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The following must be present on all labels of products being imported into India (in English):

  • Name, trade name or description of the product
  • Net weight and gross weight
  • “Shelf life or Best before” dating for beverages with alcohol by volume of 10% or less
  • Expiration dates (if any)
  • Storage instructions
  • Ingredients in descending order of their quantity
  • Bar codes if required, these are issued by GS1 India
  • Address of the manufacturer and exporter to India
  • Address of the importer and distributor
  • Market retail price that includes taxes, duties, transportation
  • Distinctive batch, lot, or code number
  • Month and year the product was manufactured or packed
  • Vegetarian/Non-vegetarian stickers are not required on alcohol beverages

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Items not classified as either prohibited or restricted in the ITC (Indian Trade Classification) (HS), are freely permitted without the need to obtain a license. To make sure that your product is not prohibited or restricted please contact an importer and/or read through the ITC (HS) Classification of Export and Import Items under the section titled, Customs Duty Calculator Schedule.

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The following is a list of some of the documents that are required when importing into India:

  • Phytosanitary certificate (for agricultural products)
  • Sales invoices
  • Freight and insurance certificates
  • Commercial invoice (no prescribed format; usually need the original and 3 copies).
  • Import license (if needed)
  • Bill of lading or airway bills
  • Certificate of Origin (if requested). When requested, the general format should be used and completed according to the other shipping documents. An official from the exporting company is to sign the certificate, and the certificate is to be notarized by the chamber of commerce. The number of copies depends upon the importer’s instructions.
  • Packing lists
  • Ex-factory bill of sale (not required but may be requested)
  • Import Declaration (in the prescribed bill of entry format)

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Importers must provide an Import Declaration in the prescribed bill of entry format, disclosing the value of the imported goods. This must be provided along with any import license and phytosanitary certificate that complies with the PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration Act; in case of agricultural products), and other documents such as sales invoices and freight and insurance certificates. All products are required to be inspected prior to clearance.

Certification is based mostly on visual inspection and records of past imports. Therefore, importers of new products can sometimes face delays in clearing their products. The custom clearance period may last between one day and one month, depending on the product and experience of the importer. In case of a dispute or rejection of the shipment, the importer can file an appeal at the Customs office at the port of entry. To accelerate the process, it is advised to appoint a clearing agent.

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The Indian customs classification on tariff items follows the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System).

For the most current tariffs and taxes applied to imported products for this country, please visit export.gov. Please ensure you have a 10-digit HS classification code in order to obtain tariff information. Also see the Census Bureau’s Schedule B search function ( https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html), which allows you to classify your product according to United States export codes. Simply click "Search" and enter the keyword (i.e. beer) that best describes your product.

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Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.
Tel: 202-939-7000
Fax: 202-265-4351
Web: http://www.indianembassy.org

Ministry of Commerce
Udyog Bhavan

New Delhi - 110 011
Phone: (91-11)23016262
Fax: (91-11)23016225
E-mail: dgft@ub.nic.in
Website: https://www.mea.gov.in/

GS1 India
330, 2nd Floor, "C" Wing
August Kranti Bhawan
Bhikaji Cama Place
New Delhi - 110066, India
Tel: 91-11-26168720
Fax: 91-11-26168730
Web: http://www.gs1india.org/

U.S. Embassy
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi, 110021
Tel: 91-11-2419-8000
Fax: 91-11-2419-0017

Ministry of Finance Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise and Customs

Web: https://www.mea.gov.in/


The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the websites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports. Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.

TTB is not responsible for the content of external websites.

This page was last reviewed on August 17, 2010.

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Last updated: January 14, 2022