India Customs Regulations

Written by noelle carver
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India Customs Regulations
Indian customs regulations restrict importing or exporting authentic Indian jewellery. (jewellery image by Sid Viswakumar from

When planning a trip to India or your voyage home from India, tally up the items you have purchased in the country and the items you are bringing back home. Foreigners are subject to India's customs regulations which vary from those in other nations due to materials and goods that are more significant, like jewellery, antiques and religious artefacts. To avoid unwanted hassles and legal issues at the airport, bring along the original receipt of the item purchased in India or in your home country to settle possible duty payment disputes.

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To pass through Indian customs, travellers need to declare, or state, the contents of their baggage to the customs officer. While the Indian government does not require any written document, listing the contents orally is mandatory. Some items, like jewellery, require a fee, or duty, before passing into or out of the country.

Travellers to India need to tell customs officers the contents of their bags.
Travellers to India need to tell customs officers the contents of their bags. (travel baggage stickers tags & labels - grunge tex image by Wingnut Designs from

Pets & Livestock

The Government of India allows travellers to import domestic pets like dogs, cats and birds into the country. Dogs and cats must have the required health certificates from their country of origin. A traveller can only bring a limit of two pets at one time. A quarantine officer may also inspect the animals for parasites or other diseases before allowing them into or out of the country. Travellers importing livestock animals, like chickens or cows, need to provide a sanitary permit issued by the department of animal husbandry and dairying or an import license issued by the DGFT.


India customs strictly prohibits foreigners or nationals importing firearms. Customs also prohibits importing cartridges in excess of 50 bullets. If a person is moving to India for a minimum of one year, importing one legal firearm is permissible if the same firearm was in possession and used abroad by the passenger for a minimum of one year. The gun owner must also have a valid arms license from Indian authorities.


Travellers to India are required to declare money when the value of the foreign currency exceeds £3,250 GBP or equivalent. Travellers, tourists or nationals, must also declare money if the aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeds £6,500 GBP or equivalent.

India Customs Regulations
When leaving India with Indian Rupees, large amounts need to be declared. (Indian rupees image by Horticulture from


As of 2010, according to the Government of India Customs website, jewellery in India carries very strict laws. Jewellery--including necklaces, rings, earring and bracelets--is never duty free to import or export. This law protects India from selling imposter Indian jewellery and from suffering from authentic jewellery theft.

If you have purchased jewellery in India you want to take home with you, request an "export certificate" from the custom's office at the time of departure. These forms will facilitate re-entry of the jewelery if you return to India wearing or carrying the same jewellery. Follow the same procedure when travelling from the U.S. or other country into India.

Laptop Computers

If you are travelling from the United States, Canada, Australia or Europe, are 18 years or older and checked your laptop as a "carry-on" bag, you are entitled to one duty-free laptop. For travellers with more than one computer, you will pay a fee for the second laptop unless you have clearance with a custom's officer.

Travellers to India are allowed to bring or export one laptop, duty free.
Travellers to India are allowed to bring or export one laptop, duty free. (Laptop image by Marek Kosmal from

Temporary Importing & Exporting

Indian customs authorities enforce strict customs regulations for travellers temporarily importing into or exporting from India antiques, electronic equipment, currency, jewellery, ivory and gold. Even transit passengers, passengers on layover at an airport, require permission from the Government of India to bring in such items. Travellers or nationals not complying with customs laws risk arrest or a fine and confiscation of the items.

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