Clearance by Post
The facility for import of goods by Post Parcels has been provided by
the Postal Department at its Foreign Post Offices and sub- Foreign Post Offices. Customs
facilities for examination, assessment, clearance etc. are available at these Post
Offices. Export of parcels can also be effected at the facilities provided at Foreign Post
Offices and sub-Foreign Post Offices. Limited facility for export clearances are also
available at Export Extension Counters opened by the Postal Department where parcels for
export are accepted and cleared by the Customs.
2. Letter Mail Articles are
generally cleared by the Customs at the time of their arrival and sorting unless they
appear to contain contraband or dutiable articles. In such cases, the Letter Mail is
subjected to further examination at the Foreign Post Offices or sub- Foreign Post Offices,
as the case may be.
3. Goods imported or
exported by post are governed by sections 82, 83 & 84 of the Customs Act, 1962.
Furthermore, vide Notification No. 53/Cus dated 17.6.1950 (as amended by Notification No.
111/Cus dated 8.7.1955) Rules Regarding Postal Parcels & Letter Packets From Foreign
Ports In/Out Of India have also been framed.
Importability of items through Post:
4. Import of dutiable goods
by letter, packet or parcel posts is prohibited under Notification No. 78-Cus., dated
2.4.1938 (as amended), read with section 11 of the Customs Act, 1962, except where such
letter or packet bears a declaration stating the nature, weight and value of the contents
or if such a declaration is attached alongside indicating that the letter/packet may be
opened for Customs examination. Dutiable goods may also not be imported by Post in case
the Customs is not satisfied that the details as above are incorrectly stated in the
5. Items intended for
personal use, which are exempt from the prohibitions under the Exim Policy, 1997-2002 or
the Customs Act, 1962, can be imported by postal channel on the payment of appropriate
duties under Chapter Heading No. 98.04 of the Customs Tariff. This, however, does not
apply to items viz. Motor Vehicles, Alcoholic Drinks and goods imported through Courier
Service which are to be assessed at merit rates of duty. In case the customs duty payable
is not more than Rs. 100/-, the same is exempt vide Notification No. 17/2001-Cus. dtd.
1.3.2001, as amended.
Import of Gifts:
6. At the same time, bona
fide gifts upto a value-limit of Rs. 5, 000/-, imported by post, are exempt from basic and
additional customs duties vide Notification No. 171/93-Cus. dtd. 16.9.1993. Items imported
as gift should not be restricted for importation under Foreign Trade (Development and
Regulation) Act, 1992.
7. The sender of the gift
may not necessarily be residing in the country from where the goods have been dispatched.
Any person abroad can send the gifts to relatives, business associates, friends, companies
and acquaintances. The gifts have to be for bonafide personal use. The purpose of this
stipulation is that the person receives the gift genuinely free and the payment is not
made for it through some other means. The quantity and frequency of the gifts should not
give rise to the belief that it is used as a route to transfer money. The gifts can be
received by individuals, societies, institutions, like schools and colleges and even
8. For the purposes of
calculating the value-limit of Rs. 5, 000/- in case of imports of gifts, postal charges or
the airfreight is not taken into consideration. The exemption under the above-referred
Notification is subject to revision from time to time. The value of Rs. 5, 000/- is taken
as the value of the goods in the country from where the goods have been dispatched.
9. If the value of the
gifts received is more than Rs.5, 000/-, the receiver has to pay customs duty on the whole
consignment, even if the goods have been received free, unsolicited. In addition, at the
discretion of the Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner, if the goods are restricted or banned
for import, the receiver has a liability for penalty for such import, even if the goods
have been sent unsolicited.
10. Customs duty is
chargeable on gifts assessed over Rs. 5, 000/- by the Customs. In case of post parcel, the
customs department assesses the duty payable and the postal department collects the
assessed duty from the receiver of the gift and subsequently deposits it with the customs.
In case of imports of gifts by the Courier mode, the courier company deposits the amount
with customs and collects the same from the receiver at the time of giving delivery. If
the amount is high, the courier company intimates the receiver to contact Customs or make
payment of duty for the said goods before release of the goods to the receiver.
Import of Samples:
11. Bona fide commercial
samples and prototypes imported by post are also exempted from customs duty, subject to
the value limit of Rs. 5, 000/-, provided that the samples are supplied free of cost by
the supplier. Subject to conditions prescribed under Notification No. 154/94-Cus. dtd.
13.7.1994 (as amended from time to time), samples and prototypes of higher value are also
permitted to be imported with a view to help exports.
Parcels containing medicines and life saving drugs:
12. Life saving drugs
and items specified under Sl. No. 371 in the Notification No. 17/2001-Cus. dtd. 1.3.2001
(as amended), subject to the conditions prescribed therein, may be imported by post free
from customs duty for personal use.
13. In addition to the
above, various general exemptions from customs duties on merits would be available on
imports made through postal channel.
Procedure in case of Postal Imports:
14. The Rules prescribed
for landing and clearing at notified Ports/Airports/Land Customs Stations of parcels and
packets forwarded by the foreign mails or passenger vessels or air liners are as follows:
||The boxes or bags containing the parcels labeled as "Postal
Parcel", "Parcel Post", "Parcel Mail", "Letter Mail"
will be allowed to pass at the Foreign Parcel Department of the Foreign Post Offices and
Sub Foreign Post Offices.
||On receipt of the parcel mail, the Postmaster hands over to the Customs
the following documents:
||a memo showing the total number of parcels received from each
country of origin;
||parcel bills in sheet form (in triplicate) and the
senders declarations (if available) and any other relevant documents that may be
required for the examination, assessment etc. by the Customs Department;
||the relative Customs Declarations and dispatch notes (if
||any other information required in connection with the
preparation of the parcel bills which the Post Office is able to furnish.
||On receipt of the documents, the Customs Appraiser shall scrutinize the
particulars given in the parcel bill and shall identify the parcels required to be
detained for examination either for want of necessary particulars or defective description
or suspected misdeclaration or under-valuation of contents. The remaining parcels are to
be assessed by showing the rates of duty on the declarations or parcel bill, as the case
may be. For this purpose, the Appraisers are generally guided by the particulars given in
the parcel bill or Customs declarations and dispatch notes (if any). When any invoice,
document or information is required whereby the real value, quantity or description of the
contents of a parcel can be ascertained, the addressee may be called upon by way of a
notice to produce or furnish such invoice, document and information.
||Whenever necessary, the values from the declarations are entered into the
parcel bill and after conversion into Indian Currency at the ruling rates of exchange, the
amount of duty is calculated and entered. The relevant copies of parcel bills with the
declarations so completed are then returned to the Postmaster immediately. In case of
postal imports, duty is calculated at the rate and valuation in force on the date that the
postal authorities present a list of such goods to the Customs. In case the list is
presented before the arrival of the vessel carrying the goods, the list is deemed to have
been presented on the date of the arrival of the vessel.
||All parcels marked for detention in the manner indicated above are to be
detained by the Postmaster. Rest of the parcels will go forward for delivery to the
addressee on payment of the duty marked on each parcel.
||As soon as the detained parcels are ready for examination, they are
submitted together with the parcel bill to the Customs. After examining them and filling
in details of contents of value in the parcel bills, Customs note the rate and amount of
duty against each item. The remarks "Examined" is then to be entered against the
entry in the parcel bill relating to each parcel examined by the Customs Appraiser and the
Postmasters copies will be returned by the Customs.
||In the case of receipt of letter mail bags, the Postmaster gets the bags
opened and scrutinized under the supervision of the Customs with a view to identify all
packets containing dutiable articles. Such packets are to be detained and are presented in
due course to the Customs Appraiser with letter mail bill and assessment memos for
|| As soon as packets so detained
are ready for examination and assessment, they shall be submitted together with the
relative letter mail bill and assessment memos to the Customs. After examining them and
filling the details of contents of value in the bill, the Customs Appraiser will note the
rate and amount of duty against each item. He will likewise fill in these details on the
assessment memos to be forwarded alongwith each packet.
||All parcels or packets required to be opened for Customs examination are
opened, and after examination, re-closed by the Post Office officials and are then sealed
by them with a distinctive seal. The parcels or packets remain throughout in the custody
of the Post Office officials.
||If on examination the contents of any parcel or packet are found to be
misdeclared or the value understated or to consist of prohibited goods, such parcels or
packets must be detained and reported to the Customs and the Postmaster does not allow
such parcels or packets to go forward without the Customs orders.
||The duties as assessed by the Customs Appraiser and noted in the parcel
bill or letter mail bill shall be recovered by the Post Office from the addressees at the
time of delivery to them. The credit for the total amount of duty certified by the Customs
Appraiser at the end of each bill are given by the Post Office to the Customs Department
in accordance with the procedure settled between the two Departments.
||The parcel bills or letter mail bills and other documents on which
assessment is made remain in the custody of the Post Office, but the duplicates, where
these are prepared, are kept in the Customs Department for dealing with claims for
Procedure in case of Postal Exports:
||The rate of duty and tariff value, if any, applicable to
any goods exported by post shall be the rate and valuation in force on the date on which
the exporter delivers such goods to the Postal Authorities. Goods for exportation may be
delivered at Foreign Post Offices (including Export Extension Counters) and Sub-Foreign
Post Offices which have been notified by the Customs under section 7 of the Customs Act,
||The articles exported by post are required to be covered
by a declaration in the prescribed form.
||All exports by post, where the value exceeds Rs. 50/- and
payment has to be received, must be declared on the exchange control form viz. P.P. form.
When the postal article is covered by a certificate issued by the RBI (with or without
limit) or by an authorised dealer in foreign exchange that the export does not involve any
transaction in foreign exchange upto Rs. 500/-, the declaration in a P.P. form is not
||Export by post of Indian and Foreign currency, bank
drafts, cheques, National Saving Certificates and such other negotiable instruments is not
allowed unless accompanied by a valid permit issued by the R.B.I., except incases where
such negotiable instruments are issued by an authorised dealer in foreign exchange in
||Export of all goods is allowed under OGL to all
destinations except those that are covered by the Negative List of exports. Goods upto the
values of Rs. 15, 000/- are allowed for exports as gifts in a licensing year. Items
covered under Negative List are not allowed as gifts without a license except in the case
of edible items.
||Prohibition/restrictions under the Exim Policy and the
Customs Act, 1962 exist on the export of various articles by Post. Some of these articles
are viz. arms and ammunitions, explosives, inflammable material, intoxicants, obscene
literature, certain crude and dangerous drugs, antiquities, etc.
||Export of purchases made by the foreign tourists is
allowed subject to proof that the payment has been made in foreign exchange.
||If the addressee take delivery of parcels on payment of
duty and then wish to have them returned to the senders they can do so only under claim
for drawback under the observance of the prescribed procedure. Permitting an addressee to
open a parcel and take the delivery of part contents on payment of duty and repack the
balance of the contents for re-export without payment of duty thereon is not authorised
and is irregular.