Duty Free Allowance In India Guide

Duty Free Allowances in India for NRIs, PIOs & Foreigners | Videshi.com

Traveling to and from India is an exciting thing for many of the NRIs, as well as PIOs and foreigners. Having a clear idea about the duty-free allowances in India would help make your journey much smoother and easier. Indian baggage rules are changed every other year, with new items being added to and removed from the customs duty-free list. However, these NRI baggage rules may not be as complicated as you would imagine. In case you have your concerns about the latest changes to the duty-free rules in India, we will be able to help you with this.

The Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, had announced at the time of presenting the Union Budget that baggage rules and customs duty-free allowance and entitlements for travel to India would be simplified to increase the free baggage allowance for NRIs, PIOs, and foreigners traveling to India.

The government of India has increased Indian customs duty-free allowance for NRI as declared in the Union Budget 2016-2017. Arun Jaitley also announced that the Customs Declaration Form will only need to be filled in by those passengers who are carrying dutiable goods. This means that foreigners, NRIs, and other PIOs will not be required to fill out the Customs Declaration Form if they are not carrying dutiable goods or if their dutiable goods are below the free allowance limit.

List of Customs Duty-Free Allowances in India

Duration Of Stay Doesn’t Matter Anymore

How long an NRI or a PIO has stayed abroad is no longer taken into consideration when calculating the customs duty. The only exception to this is gold.

Duty-Free Jewellery Exemptions In India

When it comes to gold, it still matters how long you’ve stayed abroad. For a passenger who has lived abroad for one year or more, he/she shall be allowed a duty-free clearance of bona fide baggage of jewelry as below

Male Passenger: 20 grams of gold/silver jewelry, with the maximum value of INR 50,000 will be duty-free

Female Passenger: 40 grams of gold/silver jewelry, with the maximum value of INR 1,00,000 will be duty-free

You must also bear in mind that gold or silver in other forms, like biscuits or coins, are not duty-free. Only gold/silver jewelry is duty-free within the free allowance range mentioned above.

Duty-Free Allowances For Children

Age restrictions on the customs duty have been removed. Any passenger over the age of two can avail the same duty-free exemptions as adults. As per the customs and Indian baggage rules, a person below two years of age is considered an infant. The only duty-free allowances for infants are their personal effects.

Let Us Take A Look At Some Of The Major Changes In Custom Duty-Free Allowances In India For Different Goods

Personal Items

From 1st April 2016, one passenger traveling to and from India is allowed to carry used personal effects, travel souvenirs up to the value of INR 50,000. The free allowance limit for one passenger can, in no circumstances, be pooled with the free allowance limit for any other passenger.

Foreign Currency

Any passenger can bring in foreign currency to India, without any upper ceiling to it. However, you will be required to declare it to the Customs in the case that:

  • You are carrying foreign currency notes of a value exceeding $5,000 in cash
  • The aggregate value of foreign exchange carried by you exceeds $10,000. This also includes cheques, bank notes etc.

Indian Currency

A passenger is allowed to carry Indian Rupees to the amount of INR 25,000 while returning from a visit abroad, provided they are not citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh. Similarly, if you’re leaving India, you will still be allowed to carry an amount of INR 25,000.

LCD/LED Television Sets

All flat panel television sets, irrespective of their size are not exempt from customs duty. If you’re carrying an LCD/LED television set, you will have to declare it in the Customs Declaration Form. Customs officials will then calculate the duty based on the “assessed value”. The assessed value is determined by the customs officials based on their internal database of prices, the model of the TV, the year of manufacture and the current condition of the TV set.


Every passenger traveling to India can import one laptop notebook when they travel, provided the passenger is above 18 years of age.

Cigarettes/Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic liquors or wines up to 2 liters will be exempt from customs duty, as per the new directives. Further, 100 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 125 gms of tobacco will also not be charged at the customs. However, should you wish to bring in more than this, you will have to declare it and pay the customs duty for it as well.

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