Exporting to India

Taxes, duty and legal considerations when exporting to India

There are a lot of things to consider before you start exporting to India. It's essential to find out about local rules and regulations on tax and duty in your intended market.

Legal considerations

The legal system in India is based on English common law and the judiciary is relatively independent.

Intellectual property

You must register your intellectual property in India for protection and to guard against potential infringement.

Registration of patents and trademarks can take a long time, due to backlogs at IP Offices and delays in court proceedings. You should plan well ahead.

If faced with infringement or piracy you should engage a local legal practitioner who understands the local context and has experience of initiating appropriate civil or criminal proceedings.

Read more about intellectual property rights in India.


India has signed a Double Taxation Agreement with the UK.

India makes provision for advance rulings to guide investors and exporters on their tax liabilities, and on the customs and excise duty implications of transactions.

The income tax law provides for deducting tax before payment of various types of income.


The Central Board of Excise and Customs provides information on Indian customs tariffs. India’s current customs regulations are guided by the Export Import Policy of 2015 to 2020. In addition to customs duties, a 1 per cent handling fee is imposed.

Indian customs regulations allow:

  • temporary import of goods into India with drawback of some customs duty possible
  • import of goods for use or display at exhibitions and trade fairs, subject to certain conditions

It is important to remember that consignments to India should be strongly packed. Packages may receive heavy handling and be left in the open air for longer than anticipated.

Entry requirements

All visitors must have a valid passport and visa.

Business visas have a validity of six months to one year or more with single or multiple entries. However, the period of stay in India (for each visit) under this category is limited to six months only.

The validity of the visa begins from the date of issue by the High Commission of India and not from the date of travel on your application form.

Time taken to issue visas varies, but is normally carried out within 10 working days.

Find out how to apply for a business visit visa for India


Importers are required to submit an import declaration noting the value of the imported goods. This needs to be accompanied by:

  • an invoice (ex-factory)
  • freight certificate
  • all insurance certificates

If an import licence is required, that too will also need to accompany the documentation submitted to customs.