There are many new handsets being launched in India, unfortunately there are better ones with latest hardware available on Chinese websites. You can buy the handsets from Chinese online stores, and here is what you should know.

Now before you plan to go ahead with the purchase do note that there is a minor risk, it is with reference to the device you order. For example you might face issues with the phone you bought or it does not start at all, in such a case sending the device back / after sales support will not be that easy. But in most cases you will get a perfectly working phone, but yes keep in mind there is this small risk. You should also check the terms and conditions from the site you are buying.

There are two ways to order you can either go for the express shipping or ordinary registered post. The express shipping is costlier but in the end the shipping cost + custom duty comes up to the same as normal shipping, though better to use express shipping as it delivers faster.

Now avoid using gift / lower invoice value especially for mobile phones. It is better to be honest and if possible ask the seller to attach a screen shot of the product with the actual price.

I have used both ordinary post and express shipping and here are my experiences.

Buy handsets and other electronic devices from Chinese online stores

Ordinary registered Post

This is cheaper takes a lot of time and the custom duty is always higher, better to avoid it for high cost products (over Rs. 7000).

Express shipping

This will cost you extra, its faster and the custom duty is comparatively lower.

In general the extra charges i.e. shipping + customs will come to near about the same for both express / ordinary post.

Some users / sellers suggest to ship the handset with lower price tag like $30 or under so as to avoid the custom duty for such devices. However it will all depend on your luck if you are lucky you will not have to pay any duty, but if you are not, you will end up paying the actual duty + in some cases extra fine that will be much, much higher will cost you 2x or more the amount you spend on your phone.

How much custom duty you need to pay?

Well you can check it on dutycalculator.com but do note that every time the duty will be different, depending on the custom official inspecting your device. Just to give you an idea. I have paid Rs. 4,000 for a Rs. 7,000 device (using ordinary post), at times Rs. 900 for a Rs. 8,000 device (using DHL). And recently Rs. 6,200 for 2 smartphones totaling to $320 from China using DHL post. Also better to attach screen shot for device + price from the seller website as proof. And guess what I got the OnePlus One from USA (a long time back) – $349, that time I paid Rs. 3,420 for custom + shipping, Customs Duty was Rs. 1,573.

It is safe to assume that for a 160$ handset from China you will end up paying anywhere from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 3000 total custom duty.

Where do you pay the custom duty?

If you have ordered it from normal post you will need to pay it to the postman. And if you have used express shipping you will have to pay to the courier guy at the time of delivery.

Popular Websites

Pandawill, aliexpress, gearbest, coolcool, banggood.com, dx etc.

Which Shipping service to use for shipping into India

For high value products say 50$ and over better use DHL or Fedex. I know these shipping services cost extra, but they are far cheaper than the EMS Speed Post services.

If you use EMS shipping in case of custom verification you will have to visit personally or via your agent/authorized person, you will not only be wasting your time but also end up paying much higher amount, it is cheaper to leave the package there. Just avoid EMS at all cost, pathetic services, go with DHL or Fedex they are 1000 times better, cheaper and honest (as long you are honest).

Also note for EMS dutiable articles, intended for personal use, imported by post or air are restricted to Rs. 2000, anything above that and you will have to pay duty + fine on full amount, they will also calculate shipping, so avoid EMS, period.

Check the image below – it is the reason why most people fall into the trap, they think importing goods from EMS/normal post is free and most free shipping use this option. Instead of putting a board outside the custom office saying “do not pay bribe/ report bribe” it would be better if they put up rules and regulations and educate people regarding the rules of EMS/ import.

Indian EMS rule

If you get called you will need to pay almost the same cost that you spend. Problem is most people don’t really know how EMS works and it is not a good option for importing goods over 30$ for personal use. It looks cheaper but it is not, and also the primary reason for corruption.

Published by Gogi Rana

Founder and Chief Editor - gogi.in

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  1. I have purchased one xioami smartwatch 2 from gearbest with free shipping + insurance . whether I will receive my parcel or not ? And can you suggest something regarding custom duty ?

  2. I want to buy a Tablet f Voyo v Book i3 tablet for 24536/- from China.I want to know, what will be the customs duty?

  3. i brought a Uhans Note 4 smart phone from Geek buying for 6630/- shipping cost 906/- and paid the customs duty 2273/-

  4. While selecting the shipping through i am unable yo see the priority line shipping options instead of that i can see the following below

    1. Unregistered Air Mail:(no tracking information)(No Tracking Number)
    Estimated Shipping Time 10 – 25 business daysShipping Cost (weight: 0.675 kg)$0.01

    2. Registered Air Mail:
    Belgium Registered(Please provide your address&city with English characters)
    Estimated Shipping Time 15 – 20 business daysShipping Cost (weight: 0.675 kg)$3.27

    3. Expedited Shipping:
    DHL
    Estimated Shipping Time 14 – 24 business daysShipping Cost (weight: 0.675 kg)$48.35

    Which one i will take so that i probably don’t need to pay the custom duty on this product.

    Note: My product Warehouse is HK not China.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Aryan, priority line shipping is available from China Warehouse and only on selected categories not on all products.

  5. I want to buy graphics card worth ₹23k in gearbest, via india express shipping,do custom duty will be added on this product??????

  6. Hi Admin,

    I want to buy Mi Body Scale word Rs. 3800 from Banggood. How should i proceed with minimum custom duty??

  7. You have suggested to use priority line shipping. But this is exclusive to only Gearbest and to only some products What if I want to buy from Aliexpress or Banggood? What is the method need to choose to avoid customs?

    1. You cannot avoid customs if product price is high, with priority line only those product category that in most cases assumed to cost less are shipped.

  8. Hi sir, i want to buy SJ7 star 4k action cam worth 149$ from bangood with “direct india mail” free shipping method, i will have to pay custom duty ?
    Bangood “India Direct mail” (8 to 16 days) shipping method and Gearbest “Priority line” (India express, 10 to 17 days) shipping method both are same or different ?

  9. Sir
    Case1 :- i want to buy an action camera whose price is around 8000inr from gearbest how much customs duty should i pay for the product…
    Case2 :- another action camera i want to order from aliexpress whose price is around 7000inr in that case what is the customs duty will i have to pay? Aliexperss is only providing (free shipping- ali express standard shipping and the delivery time is 18 to 28 days).
    Sir i just want to know that how much customs duty i will have to pay in both the cases…
    Waiting eagerly for your reply…

      1. Sir i have some points should i reedem it it is around 300inr… does redeeming points also affects the invoice sent with it? And also can i opt. For shipping insurance? And sir the price of the product is around 10,000inr not 8000inr whats the custom charges for 10,000inr products?
        So what will be the estimated custom charges in all total?

      2. SIR THE PRIORITY LINE IN GEARBEST IS SHOWING FREE SHIPPING ITS WRITTEN AS (“Free Shipping to INDIA Via Priority Line”) AND FREE SHIPPING CAN ATTRACT CUSTOMS SO SIR WHAT TO DO?

        ITS SHOWING AS :-

        Available shipping methods:

        Unregistered Air Mail(no tracking information) –> 15 – 28 business days –> Rs75.00

        Registered Air Mail –> 18 – 28 business days –> Rs135.00

        Priority Line –> 10 – 17 business days –> FREE SHIPPING

        Expedited Shipping –> 3 – 8 business days –> Rs942.38

        WHICH ONE TO OPT FOR? CAN U PLEASE CLEAR ME OUT SIR…

        WAITING EAGERLY FR UR REPLY…

  10. Gogi I need a mi I health thermometer , it’s cost for $23.99 in Gearbest and mentioned here with out including shipping Handling. I don’t know how to get because of custom’s duty , so please give advice to purchase this product.

  11. Hi Gogi,

    I am thinking of gifting an action cam to my friend costing around 85$ from GearBest. I have checked their website recently, there’s no space for writing message saying it’s gift. Will custom dept charge my friend? If so, please let me know the approximate charge. Also do you think I should opt for DHL instead of Priority Line?

    1. You can buy action camera and here are the list of action cameras, check these and buy only if there is priority line shipping option, do not use DHL, as DHL will get you extra custom duty that you will / the receiver will need to pay at time of delivery. Better go with Priority line, very high chance there will be no custom duty via that shipping method.

  12. Hi Admin,

    I ordered Mi Band smart watch from Gearbest.com to bengaluru and i chose priority line shipping method, and order value is $6.11 , whether the shipping method is safe or not also let me know customs will charge any amount for this order?

        1. No almost all priority line shipping come without custom, but with that shipping you cannot order mobile and big items.

  13. Dear Gogi,
    I ordered a chuwi lapboob worth $215 from geartbest via DHL ..consignment has already landed in India.But it is showing that I need to submit Some extra paper work for clearance..I contacted their customer care and they informed me that paper work is in place and no need to submit anything extra since I already uploaded by KYC docs ..I am really confused ..What could be the issue?!

    1. If you had already submitted KYC to DHL before they will have that and use that, what you can do is in the edit option on DHL where you already submitted the docs, just update the tracking number. Also let us know how much custom duty you paid so others get an idea.

      1. Thanx I’ll updated that.. Contacted their customer care.They informed me that my Kyc docs are in proper order.Let see what happens