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 ordered from Gearbest, produce worth $9, however I found message
    (INDIA, the transfer of customs) when I tracked it online. what does this mean?

  2. Hello Gogi Rana Sir If I want to buy something from Banggood which shipping method should I use so that I have to pay minimum custom duty. I want to buy APM flight controller for my Drone which cost rupees 1600. Please also tell the minimum custom duty that could be charged on my product. Please reply urgent

    1. I have also bought many F3/F4 flight controllers from Banggood via EMS they have not charged any duty. They only issue was that it took almost a month every time.

  3. Sir, I’ve purchased Blackview S8 in pre-sale from Gearbest of Rs.10,498 on 19th October 2017 taking Shipping from PostNL (Netherlands Post Registered) which is free registered airmail by gearbest + Shipping Insurance of Rs.260 it is still under processing and ready to dispatch in 10-15 days as said by gearbest customer support in my ticket. It is also showing cancel option in my “Not shipped” orders list.
    I want to know, can i face any custom duty charges in (M.P.) in addition to my original ordered amount?
    If yes, then how much any guesses?
    Is it under budget or will i cancel it?
    Please clarify i m in so much confusion since I’ve ordered first time from gearbest.

  4. Sir, I want to buy a smartphone through some international online websites. Which one is best? If I buy a mobile which is worth Rs-100$ what is the cost of custom. How can I buy a smartphone with cheap rare. Pls guide me sir.

  5. Hi Gogi Rana

    I am planning to buy a smart watch from Gearbest. It costs $ 86 dollars
    What Shipping method should I opt for to have minimum or no custom duty?
    Expedited or Priority Line???

  6. Hi Gogi Rana

    I am planning to buy a action cam from Gearbest. It costs $ 116.00
    What Shipping method should I opt for to have minimum or no custom duty.

    1. If you are planning to get action camera check the model here https://www.gearbest.com/action-camera-_gear/?lkid=11672632 and make sure to select priority line shipping, if you do not get that option then do not buy, you will get that option only when shipping happens from China warehouse. Use Priority line shipping, you will get tracking code and very high chance you will get it without custom duty and in case there is custom duty it will be less than 2,000 but very high chance you will get it without that.

      1. Gogi Ji, If I may intrude, What is the max limit or kind of product ordered from Gearbest and shipped via Priority Line attract Customs Duty? Mobile Phone / Tablet or Laptop? Please let me know …After the Xiaomi watch, I start buying small stuff from GB – please let me know so I can avoid those.

        1. You should shop for personal use, and do not order too many in one go, give a gap of few days (this is if you are ordering high value products), for low value products you can order many in one go just make sure it does not get too big. Example you can order a earphone, headphone and phone case together.

          1. Thank You, Sir, For the kind reply – Here High Values means above 20k-30k or 50k INR ?

            Please let me know

  7. Sir i want to buy 5 to 10 crypto-currency miners from china.. But single miner cost me around 2 lakhs .. and i dont have any idea about customs . what to do please help me out….

  8. Hello there ! I wishes to buy a laptop from Banggood.com . It cost abt 13k . Nd has a shipping option as EMS Express mail as buy paying jst Rs 98.rupees… Should I go for it ?? What do you think .It’s Singapore EMS Express mail..Will it attract custom duty ?? Nd affraid abt Gst too ..!!

  9. sir i also want to buy action camera from gear best at 60 $ how will u suggest to get it with a less customs duty to bengaluru ,karnataka.

    1. choose the shipping method to Priority Line: India Express and 99% chance you may not need to pay anything extra other than your order value.

  10. sir ,i bought maze alpha from gear best on a free shipping mode and payment was done through paypal it cost me 180 dollors, but i have to pay 5800.00 rs as customs duty, my net price was around 18000.00. it was not worth it.please suggest me how to get it cheaper next time i buy from chinese online stores.thank you.

        1. Use free shipping only when product value is under $30 and light weight like earphones, cover, cases etc. For mobiles use DHL / Fedex or Priority line. In fact Priority line is the best option try that next time.

  11. hi gogi bro, i like meizu mx6 smartphone and planning to import it. It costs around 200 dollars now.
    can you suggest anyway to import it duty free from aliexpress.
    Also if i have to give import duty , how much it would be via official channels.
    pls reply

  12. Hi bro I want to buy domino smartwatch from gearbest its cost 96 rollers I want to order to order it fast . I want to use dhl method can you tell me what is tax I’d and I need to pay any custom charge on it please tell me.

    1. Omkar follow this step – here is the watch on gearbest – https://goo.gl/5BM149 Now choose the color and then in shipping go for priority line shipping option, its free and you will get it within 15 to 20 working days, you can track and as for custom duty chances are very high that you will not get any duty. Do not use DHL or any other shipping methods for this.

      1. Thanks bro.. In how many days I can get my watch by priority line I lived in new panvel. Please bro help me

        1. I have got many products using priority line shipping, am from Sanpada, you will get it in panel no issues, it will as I said 15 to 20 working days, you also get tracking code too.

          1. Do I need to pay extra cost in PayPal and what advantages I can get through PayPal.

      2. And in case I get custom duty what I have to do there is no custom office near me

  13. Bro i want to buy mi notebook pro from gearbest. Com. How can i get it safe using dhl and what should be the custom accoring to your view??

  14. Hello…
    I ordered 2 items from Gearbest worth Rs 1800.
    It’ll come by Gati logistics.
    Today Last status is
    “Delhi ATC – Out for next station.”

    Is my parcel cleared custom or do something from my side. ?

  15. HI Gogi,,

    I am trying to buy Elephone S8 from gearbest , The cost is coming as 16000.

    During check out when I am opting for Expedited Shipping , its asking me about Tax ID.

    “Tax ID: __________
    Note: For custome requrests from the destination country,the consignee must provide the Tax ID adn consent from the relevant tax authority

    Can you please help me what is this ? is it TIN Number ?

    How much custom duty I need to pay for this. Please help me , I really need your expertise in this.

    1. If expedited shipping like (DHL/FedEx/Aramex etc.) requires a Tax ID, then it is ‘probably’ the ITC-HS code of the item being shipped/imported/exported. I contacted Gearbest and DHL regarding the Tax ID, and customer care from both sides couldn’t explain it properly. But from what Gearbest indicated, it is the ITC-HS code or called as the CTH which is an 8-digit code. For example, for laptop, it is 84713090. For smartphones, it would be 85171290. IMO.

      As per the tariff, customs duty shall be ~43% on assessed value + 590INR DHL handling charges(incl.GST).
      So the assessed value of the phone is the key here which is beyond your control.
      Consider yourself lucky if the assessed value is <= invoice value.

  16. Sir,

    I want to buy a mini pc from Gearbest which is https://goo.gl/VKNkPF cost around 18k INR – It does have Priority Line Shipment option – My question is, Is it going to attract any Customs Duty or Fine?

  17. Dear Sir,

    Please help me. I bought KZ ATE headphone from Everbuying.com. My headphone reached New Delhi Airport on 25th August 2017, but still, I don’t receive my headphone. I also visited my local post office for enquiry. I took free shipping mode and also not demanded tracking number. My shipping method is CJAHAM.

    Please help me to resolve my problem, I already paid to Everbuying by using PayPal and I ordered headphone on 15th August 2017.

    Thanking you,

    1. There free shipping may be with tracking or without tracking. Better wait it takes a lot of time at times up to 60 working days.

    2. CJAHAM is kind of fraud shipping? I personally twice selected this option. CJAHAM gets selected in case you have chosen free shipping.. Both the times, I asked Gearbest to re-ship the order using a different method. Using CJAHAM, the tracking info will say at airport.. And it will stay there and won’t be delivered forever.. Once the product ordered date crosses 60 days you can request Gearbest to reship..

  18. I want to buy Mi notebook air 13 from gearbest.com its price over there is around 55k. LEO U mentioned

    “If you are referring to GearBest, then choose China Warehouse option and select Priority line for shipping.”

    My Question:
    Is it safe to order thru priority line. How much custom duty I have to pay and is there any hassle if I use Priorityline. Is it the best option.

    1. GearBest offers Priority line (via Gati Couriers) or expedited shipping(via DHL). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen FedEx from GearBest. Your other options are 1) Banggood which has no expedited shipping option 2) Aliexpress which offers expedited shipping via DHL/FedEx at skyrocketing prices.

      I agree with what Gogi recommended. DHL is a safe bet but as a thumb-rule, you will be charged ~50% or more customs duty through DHL. With priority line(Gati), the chances are that you will save customs duty but with more transit risk than DHL. Whichever method you choose, PLEASE DON’T FORGET to add Shipping Insurance to your order, esp. for priority line.

  19. I want to buy a smartwatch kingwear kw88. Its a 90 dollar smartwatch on gearbest. What should I do so I dont have to pay high custom duty?

    1. Tushar, check the watch here – https://goo.gl/U3a5rL choose the color and go for priority line shipping if available, do not choose any other shipping option just go for priority line shipping. The chances are very high that you will get the smartwatch for without any extra charges and without custom duty.

  20. I want to buy Mi notebook air 13 from gearbest.com its price over there is around 54k rupees, if i select paid delivery how much custom duties i have to pay ( does not have to be exact ) ?? thanks

    1. If you are referring to GearBest, then choose China Warehouse option and select Priority line for shipping. Add shipping insurance at the checkout page. Most probably you should get it without any customs duty.
      Priority line option is available again for most of the electronics goods sold from China warehouse of GearBest.
      Expedited shipping is a shame these days when it comes to customs duties. Duty should be around 42%, IMO.
      As Gogi repeatedly said, import via standard postal service will end up in almost 100% import duty.
      Priority line is the only economically viable option for INDIA as of now. BTW, priority line is handled by Gati logistics.

  21. If expedited shipping like (DHL/FedEx/Aramex etc.) requires a Tax ID, then it is ‘probably’ the ITC-HS code of the item being shipped/imported/exported. I contacted Gearbest and DHL regarding the Tax ID, and customer care from both sides couldn’t explain it properly. But from what Gearbest indicated, it is the ITC-HS code. For example, for laptop, it is 84713090. For smartphones, it would be 85177090.You can find the same in your Bill of Entry too (BOE) which will be shared with you by your courier on demand.

  22. HI,
    I want to order earphone worth 30$ from gearbest,com. Should i opt for priority line shipping. I dont want to handle any custom hassles. So please advise me accordoingly for the shipping method

    Regards,
    Shubham

        1. Go with free shipping instead of EMS, cause EMS chances are you might get Custom Duty. Free shipping registered mail.

  23. Of late, many items at GearBest have either Mail(Reg/Unreg) or Expedited option for shipping to India.
    Some items which previously had Priority line doesn’t have it anymore. And some items are strictly expedited (DHL). But a DHL Tax ID is required to ship via DHL. And it accepts numbers only.
    So our PAN number can’t be used. What are they asking for? Is it Aadhar number, since it is strictly numeric(Aadhar anyway is linked to PAN). I have contacted GB about this.

    1. Priority line option you will get on some products and specially if the shipping happens from China warehouse. Tax ID you can try putting any random number I guess, try checking with GB if they can ship vi Fedex, cause DHL is now charging too much duty I think they are deliberately doing that for every product, even when price is low, possible that custom duty is not charged but they are just charging from customer.

      1. Thanks for quick reply. The increase in Customs charges may be due to the present flat rate of ~42% as against the earlier peak rate of 30%. So a smartphone which had a duty of ~18% or ~30% earlier, has now jumped to ~42%. Just my opinion.
        FedEx earlier had an issue with waybill(Form-50A) to some states. So always avoided that due to harassment in obtaining it by paying Entry tax and VAT at tax officers will or bribe. But since the introduction of GST, it will be interesting to see if FedEx is more convenient that earlier or they have a new hurdle in place. Maybe GSTIN is mandatory or so.

        1. Don’t think so for some products I got very low was surprised and for one product that will get delivered today was just too high. The point is they charge duty for every shipment even when product price is low, as low as 15 USD. And guess what the product is even not opened / checked by custom officials.

          1. Of course, there is no threshold limit on the product value if you import it via express couriers. So even 15$ product shall be charged. But how much duty you paid for the 15$ product? On the contrary, I find the flat Rs.500 handling charge more absurd for lesser valued items. I wish we had an option to appeal against the inappropriate charges. But DHL won’t wait for that. It is extra hassle for them.

          2. For $15 I paid 700 Rs. I got a gift, but for some reason in spite of telling the sending to send it via ordinary post they sent via DHL cause they wanted me to have it early, normal shipping takes 30 to 45 days even more.

  24. Hey Mr. Rana
    I ordered magnetic USB cable from Gearbest. It was for $5 and I chose free shipping as I didn’t know much regarding this. It is already 20 days and the product is in India as shown on the site but not yet delivered. Can you help me with how to go about and the expected delivery period?

  25. sir, i am palnning to buy a huami smartwatch from gear best website which is around 104 us dollars which shipping method should i prefer. thank you.

  26. Hi I want to buy mobile from Gearbest for USD 109 but when I am selecting DHL Shipping method it is asking me for Tax ID. So please advise?

    And also let me know how much customs duty I need to pay.

  27. Hi ,gogi .

    I would like to buy xiaomi router 3 which is around 32$ … Which shipping I would choose ..

    Priority line .. or registered air mail or expedite shipping ..

    Plz reply

    1. Dinesh, buy this from gearbest – here is the link https://goo.gl/Qntex2
      choose priority line shipping. It is free I checked, if there is a extra cost for that it will be minimal, so use Priority line very important. You will then get product within 15 days easily, you can track plus it gets delivered via Gati courier.

  28. I have planned to place an mi 5s on banggoods. So can u pl say how to choose d shipping options n how much could cost for custom duty n how many days could take for delivery to too.Mobile cost around 17000 INR

  29. Sir I want to import Xiaomi Mi 5x.. i really don’t have any idea about importing. Is it safe? N how much will it come upto importing to Bangalore?

  30. Hi Gogi, I am planning to buy bluetooth speakers that cost $47 and another one also for $38 from aliexpress. Will these attract lot of customs? If these work out well, I want to start a small time business selling bluetooth speakers. Please give some ideas.

    1. I have ordered BT speakers I got it without custom duty, size is small no issues ( I got Xiaomi rectangular BT speaker).

          1. Go with free shipping, there is a minimal chance that you will pay custom duty, assuming the speaker is not too big (small portable speaker should do fine).

  31. want to buy an earphone (qkz/blitzwulf) from banggood/ aliexpress. should i buy it? and what about warranties?

  32. I have ordered on 15/08/2017 from Banggood a smart phone Rs.9070 through free shipping , how much custom duty want to pay for this mobile?
    Please help me how to manage this thing.

    1. What have you ordered? if it is a smartphone then 95% chance you get a call / letter from custom to visit their office. There you may end up playing custom duty and fine, custom duty could be up to 7,000 or may be less, it depends on the official.

      1. Gogi brother if I received through EMS Express mail service to India, they mentioned Rs.791 from Banggood website and how much the custom duty in India?
        For smartphone Rs.9070

  33. Sir i want to order mi band 2 which costs 22 dollars they have a option of priority line – india express for ecommerce. Can i get that product or not, by this type of shipping.

  34. Sir I have ordered mobile case and screen guard which sums amount of 44.98 $ is that comes under custom duty if yes then how much duty they can charge

  35. Just wanna ask that I bought a smartwatch from Gearbest.com and it prompted me to take Priority mail despite of me choosing Expedite mail which charges 700rs which I had no problem in paying but the site chose itself to priority mail by some India Express For E-commerce so will I have to give some duty etc ??

    1. On gearbest there is priority line shipping that makes use of gati Courier. That is best option.

  36. Hey there,

    I wish to buy a laptop from Gearbeast, one named Chuwi Lapbook 12.3 –

    https://goo.gl/ZKZRHA

    I live in Chennai. Could you please tell me the best economical cost effective way to get this laptop? And how much will it cost me including the shipping and custom duty?

    Regards

    1. Check with gearbest if they offer DHL / FEDEX option and assume you will need to pay around 5K to 8K may be less for Custom duty, the custom duty amount I got for two recent smartphones that I imported was 2x times compared to custom duty I used to pay.

  37. Hello Gogi Brother, I have a small question. Am interested to purchase Xiaomi Mi 5s mobile priced $254.39 (roughly Rs 16,000 in Indian Rs) from Gearbest.com (link is https://goo.gl/nfnZgB ).

    The product description page says FREE SHIPPING to India Via Unregistered Air Mail. What actually it means?? and As it says free shipping, What might be import duty charges for above said mobile which is priced Rs.16000.

    Can you please tell me, what will be approximate import charges for the above product roughly..??

  38. HI
    I start shopping in Ali express recently like shoes,head sets,clothes etc and each cost is not more than 20$. So is that fine? is there any limit amount to shop from ali express,banggood etc.? Will i be charged custom based on the amount i spend in total ? Please clarify. Thank you. Can i order anything as long as the price is less than 20$

    1. Yes no issues as long as price is under 30$. Also the product should be light weight / smaller in size.

  39. I ordered an Android TV box from Banggood.com at a cost of $68 plus $1.38 as insurance.Made payment thro’ PayPal on 3-7-2017.The item was shipped on the same day by China Regd Air Parcel. I could track it’s transit only from 7th July,2017. After 11-07-2017 there is no updation abt the location / transit of the Regd. Air Parcel.The latest tracking details are :
    ” China,Beijing,Send item abroad (EDI -received ), Air, KOLKOTA AIRPORT SORTING OFFICE
    2017-07-11 07:40

    Tracking status stands as above since
    11-07-2017.

    Now more than 40 days have lapsed.What will be the fate of the Regd. Air Parcel.Will it be delivered late or it may be lost in transit. What shd. I do now.

      1. Gogiji, very many thanks for the immediate response.That is more special and praise worthy of Gogiji.Fortunately the package has, at last, been received at Air Kolkata LCAO. Let us see how much time it takes to reach my hand. In the meantime based on my request Banggood has refunded the entire cost to PayPal today.In turn PayPal will credit the refund to my Credit Card A/c. I may have to repay the amt. to Banggood if I receive the parcel on some other day during this week or fortnight.

  40. i want to buy a gaming keyboard from gearbest….. which cost me 4699Rs and 1301.97 RS shipping from (DHL Express ) and 158 rs insurence ….dhl deliver in 3-7 days….i want to ask that …did i have to pay any custom charge….and if yes then how much ….pls reply as soon as possible

    1. The custom duty will be different for different category, check dutycalculator.com and see how much it will be.

  41. Hello Mr. Gogi

    I had ordered a package from Lux Mobile and tracking says it has arrived on 30 July. Today is 08th July and I have not received any call from anyone so far for paying duty etc.. What to do? Can you advice? How to approach custom and where in Bangalore?

  42. Hello gogi i got a warranty replacement for headphone from hyperx they dont ship it to India they shipped to uk reship mail box as i gave the address to reship mailbox. Now the problem is what should i do should i declare original rate of the product or state it has warranty replacement and state it has 1$ its 100$ headphone by the way i dont know what should i declare in declaration form and they take duties for Replacement products also in India? if you have any info about this it will be helpfull

  43. sir i bought mobile from gearbest 199.99usd + insurance total 204.99. paid through paypal. yet not received and the shipping method is Netherland registered post and may be connected to India post international as it shows in aftership tracking. and they mentioned in detail do not need invoice. now what happens. is it direct deliver to me or i have to fill formality of custom etc.

  44. Hello brother,my china se mi mix 256gb cost 550$ mangana chahta ,is it possible brother.

  45. Hello Guys Need some info abt my phone preference…
    Vernee Thor E
    3+16 Ram and Rom
    Mtk6753 Soc
    5020Mah Battery
    8.6mm +149gms
    99$ Price

    Gretel GT6000
    2+16 Ram and Rom
    Mtk6737 Soc
    6000Mah Battery
    10.2mm+186gms
    99$

    So guys tell me which should be better and if there any alternatives suggest me…Planning to buy from gearbest for first time no experience please help me about delivery time and refund if product arrived defective or damaged

  46. i want to buy mi note 2 from gearbest through dhl how much custom duty will i have to pay ? Price is 490USD$

  47. I ordered a MI Pad 3 through “India Express For E-COMMERCE” shipping method.
    Please guide me this is good shipping method or i should change it.
    Please replay fast.

    1. You ordered at what price and did you got it? What was the overall price with customs?