At customs in India, the traveller is checked whether he or she is in possession of a valid Indian visa and whether the import regulations have been complied with. There are strict rules for bringing certain products, medicines and animals into India. In this article you will find more information about these import regulations.
Applying for an Indian visa
During passport control in India, it is not only checked whether your luggage complies with the Indian laws and regulations, but also whether you have a valid Indian visa. The application for the visa can be submitted fully online. After approval, the visa will be sent to you by text message and email. It is therefore not necessary to visit the embassy in most cases. To find out if you can apply for the Indian visa online, check the Indian visa requirements on this website.
The import of certain animals and animal products is strictly prohibited. This concerns (products from) poultry and (products from) pigs. Anyone wishing to import meat or milk products, pet food, fur, leather, horns or other animal products requires an import permit and a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC). This legal certificate must be issued by Animal Quarantine and Certification Services (AQCS) at least seven days before departure.
Many other goods can only be imported freely up to a certain quantity or value. Goods are only free to be imported once a month and only if the traveller stays in India for at least 24 hours, but no more than 6 months. A traveller can bring a maximum of two litres of liquor, wine or beer and a maximum of 100 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 125 grams of tobacco. E-cigarettes cannot be imported. A maximum of 60 ml of perfume and 250 ml of eau de toilette may be carried without reporting this to customs. A distinction is made between female and male travellers when it comes to jewellery. Men may carry jewellery with a value up to 50,000 INR, women jewellery with a value up to 100,000 INR.
If you are taking medication, make sure you have a medication passport with you when you travel to India. If you do not already have one, it can be obtained through the website of the NHS. The medication passport states which medicines you are taking or what you are hypersensitive to. In most cases, you can get through customs without any problems if you show a medical passport of this kind.
It is recommended contacting the High Commission to make sure which medicines you are allowed to bring into India. At the very least check whether you are carrying any medicines that fall under the Opium Act, such as sleeping pills and sedatives, strong painkillers, medicines used to treat ADHD and medicinal cannabis. To find out what other medicines are covered by the Opium Act, ask your doctor or pharmacist. For the import of such medicines, a special export licence has to be acquired, which can be asked for at customs. This should be done at least 10 days before travel. Carrying a letter from the prescriber of the medication can also be useful.
You are allowed to bring cash into India, provided that the total value does not exceed USD 5,000 (or an equivalent amount in another currency). Higher amounts must be declared at customs. The maximum amount of Indian Rupees you can carry in and out of India is INR 25,000.
Visitors with a temporary stay visa must be able to produce an import permit issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for the import of pets, as well as a veterinary health certificate issued in the country of export and an NOC issued by the AQCS at least seven days in advance. You can only land your pet at a few airports in India as not all of them have certified staff.