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CUSTOMS AND DUTIES IN INDIA

ENTERING INDIA


If you are bringing dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high-value articles into India with you, they must be entered on a Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE). These articles must be reexported at the time of departure. Failure to reexport anything listed on the TBRE means you'll have to pay a duty levied for each missing item.

You can bring in the following duty-free: personal effects (clothes and jewellery); cameras and up to five rolls of film; binoculars; a portable musical instrument; a radio or portable tape recorder; a tent and camping equipment; sports equipment (fishing rod, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets); 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars; .95 liters of liquor; and gifts not exceeding a value of Rs. 600 (about $20). You may not bring in dangerous drugs or firearms, gold coins, gold and silver bullion and silver coins not in use, Indian currency, or live plants. Depending on the attitude of the customs' official, you may or may not have to enter a portable computer on a TBRE form.

LEAVING INDIA

Rupees are not allowed out of India. You must exchange them before you depart. Banking facilities for the conversion of rupees into foreign currency are usually located in the same airport hall as the check-in counters. You have no access to these facilities once you pass through immigration.

All animal products, souvenirs, and trophies are subject to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The export of skins made from protected wildlife species is not allowed, and India is becoming increasingly rigorous in its monitoring of such exports. Such items cannot be imported into many countries, including the United States. As a general rule, avoid any souvenir made of wild animal skins (except crocodile-leather goods). Ivory, unless it can be proved to be old, is also not allowed in the United States, although it is widely available for purchase. Help stop the poaching, which is reducing elephant herds: Don't buy ivory products.

Generally, items more than 100 years old cannot be exported without a permit from the Archaeological Survey, which has an office in Delhi. Reputable shops will provide you with the required permit or help you procure it. Items without permits will be detained by Indian Customs if they are believed to be over 100 years old.

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