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Moving to India from the USA is generally a very promising pursuit. While it may be for many reasons, India is always a benevolent country that welcomes all with love and compassion. Those who are planning a return to India for settlement, have an advantage of using the transfer of residency rules that offer benefit from rules regarding the import of their personal belongings

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Changing residence, however appealing, promising and exciting a venture, always comes with the unwarranted hassle. Especially so, if one is moving from one country to another. There are a bulk of documents that may be required, multiple clearances and lengthy procedures. Not to forget, the huge amount of money, time and energy required! This is typically more harassing and tedious for the Non-Resident Indians who had gone abroad for a short duration and have decided to come back.

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Transfer of Residence from USA to India

There are, needless to say, a lot of things to arrange for if one decides to move to India. Right from finding a perfect place for you, finding movers and arranging for Transfer permits to all the worries about starting a new chapter of your life elsewhere. Fortunately, there is one thing to lessen your worries.

Anybody who is mulling over the idea of shifting to India, after at least 2 years, have an alternative of utilizing the transfer of residency rules that offer loosened up customs rules in regards to the import of their own things from USA to India.

Import items on duty-free

Transfer of Residence- Customs duty

Whoever is returning or arranging a long visit in India, ought to think about utilizing the transfer of residency, with the goal that they can exploit loosened up customs duties. Transfer of Residence is an option provided to those who are planning to transfer their residence to India from the USA after a stay of a minimum of two years. This facility permits the importer of the personal or household goods to abstain from paying customs duties on certain certified things and pay a diminished customs duty on other specific things.  The best part is that those taking transfer of residence is no longer subjected to any minimum stay requirements in India.

The following is a summary of the Transfer of Residence Rules (ToR Rules) that a have place under Section 6 of the Baggage Rules, 2016.

Eligibility to avail the benefits

The Transfer of Residence rules apply only to persons who are either engaged in a profession abroad or are transferring their residence to India. The benefits vary as per the duration of stay abroad which must be a minimum of 3 months. Also, if the duration is less than two years, the benefits are available to Indian Passengers only. The probable reasoning behind such allocation of benefits is that preference is given to Indian Passengers and those who have stayed a long time abroad and consequently have a higher opportunity cost of moving to India from USA or any other countries.

If the Duration of stay is between 3-6 months

The Transfer of Residence  rules allows for a customs duty-free import of personal and household articles like Video Cassette Player, Music System, Air Conditioner, Word Processing Machine, Microwave oven, Fax Machine, Electrical or Liquefied Petroleum Gas Cooking Range, Laptop and Personal Computers, Portable Photocopy machines and Domestic refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres (also referred to as Annexure III articles). But articles only up to an aggregate value of Rs. 60,000/- only.

Also, articles mentioned in Annexure-I like Fire Arms, Cartridges of firearms exceeding 50 units, gold, and silver other than in the form of ornaments, Alcohol liquor or wines more than two liters in quantity and Flat Panel Television are not exempted. Even articles like Dishwasher, Deep Freezer, Video Camera with a television receiver, etc. (also known as Annexure III items) are also not exempted. The reason for such a demarcation is simple. The rules are framed to facilitate the import of necessary items of personal use and discourage the import of items that are either dangerous or having lesser utility.

customs duty on articles

If the Duration of the stay is between 6-12 months

The benefits given to Indian Passengers under Transfer of Residence rules include the duty-free import of personal and household items like Annexure III items up to an aggregate value of Rs. 1,00,000/-. Furthermore, as in the above scenario, the Articles mentioned in Annexure I (like firearms & alcohol above two liters, etc.) and Annexure-II items are not exempted from customs duty.

If the Duration of the stay is more than one year (in the preceding two years)

Other than the items mentioned in Annexure I and II, all personal and household items, including those mentioned above as Annexure III items, to the tune of Rs. 2,00,000/- only.

But to avail this benefit, the same must not have been availed by the Indian passenger in the preceding three years. For this requirement, the ToR provides no relaxation.

If the duration of the stay is more than 2 years

Personal and household items except (Annexure I and II articles) having an aggregate value up to Rs. 5,00,000/- shall be duty-free. Apart from the fact that this benefit must not have been availed in the preceding 3 years, another condition to be met by the passenger is that their total stay in India on a short visit during the preceding two years must not be more than 6 months. But the ToR Rules have a relaxation for this condition. If one avails special permission to condone a visit of more than 6 months by the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs, the benefit can be availed.

Suggested read How to ship your household articles while transfering your residence from USA to India?

Importantly, the passenger must have a minimum stay of two years abroad before the date of his arrival. Exceptions can be made to this on satisfying the conditions that have been incorporated in the ToR Rules itself. A shortfall of up to two months can be condoned by the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs on account of Terminal leave or any special circumstances.

Procedures to Avail the Benefit of Transfer of Residency

No formal application is required to apply for availing the benefit of ‘Transfer of Residency’. When an individual holding an Indian or a foreign passport, arrives in India provided that they have the intention of transferring their residence to India, customs duty benefits under the ‘Transfer of Residence’ rules, can be availed by them. While no prior permission is required, documents that are able to prove your absence from India for the two-year period to avail.

Furthermore, it must also be kept in mind that for importing goods through customs, certain documents are required. These include the original Passport of the passenger, Inventory of Articles, Transfer of Residence forms, Declarations and Authorizations as the need may be.

Generally, all the NRIs transferring residence to India plan the transportation of their household items use Packers and Movers and shipping companies’ services. If their services are availed, one can be assured that they will take care of all the documentation and customs requirements. Presence is required only at the time when the shipment arrives. Thus, in case a person has a lot of articles to import, their aggregate value being substantially higher than the exemption provided by the ToR Rules, it is a sound idea to avail their services. Furthermore, Customs Brokers, having the necessary information and experience, can also help to clear items through the customs in India. Thus, guidance can always be sought from legitimate dealers.

This is all you need to know regarding the Transfer of Residence Rules. Also, an important thing to remember is that these rules were amended in December 2016 and the previous rules, that may be available elsewhere must not be relied on. If you’ve already planned to move from USA to India and is looking for cheap flight tickets to India from USA, Taj Travel will help you.

Being one of the best travel agencies in USA, Taj Travel offers the finest services for those who are travelling from the USA. 

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