The facility for import and export of goods by Post Parcels is 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. Limited facility for export clearances is also available at Export Extension Counters opened by the Postal Department where parcels for export are accepted and cleared by the Customs.

It may be noted that the post parcels arrived at Mumbai are cleared at the following offices :

  • The post parcels with tracking no. alphabet E (e.g. EKxxxxxxxxxUS) are cleared at Airport Post-parcel Sorting Office (APSO).Behind Sahara Star Hotel, Vile Parle (E), Mumbai.
  • The post parcels starting with tracking no. starting with alphabet C (e.g. CGxxxxxxxxxCN) are cleared at Foreign Post Office ,Ballard Estate, Mumbai
  • Further in Mumbai, courier parcels bearing Airway Bill number are cleared at Courier Cell, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Sahar, Mumbai,

The jurisdiction of the APSO, ACC, Sahar, Mumbai is post offices falling in the region of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Hyderabad City, Hubali, and Dharawar region of Karnataka.

1) How is clearance of Letter Mail Articles done?

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.

2) Which dutiable items can be imported through post?

Import of dutiable goods by letter, packet or parcel posts is prohibited except where such letter or packet bears a declaration stating the nature, weight and value of the contents on the front side or if such a declaration is attached alongside indicating that the letter/packet may be opened for Customs examination. Dutiable goods may also be not imported by post if Customs is not satisfied that the details of nature, weight and value of the contents in declaration as above are correctly stated.

The items intended for personal use, which are exempt from the prohibitions under the FTP or the Customs Act, 1962, can be imported by postal channel on payment of appropriate duties under Tariff Heading 9804 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. Customs duty payable if less than Rs.100/- is exempted.

3) Can someone send a gift through post?

The Bonafide gifts up to a value limit of Rs.10,000/-, imported by post, are exempt from Basic and Additional Customs duties in terms Notification No.171/93-Cus, dated 16-9- 1993. Further, only those items can be imported as gifts, which are not prohibited for importation under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. The sender of the gift may not necessarily be residing in the country from where the goods have been dispatched and 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 corporate bodies.

For calculating the value limit of Rs.10,000/- in case of imports of gifts, postal charges or the airfreight is not taken into consideration. The value of Rs.10,000/- is taken as the value of the goods in the country from where these were dispatched.

If the value of the gifts received is more than Rs.10,000/-, the receiver has to pay Customs duty on the whole consignment, even if the goods were received free, unsolicited. In addition, at the discretion of the Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner, if the goods are restricted for import, the receiver has a liability for penalty for such import, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited. The restricted goods are also liable to confiscation and receiver has to pay redemption fine in lieu of confiscation in addition to duty and penalty. Certain prohibited goods like narcotic drugs, arms, ammunition, obscene films/printed material etc. are liable to absolute confiscation and the receiver is liable to penal action, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited.

Customs duty is chargeable on gifts assessed over Rs.10,000/- 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.

4) Can samples be imported through post?

The Bonafide commercial samples and prototypes imported by post are exempted from Customs duty, subject to the value limit of Rs.10,000/-, provided that the samples are supplied free of cost. Importers having IEC code number can import commercial samples through post without payment of duty upto a value of Rs.100,000/- or 15 units in number within a period of 12 months. The goods so imported shall be clearly marked as "Samples". The importer is required to furnish a declaration to the effect that the samples are solely for the purpose of being shown to the exporters for securing or executing export orders. The importer is also required to undertake that if declaration is found to be false, he will pay appropriate duty on the goods imported as commercial samples.

5) Can Indian and Foreign Currencies be imported by Post?

Under the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, no person may bring or send into India any foreign exchange or Indian currency except with special or general permission of the RBI. Import of Indian currency notes and coins by post is not permitted. To reduce pendency and to avoid delay in clearance of mail articles, Customs may allow import of both Indian and foreign currencies received by residents by post, provided the value does not exceed Rs.5,000/-, subject to the following conditions:

  • Approval is granted by Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner of Customs;
  • A detailed record should be maintained of the exemptions granted;
  • Record of the name and addresses of the remitter and addressee in India should be maintained; and
  • Where a spurt is noticed in the number of covers received over a time, the matter may be reported to the concerned Regional Office of RBI.

Parcels/packets containing foreign/Indian currency, etc., in excess of Rs.5,000/- shall be detained and adjudicated on merits and released on the basis of "No Objection Certificate"from the RBI.

There is a general permission given to Authorised Dealers to import currency notes from their overseas branches/correspondents for meeting their normal banking requirements. In view of this, no specific clearance is required from RBI for such imports.

6) What is the procedure in case of postal imports?

i) On receipt of the documents from postal authorities, the Customs Superintendent/Appraiser scrutinizes the particulars given in the Parcel Bill and identifies the parcels 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 assessed by showing the rates of duty on the declarations or Parcel Bill, as the case may be. For this purpose, the Superintendent/Appraisers are 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 to ascertain the real value, quantity or description of the contents of a parcel, the addressee may be called upon by way of a notice to produce or furnish such invoice, document and information.

ii) 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.
iii) 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 parcels are brought through a vessel and postal authorities present list of goods before arrival of the vessel, the rate of duty and tariff value shall be the date on which Inward Entry is granted to the vessel.

iv) All parcels marked for detention are to be detained by the Postmaster. Rest of the parcels are forwarded for delivery to the addressee on payment of the duty marked on each parcel.

v) The detained parcels 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 Superintendent/ Appraiser notes down the rate and amount of duty against each item. The remark "Examined" is then entered against the entry in the Parcel Bill relating to each parcel examined by the Customs Superintendent /Appraiser and the Postmaster's copies will be returned by the Customs.

vi) 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 presented in due course to the Customs Superintendent / Appraiser with letter mail bill and assessment memos for assessment. After examining them and filling the details of contents of value in the bill, the Customs Superintendent /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 along with each packet.

vii) All parcels or packets required to be opened for Customs examination are opened, and after examination, closed by the Post Office officials and are then sealed with a distinctive seal. The parcels or packets shall remain throughout in the custody of the Post Office officials.

viii) If on examination the contents of any parcel or packet are found misdeclared or the value understated or consisting of prohibited goods, such parcels or packets are detained and shall not be allowed for delivery without the Customs' orders. Adjudication proceedings shall be initiated in such cases by the competent officer and the parcels released only after payment of fine and penalty, if any, levied by the adjudicator.

ix) The duties as assessed by the Customs Superintendent /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 Superintendent/ Appraiser at the end of each bill is given by the Post Office to the Customs Department in accordance with the procedure settled between the two Departments.

x) 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 prepared, are kept in the Customs Department for dealing with claims for refunds, etc.

7) What would be the outcome, if the personal goods have a value of more than Rs.2000/-?

In case of the personal goods valued more than Rs.2000/-, the importer requires to provide evidence of value to customs authorities. Acceptable evidence may include an invoice or other sales documents together with a credit card transaction record of payment or internationally accepted money transfer agencies. Importer can send evidence of value to the customs authorities. If the evidence is accepted, then the receiver shall receive the post parcel with duty assessed and payment of the same to the postal authorities.