Moving Household Goods to India: The Nuts and Bolts of the Process You Need to Know

moving household items

Moving Household Goods to India: The Nuts and Bolts of the Process You Need to Know

Choosing a Professional Assistance for Moving Household Goods to India

It’s a stressful job to pack all the personal effects and valuable goods for moving or relocating overseas in a ship or a flight. The process used to be quite challenging around a decade ago. But, moving House Hold Goods from overseas to India is no more Greek to anyone as Indian custom regulations have been liberalized to a great extent. For a seamless HHG moving, you may need proper guidance and assistance.

When a person relocates to India for employment, a business assignment or change of residence, he/she can transfer the household goods as unaccompanied items. A duty-free HHG moving to India requires some formalities and documentation for which adequate knowledge and professional assistance may be required.

custom at airport

Getting Familiar with the HHG Custom Clearance in India

An Insight of the documentation and bylaws of the HHG custom clearance in India for Indian Nationals and Foreign Nationals include:

  • Since moving HHG is a part of the relocation, you can import your personal belongings as well as household goods, but there are some restrictions and prohibitions, which if violated, additional charges will be levied
  • The charges implied on the import of good may include taxes, duties, handling charges, cleaning charges, storage charges, charges related to customs inspection etc.
  • A duty-free overseas import of personal stuff and HHG is possible under special conditions
  • A selection of personal stuff and HHG is dutiable
  • For HHG and personal effect transfer or import to India, some formalities and documentation are required
  • The regulations related to import are subject to change without prior notice

Get Rolling with the Documents Needed for HHG Custom Clearance

When your goods arrive in India, it is necessary for you to be physically present in the country during the customs clearance being the owner of those goods. There are some essential documents required at customs including:

  • VISA for a minimum span of one year
  • Passport to travel to India
  • The complete shipment’s inventory in details mentioning the buying date, brand, serial number and model of the big or important appliances (in English)
  • A declaration form is needed from Indian Customs in Customs officer’s presence
  • An Insurance Policy copy

Digging into the Bylaws of Custom Clearance for HHG in India

For a duty-free custom clearance of HHG being imported to India, these are the essential Customs regulations:

  • The person willing to import his/her goods to India must have been residing overseas for a minimum of two years, the purpose must be shifting his/her residence to India and should have not stayed in India for a period over 180 days in the past two years
  • A PIO card or Entry VISA or Work VISA or Business VISA or a Resident VISA is mandatory for Foreign Nationals
  • A detailed inspection of all the shipments will take place
  • For general HHG, customs clearance will be done if the sea shipment commences within a month of owner’s arrival in the country and for the vehicles, the time span is 6 months. For air shipments, the shipment should begin within a month of owner’s arrival in India.
  • The delay in the shipment will be considered and customs clearance will occur only after Indian Customs’ condonation. The decisions will be merit-based.
  • It is not mandatory to be physically available at Customs during HHG Customs clearance but the owner has to arrive in the country prior to the shipment and be in the country for original passport verification till the customs clearance is done otherwise heavy charges for delay or container detention will be applicable.
  • After Transfer of Residence concessions claim, the owner of the goods can move out of the country
  • In line with Transfer Residence regulations, the owner of the new or old goods or personal belongings, if the possession is over one year, can import the items duty-free to India

Items Under Restrictions/Prohibitions by Customs


The list of prohibited items:

  • Weapons/ammunitions/firearms
  • Material or content related to pornography or obscene literature
  • Narcotics
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Live plants

If a person coming to India with these goods, a huge fine will be levied and these items will be seized.

The list of restricted items:

  • Food items as HHG shipment worth 50,000 INR are duty free for foreign nationals. Exceeding these amounts will call forth a certain charge.
  • For the foreign nationals who are Indian residents, the food items in HHG shipment can be worth 1,00,00 provided they have been bought with the fund of foreign national outside India

Items on Which Duty Charges are Levied            

A wide selection of items falls under duty charges applicable goods including:

Beverages, wines, spirits and similar stuff (for beer and wines, duty charges are approx. 150%, while on spirits and alcohol, the duty charges are approx. 182%)

New cars, old cars and motorcycles. A Car is only allowed to import in India if it is a right hand car with measuring systems and metrics meter. A duty of approx. CIF value’s 164% will be levied and the authentic manufacturer’s invoice has to be presented.

Newly purchased goods

TV, Music system, DVD player, dishwasher, AC, refrigerator (300 litre onwards), video camera, fax and photocopy machines and some other electronic appliances (one of each)

air conditioner in window

Boats, aircrafts

Professional equipment allowed free of duty with certification of profession only

Silver or Gold (in the forms other than ornaments)

Professional relocation and HHG transfer assistance providers will recommend you to put off all the tags, brochures, stickers, company’s cartoons and repackage the goods all over again to get the exemption on import duty.

Some More Details on Customs Clearance of your HHG

  • Since all the shipments imported to India are thoroughly inspected, for the duration for customs clearance of the goods may take 1-2 weeks
  • Some additional tax or duty may be levied which will be explained in details by your mover

A Hassle-Free Delivery Assistance for Your Household Goods  

Once the HHG and personal belongings are custom cleared, IKAN will take care of the further responsibilities that will include the delivery of the goods to your residential address, unloading the containers, unwrapping  the goods etc. if you have opted our relocation assistance.

For any further information, please contact Rohan at +91 9717175184 or email at

Ikan Team

Your Relocation Partner. A Mobility Management company, IKAN Relocations, has been a brand in existence since 1997 .

  • rohit
    Posted at 10:10h, 01 April Reply

    Very informative – thank you

  • Omprakash
    Posted at 14:52h, 04 April Reply

    Very informative. Good to know the HHG process. Thank you for sharing.

  • Harveer Singh Chadha
    Posted at 15:04h, 04 April Reply

    Certainly one must make use of a well seasoned professional company while working on the HHG requirements for India

  • Rishabh
    Posted at 15:06h, 04 April Reply

    Kudos to the person who wrote this blog. Pretty informative especially for Expats moving into India.

  • Dineshkumar Deenadayalan
    Posted at 15:50h, 08 April Reply

    Very good relocation tips and facts for the people moving to India. Thank you.

  • Adit Fernandes
    Posted at 15:53h, 08 April Reply

    This blog is a One Stop Information Shop for all the Expats who plan to move their household goods to India .

  • Eugenie
    Posted at 16:02h, 08 April Reply

    This article will be very helpful for our Assignees moving to India. Well written

  • Malini
    Posted at 16:31h, 08 April Reply

    Very Informative, thanks for sharing

  • Prince Francis V
    Posted at 09:19h, 09 June Reply

    I need to move my household things From Hong Kong to Cochin, kerala in india by sea shipment. I may have personal used goods about 300 to 400 kg or maximum 500 kg (some 25 cartons) or about 10 or 15 cbm . Kindly quote your best rate preferably door to door delivery,, if not port to port also fine, no need to be in hurry, have plenty of time, so that you can arrange to ship this goods as loose cargo maybe wait for other goods to combine and ship. Awaiting your earliest reply.

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