A Guide on NRIs/POIs Taking Jewelry/Gold to India- Customs Rules

A Guide on NRIs/POIs Taking Jewelry/Gold to India- Customs Rules 
 
 Those who are travelling to India from Gulf/GCC and other Countries, please keep the following points in mind.  As per rule you are required to declare the details of the  gold/siliver in any form including jewelery on arrival.  This you can do by filling the required customs forms supplied in the airlines or you can collect these forms from the Emigration/Customs counter at each airport.  If your intention is to take the jewelry back out of India when you leave, you should be prepared to present appraisals etc so the jewelry can be documented to ensure that you take it out when you leave. If the jewelry was originally bought in India, sometimes you would need to provide the required proof.  The government is very particular about discouraging the gold import to India and recently the Custom duty on gold has been increased from 6% to 8%.
 
It is given to understand that, Customs Officials are very much vigilant now a days to  find the gold which has been brought to India as part of your baggage.  These types of activities from the part of customs officials, do cause concern for those intending to travel to India with gold jewelery, there are some things that NRIs can  do to minimize problems when taking gold jewelery to India.  Most of the NRIs and PIOs are very much worried about this and it is the duty of every law abiding citizen to declare all gold filling –up the required forms.   There are no restrictions on how much jewelery a person of Indian origin (NRI, PIO) can take to India when they visit friends and family in India. As long as such Jewelery, that is beyond the duty free allowance is taken back by the incoming passenger when they return. Those who have receipts, appraisal with photographs and jewelery is identifiable, can declare the  jewelery items on arrival in India with the customs authorities and get the items endorsed on their  passports. This ensures that they will take the items back when they leave India.  If jewelery was originally purchased from India and receipts are available, this might also help. The primary purpose of customs officers in India regards to gold, is to stop the illegal importation of gold.  Most customs officers are not simply on the lookout for NRIs coming for a short visit and bringing in a reasonable amount of  jewelery to wear during their stay in India.  Carrying gold above the allowable limit without proper declaration will be treated as smuggling and are subject to punishment.
 
Tips when taking Jewelry in or out of India
 
• Previously the duty free limit for Jewelry taken into India by a male passenger was Rs. 10,000 and for a female passenger Rs. 20,000. As per Government of India, Ministry of Finance Notification No. 25/2013-Customs (N.T.) Dated March 1st 2013. This has been increased to Rs. 50,000 for men and to Rs. 100,000 for female passengers. 
 While there may be no limit on the amount of jewelery you can take when visiting, take only what you really need.  A  passenger wearing a large amount of jewelery and walking out from the green channel, is naturally going to make customs  officials think and check such passengers.   If you are taking gold in any other form than jewelry, declare it. The duty free allowance in India is for gold jewelery and NOT  for gold biscuits/coins etc.   Those who are living in India, when traveling abroad should get an export  certificate from the customs when they leave India, so that they are not  charged duty on the same jewelry when they return to India. Normally most NRI families will not face harassment by customs at Indian airports if they  simply have a reasonable amount of jewelery to use in India during their visit. Problems  do occur when passengers try and hide items and get caught.  If a passenger is worried about taking jewelry, they can either simply not take it, or  declare the items if they are over the duty free limit with the explanation that they would  take the items back on departure. In the event the items are not identifiable and cannot be documented. The worst thing that can happen is that the jewelery items will be held by customs, a receipt given to the passenger and they can take it back when they leave India.  For those who simply carry a lot of gold/jewelery and knowingly fail to declare the items on arrival, their gold/jewelery items can be  confiscated and they can face fines and prosecution under the customs laws of India. NRIs should also keep in mind that when they take jewelery to India from countries like USA, Canada etc. they may be also  questioned by customs officials on their return. Canada is one country where asking passengers arriving from India about gold  jewelery is quite common. Be prepared to show that you did take the jewelery when you left and did not buy it in India.  
 
 
If a person intents to take gold to India, please keep in mind that,a minimum stay of six months is required abroad and  gold must be declared to customs officials and applicable customs duty paid in foreign currency.  The NRI/POIs are allowed a duty free allowance,  as per baggage rules, they are allowed to import goods valued up to Rs. 25,000 each, as their duty free allowance. However the same rules state that ‘The free allowance is not applicable to Gold or silver, in any form, other than ornaments.
 
 Carrying of gold if stay abroad is less than three months is not allowed and hence illegal. In case the gold is identified/discovered by the Custom when the bag is scanned, would be deemed to be an attempt to  smuggle gold, the end result would be prosecution, fines and confiscation of the gold.  The rules state that attempting to smuggle gold, without declaration may lead to arrest & prosecution.  Even the customs declaration passengers fill on arrival in India warns passengers about the importance of making a true declaration.  Arriving in India with Gold, anyone taking gold to India from abroad should NOT walk out via the green channel at the airport. Even if they  don’t have any other dutiable items to declare, you must declare  the gold, regardless of how small the amount of gold you are bringing in may be.
 

Note: please note that customs rules related to import of gold/silver is subject to change. Errors and omissions are expected