I will be travelling in January to India to volunteer at a non-profit. I have donations from friends and families and would like to bring in 5-10 laptops as a mobile training lab. Does anyone know if there is a work around to the 1 laptop limit as this will be for work/volunteer purposes?

  • Are you intending to leave the laptops there or take them with you when you leave? Nov 6, 2014 at 14:54
  • I plan to leave them there
    – June Buhg
    Dec 9, 2014 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


If you are working for a non profit organization make sure you fill this form and make sure you comply with the rules mentioned and you have no conflicts with them.They are

The imports by charitable institutions would be required to fulfill the following conditions to be eligible for ad-hoc exemption from customs duty:

(a) The imports should normally be received as donations or gifts from foreign countries. The applicant or exemption under this category should be a registered charitable organization. However, imports required by individuals for treatment or assistance to people who are suffering from life threatening diseases can be considered on case-to-case basis.

(b) Either there should be no payment involved for the imported goods or the payment should be made only out of the amount received as donation within India.

(c) The goods imported should be for use for charitable purposes without any distinction of caste, creed or religion; they should not be in the nature of or tend to promote/propagate any particular religion.

(d) It would be necessary that the institution is engaged in rendering charitable service to the society at large for availment of exemption e.g., running hospitals, educational institutions, etc. The service so rendered by the institution should be “free” or the institution should be running on “no profit no loss” basis. The applicant organization should furnish last 3 years’ audited balance sheet, income and expenditure statement, and the exemption granted by the Income-tax authorities, if any. The activity of the institution should not be commercial in nature.

(e) The charitable nature of the institution, the fact that it is rendering services on ‘free’ or ‘no loss no profit’ basis, it’s should have been in existence for not less than three years, and that it enjoys good reputation which should be certified by any of the following authorities as per the format in Annexure A:

(i) Concerned Secretary of the State Government (or)

(ii) Concerned Joint Secretary of the Central Government (or)

(iii) Jurisdictional Commissioner of Central Excise/Customs

(f) The institution should certify that the goods under import are for their own use and should furnish an undertaking to the effect that they would fulfill the conditions prescribed for availment of exemption.

Also make sure the organization you work for is operational in any state of India for atleast 3 years.

Then take printout of the annexure. Keep the form and your ID with you.

  • For completeness sake I would explain what the form is, why it is important and why you think it applies in this case.
    – JoErNanO
    Nov 6, 2014 at 9:57
  • @JoErNanO It was the link mentioned in Pnuts comment on the question. I thought it suits this case. I posted it as an answer so that people could notice it.
    – Kolappan N
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:21
  • @JoErNanO That circular is from Goverment of India. It states the rules clearly by itself. It states under which circumstances you can have tax exceptions. Also i added it in my answer to check them.
    – Kolappan N
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:30
  • @JoErNanO Thanks for the advice though.
    – Kolappan N
    Nov 6, 2014 at 14:36

First make sure that you have some kind of proof that you are here to volunteer at a non-profit. If you are arriving at the MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. If you put all the laptops in checked in luggage 99 percent they wont put the bag in screening as they only put the handbags in the machine for screening.

And if by chance they say you to put the Luggage (checked in bag) and then they ask you why are you taking so many laptops with you. Show the Custom Officer some proof which states that you are here to volunteer at a non-profit. I am sure they will allow you just remember to be CALM AND COOPERATIVE. BEST OF LUCK.

  • Are you suggesting violating custom laws in your first paragraph? Seems to me like multiple laptops would be something to declare at customs.
    – JoErNanO
    Nov 6, 2014 at 21:33

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