A complete guide to Custom Baggage Rules is available here. All passengers entering India are expected to adhere to the baggage allowance rules as prescribed by Indian customs form time to time. They needed to fill up the customs declaration form as specified. The Passenger has the option of seeking clearance through the green channel (for passenger not having dutiable goods) or the red channel (if the passenger has taxable goods). Let us take a look at Baggage Rules, 1998 in the following sections.
Baggage Rules, 1998
For the clearance of arriving passengers, a two channel system has been adopted in Customs. The two channels are mentioned below.
- For passengers not having any dutiable goods – Green Channel.
- For travellers having dutiable goods – Red Channel.
However, passengers not having any dutiable goods must deposit the customs portion of the disembarkation card to the Customs official at the exit gate before leaving the terminal. Declaration of foreign currency/foreign exchange has to be made by the customs officers in the following cases.
- Where the value of foreign currency notes exceeds the US $ 5000 or equivalent.
- Where the aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeds the US $ 10,000 or equivalent.
- Passengers walking through the Green Channel with dutiable goods are liable to prosecution.
- Trafficking of Narcotics and Psychotropic substances is a serious offence and is punishable by incarceration.
Duty-free allowances under Baggage Rules, 1998
A Resident means an individual is holding a valid passport issued under the Passports Act, 1967 and usually residing in India.
Passengers returning from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China [Rule3]
In the case of an Indian resident or a foreigner residing in India returning from any country other than Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China, the following articles shall be allowed free of duty in the baggage.
- Personal Effects: Used personal effects-excluding jewellery, required for satisfying daily necessities of life.
- Other Articles: Articles, other than those mentioned in Annexure I, carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger upto a value mentioned below.
|Duration of stay abroad||Age of Passenger|
|Up to 10 years||10 years or above|
|Three days or Less||Rs. 3,000/-||Rs. 17,500/-|
|More than three days||Rs. 17,500/-||Rs. 45,000/-|
- Resident [Rule 2(ii)]: “Resident” means a person holding a valid passport issued under the passport act, 1967 and residing in India.
- An Indian resident or a foreigner living in India coming by land route specified in Annexure IV shall be allowed general free allowances as per Rule 4 Since Rule 3 is not applicable to him.
- Pooling not permissible: The General free allowance under this rule shall not be allowed to be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger.
- Passengers from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), P.R. China: Rule 3 shall apply in the case of persons returning from Hong Kong since Hong Kong is a separate Customs Territory from China.
For passengers coming from the following cases.
- Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China, other than by land route.
- Pakistan by land route.
|Duty-Free Entitlements for bonafide
baggage if Stay abroad for more than
|For Passengers of age 10 Years & above||For Passengers
of age below 10
|Used personal effects (excluding
jewellery) required for satisfying daily
necessities of life
|Other articles carried in person or in
- The free allowance shall not be pooled with the free allowance of any other passenger.
- The free allowance is not applicable to the following goods
- Cartridges of fire arms exceeding 50.
- Cigarettes (more than 100) or cigars ( more than 25) or tobacco (more than 125 gms).
- Alcoholic liquor or wines more than 2 litres.
- Gold or silver any form, other than ornaments.
- Flat Panel (LCD/LED/Plasma) Television.
- One laptop computer (notebook computer) over and above the said free allowances mentioned above is also allowed duty-free if imported by any passenger of the age of 18 years and above.
- The goods over 7above the free benefits shall be chargeable to customs duty at the rate of 35% + an education cess of 3% i.e. to say the effective rate is 36.05%.
- Alcoholic drinks and tobacco products imported more than free allowance are chargeable to custom duty at the rates applicable to their commercial imports as per the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
- Passengers usually the resident of India who are returning from a visit abroad may carry Indian currency upto Rs. 25,000/-.
- In case the value of any item exceeds the duty-free allowance, the duty shall be calculated only on the amount more than the free allowance.
Exclusive benefits for professionals returning to India
An Indian passenger who was engaged in his profession abroad shall on his return to India be allowed clearance free of duty, in addition to the allowances above, articles in his bonafide baggage to the extent. Let us take a look at Baggage Rules for professional returning to India.
|S.no||Eligible Passenger||Articles allowed free of duty|
|1.||Indian passenger returning after at least three month||
|2.||Indian passenger returning after at least Six month||
Indian passenger returning after a stay of minimum 365 days during the preceding two years on termination of his work, and who has not availed this concession in the preceding three years.
Duty-free allowance in respect of Jewellery [Rule 6]- Baggage Rules, 1998
A passenger returning to India shall be allowed clearance free of duty jewellery in his Bonafide baggage to the extent. The duty-free allowance in respect of jewellery is given below.
|S.no||Class of Indian Passengers||Duty-free Articles|
|1.||Indian Passenger, who been residing abroad for over one year||
Duty-Free Allowance to Tourists [Rule 7]
A tourist arriving in India shall be allowed clearance free of duty articles in his bonafide baggage to the extent mentioned below.
|S.no||Class of Tourist||Articles allowed free of duty|
|1.||Tourists of Indian origin coming to India other than tourists of Indian origin coming by land routes as specified in Annexure IV||
|2.||Tourists of foreign origin, other than those of Pakistani origin coming from Pakistan, coming to India by air.||
||Used personal effects (ii) Articles other than those mentioned in Annexure I upto a value of Rs. 6,000/-for personal use of the tourist or as gifts and travel souvenirs if these are carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger.”|
For more information regarding Custom Duty rates, Valuation, Online payment process and Custom duty forms and Custom Duty Payment, refer the following articles.