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Jewelry, Coins and Bars: the Limits of Carrying Gold Into India

Gold bullion

The government of India to curb the use and import of gold has imposed taxes and limits that are applicable to travellers coming into India and hold an Indian passport. There are limits and duties based on the passport one holds as well as the length of stay outside India. An Indian passenger who has been residing aboard for more one year is allowed the following:

  • Male Passengers – 20 grams, subject to maximum value of Rs 50,000.
  • Female Passengers – 40 grams, subject to a maximum value of Rs 100,000.

Children up to the age of 18 are also subject to the same allowance. The conditions are also the same, that is they have been staying out of India for more than 365 days. For those who have stayed above 6 months outside of India, the duty payable is discounted at the rate of 10.3% of the value of gold brought inside India.

These limits and allowance are only applicable on gold jewelry and not in any other form. So, if a person meets the residency criterion of more than one year, but brings in gold coins, gold biscuits or gold bars, they are liable to pay duty at the applicable rates set by the customs of India. Indian passports holder who have stayed at least 6 months abroad are allowed a maximum of 1 kilogram of gold, on payment of duty. Anything above that limit would not be allowed to be brought inside India, meaning if a family of 3 travel to India, and are carrying gold, they can bring in maximum 3 kilograms of gold in total.  In case a person travels to India on short visits of less than 30 days each in the last 6 months, then for simplicity of calculation, such visits are to be ignored from the calculation of 6 months for the purpose of calculation of gold duties and free allowance. For persons who have not stayed more than 6 months outside India, then the duty would be 36.05% of the value of the gold brought inside India .

Any gold that is brought into the country can be taken out as well as long as the traveler properly declares it and obtains an export certificate. An Export Certificate is a document given by the respective customs of the country of origin of the passenger, which records the name, passport number, and details of the items on export list. An Export certificate is valid for 3 years, from the date of issue & must accompany the item for which the certificate is issued, including gold  jewelry. Once such an export certificate has been obtained, then the gold can be taken in and out basis that export certificate any number of times across the Indian borders .

If a non resident is returning back to India permanently, there are no special allowances on gold on such return.

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