Moving to India - What you can/not take back
- Goods will have to be shipped out within 30 days of the owner arriving in India - in the event of a delay, goods can be cleared only if the customs clear the delay. Such being the situation, every case is decided on individual merits.
Indian citizens and foreign nationals who are re-locating to India either on employment or otherwise, can transfer their personal effects and household goods free of any duty payment subject to the following specifications:
- The owner of the goods should have lived overseas for at least 2 years and must be shifting his/her residence to India. If Indian nationals, they should not have visited India for more than 180 days in the preceding two years.
- Foreign nationals must have a resident/business/work/entry visa.
- The owner has to be present during customs clearance and therefore, the owner should have reached India before the shipment arrives or else end up paying heavy demurrage/container detention charges.
- There used to be a compulsory one-year-stay-in-India condition for claiming of Transfer of Residence duty benefits but that has now been done away with. Importers can now leave the country any time after claiming TR concessions.
WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS:
- You are allowed duty-free imports of old and used personal effects and house-hold things such as clothes, books, kitchenware, small electrical devices like cooker / mixie / iron and furniture. The duty-free tag stays in place if these are things which have been used by the shipper. New articles are charged duty at the rate of 61.2%. This is the rule for minor appliances.
- 14 major appliances (listed below) of which you are allowed to bring in one unit each are charged duty @35.2% of the value subject to a value limit of Rs. 150,000 (approximately USD3350) regardless of how much they have been used. The items listed under this heading are: 1) TV 2) VCR/VCP/VTR 3)Washing Machine 4)Dishwasher 5)Music System 6)Personal Computer 7) Microwave Oven 8) Air Conditioner 9) Refrigerator 10) Deep Freezer 11) Video Camera 12) Cooking Range 13) Word Processor 14) Fax Machine.
- The above duty rate of 35.2% is concessional and only for the first unit. If the shipper wishes to bring in more than one unit of any one or more of the above appliances or if the combined value of the appliances exceeds Rs. 150,000 (about USD3350) the duty is charged @61.2% on the additional units/value.
- For ensuring smooth clearance at the customs it is recommended that all appliances be loaded onto one lift van and the make/model # /serial # / quantity be provided to the movers along with the inventory of items.
- Import duties on alcohol, wines, spirits, etc. are very high in India (approx.260%) and it is better to contact the professional movers for specialized assistance if you wish to bring in any of the above.
- To avoid pilferage and theft it is recommended that the shipment be put into lift vans and then shipped.
- Besides the above rules regarding the bringing in of household goods, Indian nationals are allowed to bring in any other personal effects or household goods to India on the payment of customs duty @61.2%.
WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING YOUR VEHICLE:
Indian nationals who come into India on transfer of residence are allowed to bring in one vehicle - a motor car or in lieu of a car, a motor cycle. Autos of the capacity of more than 1600cc should have been owned and used by the shipper overseas for at least one year. Cars which are less than 1600cc can be bought (new or second-hand) prior to arrival.
Foreign nationals coming to India on employment can bring one car regardless of cc specifics. Used cars can be imported only if the owner has used and possessed it overseas before import. Customs duty payable on cars is approximately 111% of the value assessed. Depreciation for used cars is calculated as follows:
1st year - 16%
2nd year - 12%
3rd year - 10%
4th year - 8%
5th year - 8%
6th year - 8%
7th year - 8%
which makes it a maximum of 70%.
Customs duty in both cases will have to be paid out of convertible foreign exchange.
FOODSTUFFS IMPORT: Foreign nationals can import foodstuff alongside their main housing shipment duty free up to a limit of Rs. 50,000 (about USD1100). Foreign nationals residing in India are allowed to import foodstuff worth Rs.100,000 p.a (about USD2220). This facility does not include wines/spirits/alcoholic beverages. Payment is expected to be made out of the funds available to the foreign national outside India.
RESTRICTIONS: Some items such as pornographic material, obscene literature, narcotics, firearms, ammunition and other weapons are prohibited on the import list. A reputed packer/mover will be able to assist further on specific doubts.
IMPORT OF PETS: One animal (cat, dog or parrot) is allowed to be imported into India subject to the production of veterinary certificates and other health documents.
Conclusion: Several reputed relocation services are available - their area of expertise covers packing and transportation of household goods, home rentals and purchase assistance, orientation programs, car hire and purchase, education of children, pet moving, spouse employment, spouse training and higher education, cultural training, destination services and other administrative services. For a price (of course!) the upheaval and trauma of relocating to places as diverse in their culture as they are in their location is minimized. Very substantially.
Good Luck with the move !!
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