How to import a car to India

These days imported foreign cars have become a symbol of status for all the rich and fascinated people in India. They are ready to pay any amount to get these trendy and rich looking cars to their home. But in India it is not that easy to get these glorious cars onto the road, there are many restrictions, rules, terms & conditions for importing these exceptional vehicles in India, that one must follow to drive on Indian roads.

The price of tax to import a foreign vehicle may vary between 200% and 300%, It means you have to pay 2 to 3 times the actual cost of the vehicle. Spare parts also would be expensive as their cost includes the duty and tax every time you buy them.

There are two ways to import a car to India, the first one is to use the car on Indian roads for a limited period of time, this way which doesn’t need any Indian registration for the vehicle is the best economical option if one wants to use the car just for a while.

The other way is as mentioned earlier one has to pay 200-300% duty and then they need to register the car in India.

The rules to import a car to India are as listed below:

For New cars:

  • The car must be the right-hand drive.
  • The car must be manufactured outside India.
  • The car must be built in the same country from which one wants to import it.
  • The car must and should be a new one, meaning it should not besold, leased,  loaned or registered, previously before importing to India.
  • The speedometer must show the speed in kilometers.
  • The car headlight must be such that it is suitable for illuminating the left side of the road.
  • There are three dockyards in India, which the car must be imported to, they are  Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

 For A Used Car:

  • The age of the car (from the date of manufacture) should not exceed 3 years.
  • The speedometer must show the speed in kilometers.
  • The car must be the right-hand drive.
  • The car headlight must be such that it is suitable for illuminating the left side of the road.
  • The vehicle must be sold, leased,  loaned or registered, previously before importing to India.
  • There are three dockyards in India, which the car must be imported to, they are Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
  • It is important that the vehicle is suitable for driving. Thus, it must have a certificate of roadworthiness and its validity must be at least 5 years.

For Banned vehicles:

The four wheelers of engine capacity  from 1000cc to 2500cc, Heavy duty two wheeler of engine capacity from 50cc to 500cc, Scooters of engine capacity  from 250cc to 800cc are banned in India. So the vehicle that falls under these specifications will not be allowed to import in India.

Transfer of Residence:

An NRI or a foreign national who wants to move to India can import their vehicles whether they are four wheelers or two wheelers under the transfer of residency.

The conditions to import vehicle

  • The person who is trying to move must live outside India and should not live within the country at least for two years before the attempt of the transfer.
  • The person must live for a year after the transfer.
  • The person must not attempt the same at least for the last three years.
  • This process must be carried before or after 6 months to the transfer of residence.
  • The import of the car must be attempted before one year if its engine capacity is more than 1600cc.
  • There would be no restriction if the engine capacity of the vehicle is between 75cc and 500cc.
  • Selling or transferring the ownership of the vehicle is not allowed for at least two years after the importation.
  • The whole process must be done on one person’s name in the family.

For commercial vehicles: the people who are eligible for importation are…

  • The person who has not lived in India for the last two years and he must own the vehicle for at least one year.
  • The person who is physically handicapped.
  • The relatives of the person who expired abroad and left his vehicle to their possession.
  • The business organizations in India which have foreign equity participation. Also the foreign business organizations which have their branches in India.
  • Religious trusts, missionaries or charitable trusts which are legally registered in India and bound to the rules of state and central governments.
  • Any kind of diplomats recommended by the Government’s External Affairs Ministry.
  • Every journalist who has an accreditation certificate from the Press Information Bureau, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government. from India.

Procedure, Documentation and Paperwork:

To import the vehicle there are two ways, importing directly from the manufacturer, and through the agent. On one side you would have to setup all the process of arranging documents and following up the procedure. On the other side, an agent will assist you throughout the process of importation until your vehicle gets registered in India.

  • Invoice of the vehicle
  • Insurance policy
  • GATT Declaration
  • Bank Draft
  • Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill
  • Import License
  • Purchase Order/Letter of Credit
  • Test report
  • DEEC (Duty Exemption Entitlement Certificate) / DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book) / ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India) or other documents as required.

Note: Some other documents also might be required while actually completing the process of import.

Things to Consider Before attempting an importation of the vehicle:

In India things take time to happen. Importing a vehicle to India also needs a lot of groundwork before even to start the paperwork. I.e nothing but trying to know the information about how much it costs on each step in the process.

  • Import Duty on cars: The import duty on cars would beapproximately 165% of the car’s cost, insurance, fright value.
  • Import Duty on bikes: The import duty on bikes would be approximately116% of the bike’s cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value.
  • Registration: The registration charges not included in duty that you have paid already, you need to pay this fee at your nearest RTO center. Depends on the type and cost of the vehicle the registration fee varies.

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