Understanding Customs Requirements when Moving to India



If you’re moving to India and wondering what customs regulations you will face, it’s a good idea to find out. Once you’re standing in front of the customs officials at the airport, ignorance of the law is no excuse so you must be aware of certain regulations before you relocate.

As welcoming as the people of India may seem, they are very strict on certain items and what they allow to be imported or brought with you personally in their country.


Personal belongings such as shoes, clothes and the like are duty-free. A foreigner visiting who is relocating to India can bring as much foreign currency as they like but cash and traveller’s cheques amounting to USD$10,000 (662,200 Indian Rupees) need to be declared.

Should you want to carry tobacco products, you are only allowed to bring in 100 cigarettes, or 25 cigars, or 125g of tobacco provided you are 17 years or older. You are only allowed 2 litres of alcoholic beverage. Bear in mind that minors are not allowed to carry these items. Parents or guardians of minors are not allowed to have these items under the accompanied luggage of a minor. Doing so is punishable by law.

Male travellers are allowed to carry INR 50,000 (USD$750) worth of jewellery, while female travellers can carry up to INR 100,000 (USD$1500) worth of bling. If you are planning on bringing souvenirs, you are only allowed up to INR 8,000 (USD$120).

Household items, such as kitchenware and small appliances are also duty-free. Furniture is duty-free provided it is in used condition. Other items include used washing machines, gas cooking ranges, desktop and laptop computers as well as domestic fridges up to 300 litres. A 15% tax is, however, imposed on coloured TVs, home theatre entertainment systems, dishwashers, chest freezers, microwave ovens, portable photocopying machines, gold and silver other than ornaments, and vessels. If they are brand new, a 40% tax has to be paid. You can only bring 1 laptop. You will find plenty of information about India’s baggage rules on the internet.


Importing your vehicle to India is possible although not practical and the cost can be prohibitive. Considering the traffic congestion and the condition of the roads, it is wiser to use public transportation.


Like many other countries, it is prohibited to bring narcotics and synthetic drugs, pornographic materials, ivory, musk, reptile skins, furs, shahtoosh Kashmir shawls and counterfeit items. Antiques are also prohibited. Bringing firearms and ammunition, pets, plants and their seeds, endangered species (alive or otherwise), goods for commercial purposes, and radio transmitters is subject to prior approval.

Being responsible is the key to a smooth transition when moving internationally. Knowing important information such as what you’re allowed to transport is essential. Talking to a professional international relocator like Allied Pickfords will help you with the process of importing your personal belongings.

Contact one of our customer service representatives now and help make your relocation to India a successful move.


Back to News