I bought two smart phones for my father and sister in Europe. Will the customs officer in India (Chennai) give any trouble if I carry two new unopened smart phones with the box in my hand luggage? Also, i'm a student, does this give me any advantage over it?

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    What is the value of the said smartphones? Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 9:22
  • 400 Euro,in INR approx. 33000,i have the bill too,:)
    – Din35
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 19:12
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    @jwenting I am presuming that the OP doesn't want to pay the fee (because the OP specifically mentions being a student)...but then again I might be wrong. Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:37
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    @AdityaSomani so am I, or he'd not ask how to trick his way past customs, but the best way to get past customs without getting into trouble is to simply pay up. Honesty is best... And being a "student" has nothing to do with it, being cheap does.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:39
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    @jwenting Being cheap too has nothing to do with it. :) It's called doing something illegal. Attempting to pass customs without declaring goods that must be declared is defined as smuggling.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


The situation is a little complicated and there a few things you must consider. First of all I'm going to tell you about all the legal prospects of this situation and what can happen if then open up your bags and find two packaged phones inside.

Take a look at this great answer already posted here. Now, since these are two packaged phones, despite being underneath your limit of Rs. 33000, they are items which can be re-purposed by anyone else which quite honestly is what you are doing here because of the fact that you are giving them to your parents. Even though you don't plan to sell them, you still won't take them back with you, so they are technically imported into the country.

Now, one second thought, you could take the phones out of the packages and put them either in your suitcase or your hand-luggage.

Now, is this fool-proof? Obviously No. And the reason it isn't is because you are importing things into the country and if they ask you to pay import duty on it, your only argument can be, "Hey these are for my own use!" Now, if the two phones are packaged, this argument is far less convincing. Otherwise they might let you thru without much issue.

Keeping this in mind, if the phones are in your hand luggage and are not packaged, you should be fine. If you decide to take them in your luggage without the packaging or packaging separately in different luggage or something, that would be pretty fine too! If you do decide to take them as packaged goods, that's up to your own risk.

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    if I were a customs official and I noticed 2 brand new looking phones in someone's luggage, without SIM cards, I'd be highly suspicious. Obvious sign that they're attempting to smuggle the phones into the country. Better just pay the import fees, declare them as you should, and save yourself the trouble.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 6:48
  • @jwenting I'm not denying that, in the suitcase is also relatively dangerous. I'm not sure how this can be taken as a case of smuggling, many people carry two phones including me. I always carry a spare phone in my suitcase. As far as the two brand new looking phones go, this would happen if the luggage were to be opened, which I highly doubt in the case of two phones. Five phones, certainly. But again, carry on is the best bet! Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:36
  • Carryon is also X-rayed or searched on arrival in many countries (not sure about India) and the phones would be noticed. It should raise eyebrows.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:41
  • Not in India in my experience but even if it is scanned, you may carry the phones on your body. I've seen several of my friends do it Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 12:49

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