47

I am planning to travel to India (COK airport, Kerala) from United States. I want to take my laptop as well as my tablet (iPad). Am I allowed to take both in my backpack with my documents related my work. I think I am allowed to take only one computer as per the rule. Will the customs consider my iPad as a computer? What all I can take?

One of my friends took 2 laptops (1 work and 1 personal) and had trouble at the airport.

Also I am planning to take some wristwatches (7 of them, each avg price is 45 $). I read in a website that I can take stuff up to max 35000 INR. Is that true? In that case, how will I manage my stuff?

  • 6
    Was this trouble getting on the plane or trouble at customs? – DJClayworth Dec 4 '12 at 16:17
  • 1
    trouble at customs when he landed. They said you are allowed to take only one laptop with you. – Happy Dec 4 '12 at 16:51
  • 3
    I'm guessing here, but I think they might assume that if you have two laptops you would be going to sell one of them. There might not be as much of an issue with a laptop and a tablet, since many people regularly carry both. Seven wristwatches would be harder to justify. – DJClayworth Dec 4 '12 at 16:54
  • @DJClayworth: Planning to take wristwatches in Checkin bags and take Laptop and Tablet in backback. Will they check each and every bag ? – Happy Dec 4 '12 at 19:22
  • 1
    I've personally travelled with both laptop + iPad in carry-on (last year) LHR to BOM. No trouble at customs, though I might have been lucky in hindsight reading these regulations. – nc. Dec 5 '12 at 9:43
38

Here's what customs rules in India state (the 'free allowance' referred to is for personal items, and the duty-free allowance of alcohol cigarettes):

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.

So obviously, your friend who was carrying two laptops (one work, one personal) was stopped. Technically, the customs officials were correct in trying to charge him duty on the second. Note that specifically for Indian citizens returning from work abroad are allowed to bring back 'items of professional use' but computers do not count as 'professional use' items as they can be repurposed by anyone.

Apart from that, passengers above 10 years old flying in from most countries are given a duty-free allowance of items worth INR 45,0001 as long as they don't fall into one of the restricted items list such as alcohol / cigarettes.

The ambiguity lies in whether a tablet would be considered a 'laptop computer' or not because it's not defined within Indian customs law. You do have the INR 45,000 limit (which your iPad may or may not fall within) which you could claim this under, but that won't leave headroom for your watches.

It all boils down to what customs official inspects your baggage. I have been waved through most times without my baggage getting inspected (at any airport - India or outside, so I should count myself lucky!). Chances are if you look like a working professional, you will be stopped for inspection. They might be less likely to stop someone like me, because I usually wear my university logo clothes when travelling.

Also, if you're carrying seven watches, chances are customs officials will think you're carrying them for the purpose of reselling, and thus more likelier to make you pay duty on those items. Again, this is anecdotal evidence from what I've seen on how customs officials behave in Indian airports.

1As of Aug 18 2015, reference

  • 3
    Chances are if you look like a working professional, you will be stopped for inspection. - That seems backwards compared to western cultures. – IQAndreas May 10 '15 at 1:40
  • @IQAndreas Mostly for the laptop thing though. Customs officials know they are likely to be carrying electronic devices. – Ankur Banerjee May 10 '15 at 16:32
  • "Chances are if you look like a working professional, you will be stopped for inspection. - That seems backwards compared to western cultures" India is the origin of 100.0% of "western" culture and religion BTW! The point was just that they particularly look for people bringing in "lots of damned laptops" and that in particular would be business types. in general sure, hippy youths look more interesting to customs people everywhere – Fattie Jun 7 '15 at 8:35
  • umm.... does anybody know if there is a more recent notification to cbec.gov.in/resources//htdocs-cbec/customs/cs-act/notifications/… ? – shirish Jun 16 '16 at 12:26
  • @blackbird57 please see the above comment. – shirish Jun 16 '16 at 12:35
15
+250

It seems the rules were revised amended and corrected to come into effect from 1st April 2016 and the following combines these changes (but may have been changed since):

Baggage Rules, 2016 [Notification No. 30/2016 - Customs (N.T.) dated 1.3.2016 as amended by Notification No. 43/2016 - Customs (N.T) dated 31.3.2016 read with corrigendum dated 1.4.2016]

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 79 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), and in supersession of the Baggage Rules, 1998, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely:

  1. Short title and commencement.
    • (1) These rules may be called the Baggage Rules, 2016.
    • (2) They shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 2016.
  2. Definitions.
    – (1) In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires,

    • (i) “Annexure” means Annexure appended to these rules;
    • (ii) “family” includes all persons who are residing in the same house and form part of the same domestic establishment;
    • (iii) “infant” means a child not more than two years of age;
    • (iv) “resident” means a person holding a valid passport issued under the Passports Act, 1967 (15 of 1967) and normally residing in India;
    • (v) “tourist” means a person not normally resident in India, who enters India for a stay of not more than six months in the course of any twelve months period for legitimate non-immigrant purposes;
    • (vi) “personal effects” means things required for satisfying daily necessities but does not include jewellery.

    – (2) Words and expression used and not defined in these rules but defined in the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962) shall have the same meaning respectively assigned to them in the said Act.

  3. Passenger arriving from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar.

    • An Indian resident or a foreigner residing in India or a tourist of Indian origin, not being an infant arriving from any country other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar, shall be allowed clearance free of duty articles in his bona fide baggage, that is to say,
    • (a) used personal effects and travel souvenirs; and (b) articles other than those mentioned in Annexure - I, upto the value of fifty thousand rupees if these are carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger: Provided that a tourist of foreign origin, not being an infant, shall be allowed clearance free of duty articles in his bona fide baggage, that is to say, (a) used personal effects and travel souvenirs; and (b) articles other than those mentioned in Annexure - I, upto the value of fifteen thousand rupees if these are carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger: Provided further that where the passenger is an infant, only used personal effects shall be allowed duty free.

Explanation. - The free allowance of a passenger under this rule shall not be allowed to pool with the free allowance of any other passenger.

  1. Passenger arriving from Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar.
    • An Indian resident or a foreigner residing in India or a tourist, not being an infant arriving from Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar, shall be allowed clearance free of duty articles in his bona fide baggage, that is to say, (a) used personal effects and travel souvenirs; and (b) articles other than those mentioned in Annexure - I up to the value of fifteen thousand rupees if these are carried on the person or in the accompanied baggage of the passenger: Provided that where the passenger is an infant, only used personal effects shall be allowed duty free: Provided further that where the passenger is arriving by land, only used personal effects shall be allowed duty free.

Explanation. - The free allowance of a passenger under this rule shall not be allowed to pool with the free allowance of any other passenger.

  1. Jewellery.

    • A passenger residing abroad for more than one year, on return to India, shall be allowed clearance free of duty in his bona fide baggage of jewellery upto a weight, of twenty grams with a value cap of fifty thousand rupees if brought by a gentleman passenger, or forty grams with a value cap of one lakh rupees if brought by a lady passenger.
  2. Transfer of residence.

    • (1) A person, who is engaged in a profession abroad, or is transferring his residence to India, shall, on return, be allowed clearance free of duty in addition to what he is allowed under rule 3 or, as the case may be, under rule 4, articles in his bona fide baggage to the extent mentioned in column (2) of the Appendix below, subject to the conditions, if any, mentioned in the corresponding entry in column (3) of the said Appendix.

(2) The conditions mentioned in column (3) of the said Appendix may be relaxed to the extent mentioned in column (4) of the said Appendix.

APPENDIX

Duration of stay abroad Articles allowed free of duty Conditions Relaxation (1) (2) (3) (4) From three months upto six months Personal and household articles, other than those mentioned in Annexure I or Annexure II but including articles mentioned in Annexure III upto an aggregate value of sixty thousand rupees. Indian passenger - From six months upto one year Personal and household articles, other than those mentioned in Annexure I or Annexure II but including articles mentioned in Annexure III, upto an aggregate value of one lakh rupees.

Indian passenger - Minimum stay of one year during the preceding two y ears. Personal and household articles, other than those mentioned in Annexure I or Annexure II but including articles mentioned in Annexure III upto an aggregate value of two lakh rupees. The Indian passenger should not have availed this concession in the preceding three years.

  • Minimum stay of two years or more. Personal and house household articles, other than those listed at Annexure I or Annexure II but including articles mentioned in Annexure III upto an aggregate value of five lakh rupees.
    (i) Minimum stay of two years abroad, immediately preceding the date of his arrival on transfer of residence;
    (ii) Total stay in India on short visit during the two preceding years should not exceed six months;
    and (iii) Passenger has not availed this concession in the preceding three years. (a) For condition (i), shortfall of upto two months in stay abroad can be condoned by Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs if the early return is on account of:
  • (i) terminal leave or vacation being availed of by the passenger; or (ii) any other special circumstances for reasons to be recorded in writing. (b) For condition (ii), the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs may condone short visits in excess of six months in special circumstances for reasons to be recorded in writing. No relaxation.

    1. Currency.
  • The import and export of currency under these rules shall be governed in accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015, and the notifications issued thereunder.

    1. Provisions regarding unaccompanied baggage.
  • (1) These rules shall apply to unaccompanied baggage except where they have been specifically excluded: Provided that the said unaccompanied baggage had been in the possession, abroad, of the passenger and is dispatched within one month of his arrival in India or within such further period as the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs may allow: Provided further that the said unaccompanied baggage may land in India upto two months before the arrival of the passenger or within such period, not exceeding one year, as the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs may allow, for reasons to be recorded, if he is satisfied that the passenger was prevented from arriving in India within the period of two months due to circumstances beyond his control, such as sudden illness of the passenger or a member of his family, or natural calamities or disturbed conditions or disruption of the transport or travel arrangements in the country or countries concerned or any other reasons, which necessitated a change in the travel schedule of the passenger.

    1. Application of these rules to members of the crew.
  • (1)These rules shall also apply to the members of the crew engaged in a foreign going conveyance for importation of their baggage at the time of final pay off on termination of their engagement. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (1), a member of crew of a vessel or an aircraft other than those referred to in sub-rule (1), shall be allowed to bring articles like chocolates, cheese, cosmetics and other petty gift items for their personal or family use which shall not exceed the value of one thousand and five hundred rupees.

ANNEXURE – I (See rule 3, 4 and 6)
1. Fire arms.
2. Cartridges of fire arms exceeding 50.
3. Cigarettes exceeding 100 sticks or cigars exceeding 25 or tobacco exceeding 125 gms.
4. Alcoholic liquor or wines in excess of two litres.
5. Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments.
6. Flat Panel (Liquid Crystal Display/Light-Emitting Diode/ Plasma) television.

ANNEXURE II (See rule 6)
1. Colour Television.
2. Video Home Theatre System.
3. Dish Washer.
4. Domestic Refrigerators of capacity above 300 litres or its equivalent.
5. Deep Freezer.
6. Video camera or the combination of any such Video camera with one or more of the following goods, namely:
- (a) television receiver;
- (b) sound recording or reproducing apparatus;
- (c) video reproducing apparatus.
7. Cinematographic films of 35mm and above.
8. Gold or Silver, in any form, other than ornaments.

ANNEXURE III (See rule 6)
1. Video Cassette Recorder or Video Cassette Player or Video Television Receiver or Video Cassette Disk Player.
2. Digital Video Disc player.
3. Music System.
4. Air-Conditioner.
5. Microwave Oven.
6. Word Processing Machine.
7. Fax Machine.
8. Portable Photocopying Machine.
9. Washing Machine.
10. Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range
11. Personal Computer (Desktop Computer)
12. Laptop Computer (Note book Computer)
13. Domestic Refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres or its equivalent.

[F. No.334/8/2016 - TRU]

  • 1
    I have given this answer the bounty as the most up to date, but it is still a bit behind as I understand. An update will be appreciated. – Willeke Jul 8 '18 at 18:42
5

Recently, (Pursuant to Indian Union Budget 2014) the limit which (as I last saw when I travelled into India) was Rs. 45,000 for countries other than a few neighbouring countries and all the information relating to this change are contained in the link below.

http://www.cbec.gov.in/resources//htdocs-cbec/customs/cs-act/notifications/notfns-2014/cs-nt2014/csnt50-2014.pdf

Read the above document together with the document shown in the previous answer to get a full picture

1
  1. Until you take one laptop as carry and another as check-in, provided you had declared that both are not bought in US and being brought into India.

  2. Carrying one laptop and one iPad as carry on is no issue

  3. Taking 7 watches is questionable, again its subjective to the airport and the officer. Try to put that into different bags. I know a friend who carried two laptops (one brought from India for work, another bought new in US) put into carry and check in bags separately. Then he got Android tablets(2), one DSLR taken with his carry bag and other goodies like 3/4 watches; he did not have any issue in Chennai Airport.

  • 3
    Putting valuables in checked baggage is a great way to get them broken and/or stolen. – David Richerby Dec 5 '16 at 8:15

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