Background Information

I have one laptop which I have bought in India, taken the export certificate for that laptop and traveled to the US for studies. Now, I am planning to buy another laptop, here in the US and come back to India with both the laptops. You can directly jump to Main question and read the below points later as needed.

  1. As per my readings till now, an individual with an export certificate for items can bring those items back to India without any customs duty on it.

  2. There is also a duty-free allowance of ₹50000 -

On arrival from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan or Myanmar

A. Indian Residents and foreigners residing in India:

(a) used personal effects and travel souvenirs;

(b) articles up to the value of Rs. 50,000 carried on person or accompanied baggage, excluding those listed in Annexure-I

  1. Also, the document mentions that -

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.

  1. Transfer of Residence benefit doubt :

    Can I avail of the transfer of residence benefit? I have been staying in the US for a little over a year but less than 2 years(so there's a free allowance of ₹2,00,000) and I am coming to India during my university winter break. I will be returning back to the US after about a month or so. But I am not sure if I can avail of this benefit and what criteria need to be satisfied for transfer of residence eligibility. Here's the official document on the transfer of residence - enter image description here

As seen, there's no condition of a minimum 2yrs foreign stay for the 1-2yrs category. But some websites online mentions that a minimum of 2yrs foreign stay is required to be eligible for this benefit in any category. So which one is true and am I eligible?

Main Question :

The old laptop which I had carried from India to the US has an export certificate with it, so that will, of course, be allowed duty-free. My question is whether the laptop bought in the US falls into the second category where one laptop is allowed fully duty-free import or will they count it under the duty-free allowance of only ₹50000? Is there any way I can bring both the laptops, duty-free into India?

  • 2
    This is not an answer. But depending on the airport you are arriving at, and the route you take this may end up being not an issue at all. With my very anecdotal knowledge, a majority of the time the customs authorities don't care for an additional laptop, and I know multiple examples where the passengers go via the 'green channel' and are very rarely stopped. Again very anecdotal and YMMV. – Nivas Nov 16 '20 at 4:23
  • @Nivas I know that could risk it by just going through the green channel. But I just wanted to confirm if there's any way by which I can be sure that customs aren't applicable in my case – Abhishek Bhagate Nov 17 '20 at 9:12
  • Can you not contact the Customs office? – jcm Nov 17 '20 at 10:16
  • @Nivas, agree with you entirely. This is a total non issue from my perspective. Unless the OP is bringing multiple items to resell, customs won't even bat an eyelid. – nikhil Nov 17 '20 at 20:28

If your export certificate correctly lists the earlier laptop with serial number, then items on it will not be counted against any limits.

The new laptop will fall into the category of one duty-free laptop and can be brought in without any duty.

Moreover, it is very common to bring in two laptops (one personal and one company) while travelling from the US to India and this is not practically questioned. Of course if questioned one has to somehow show the work laptop belongs to their company, but that is the default assumption made by customs.

Transfer of residence limits will not be needed for this, also if possible this privilege should be saved for when you actually have to transfer residence, perhaps at the end of your course.

  • Thanks for the answer. Most probably the laptop will be allowed free of duty since my old laptop has an export certificate. Still, I would confirm it with customs before travel just to be sure. – Abhishek Bhagate Nov 22 '20 at 14:00

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