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Moving to India


Capital: New Delhi
Population: 1,210,193, 444 (2011)
Area: 1,269,346 sq. mi
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Mumbai 2. Delhi 3. Bangalore 4. Hyderabad 5. Ahmedabad
Lanuage: Hindi and English
Climate: Tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid and montane

Preparing to make a household move to India? We can help make this a fantastic voyage. Nationwide Van Lines wants to take charge of the tedious task of an overseas transport. Allow us to make this venture safe and stress free!

Required Documents for Import

Documentation is very important for Customs because it identify you and your shipment. Below you will find some of the major documents asked of Customs.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Certificate of Origin – Gives verification of which country your household goods are manufactured in.

Import Requirements and Documentation

When it comes to documentations, Customs have requirements to help make the Customs process smooth. To better prepare yourself for the upcoming task of Customs clearance, take a look below at some of the requirements of paperwork.
  • Original Passport
  • Original Ocean Bill of Lading
  • Inventory List in English
  • Visa if a foreigner
  • Client declaration
  • Power of Attorney to allow your Destination Agent to clear shipment
  • Copy of passport if a Diplomat
  • Authority Letters if a Diplomat
  • Duty-free Exemption Certificate issued out by the Diplomatic Mission in India if a Diplomat
  • Baggage Customs Declaration signed by the owner
  • A list of all electronics
  • Transfer of Residence
  • Your original Residence Permit if a foreigner
  • List of values of your articles including the date of purchase of each
  • Packing List

Additional detailed document requirements

  • You must be physical present during Customs clearance.
  • You must have all imported HHGS in your possession at least 6 months prior to export.
  • If not a Diplomat, your container will be offloaded at the point of entry and loaded into a van for door delivery.
  • If a foreign national, your Visa must be valid for no less than a year.
  • All electronics must be listed separately on a separate sheet.
  • Your goods are cleared at the first port of entry location.
  • All electronic items should be loaded in the front of the opening side of the container or lift-van.
  • If not a Diplomat, your HHGS are subject to Customs examination.
  • You must have your HHGS set sail from the origin no later than a month after arrival in India.
  • You can allow your items to arrive at the destination port 2 months prior to your arrival.
  • If you are an Indian national, prior to the transport of your HHGS, you must reside abroad for no less than 2 years without a visit to India and must plan to reside in India for no less than a year.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in India along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

Once your items has arrived to India, various duties and taxes are due. Duties usually range from 0 to 40%. Value Added Tax (VAT) is at a set 13.5%. Excise Tax can fall between 8 to 24% and Educational CESS stands at 3%. Items valuing over $3,783.44 USD ($12,611.45 USD in Mumba and Delhi) will be charged duties from 35 to 61%. Duplicate will be charged duties from 35 to 61%. The following items will be taxed from 15 to 15.3%: televisions, music systems, microwaves, word processors, video cameras, digital video disc player, dishwashers, refrigerators over 300 L or equal to, gold or silver non-ornaments, portable photocopy machines, fax machines, deep freezers, air conditioners, video home theatres and cinematographic films of 35 mm and greater.

Duty-free Items

There are certain items the Customs in India will allow to be duty-free. Please venture below for the items and limited quantities.

  • 2 liters of alcohol
  • 59 milliliters of perfume
  • 200 cigarettes
  • 2 liters of wine
  • 50 cigars
  • 250 gram of tobacco
  • Gifts and souvenirs up to the value of $202.00 USD
  • Goods for personal usage with a limitation of 1 laptop
  • A personal amount of medicines. If a non-resident, you must stay in India for no less than 24 hours and no more than 6 months once a month.
  • Foodstuffs, excluding fruit products, up to the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value up to $809.45 USD.

Labeling and Marking Requirements

All labeling must be done in the English or Indian Language.

Required information:

  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

Not every item is able to be cleared by Customs. Below are items you may not include in your HHGS.

  • Beef and its products
  • Non-labelled drugs
  • Counterfeit items
  • Indian currency
  • Antiquities (items setting back to modern day civilization)
  • Obscene articles, publications, videos and/or software’s
  • Narcotics
  • Live animals
  • Endangered species and products made up of them
  • Politically negative literature
  • Maps with incorrect boundaries indicated for India
  • Psychotropic substances
  • Products deriving from Iran

Restricted Items

Some items are not permitted in India due to various reasons that safe guide the people and the environment community. Below, you will find items that are restricted and their details.

  • Firearms require a license for import
  • Weapons require a license for import
  • Electronic cigarettes must have an International Special Commodities (ISC) form filled out and submitted with your paperwork.
  • All used HHGS are not permitted unless you obtain a Special Import License (SIL) provided by the Director General of Foreign Trade in India.
  • Seeds will need to have a No-Objection Certificate from the Plant and Quarantine office.
  • New items must have an invoice at hand and are entitled to duties
  • Items valuing over $3,783.44 USD ($12,611.45 USD in Mumba and Delhi) will be charged duties from 35 to 61%.
  • If a resident, you can import up to $189.38 USD worth of goods
  • Duplicate will be charged duties from 35 to 61%.
  • Ammunition require a license for import

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information about moving to India, please take a look at a few websites below:

NEW DELHI - 110037
Bhushan Kumar Bansal(Chief Commisioner)

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.