Used Personal Effects for Passengers Traveling to India

Used Personal Effects

The term “used personal effects required for satisfying daily necessities of life” has not been defined in the Baggage Rules. Therefore, it is at the judgment of the customs officer in deciding the nature of the items. There is no official published list as it can include a whole range of items.

Generally, the term includes items like all used items of personal wear including shirts, suits, shoes, shoe brush & polish, blouses, sarees, undergarments, pants, neckties, handkerchiefs, dentures, gloves, cosmetics in use, towels, toiletries, bedding, blankets, used bedding, umbrella, walking sticks, used shoes, hairdryer, hearing aid, shaving kit, spectacles, one watch, etc. Any other item can be included, based on the merits and on a case-to-case basis.

Various electronic items, furniture, and “white goods” cannot be brought as personal effects. Especially, the items mentioned at Annex I and Annex II cannot be brought as personal effects.

For Tourists

In the context of Baggage Rules for tourists, personal effects would include the following:

  1. Personal jewelry
  2. One camera with film rolls (if relevant) not exceeding twenty.
  3. One video camera/camcorder with accessories and with videocassettes (if relevant) not exceeding twelve.
  4. One pair of binoculars
  5. One portable color television (not exceeding 15 cms in size)
  6. One music system including a compact disc player.
  7. One portable typewriter.
  8. One perambulator.
  9. One tent and other camping equipment.
  10. One computer (laptop/notebook).
  11. One electronic diary.
  12. One portable wireless receiving set (transistor radio).
  13. Professional equipment, instruments, and apparatus or appliances including professional audio/video equipment.
  14. Sports equipment such as one fishing outfit, one sporting firearm with fifty cartridges, one non-powered bicycle, one canoe or ranges less than 51 meters long, one pair of skids, two tennis rackets, one golf set (14 pcs. with a dozen of golf balls).
  15. One cell phone.

The above items are in addition to the personal effects allowed for Indian residents.

Scrutiny of Personal Effects

The above items must be taken back abroad when the tourist returns.

Even though the baggage rules allow only used personal effects, it is not the intention of the customs department to verify whether a product is new. You should be alright as long as your item is not new, in its original packing. In such a case, it can be disposed of readily.

No endorsement will be made on the passport regarding the items tourists bring. However, a customs officer is responsible for ensuring as far as possible that the passenger is a genuine tourist and that he/she intends to take the items back abroad during his/her return. To do that, the customs officer may scrutinize the passport and visa of the passenger for his/her duration of stay, previous visit, etc. and may ask some questions regarding his/her job abroad, the purpose of visit to India, etc.

Usually, passengers having return tickets get quick clearance. This is because officers consider a return ticket as proof of the passenger’s intention to return abroad within a short time. In case a return ticket is not available with the passenger (or as additional evidence), the passenger may produce proof like a valid visa for staying abroad. Other evidence could include valid job contracts, proof of holding property abroad, proof of overseas bank balance, foreign citizenship/passport, or any additional convincing proofs, etc. as evidence of intent to return within a short period.

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