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  Baggage Rules
 
Baggage means "belongings" of a passenger traveling from one place to another. For exchange control purposes, it basically constitutes personal effects and household articles carried by the passenger while coming into or going out of the country. Baggage may be either accompanied or unaccompanied baggage.

The prerequisites for treating any articles / goods as baggage is that they were in use of the passenger or were brought and paid for by the passenger.

All items brought into or taken out of India are subject to exchange management and customs duties are imposed at the specified rates. Similarly, importers / exporters are required to obtain a license or Customs Clearance Permit (CCP) to import / export goods into / out of India. They are also required to obtain Import Export Code (IEC) Number.

Goods imported by a passenger as his bonafide baggage are, however, exempt from the above requirements. The passenger is only required to comply with the existing baggage rules in India and bring into / take out of India, baggage to the extent admissible under those rules. Import / Export of baggage in excess of the limits is, however, chargeable / liable to duty at the existing rates.

Clearance
Baggage can be cleared through the following channels based on the nature of the goods :

Green Channel - Not having any dutiable goods passenger can walk through this manned by Customs Officials, thereby declaring the baggage orally.

Red Channel - Having dutiable goods passengers can walk through this channel.

Declaration
A person carrying the goods with him is referred to as the owner of the baggage. The owner is required to make a declaration of the contents of the baggage to the Customs Officials for obtaining clearance. The declaration is to be made on a prescribed form. The rate of duty and tariff valuation shall be determined based on the date on which the declaration is made.

The declaration made by the owner should be true and complete in all respects. Any dutiable or prohibited goods which are not properly declared can be confiscated by the Customs officials. Any discrepancy may lead to detention / confiscation of the goods being carried. In case, any dispute / doubt arises as to the bonafide nature of the baggage, the same may be referred to the Additional / Deputy Collector of Customs.

Mis-declaration / Non-declaration can also lead to penal action, based on the value of goods, as below:
Value of Goods Action
· Upto Rs.500/- - Allowed clearance on payment of duty. · Beyond Rs.500/- and upto Rs.2,000/- - Allowed clearance on payment of duty and redemption fine. · Suitable personal penalty on case to case basis. · Beyond Rs.2,000/- and upto Rs.5,000/- - Absolute confiscation of goods. · Deterrent personal penalty. · Beyond Rs.5,000/- - Prosecution proceedings. · Any other suitable action.

The date of declaration is important for determining the applicable tariff valuation and rate of duty.
General Duty Free Allowance

Personal and household effects are treated as baggage and can be imported freely without any restriction as to the value of the goods. However, they should be imported in reasonable quantities. Goods in commercial quantities may be allowed to be imported as baggage based on the merits of the case.

Goods other than personal and household effects can be imported as baggage subject to certain limit called Duty Free Allowance as under:
· Passenger Returning after stay abroad of more than three days · Returning after stay abroad of three days or less · Coming from countries other than Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or China o 12 years or above o Upto Rs. 12,000/- Upto Rs. 6,000/- o Below 12 years o Upto Rs. 3,000/- Upto Rs. 1,500/- · Coming from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar or china other than by land routeo 12 years or above o Upto Rs. 3,000/- Upto Rs. 7,50/- o Below 12 years o Nil Nil

The allowance allowed as above is for an individual passenger and cannot be pooled / clubbed with that of another passenger.

Persons Eligible
Baggage is allowed clearance free of duty subject to the limitations / conditions for the following categories of persons:

Category

Purpose
·Indian citizens / Foreign nationals residing in India who go abroad on a short trip for business, recreation, medical treatment, etc. · Indian citizens Who are engaged in a profession abroad · Tourists of Foreign origin or Indian origin normally residing abroad Who come to India for a stay not more than 6 months for business, recreation, medical treatment, etc. · Indian citizens / Foreign nationals residing abroad for more than two years For transferring their residence to India · Baggage can also be cleared free of duty to certain extent, if they are in form of: · Indian citizens / Foreign nationals residing abroad for more than two years For transferring their residence to India Baggage can also be cleared free of duty to certain extent, if they are in form of: o Jewelery brought in as baggage by a passenger returning to India o Unaccompanied baggage o Pets such as Dogs, Cats, Parrots.