreciated value on November 2003 would be {USD 5000 - (60% of USD 5000)} = USD 2000. This value is to be taken into consideration for duty purposes, after converting it to Indian Rupees at the current rates.

Since computers depreciate at a faster rate than other items, special rates are usually applied while depreciating old and used computers. Since Baggage Rules do not have any guidelines regarding the depreciation rates for computers, the rates applicable for other import goods are usually followed. As per CBEC Circular no. 27/98-Cus dt.21.4.98 issued in another context, the rates of depreciation for computers are as follows :
 

(i)  For every quarter during 1st year -

7%

(ii) For every quarter during 2nd year -  

7%

(iii) For every quarter during 3rd year - 

5%

(iv) For every quarter during 4th year - 
     and thereafter 

3% 
Subject to an overall limit of 90%

 

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