Customs Clearance Process for India

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Entry and exit of goods by crossing Indian borders necessitate a clearance given by the customs department. This activity is heavily regulated, and the customs department monitors it very strictly. Without customs clearance, the entry and exit of goods by crossing international borders is illegal.

Let us see the steps in the customs clearance process for India:

Vessel calls

A vessel is a medium which transports the goods into India. It may be a ship, airline, or even trucks. After entry into Indian borders, the in-charge or driver of the vessel must contact the customs authority to initiate the clearance process.


The in-charge or driver of the vessel must electronically fill up a document called the Import General Manifest (IGM). Nowadays, it is done electronically. It contains the details of the goods being imported.

Grant of permission

The customs authorities make thorough scrutiny of the IGM and other documents concerning the goods. Only after that, the vessel is granted permission to enter inside India and proceed towards the final destination.

Goods transferred to customs premises

At the destination, the goods are unloaded into the designated customs area. There will be an in-charge for the area, and that in-charge is usually responsible for handling the cargo in these premises. 

Until and unless cleared, the goods cannot leave the premises.

Bills of entry

Applicable bills of entry must accompany any import into Indian territory. It contains necessary information like the duties and taxes to be paid by the importer and GST that is applicable. Along with these, duty-paid challans also need to be submitted.

Final delivery

Only after fulfilling all the steps, the final customs clearance is received from the customs department. The responsibility of the goods now passes from the customs department to the importer. It can now be transported either to a warehouse or directly to the delivery address, in some cases of international consumer goods.

The customs department adheres to a stringent policy concerning entry and exit of goods across Indian borders. It helps in facilitating trade, prevention of fraud, and keeping a tab on the nature of goods exchanged.

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