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NRI Alert India announces Baggage Rules 2016; raises free allowance to Rs 50,000
March 3, 2016, 4:07 pm
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As declared in the Union Budget 2016-17, India government has substituted the existing Baggage Rules 1998 with Baggage Rules 2016 to simplify and rationalise multiple slabs of duty-free allowance for various categories of passengers.

The new Baggage Rules 2016 was notified by the Finance Ministry yesterday. Here are the major changes :

Major changes to baggage rules

Please note that all these changes shall come into force only from 1 April 2016.

Increase in baggage allowance

 Under the new rules, duty free baggage allowance carried by an international passenger, when coming to India, is increased from Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 (from 1 April 2016).

This incremental allowance would result in customs duty saving of approximately Rs 1,800 for international passengers.

No restrictions on age & minimum period of stay

Restrictions on age and minimum period of stay abroad has been withdrawn. Free baggage allowances are same for all passengers irrespective of their age and period of stay.

• However for infants (children below 2 years), only used personal effects shall be allowed duty free.

Minimum period of stay is not mentioned for travellers to avail free baggage allowance.

• Note that minimum period of one year stay abroad is applicable for gold jewellery and other items not included in free baggage allowance.

Change in limits for used household items

A person, who is engaged in a profession abroad, or is transferring his residence to India can bring used household items as below :

• Passengers who have stayed abroad for 3-6 months can bring used personal household items up to value of Rs 60,000.

• Passengers who have stayed abroad for 6-12 months can bring used personal household items up to value of Rs 100,000.

• Passengers who have stayed abroad for 1-2 years can bring used personal household items up to value of Rs 200,000.

• Passengers who have stayed abroad for above 2 years can bring used personal household items up to value of Rs 500,000 (subject to conditions).

Customs Declaration Form only for those with dutiable goods

International passenger, when coming to India, need not fill Customs Declaration Form if they are not carrying dutiable goods as part of their baggage (from 1 April 2016).

This proposal should enable a hassle free entry for international passengers in India carrying goods within the prescribed duty free allowance.

It would also save considerable amount in printing of the forms.

Gold allowance specifies weight

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,

• up to a weight of 20 grams with a value cap of Rs 50,000 (for male passenger)

• up to a weight of 40 grams with a value cap of Rs 100,000 (for female passenger)

Earlier these were defined as value of Rs 50,000 & Rs. 100,000 only.

 Cigarettes, cigars and tobacco allowances doubled

The duty-free allowance of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco has been doubled.

• Travellers will be able to bring in 200 sticks of cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250 gm tobacco.

Earlier these were defined as 100 sticks of cigarettes, 25 cigars and 150 gm tobacco.

Drones added to Customs Declaration Form

Drones, which are being considered a major security risk as they could be used by terror groups for mounting assaults, have been included in the prohibited has and flyers entering India will have to declare them from April 1.

Indian Customs Declaration Form has been revised to include drones in the list of prohibited and dutiable goods.

Foreigners' Duty Free Allowance raised

Foreigners' duty-free allowance has also been increased to Rs 15,000 (from the existing limit of Rs 8,000). 

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