Indian Customs Rules For Gold


Indians, specifically Indian women, have a special affinity towards gold. They love to get pampered with gold at almost all occasions such as wedding, birth, anniversary, or for that matter for no occasion at all. Yes, gold and Indian women have a strong connection which has just got stronger with each generation. The affinity of Indians towards gold is further affirmed by the fact that gold is often brought in to India when the Indians ravel abroad especially to locations where gold is cheaper and better.


Gold is a precious asset held by an individual. This particular asset has been given a special significance in the life of a married woman. Gold is an essential part of ‘Stree Dhan’ which is exclusively the right of a married woman under every circumstance. Therefore, this essential and important asset is best stored and multiplied by the Indians. But there are specific rules and regulations which one needs to follow while staying in a particular country. Thus, Indians, whether they stay in India or abroad, should be clear about the custom rules related to gold in India. We have tried to highlight certain salient points in the same context.


How Much Is The Duty Free Allowance On Gold To India?


It is important to first talk about duty free allowance on gold to India. If gold is brought into India in the form of Gold Bars, Biscuits, or Coins, the individual has to pay duty on the entire volume of gold brought in. However, if the individual decides to bring gold in the form of gold ornaments, then duty free allowance is provided up to Rupees 50, 000 (Rupees Fifty Thousand) for men and up to Rupees 1, 00, 000 (Rupees One Lac) for women. According to a new amendment to the rules governing duty free allowance of gold in 2016, the duty free allowance has been restricted to a weight of 20 grams with a value not exceeding Rupees 50, 000 for men and a weight of 40 grams with a value not exceeding Rupees 1, 00, 000 for women. Duty free allowance is also applicable for children up to two years of age. For children more than two years, duty free allowance for gold ornaments is allowed only if the child has stayed abroad for more than one year, the same rule as applicable to any adult individual. When individuals travel to India, they should carefully check the recent updates regarding customs duty for any changes in the duty free allowance on gold to India.


Customs Duty On Gold in India


Further, for individuals who wish to bring gold above duty free allowance levels, it important to understand the import duty on gold in India. Individuals can bring up to one kilogram of gold into India since 2012 (Prior to that individuals were allowed to bring in ten kilograms of gold in India) after paying the legal customs duty on the gold, if they have stayed abroad for more than six months. The individuals who bring gold above the allowed limits can be subjected to pay customs duty of ten percent over the value of gold. As per the latest announcement of Union Budget 2018-19, an additional surcharge of three percent would be levied upon the aggregate of customs duty applicable on gold. This has serious implications on the import duty on gold in India.


Procedure For Import Of Gold in India


Gold, being a high value commodity, is governed by laws of the land. For gold brought into India, customs duty is levied as per government regulations. According to a RBI guideline of 2013, only certain entities have been permitted to import gold bars in India by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). These include Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation Limited, MSTC Limited, State Trading Corporation, Diamond India Limited, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, among a few others. Some of the conditions and the procedure for import of gold in India include:

  • Gold can be imported by:
  • Any individual of Indian origin, even if he is a foreign national except Pakistan and Bangladesh nationals
  • Any individual holding a valid Indian passport under the Passport Act, 1971
  • Gold can be imported by individuals visiting India after spending a minimum period of six months abroad.
  • The quantity of gold imported into India, including gold ornaments, should not exceed ten kilograms per person.
  • Gold ornaments studded with stone do not fall under this scheme of import.
  • The individual traveling from abroad can either carry the gold at the time of his/her arrival to India or can import the gold within fifteen days of his/her arrival as an unaccompanied baggage.
  • The individual can also choose to pay for the gold abroad and rather than carrying it while traveling, he/she can obtain the permitted quantity of gold from custom bonded warehouse of State Bank of India or Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation, after fulfilling the requisite conditions.
  • The customs duty on gold to India would be payable only in convertible foreign currency.


Import Of Gold To India By Passenger As Part Of Baggage


Passengers or individuals who have stayed abroad for more than a year are allowed to import duty free gold in the form ornaments (only) up to a maximum of 20 grams not exceeding the value cap of Rupees 50, 000 for men and a maximum of 40 grams not exceeding the value cap of Rupees 1, 00, 000 for women, as a part of their baggage. Apart from this, they are also allowed to import gold bars and gold ornaments (above duty free allowance) as a part of their baggage, subject to a maximum of one kilogram, by paying customs duty at the rate of ten percent only.

Related Questions

Q: Are NRIs privileged to give away shares as gifts to relatives?

A: Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for NRIs to transfer or present as gifts, shares, bonds and debentures of Indian companies held by them with Reserve Bank's permission to their...

Q: What procedure should be followed by NRIs for sale/transfer of shares to residents by private arrangements?

A: NRIs are expected to submit application in form TS 1 to Reserve Bank for sale of shares/debentures by private arrangements.

Q: How can NRIs do the sale/transfer of shares held by them with repatriation benefits?

A: In the case of shares /debentures /bonds acquired by NRIs through stock exchanges under the Portfolio Investment Scheme, general exemption has been granted for transfer through stock exchanges...

Q: Are NRIs permitted to transfer/sell their shares held on non-repatriation basis to resident freely?

A: Yes. General exemption has been granted by Reserve Bank for transfer/sale of shares/debentures/bonds by NRIs/OCBs through stock exchanges if such transfers are made in favor of an Indian citizen or...