Things to Know When Traveling to And From India

With the holiday season beginning, a lot of travelers are planning trips to India. However, lately, there have been many upheavals to the way we used to travel. Gone are the days when the weight of the check-in baggage was the only thing to be concerned with. Today, regulations surrounding what goes in it, as well as how you present yourself and the baggage is strictly vetted. Below are some of the allowances and restrictions to keep in mind before traveling to and from India.

Traveling to India

  • As travelers to India, it is prudent to know about the amount of cash permissible in the form of Indian currency. Carrying Indian Currency in excess of Rs. 25,000 is prohibited.
  • Foreign currency in excess of USD 5000 or its equivalent and the aggregate value of foreign currency including currency itself that exceeds USD 10,000 should be declared to the Indian customs authority before exiting the airport.
  • Personal effects and articles (excluding jewelry) up to Rs. 50,000 is allowed into India duty free.
  • While gold and silver are prohibited from being imported into India, female travelers who have been residing abroad for more than one year can bring jewelry weighing up to 40 grams and male travelers can bring up to 20 grams.
  • Gold in its original form up to 1 kilogram, amounting upto Rs. 1 lakh and silver weighing no more than 10 kilograms, amounting upto Rs. 50,000 should be declared and will be dutiable at applicable rates.
  • Other permissible articles include two liters of alcohol, laptop, 100 cigarettes and 50 cigars which are permitted duty free.
  • LED/LCD electronics including television sets are dutiable at 36.05% of its value.
  • Payment of any duty less than the 36.05% should be made in foreign currency only.
  • Any concealment or non-declaration can lead to confiscation of goods, penalty as well as prosecution.
  • Once outside the airport, all major credit cards are accepted.
  • If you prefer using cash for your local transactions, you could transfer funds to your NRE/NRO accounts in India from the country you are traveling from and use a debit card there to withdraw cash based on your needs.

Traveling outside of India

  • The Goods & Service Tax (GST) claims are available in several public offices and some international airports in India. This allows you to reclaim the taxes paid for goods bought and taken out of the country.
  • Almost 2,100 airlines have restructured their Transportation Security Administration policies. Check with your airline to see what changes applies to you.
  • Increased security measures could lead to potential onboarding delays so travelers should give extra leeway in time. Some international airlines even warns each traveler to arrive three hours in advance of flight departure to allow for screenings.
  • All electronic devices bigger than a cell phone should be brought out of the baggage, placed in separate bins and submitted for additional x-ray screening.
  • The number of Carry-on baggage now is dependent upon fare class. Certain airlines like Emirates, ANA and Singapore airlines still allows a carry-on bags along with personal item like a laptop bag. The rest permit just one carry-on which means the traveler has to opt between a small-sized carry-on and a laptop bag. Depending upon your class fare, certain airlines offer a higher fare that, apart from other benefits may permit you and additional carry-on aboard the flight.
  • As part of detailed security measures, certain airlines particularly that are US bound now conduct individual interviews at the port of entry. This could be in the form of personal interviews at check-in counters at Dubai or like Air France, provide questionnaires to fill out instead.
  • Travelers should be aware that certain airlines like Cathay Pacific has suspended the self-drop baggage service implemented in the past. Therefore, travelers should cater for additional time to do this manually.

A very convenient way to exit out of the airport is by enrolling into the Global Entry program. This allows you to exit through an expedited channel since you are pre-screened and qualified to circumvent many of the rigorous TSA formalities.