Lot of people ask me this question. They want to buy a mobile phone from US to India but not sure whether they need to pay customs duty when importing to India. This article will tell you whether you can import a mobile phone from USA to India and if yes, how much customs duty should you pay on it (or not?).
case 1 – You are in India and want to buy from USA
First off, there are different ways to get a mobile phone from USA to India. First, you can buy it from an online shopping website like Amazon with international shipping and you can prepay the amount online. Nothing more to worry about! Here are the details.
Second, if you’re trying to buy something from USA to India there are companies that will buy it for you to a local US address and ship it to you.
Third, you can buy the mobile phone from an online shopping website to your friend/family who can bring it over to you when they visit India. This is probably the cheapest way out but finding a friend who can do this might be tough in most cases. Also you’ll need to wait for their preferred time.
Case 2 – You are in USA and want to buy it when you go to India
Now, if you are in the US and want to buy the phone for yourself there are certain things to know about.
If you want to carry it in the box, un-opened, tough luck, you will have to deal with customs. If you have more than one mobile phone too, you will have to deal with customs.
But if you are carrying the phone opened, and with you (in your pockets) then customs will let you take it without any duties or screening. Because, now it is personal use item.
If you’re placing the phone in an un-opened box in your carry luggage or cabin baggage, the customs at Airport will mark your bag and will ask for explanations.
Now keep in mind that there are no custom duties for goods worth up to Rs.45,000. (see details here) So, an iPhone of roughly $700 cannot get customs duties. But other pricier items will be charged. Also, if you are carrying more than one mobile phone, chances are that there will be duties imposed on them (as they are unlikely for personal use). I know of cases where two phones were let go without any custom duties though.
For full list of items you can bring to India from US (and cannot) and the charges associate with it, please check this list.
All the best!