Import or export happens through air, water or land modes. These can be imported or exported as cargo or through courier channel. There occasions where small quantity of goods need to be send or imported as samples or gift and not of high value, then it can be routed through courier by air. It was not regulated properly for a long time, but in 1995 Courier Imports ( Clearance) Regulation was framed which was later revised by Imports and Exports ( Clearance) Regulations in 1998. The facility of sending cargo through courier is available at all major International airports and registered courier companies with the commissioner of the respective places operates there.
What can be sent
All types of goods can be sent through the courier mode into India and out of India except few articles. The goods which are prohibited for import through courier are:
Animals & parts thereof or plants & parts thereof,
publications containing maps showing incorrect boundaries of India,
Gold or silver in any form,
Precious and semi precious stones & Studded jewellery,
Chemicals of chapter 28, 29 & 38 of the first schedule to Customs Tariff Act which need testing
Similarly, following goods are subject to restrictions when those are exported.
Goods which are subject to levy of any duty on their export,
Goods proposed to be exported with claim for Draw Back of Customs duty,
Goods exported under Duty Entitlement Pass Book Schemes or Duty Exemption Scheme or Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme, and
Goods where the value of consignment is above Rs. 25,000/- and Waiver from the RBI not to bring in Foreign Exchange is not available,
Samples, Gifts and Trade Goods
General provisions regarding import or export by courier
Document on any form including messages, information or data recorded on papers, cards, photographs which are not subjected to any prohibition or restrictions can be imported and exported.
Bonafide commercial samples can be imported through courier provided the said samples are being received free of cost (see Import of Samples). Similarly, gifts from persons abroad upto the value of Rs. 5,000/- and all the life saving drugs and equipments which are not chargeable to any duty at present (see Notification 20/99-Cus) can also be sent to India through the courier mode.
Commercial goods which are dutiable can also be imported through the courier without any restriction of quantity subject to payment of duty by the courier company at the time of clearance of the said goods from the Customs.
The value of Rs 5000 mentioned for gift or the commercial samples will be the price of the country of goods dispatch excluding any locally refundable duties. One important thing to note that for the value up to Rs 5000, it does not include freight or courier charges and insurance, but if the value is more than Rs 5000, it is included.
If the goods to be sent as gift or commercial samples through courier, it should be confirmed that the goods are not banned for import under Foreign Trade ( Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.
It is to be noted that no map can be exported if it is not up to scale or not showing boundaries properly. So while sending any books or magazines containing map of India, it is always better to mention “ map may not show the correct boundary of India” across the map.
Gold studded jewellery or gold jwellery cannot be imported even as samples or can be sent to any ordinary persons in India by courier. But this restriction is not applicable to units in Export Processing Zones (EPZ) or Export Oriented Units (EOU). They can import gems and jewellery including samples through courier. But in the case of export by all type of units, no such restriction.
Perishable goods cannot be imported or exported through courier as it needs fast movement and not viable to handled through courier.
Chemicals need some testing to find the identity which will take its own time, and if it allowed through courier it will delay all consignments. So it is prohibited. If any body want to import such chemicals through courier, they can, but it will take time.
For imports through courier there is weight restriction of 70 kg but in the case of export no such restriction.
There are schemes like Duty Draw back or Duty Entitlement Pass Book Scheme under Export Promotion Capital goods Scheme and exports under these schemes by courier is restricted as there is additional paperwork involved.
The duties with regard to courier import or export , if the duty is small, then the courier company will pay and collect later, but if the amount is big, then the importer have to pay it and get the goods releases.
While sending any machinery or parts are being send for repair or reconditioning etc, proper documents should accompany the package. One copy of the document may retained by the customs department so that they can verify the product when it is being send back. The repairer also advised to mention their charges and if the parts need to be replaced that also to be mentioned with separate invoice.