Just like any other country, India maintains its own list of prohibited and restricted items. Thus, it is important to research if the item you are shipping is not in the prohibited or restricted goods list. Check the Indian Central Board of Excise and Customs’ website for a list of prohibited items in India. Note that some prohibited or restricted items can still be shipped to India as long as they have proper documentation and permits.
The next important step is to prepare the customs paperwork. Commercial couriers will require you to fill up customs forms which lists down the packaged items you are sending and their total value. This document needs to be completed clearly and accurately as these information will be used by the Indian customs authority to apply the correct tax and duty. The amount you have to pay is based on a combination of factors; including the reason for export, the type of product and the value of the items. This is a bill normally paid by the receiver of the parcel; if you would like to pay it instead, let your courier know. Goods with declared high value and is intended for re-sale can attract higher tariffs on duty and tax than items that were declared as gifts and will not be sold. The gift exemption for India is listed at INR 10,000, for both gifts and business samples. However, you can only ship 10 samples of the same item per shipment. All packages being sent outside of the EU need this documentation, so it is very important you fill it out correctly. Sending a document, however is exempt from any duty or tax.
Certain electronic devices require additional documentation when being shipped to India. For example, shipping mobile phones will require their IMEI number to be included on customs documents to be cleared by customs. When shipping used electronics, such as computers or television sets, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is required from the Ministry of Environment and Forest. This is a letter that states the Ministry has no objection to the import of the relevant item. This is normally the responsibility of the receiver, not the sender.
Medicine is a restricted item and must be accompanied by additional documents when being shipped to India. In order for any parcels containing medicines to clear customs, a No Objection Certificate is required from the Assistant Drug Controller of India. You will also need to include the scientific name of the drug on the customs paperwork, not the trade name. If your medicine is for personal use, you will need to fill up and send this form with your parcel. If you are sending it for any other reason, then please consult the medicinal import rules further before sending your package. In the majority of cases, you are restricted to just 100 medicinal items, unless you are a retailer.
Shipments of food to India require a No-Objection Certificate from the Food Safety authorities. Foods must be shipped in the original manufacturer’s packaging, sealed and not tampered with in any way. The packaging should have a list of all ingredients and shelf life of longer than 6 months from the date of shipping.