Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tips on India Arrival and Departure Formalities

Here are some useful tips on India arrival and departure formalities for international tourists visiting India.

Arrival Formalities

If the visa for stay in India, is for more than 180 days, a Registration Certificate and Residential Permit should be obtained from the nearest Foreigners' Registration Office within 15 days of arrival. Four photographs are also required for registration. The foreigners registered at Foreigners' Registration Office are required to report change of their addresses. All persons including Indian nationals are required to fill in a Disembarkation Card, at the time of arrival.

Group Landing Permits (Visa on arrival)

Foreign tourists in groups of four or more arriving by air or sea, sponsored by recognised Indian travel agencies and with a pre-drawn itinerary can be granted collective landing permit. This permit is granted for a specified period of time (maximum for 30 days) on the written request of the travel agencies to the immigration officer.

This request should give full personal and passport details of the group members, itinerary and undertaking to conduct the group as per the itinerary, and an assurance that no individual would be allowed to drop out from the group at any place.

Departure from India

Of the other tips on India arrival and departure formalities, the filling of the Embarkation Card is very important. All persons, except nationals of Bhutan and Nepal, who are leaving India by air, road or rail have to fill in an Embarkation Card at the time of departure.

Exit Formalities

Every foreigner who is about to depart finally from India must surrender his Certificate of Registration either to the registration officer of the place where he is registered or of the place from where he plans to depart from or to the immigration officer at the port or check post of exit from India.

Foreign Travel Tax

Passengers embarking on trips to any place outside India from a customs airport/seaport will have to pay a Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs. 500 and Rs. 150 for trips to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. No tax is payable on voyages from Rameshwaram to Talaimanar and to transit passengers, provided they do not leave the customs barrier.

Transit passengers travelling by air who have to leave the airport on account of mechanical trouble but continue their journey by the same aircraft and the same flight number by which they arrive are also exempt from FTT. Transit sea passengers leaving the ship for sightseeing, shopping and so on during the ship’s call at any of the Indian ports will not be required to pay FTT.

Customs Formalities

Visitors are generally required to make an oral baggage declaration in respect of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. They are also required to obtain the ‘Currency Declaration Form’ from customs. They should fill in the Disembarkation Card handed over to them by the airline during the course of the flight.

There are two channels for clearance:
  • Green Channel: For passengers not in possession of any dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage.
  • Red Channel: For passengers with dutiable articles, unaccompanied baggage or high value articles. These items have to be entered on the ‘Tourist ‘Baggage Re-Export Form’ or TBRE.
All articles entered in the TBRE form must be re-exported at the time of departure. A failure to re-export anything listed on the TBRE becomes a payable duty levied for each missing item.

The following duty-free possessions are permissible- 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, fishing rod, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 95 litres of liquor and gifts not exceeding a value of Rs. 600 (about $20).

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. Avoid purchasing souvenirs that may be made of them, except for crocodile leather goods.

Generally, items more than 100 years old cannot be exported without a permit from the Archaeological Survey of India. Reputable shops will provide you with the required permit or help you procure it. Indian Customs will detain items without permits if they believe them to be over 100 years old.

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