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Tips for NRIs taking personal jewelry to India | NRI Taking Jewelry to India


nri import gold india

Taking gold jewelry to India for personal use. What you can do to avoid unnecessary problems at customs if taking gold. Tips for those taking gold jewelry to India.

In case you are interested, In India one tola of gold = 11.66 grams where as in Pakistan, one tola usually is said to be equal to 12.5 grams. This is something to keep in mind when people sell their gold to jewelers in India.

NRIs concern about traveling with gold to India

Most law abiding PIOs traveling to India with their families who have read various news reports of problems regarding customs duty on gold brought in by passengers, are naturally concerned. While such reports 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.

  • 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. Of course there may be some over zealous officers but luckily they are in the minority. Most gold busts that one hears about in India at customs are usually gold in solid form, not jewelery. A person caught with 50 gold chains! is definitely not a reasonable amount of jewelery being taken in for personal use, but gold smuggling.

Tips when taking Jewelry in or out of India

  • Previously the duty free limit for Jewelry taken into India by a male passenger was Rupees 10,000 and for a female passenger Rupees 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 Rupees 50,000 fro men and to Rupees 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 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 can 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!

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