From gold jewellery gifted at weddings to investments in gold coins, there are several reasons why we Indians are obsessed with the yellow metal.
A notable advantage of gold as an asset is that it is highly liquid and portable. It can be converted to cash when an emergency arises and is considered a friend in need.
Indian expatriates in particular love to buy gold from abroad due to their lower prices and superior quality. However over the past few years, restrictive conditions and customs duty on gold import are discouraging many people from taking gold to India.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions on gold import and their answers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much is the duty-free allowance on gold for Indian passengers?
An Indian passenger who has been residing abroad for over one year is allowed to bring jewellery, free of duty in his bonafide baggage up to an aggregate weight of :
- Gold ornaments up to a maximum value of Rs. 50,000/- (in the case of a male passenger)
- Gold ornaments up to a maximum value of Rs. 100,000/- (in the case of a female passenger)
2. Is the allowance applicable to children also?
The duty-free allowance on gold jewellery is applicable to children also, provided they have stayed abroad for 1 year or more.
3. Can I bring gold coin or gold biscuit within the allowance amount?
No, the allowance is only on gold jewellery. Gold in any other form is liable to pay duty.
4. How much is the customs duty on gold above duty-free allowance?
For those who stayed abroad for 6 months, the discounted duty payable is 12.5%.
5. How is the gold price calculated? Can I show purchase receipt?
The price of gold is calculated based on the value notified by the government of India. This value is subject to change from time to time, according to market conditions.
Purchase receipt can be good to show the source. However, prices are calculated as per value on the date of travel.
6. What is the maximum gold that I can bring above the free allowance?
Holder of Indian passport who is having at least 6 months continuous stay abroad can bring in up to 1 kg of gold on payment of duty. This can be jewellery or crude gold or gold coin or gold biscuits.
7. I had visited India for few days in between the last six months. Can I qualify to bring gold?
Short visits to India of 30 days or less are ignored in calculating this period of 6 months.
If during the preceding six months, total days on short visits to India is less than 30 days, you can import up to 1 Kg of gold on payment of duty.
8. What if I did not complete 6 months of stay abroad?
In case the passenger bringing in the gold has not stayed abroad for 6 months, then the duty @ 36.05% may be charged on all the gold the passenger arrives with.
9. I want to take 80 grams of gold from India to abroad. Will there be an issue while returning back?
All gold jewellery bought in India is exempt from duty if the passenger exiting the home country duly declares it and secures an export certificate at the airport customs desk.
10. How can I get an export certificate?
Export certificate is a document issued by customs and contains information like the passenger’s name, passport number and details of the item. In case of gold jewellery, it will have weight, description etc.
Passengers departing India can avail of the facility of obtaining an export certificate for high value items if they intend to bring such items back on their return to India.
Once you have this export certificate for a piece of jewellery, you can bring it in or take it out any number of times without any hassle.
The certificate will be valid for three years and must accompany the item, when brought back into India by the passenger or any member of his/her immediate family, in order to clear the item without paying any customs duty.
- You would have to fill up the form and apply with purchase invoice / valuation certificate from authorised testing centre. Also the item need to be produced for examination to the Customs Officer along with boarding pass and passport.
- Please check with your departure airport well in advance about this as the procedure is different for some airports.
11. My wife is wearing a small chain and ear rings as daily wear. Would this be an issue during short visit to abroad?
Normally customs officials do not mind if ladies are wearing small jewellery for daily use (eg. a small chain + a pair of ear rings etc).
To be on the safer side, you can get an export certificate before departure (see previous question), especially if you are travelling for short duration.
12. My wife has a necklace studded with precious stones. Does this qualify under duty-free allowance?
The free allowance is applicable only to pure gold jewellery. Jewellery studded with stones does not qualify for free allowance.
13. Do I have to declare the gold if I am not asked about it?
If you are carrying gold above the normal duty free allowance, you have to declare it. Import of gold by concealment in baggage coupled with no declaration will lead to confiscation along with imposition of fine/penalty and the offender may also be arrested.
14. Is there any special allowance if I am returning after cancelling my visa / Transfer of Residence?
No, there is no special allowance on gold for those who return after end of contract or release from employment.
15. Do I have to carry the gold with me while travelling?
The passenger can either bring the gold himself at the time of arrival or import the same within fifteen days of his arrival in India as unaccompanied baggage. There is no restriction of the sale of the gold in India.
The passenger can also obtain the permitted quantity of gold from Customs bonded warehouse of State Bank of India and Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation subject to the same conditions.
16. What can be done if I don’t have money to pay duty?
If the passenger is not able to furnish authentic information for the gold jewellery they bought or money to pay the duty, the only course available to customs official is to detain the jewellery giving an option to the passenger to release the gold jewellery on payment of duty OR to hand over the gold jewellery to the passenger when he is going to a foreign country (which is called re-export).
17. What is the maximum amount of gold allowed upon payment of duty?
A passenger can bring up to 1 kg of gold upon payment of customs duty. More than 1 kg per passenger is not allowed even if you are willing to pay the duty.
- Published on: 28 February 2016 - Updated on: 1 January 2021