How to buy things from USA & ship to India?

Update:  According to a new provision passed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India, the C.I.F value of import of consumer electronic items for personal use is enhanced to 50,000 INR (from INR 2,000). Which means you can now import consumer electronic items like smartphones from US and other countries to India, which costs up to 50,000 Rupees without any custom duty OR very less customs duty (earlier it was a flat 42%  of original price)Source.

Many people have asked me this question. How to buy something from the US and then get it shipped to India? If you’re thinking what to buy when traveling from USA back to India, here is a list.

Mostly gadgets or electronic items, like when there is a new mobile phone released that is only available in the US. Shipping gadgets and electronics to India is kind of a problematic issue you see, especially when you have to pay the duty.

There is a lot of security check that goes in, and you have to pay a heavy excise duty in India. And the processes in India of getting the product delivered to you is a nightmare.

I’ve heard stories where some people got charged 5 times the actual cost of the product and sometimes products damaged during shipping etc.

Looks like there is an easy solution to the problem now. (If you’re trying to send gifts to India, read this article.) 

How to buy things in USA & Send to India?

1. Good ol’ Amazon

Amazon recently launched a new service called Amazon Global. Certain products are eligible for this service. What it means is that you can buy from Amazon, and have it shipped globally without worrying about third party shipping. When you search for products on Amazon, just check the “Amazon Global Eligible” and “Free International Shipping” toggle on the left (see screenshot). Once you select the product, you can ship to India by just adding your local address. You will need a global credit card though. Click here to see how the process works.

Buy laptop from USA to India

Related: 5 Cheap USA to India shipping companies

2. Borderlinx (Service suspended)

Borderlinx is a company that can help you buy stuff in the USA and then ship it safely to India. According to what the company claims, you can buy stuff from stores like Amazon or BestBuy online, order it to your local US address (the company’s address) and the company will mail it to your Indian address in 2-5 business days. Sounds great! There are some restrictions though on what you can send. For example, cash, lithium batteries etc cannot be send as they are illegal.

According to Borderlinx, you can save up to 25% in shipping costs when you send it through them as compared to other regular shipping. Also, they have a shipping cost calculator so you can see how much it will cost you for sending something to India from USA.

Pretty neat service, I must tell you. But this is for those who don’t have any contacts in USA (friends or relatives).

3. Manyship

This is another neat service that will let you buy anything in USA and ship to you in India. It uses people traveling to India as carriers. So essentially, you will buy from some online store, ship to a local address (which will be give by the app based on who is ready to help you) and they will bring it to you.

The problem is that most of the times, you will not find people traveling at the time you need. You will need to wait until there is someone willing. But it’s a great service to save on the customs duties. P.S – I haven’t tried this service myself but have talked to their owners regarding it and it seems to be a legit service.

4. Ask a relative

As if you didn’t know! But, this is the cheapest way to send stuff from USA to India. One, you don’t have to deal with shipping charges. Two, you don’t have to pay custom duties if the items are single piece. But the problem is you can only send one or two items max, and of course, finding a relative or friend willing to carry items for you.

Here is how you can send gifts to India from USA

5. Use a regular shipping company/ courier agency

Everybody hates shipping and courier companies. The problem is that their fees are steep and they are not-so reliable. I get emails from several shipping companies saying that they do “amazing” service from USA to India but I’m yet to find a reliable, friendly and trustworthy service. My suggestion is to go with the big names if your package isn’t big, because they do reliable service although costlier. If you have a lot to ship, then getting a shipping agency that deals with container shipping is best. Here is a list of the best shipping companies from USA to India.

6. iBhejo (Buy in US, ship to India, customs taken care of)

This service claims that you can buy anything from USA by buying it off of their website (not others) and shipping it to India. When you buy something off of their website, they send it to the local warehouse (in USA), verify contents and ship it to your address in India. The good thing is that they will deal with all the custom duties on your products. The negative is that, not all items are available on their website (like the new iPhone X for example) and there are too many steps between the process that may delay the shipment and it can get costly.

7. MyUS (Buy in USA, ship to India urgently, customs not taken care of)

Update: Some users have reported that the service isn’t functional anymore.

This service allows you to have a local address (given once you register with them) to which you can buy stuff from any online shop in USA. Once they receive the item, they will ship it to India to your local address. The advantage is that you can buy anything from Amazon or other sites, but disadvantage is that there is a big list of restricted items and they won’t deal with customs duties.

8. ShopUSA

ShopUSA is a similar service like Borderlinx. It lets you buy anything from an online store in USA to their local address (one address for everything). You can then manage your shipment online and send it to India by prepaying custom duties if any. They claim that they send shipments in about 3 days.

How To Ship Electronics from USA to India?

A lot of people ask me what’s the best way to ship electronics from USA to India easily. Most people want to get away with the custom duty. Here’s my answer to those looking to get this done.

You cannot get away with custom duties on electronics (read update above). All kind of electronics should be declared to the customs when they arrive in India and they will be charged a custom duty. However, there are some exceptions and a right and wrong way of doing it. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

If you’re sending any kind of electronics, let’s say a laptop or mobile phone to India from US, then first off figure out how much does it cost for shipping. For example, most shipping companies measure the height and weight of the shipment to calculate costs. Let’s say you are sending a large laptop. The length of the laptop might be, say 20 cms and width say 15 cms and height 2 cms. For most shipping companies, this would make to a shipping cost of within $35 – $50.

Things you should ask when shipping electronics from USA to India

Ask them the following questions.

1. What is the actual price? Give them the height, weight and width of the box the item would fit in (most shipping companies calculate cost by box size) instead of the actual dimension of the item.

2. Ask them how long it will take for the shipment to arrive in the local address instead of their company. Most shipping companies will tell you the time it will reach India, not necessarily your doorstep. There is a difference between the two.

3. Ask them if there is a speedier option. Mostly, they will quote you the cheaper price and upsell you with the higher price if they sense urgency.

4. Ask them if there is a slower option. Don’t show urgency. Sometimes, they can club your order with another one, if you are ready to wait couple more days/weeks and this becomes a cheaper option.

5. Ask them which cities they deliver to and ensure your local address is catered to.

6. Ask if you will get a shipping tracking number. If they’re using a reliable shipping partner like UPS, you will get a tracking number by which you can track the shipping status.

7. Ask for promo codes. better yet, search for it online. Most companies have a reserve price and they can squeeze in a discount if required, although they don’t reveal it the first time.

Things to buy from USA to India

So, if you’re traveling from USA to India, you can end up in a tricky situation confused – that is creating the list of things you should buy to India. Everybody starts with a list and gets nowhere. I’ve been there many a times. But here are a few things that might help you. (Also read: List of things to buy from USA to India)

1. Electronics & Mobile phones to buy from USA to India

When buying electronics from USA to India, make sure you buy the ones that are compatible in India. Not all electronics are compatible in India, right from plug points to screen types there are many things you got to look into. If you’re looking to buy TV’s. the advice is that you’re better off buying them in India. Because, considering the import duty charges and risk involved, it’s not worth the money. Agree that price is comparatively cheaper in USA, but including import duties and the shipping charges, it will make up more than what you’d expect in India.

However, in the case of mobile phones or tablets (especially a recently released model), it is advised that you get it from USA, because the price is cheaper than India, and you can find a work around to make it work in India. For example, a new iPhone can be bought from the Apple store (not contract based), and the price would still be cheaper than India (if it is available that is). I’ve bought an iPhone 5 when it released in 2013 and took it to India, and it worked fine there with the new SIM cards available (Phone was not on contract). I had to get a charger adapter though to fit Indian plug points.

Also, there are several unlocked, no-contract mobile phones available well under $100 on Amazon. I’d recommend to buy couple of them if you have the budget. Just make sure that they have the facility to change SIM cards (Phones that come from carriers like AT&T and Verizon will only work with those carriers, so this is extremely important) and has triband/quadband feature, that is required for them to work in India. I’ve made a list of such phones that you can buy from USA to India.

2. Clothes

Can’t generalize here because people think differently about clothes. For instance, someone looking for branded stuff, definitely should buy from USA. Like Louis Vuitton or Tommy Hilfiger stuff. You are not going to get it in India, and if at all, it’ll come at a double premium. So, if you are the trendy kind, who wants the latest in Fashion, look no further, get it from USA.

But if you’re the budget conscious kind, then you might get some good deals online or at regular stores like Walmart and Target, but my personal recommendation is that you buy clothes from India. It’s far cheap and you get a better collection to choose from (except for when it is high end premium brands).

3. Gifts

There are several gifts you can buy from USA to India, and that too at cheaper prices. Most of these gifts range from $20 – $500 and are very cost effective when you take them to India. Example: Toys, Mobile Phone Accessories, Small Electronics, Gardening Items, Home Improvement Items, Kitchen Accessories etc.

Here is a list of gifts Indians buy while going to India

How much will it cost in custom duties to import electronics to India?

Good question. It really depends on the items you are bringing and their original cost. Indian customs officially does not charge duties on items under Rs.50,000 for personal use. But it’s really sketchy how items are classified and tagged. In my experience, you are very likely to get a customs duty on all items based on the original value of the shipment.

Update:  According to a new provision passed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India, the C.I.F value of import of consumer electronic items for personal use is enhanced to 50,000 INR. Which means you can now import consumer electronic items like smartphone from US and other countries to India, which costs up to 50,000 Rupees without any custom duty. (Source)

All the best. Let me know how your shipping experience went.

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About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC's to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I've learned in life. Here's my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). This blog is read today, by more than 300K people world over! Here's my guide on how you can start a blog like this. :)

185 Comments

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  • I travelled to my sister’s place a week ago in Texas. A sale is open for the iMac. I am planning to buy it and take it with my luggage. Is it possible to get rid of the packaging and pack it in an old carton box and show it as used to not pay any duties. Also will I have to declare this product as dutiable upfront or when they ask me.

  • hello mani ,
    I want a iphone 8 plus from USA. Can I really trust borderlinx. The cost of the item is 52k how much will bee the custom charges ?

  • Hello Mani

    My son would like to purchase online a PS4, US product on ebay. Before I go ahead and purchase I would like to know if I would be required to pay customs duty or any other taxes on arrival in India. Grateful for your help before going ahead with this. Thank You!

    • Depends on the shipper Karen. Professional agencies like DHL or Fedex will tell you upfront about it and even let you pay the fee upfront but others will leave it to you and “surprise” you once it lands in India. It’s a bit of mix that I’ve seen.

  • I want to buy some apparels online from US- i was wondering if there i have to pay any custom duty and if yes, then how much. I have purchased apparels online from foreign websites multiple times before but i always had different experiences with customs- the package from US was not charged for customs, however, i had to pay for my package from UK. I am wondering if it is because of changes in policies, and I am unable to find useful articles online. Please help

    • Hey Joyita, a lot depends on what you’re getting, the volume, size and dimensions of the shipment and of course, where you’re getting it from.

  • Hello , Venkat here ….I am an importer in US and import fresh flowers from India.

    Currently planning to expand my operations to export – from US to India. Please send your requirements to me. I work with custom brokers/ freight forwarders both in India and US and will be able to fulfill all orders from US to India.

    Thanks,
    Venkat

  • I got a good deal on iPhone X 256gb on eBay.com it is a used one with pristine condition the seller is from australia
    Will customs duty be charged?

  • Hey. What if someone is sending me iphone XS from US. Should he send it without box and as a gift? How much custom duty i will have to pay? If there is not price tag on parcel?

  • Hi Mani,

    I plan to buy a toy figure online from a US based store. They have 2 shipping options to India,

    1) Economy Air Mail for 16 dollars (No Tracking)

    2) USPS Priority Mail for 32 dollars

    If I go for the cheaper Air Mail option, will my Import Duty be less?

  • Hi Mani,

    thanks for the update. Could you please help me with below question.

    i had couple of reward points with me for etihad airways and later i tried to redeem them and buy something worth of 15000 rupees and they send the parcel through DHL . I found DHL charged me some 6500 rupees as custom duty on it.
    althpugh the product was for home use elctronic gadget.

    Could you guiode it is possible to avoid these kind of charges or is there any policy regarding this or any amount allocated for not levi of custom

    please help

    • Unfortunately not Pradeep. It is sad, but customs charge duties on any package that comes in (unless sometimes when it is declared as transfer of residence or used products) be it a mobile or a microwave. I know folks who had to pay double the amount of the actual price for a mobile phone. 🙁

  • Hi,
    First of all many thanks for an useful article..My query is it possible to ship a product of cost more than 1 lac rupees ( planning to buy a sound bar through online (USA) and to ship from there to India..?/

      • How good is this site…?vhttps://www.bhphotovideo.com/ They are having international shipping option..one more doubt customs duty is based on product vale only or on product value + shipping charge.

      • Hi Mani,
        When I contacted shopusa they are advising to purchase the sound bar from amazon and to deliver to their address in USA and they are also advising to change the invoice to reduce the custom duty and also shipping charge…is it advisable?

  • I live in India. I bought my all Apple products from Glocalzone which is a website provides to buy things overseas). So, I bought MacBook Pro at its US price via Glocalzone.

  • I am looking forward to buy a used graphics card from US.Do you think sending it as gift will free me from customs??

  • I want to purchase cleansing solution from the USA and get it shipped to India…..They are supplied in 6ml small bottles and i would want to purchase about 100 bottles….What all options can i go through to get it without issue of customs etc…

  • Hello Sir,
    I am flying from USA to India and planning to carry 10+ sports shoes and tennis rackets.
    Could you please share option on to ship them all ?
    some of them are used and I am not in hurry to use them, means I can wait for their arrival in India , please advice cheap and reliable option.

    thanks

  • Hi,

    My brother sending one laptop as my Bday gift worth of 659$ (post offer price) and now the item is stuck with Delhi customs.

    I get confused why they held it and customs updated reason for “retention-other

    Please suggest me what could be done in this case. Do they charge me ? if yes how much?

    • Kumar, They will contact you with the price you have to pay in custom duties, after which the item will be released to you.

  • Paying duty charges is usually depends on customs and in some cases the courier services you use ,if you fast fast shipping method then the chances will be high even for a product which cost 20 bucks ,but they never let a bigger package ,more than 1kg pass without duty irrespective of shipping method ,some got lucky or some lie that haven’t hit with any charges , supplements and electronics items do get hit with high charges ,these are the most sought items and customs know it ,if you can get them locally ,then don’t think of importing them unless you have extra money to spend and watch out for some courier services they can end up adding up pointless charges clearing customs ,I hope someday we are exempted because we are only importing these stuff because we cant get them locally or being sold counterfeit stuff and it’s for personal use only ,but I don’t think anything like this will happen ever

  • I ordered a personal use cosmetic product worth 22$ from iherbs.com and i paid 8$ shipping for shipping. At customs they are asking to pay 14$(990rs) and my courier is asking to pay another 7.53$(520rs) which means i am paying 51$ for the product worth 22$ more than 235% of the product value. The courier id DHL.

  • Hi, thanks for informative article. Will Custom officer evaluate product value at discounted rates(during deals) or original value? In other words, will s/he look just for bill or research the original price? I’ve to buy Surface Pro which is now at discounted price of $599 (~₹42000) instead of $799. As you mentioned, under ₹50000, product will get Custom duty exemption. Therefore will I get exemption?

  • hi

    I recently bought a watch from USA which is shipped to india, The customs have cleared it with a duty of 7K for the product which was bought for 20K after discount. It was a single product which was order through online merchant and shipped through US postal services.

    Is there a way where we can exempt this duty by contacting customs, because it seems now the product is with Postal services india and they will release only after payment of the duty.

    • Hi Bala, I don’t think so. It is unfortunate how customs deals with this. I’ve seen cases where they added 50% duty on electronic products. Considering that, you got lucky with just 7K. 🙁

  • Hi
    Nice post. i’ve a question. I’ve a parcel coming which is iphone X to india via UPS. I am confused on how much custom i might have to pay?
    Can you please give me some estimate so i can be prepared for the hit!!
    Thank you
    Nancy

    • Hi Nancy, when the customs is involved, it all depends on your luck basically. Technically, they are allowed to charge X% of the product price. Funny thing is they decide what the product price is, not you.So the custom duty changes based on which city it is being imported to, what price the customs officer thinks it is and your luck. Let me know how it goes. All the best.

  • amazon.com still charging import duty on goods more than 42 %.
    The source file seems to be the old. dated 2016.
    can you provide link for recent amendment of union budget 2018 ( India).
    Please verify the information once again.

  • hi sir
    i want to purchase butterfly table tennis robot from usa its estimated cost inr 150000 but its available on butterfly website but not provided in india. i searching lots of online shopping site but not available on site and i m not trusting any other than amazon flipkart etc … i also log in amazon globle but this item not in list and i dont know about custom duties or any sureties to pay advance all money and they are not delivered to my address this my first item to import. please give suggestion how to purchase item or trusted site….

    • Better to get a friend get it for you from US. For such products, I’m assuming there’d be a good duty amount you will have to pay.

      • I want to buy a vapounig atarter kit named Juul. Which is the best way to import it in india?

  • Hi,

    My friend in US sending me a pair of shoes, t-shirt and socks of total declared value of $25. Can he send me through the courier. Is any custom duty will be applicable on it.
    Also how much amount of gift item the excise or custom duty is not applicable.

  • Hi Mani,
    i want to Buy a Portable SSD (Hard Drive) from B&H Photovieo.com and its just cost me 300$ and the Package dimension is 5.354 x 4.252 x 1.417…
    So can i Buy that thing from USA’s Site?
    The product is very small & Very very Lite weight. No One is coming from USA now in my circle and i need this urgently.
    And i want to buy only 1 piece right now. Is that cost me custom duty? Or it will come easily to my Home?
    The Website is Shipping me that SSD via DHL and DHL Cost me just 36$. and will deliver ti me in just 3-5days.

  • Hi mani,
    I’m planning to buy a single denim selvedge jeans from usa, cost around USD 200.
    Any idea that how much custom duty I’ll have to pay?
    Thanks in advance

  • Hi Amit,

    I am planning to buy 10 perfumes from USA through an online forum of fragrancex.com. Total cost of the perfumes would be around $250, volume 1000 ML and carrier would be DHL/FedEX. Do I have to pay for any custom or import duty and if yes, how much it would be.

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

  • I have ordered Android box from aliexpress (Shipping from Singapore) cost around $124 (Rs.8000). whether customs is applicable to this? If yes then what rate they charge?

    • Hey i actually brought Android box from Aliexpress 6 months ago.If you want to avoid customs,contact the seller and ask him it as gift with an invoice value around 5-15$.In that case you won’t be charged by the customs.

  • bro im palnin to buy nutritional supplementsf from usa thro online ,should i have to pay any charges to customs the maximum weight wil be not more than 2kg

  • Hey there nice article kudos man!
    I have a doubt I am planning to buy iPhone X from USA through borderlinx.I can take care of shipping.I just wanted to know If I will go through customs which I think I will also If yes how much will I be paying them? The iPhone price is 1149$ in US.

  • Well thanks for this well informed article. I just have a single doubt. Currently am planning to buy alienware laptop through amazon USA and i can get it by 1923$. Note: the actual price is 1729$. So they charging around 200$ for ‘Shipping and Handling’ so now my question is : is this the final price i need to pay? or will i b charged another amount during the time of delivery? Kindly reply and keep up ur good work.

  • From the Gazette notification that you shared, I see that it is dated in 2015/16. Has this amendment already taken effect? Recently, In Jan 2018, I got a computer case shipped from USA, whose declared value is around INR 10k. When the item arrived at our post office I was asked to shell out an additional 4500 towards import duty. This is despite the fact that I had already paid for international shipping and handling.

    • Yes Hemanth,
      Unfortunately, this is what has been going on. The customs duty is applied on top of whatever you paid sometimes. And they charge is based on original value of the product. Most often, they just guess the original product’s value and do not even consider the declared value. It’s an unfortunate situation.

      • I wrote an email to The Directorate General Of Foreign Trade attaching all the relevant documents like invoices, import duty memo et al. The officer forwarded the same to theexcise and customs department. Keeping my fingers crossed indefinitely! !

  • Hi,First of all thanks for all the effort you take to gather these kind of information for us. All the comments that I see here are from time before the custom rules changed. So I would like to ask the question again. I want to get a laptop from US costing about 1000$ (appx 64000 Rs). As you mentioned that purchase upto 50000 Rs is free from customs, does it mean that the custom duty on a 64000 Rs product would have also decreased as its only 14000Rs more than the exempted limit?
    I dont have any relative in US. What would be the best way to get it safely and cheaply to India in your opinion as out of many services you mentioned I am confused about the reliable one.Can you please also give some approximate idea as to what will be the custom charges and shipping cost incurred.

    Thanks, Anshul

    • I’d recommend getting the product via Amazon global shipping if available. If not, your best bet is a service that’ll give you a temporary US address and have the product shipped for you through it. I’ve given several examples to such sites in the article. Let me know if you have any doubts.

    • Your method of sending laptops,…. Is it duty free?. What if someone i know from US send me laptop? Do i or they need to pay taxes? (well its me who’s going to actually pay 4 the laptop)

      If it is possible for them to send me 1000$ laptop free of duty 4 me.
      Do i pay high taxes for international transfer of money….

  • hi bro, how are you and you”r family. Advance HAPPY NEW YEAR.
    I want planned to buy Graphics card in USA online store. but how to shipping india.
    i have two idea 1).to send the parcel via any relatives 2)through SHOP USA.COM
    which is the best idea above.
    SHOP USA.COM is best ?

  • Hi Mani, Appreciate your time for sharing the valuable information. Electronics have been covered as part of the article. Is this applicable to send expensive watches or jewelry? For Ex: If I need to gift a expensive watch or jewelery that I have with me, how are the custom duty applicable? What’s the minimum amount article that a person needn’t pay custom duty. Will there be any custom paper work involved?

  • hi anna, I was going to buy an Pentium g4600 processor + gigabyte mobo from newegg.com…and it seems that total cost is well under 10k including newegg priority express delivery option. Few people said that if it showed 10k as a final cost in newegg including the delivery charge, it wont cost more for customs etc.The same item costs over 15k in amazon india. I am just worried about the Custom duty as I dont know how much it will cost to get pass the customs.. Whats your thought. Should I go for it?

    • I’d rather buy it in India for that price Pritam. You see a thin margin of 5K which could very well be slapped on it as customs duty if you import.

  • Hi Mk,
    I want to buy a hard disk from the USA which is around 65$.
    I have a close relative living in the USA so what should I tell them to do so they could send me hard disk as the gift(either they repack package as a gift or unbox all and send on a new small box) and avoid a 1800rs customs charge.

    What do you suggest?

    • Hi Suvesh,

      Ask them to buy it online and bring it along with them while they visit India. I’d recommend unwrapping/unboxing it and keeping it handy in their luggage (not handbag). It is totally ok if it is for personal use. Shouldn’t be an issue at the Airport. All the best!

  • Hi,

    My friend has bought a pair of jordan shoes in US and is carrying them to India while travelling back along with his luggage. Is carrying it in the shoe box packed a problem? Do they charge duty for that as well?

    Thanks.

  • Hi,Mani ,Actually I wish to buy SAGER SNP7860 gaming laptop from xotic pc AND the main issue is that no retailer is available in India for this product,
    HOW CAN I BOUGHT THIS PRODUCT ,WHAT ARE THE SHIPPING CHARGES AND PROCEDURE FOR CUSTOM .
    Please hello me out

  • Hi Manik,

    If one of my friend courier me some item which weighs around 5 lbs for personal use worth 100 $, will it attract any duties.

  • Hi Mani,

    I want an Asus MotherBoard($279.99) which is not available in India and a GPU ($799.99) from NewEgg.com
    I have relatives in USA California

    What Should I do
    1) should I ask them to bring this product with them
    if so will they have to pay customs duty on these electronic components
    a) should they declare these products on customs
    b) or they should not declare these products on customs
    c) or they should declare these products with low Price(MRP) to costumes
    2) should I ask them to parcel me this product to India
    if so
    a) should they declare low price(MRP) of the products like 91.99 and 149.99
    b) or they should just send these products as a gift with the actual price
    c) or they should send these products with low price (MRP) as gift
    d) or they should send the product normally while declaring the actual price

    • Hi Gagan,

      Option 1 would be your best bet. But I’m unsure about the product dimensions, so there is a concern about whether it is going to be too big for carrying with your luggage or not. If it is not big, then yes taking it along with them is the easiest way. They’ll have to declare it as personal use and preferably have it unboxed and not make it look like a gift, in order to skip the red channel (duties). If you don’t mind paying duties, then declare it as gift and pay it off based on whatever duty they charge. I assume you’d want to skip it, so option 1 is a better option.

      All the best!

  • Hi Manik,

    I am planning to order Surface book from Amazon US which costs approx $1200. I am thinking to import it through Parcl.com and they had given me an offer to modify the custom value. Now I am thinking to make it approx 700 USD, what is your suggestion on this and can this be processed smoothly ?

    • Hi Hemant,

      If you meant falsely changing the original value of the laptop in order to reduce customs duties, I don’t recommend it. I’d suggest you provide the accurate value of the item and let customs take a call on it. Other than that, it should be processed without any hassle.

      • Hi Mani!! I want to purchase a laptop of value approx 1200. Can you tell me how much custom tax I have to pay.

  • Hi,
    I need a mobile which is only being sold in microsoft online store. It is about $200. I have no friends/relatives, how can i get it to india

    • Any of the methods mentioned above should work Krishna. You’ll need to deal with shipping charges and customs though. All the best. 🙂

    • Sure thing Prags.

      If they are small, they can handle it easily. If you’re buying it off of Amazon, they might even have global shipping on qualified items. Makes it even better!

  • Hello Mani,

    Last week I got an electronic imported from USA via UPS. The consignment was valued at $100 and I had to pay around 3260 [Customs with 28% GST] + 295 [UPS Charges]. Is this right? I mean, for an item which cost me about Rs. 7000, they charged me nearly Rs. 3500.

    Kindly comment on this.

    • Hi Abhilash,

      Technically I don’t think it is right. Because, according to the latest update (see source above) items for personal use won’t be charged customs duty that are under 50,000 INR in value. But sadly, I haven’t seen customs imply this strictly. They find loopholes in the way the item is categorized and value them differently. Earlier it used to be ~50% but now it has gotten down, that is the only good news.

      • while buying products of cost less than 10,000 on amazon global store, if they are charging import fees deposit, do we get refund of it or what??

      • Hi mani,
        Notification is dated August 2016.
        and as per recent rules on customs taxes are increased by 5%

        so kindly clarify, because on borderlinx webiste we can clearly see the amount needed for importing material.
        your information is bit misleading.
        waiting for your valuable reply.

  • hi MANI ,I want to buy a laptop from usa i.e alienware which cost around $2000-$2500,and no one is coming from usa,how i can import the laptop to india without any custom duties,also tell me if someone brings he same laptop then we have to pay customs or not in india

    • Hi Rohan,

      Importing it without any customs duties is going to be tough. But for a smoother shipping you might want to try Amazon global store like stores where they will guarantee shipping, excluding shipping (which is on you). Yes, if someone is bringing it for you, (in an open box, declaring it as for personal use) then the chances of attracting duties on it is very less.
      All the best.

  • Hi. I’m planning to buy a surface books 2 from USA as the 15″ version is being released only there. The retail price is around 2900$ and I don’t have any relations travelling here. So if I use a freight forwarding agency like ShopUSA, how much do I have to pay as tax(customs + GST(maybe, idk))? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Aakash, it is really hard to say. Like I mentioned, even though items under 50K is exempted from duty, it depends on the customs officer you will be dealing with. Typically I’ve seen that for smaller packages they don’t charge much but if they value the item higher than 50K (which is usually not based on the actual value), then there shall be some duty to be paid (you’ll only know once you purchase). Let me know how it goes.

  • Hi Mani Kartik,
    I’m looking to buy a Wacom Bamboo Intuos pro medium (It’s a graphic tablet) from USA which is almost 30% cheaper. My friend who’s studying in USA is visiting India in November. Can she avoid custom duty taxes if it is shown as her own tablet at the airport?
    Thanks!

    • Absolutely Shaaz. Ask her to unwrap it and carry it with her. It should be fine. I have the older version of the Wacom Bamboo and totally love it! All the best and do let me know how it went. 🙂

  • Karthik , I have messaged you one to one my concern can you reply to that . You could get the message from my number ending last 4 digit 4274.

  • Hi Mani,

    Is there customs duty on apparel? Last time I bought in 2015, items cost was $100 and customs charged me Rs.2000. Is it still the same or there is no customs charge for apparel like electronics upto Rs. 50000. Thanks.

    • Technically, there is no duty on things worth upto Rs.50,000. But from experience, what I’ve seen is that they will charge duties randomly and to their wish. One way to avoid is (no guarantee though) is to declare it as a used item and not let it stand out in fancy packaging in your luggage. Avoiding new boxes, gift packaging etc is a good idea.

    • You can, but it also depends on what type it is. Drones are kind of a grey area because of regulations. You might want to check with the manufacturer whether or not it is possible.

  • […] can also shop for the iPhone X online in the US, using an Indian credit/debit card, and then get it shipped ship to India. Use a forwarding service like the Parcel Service, which specializes in shipping the newest gadgets […]

  • Hi Mani,
    I want to order whey protein (ON 100% whey gold) directly from USA to India (Delhi). I searched on Borderlinx, health supplements are in their prohibited list.

    KIndly suggest me in Detail what to do?

    Thanks

  • hi.. i want to buy gas grill stove it will cost around 900 USD weight like 72Kg…
    how much it will cost shipping + customs and how there pickup my product kindly guid me…

    thanking you..

  • Can i import used mobile phone to this country we call India?
    I have a cousin in USA, he purchased S8 when it was launched. Now he wants to buy Note 8 and wants to send S8 to me.

    So my question is, do i have to pay custom duty? The handset is used, you said no duty if item is proved used. Otherwise i may have to pay 12000 Rs as duty only.

  • […] because of price differences (and sometimes better quality products). I get it. But the process of buying something from USA to India isn’t easy. I’ve documented it here. For those of you looking to buy a laptop or smartphone from USA to India, here are the […]

  • Hi mani karthik sir,
    one of my friend stay in USA, and he wants me to send his 2 years old, used, Lenovo thinkpad, do i have to pay custom tax on that? or where i have to collect that item, does the shipment company directly send it to my door?.

    • Hi Sagar,

      If he is shipping it via an agency like Fedex or DHL, it’ll need to clear customs. Once proved that it is used laptop, you wouldn’t most likely need to pay duties on it, but this is totally up to customs to decide. You’ll need to provide documents to show that the laptop is used (receipt of purchase showing date etc).

      Otherwise your best bet is to let someone carry it over with him while visiting India.

      Hope that helps.

  • hi mani my cousin is in usa and he bought an iphone 7 but no one is coming to india the present price of iphone 7 32gb is 60000 in india but in usa its $649 how can he ship safely to india without any extra taxes please comment very important

  • Mr mani karthik sir,
    iam looking forward to buy a edc flashlight from a site called banggood, the product costs around 5000 rupees ,
    and according to your update stating that the limit for electronics has been increased to 50000 rupees from 2k, will i be able to get this without getting customs slapped on it??
    please help
    your help is much appreciated

  • Hi Mani, This is a great information. I am eager to buy a soundbar which is not launched in India – Samsung HW-K950 which cost $1500 in USA. Can you please suggest how do I need to get to India safely and in a most trustful manner?

    Your advise will be highly appreciated.

    • That’s a great product you found Nilesh. It’s on Amazon but Global shipping is not available (most likely because it isn’t launched in India officially). So your best bet is, Borderlinx, ManyShip or ShopUSA. Get a quote from them giving the product package dimensions and weight (available on the product description on Amazon) and compare who gets the best deal. My hunch is they will be very close. All the best!

  • Hi Mani I want to purchase wd Hard disk from Amazon.com
    some of my friends already purchasing hard disk from amazon.com

    for example WD 4TB HARD DISK is $100 if purchase 4 pcs 100×4 = $400

    THEY SOLD AT $80 dollars each after they get in india
    they buy it from borderlinx or manyship

    my question is that how we considered item as used to get discount on item as well as on shipment ?
    i am new i never buy anything from amazon.com i am kneen to start buying
    please give the the guidance .

    • Rahul,

      You will have to pay the customs fees on them. Borderlinx is a good site to buy through (you will have to pay the fees anyways). They have lot of complaints for small orders however.

  • hi can i buy second hand camera lenses from usa which are not avilable in india i have been wrongly charged custum fee of more then 2000 rupees on the item which i purchases on 16.5$

  • hii
    i want to buy bhcosmetics..dy arnt costing mch… bt d custom duty aftr getting d product in india is high… do me favour leme kno if dre is any chnce f reducin d cost… how about shopusa.com ..

  • Sir Thanks for this Great Blog.You are Awesome.
    and I have a question sir and that is How can I buy an iphone 7 for less than 100$ and ship it to my city here in India?
    Please help me Sir.

        • Very Funny, it’s like “Can I take a car loan in India and import to USA”
          ->No one will give you a car loan unless you are a local resident, if you are you may be trying to run away from the city.

        • No you cannot get a contract phone from US if you are in India. They are for local residents who will abide by the contract. You can get unlocked phones though. Amazon has a lot of them.

  • Hi,
    I though I posted this yesterday…
    I want to import two CD turntables and a mixer from the UK?
    Will I still pay a custom fee since the new limit is 50K Rupees? The CD turntables are about $150 each (used and out of production), and the mixer is about $250 (also used and needs a bit or repair). I’ve heard of stuff disappearing but is this still the case, especially with electronics? I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk. I’m was willing to pay the appx 30% tariff but then saw that the limit had been raised. Please inform if you think this is easy enough to do. My main concern is that it might get lost/taken. I have not imported anything overseas from before so a bit worried.
    thanks
    R

    • Hey Rahul,

      I think it still is a good deal if you import them. Considering they are used, you could save a lot if you are getting them through a friend or family. You didn’t mention which service you are taking, but depending on which one, your charges will vary. I’m not entirely sure of UK laws, but if you can find a service like Manyship, it’ll be a lot more easier and cheaper in your case. If you go the other route, with a professional courier like DHL, then the cost is higher, but you’d get it safer for sure.

      • Hi,
        I’m not asking about the shipping options, but whether it is safe enough to ship (not stolen, unwarranted customs charges). Since these are below the 50k amount, I shouldn’t get any customs charges right?
        thanks
        R

        • There would be customs charges, just that they’re in the same slab and won’t be expensive. Check the updated rates above.

  • Do you know if it’s ok to have food items shipped from USA to India? I want to get some organic honey sent from my friends farm, but can’t seem to find any definitive answer on if this is ok. It will weigh around 1 lb without packaging and is in a glass jar.

    Thanks Mani!

    • I don’t think this is possible unless someone is bringing it with them. (and declaring it with customs at the Airport).
      However if you can find products on Amazon that has global shipping, then it’s possible.

  • i have a friend in usa.he buy a new iphone 7 .and he want to ship me india.will it will be cost more than present price in india..
    us price 649$-indian rupees around 43000 rupees
    but it costs 60000 rupess in india

    • Hi Wasid,

      In US, iPhone mostly comes on contract with the carrier. That is, if you are on say Verizon’s monthly $80 contract for two years, you don’t need to pay anything for the phone upfront. You can get it basically “free”. In India, this concept isn’t yet available, right? So buying upfront in US is cheaper (even though you can pretty much use any iPhone 7 as all the new ones are unlocked, even though they don’t advertise it that way). With that little additional duty, you are still getting a good bargain with buying the iPhone 7 in US and shipping it to India.

  • i want to buy iphone se 16 gb from usa to india it is 399 dollars
    should i pay customs apart from courier charges as it is less than 50000, waiting for the reply

    • Yes, you will need to pay customs if you are importing it. Although it’s a less amount. But if you try services like ManyShip, then you can get it done with far cheaper rates than professional shipping. For cases where you only have one item, I’d recommend it.

  • Hi There! Dear Mani can i get this laptop from amazon.com.(https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Switch-Alpha-12-SA5-271-31U2/dp/B01K21PP88/ref=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_t) This is below INR 50000 including shipping. I hope we no need to bare any custom duty below this value now is that true!

    • You have to give customs duty for sure but it’s only so much if someone ships it to you. Use Manyship, they can get someone to ship it for you. So much cheaper than other services.

  • HI Mani karthik..I want to buy XIAOMI RED MI NOTE 4 FROM FLOSMALL FOR THE PRICE THEY SAY IS 108 DOLLARS.HOW CAN I GET IT HERE IN INDIA? WHETHER CUSTOM PERMITS.THE INDIAN COST IN RUPEES IS JUST UNDER 7000/ RS.CAN I PURCHASE?

  • I just came across Borderlinx recently myself. It’s a very interesting business model that certainly serves a dire need in the market. Perhaps now I can politely point my relatives their way when I’m asked to be a spice mule on my trips to and from the US!

    Their package consolidation service is intriguing as well, but I’m sure they will face troubles with Customs. Indian customs are notoriously terrible… And they seem to magically lose things all the time. I’m curious about how they would deal with a package containing multiples items where one is deemed illegal to import. Will they suspend the entire shipment or simply remove the inappropriate article? What would be an impressive service is contracting people who are already travelling between the countries who might want to make a quick buck. Have two processing centers on each side, ideally one in Mumbai and one somewhere between JFK and EWR. These locations would serve as a dropoff/pickup/inspection/consolidation/packing/recording point. The items could then be forwarded to the recipients via domestic, cheaper mail services or even hand delivered for a fee.

    India should completely revamp their customs and mail departments. Aside from widespread corruption, it is dreadfully slow at times and quite expensive to ship internationally. China serves as a beautiful example of what could be. Their subsidized international mail services have enabled small and large businesses alike to export to the entire world, hassle-free. Imagine what could be if we were not hampered and impeded by poor government…

    Great write-up, thank you.

    • Hi Vihang,

      Borderlinx too have certain restrictions so that users don’t take advantage of their services and abuse it. Interesting you mention about a drop off kind of service. There is already one, it’s called Manyship.com. Check it out!

      And yes, I agree, the customs regulations has to be improved. I’m sure they have rules in place to curb malpractices, but at the same time, it should not be tough for genuine folks.

      • Thanks for letting me know about Manyship! I’ve just signed up. Also, I’m really enjoying your blog. The “How to Start a Business in India” one was very thorough and well-written. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future. Cheers

      • Hi Mani,
        I want to purchase a specialised sport shoe from amazon US. It’ll cost around INR 25k including shipping. Do I need to still pay custom duty over it as you mentioned the new import price ceiling has been increased to INR 50k. Kindly let me know.
        Cheers

        • If you use a service like Manyship you don’t have to (in most cases) pay the duty or worst case just the minimum. Otherwise, yes you should pay the duty. However, in your case, it’s not going to be too much as you are under 50K.

    • You could buy it from USA on Amazon or any other online store, have it shipped to the local address given by Borderlix and then have it delivered to India. Check out their services.
      Else you could use a service like Manyship. Also mentioned above, please check.

  • Boss I am planning to buy a workstation from USA and has to be shipped India is there any cheap way of importing and the weight of the product is 22 kg dimensions of the box is actually big in size I wait eagerly for your reply give the best advice it has to be less affordable from my side

    • Hi Azhar, Try out Manyship.com. I’m sure they can help. Let me know if otherwise. Good choice by the way! 🙂

  • Hi mani,
    I am planning to buy few items from us and ship to india. Products such as – Baby stroller, cot, few clothes, pair of shoes, an mk bag, clothes and such. Upon reading sites such as borderlinks, etc i see that customs has to be paid. Is there any way of knowing amount to be paid for customs clerance prior purchasing items.

    • Hi Sundeep,

      Customs duty is inevitable. Each product, depending on the category will be charged separate customs duty. I have listed a customs duty table above, that will give you a fair idea about how much additional cost you have to pay for each item when it is delivered in India. Please note that you have to pay this only when your items are delivered.

    • Not all the time. It depends on the type and number you are importing. If you just have 1 or 2, you could carry them with you in opened condition. If you have more, you have to provide purchase bill and other details.

  • how can I buy a music keyboard from Alibaba.com for really cheap rates like 300 dollars for two Korg Kronos 88-key music keyboards and have it shipped to India ? Will it clear customs duties in India ? How is it possible to sell so low ? Won’t Indian customs people not seize it ? I am really amazed by the prices on that site and would like some info if I should go ahead and place an order for the above-mentioned items.

    • Deepak, Alibaba is a B2B marketplace. You’ll have to buy in bulk (minimum order quantity) for every commodity. And yes you will need to pay customs duty on shipment arrival in India.

  • Whoa this sounds too good to be true! So if i buy DJI Phantom 3 Advanced drone and ship it here(India) through borderlinx i just have to pay the shipping charges?!

    • No, you have to pay the customs charges too along with Borderlinx’s charges. Please check their site. I would also recommend checking out Amazon Global eligible products.

    • There are a bunch of websites that will help you do just that. Buy things from USA and ship it to India for you. Check the sites mentioned in the article above.

Who is Mani Karthik?

Having lived in the US, India & Middle East, helping small & big companies succeed online, I share everything I’ve learned on this blog, from spirituality to money management, and everything in between. Hope you like it!

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