India bans import of laptops, so can you now buy one abroad and bring it with you? Yes and no

By Ankita Garg: In a surprising move, India has introduced an immediate import restriction targeting laptops, tablets, and personal computers. The new regulation stipulates that any entity or company seeking to bring such electronic devices from abroad for sale will have to secure a “Valid Licence for Restricted Imports” in India.

Notably, the brands that have been affected by this development are Apple, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Acer, Samsung, and others. They will need to swiftly cease their import activities for these devices destined for the Indian market.

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With a significant portion of laptops and personal computers in India originating from Chinese manufacturing or assembly, the government’s motive behind this directive appears to be fostering a transition towards increased domestic production. This mirrors the successful strategy employed in the realm of smartphone manufacturing. The directive, emanating from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, was unveiled on Thursday morning, marking a noteworthy shift in the country’s approach to electronics importation.

“Import of Laptops, Tablets, All-in-one Personal Computers, and Ultra small form factor Computers and Servers falling under HSN 8741 shall be ‘Restricted’ and their import would be allowed against a valid Licence for Restricted Imports,” the notice said.

Laptop import banned in India: Can you now buy one abroad and bring it with you

The answer is both yes and no. Confused? People who travel abroad can bring along one laptop, tablet, all-in-one personal computer, or ultra-small form factor computer in their baggage without import restrictions when returning back to India. The exemption applies to items bought from e-commerce platforms and shipped via post or courier.

Furthermore, import licenses also allow an exemption for up to 20 items per shipment, particularly for research, testing, evaluation, repair, re-export, and product development. The imports are permitted under the condition that they are used solely for their stated purposes, not sold, and are either rendered unusable or re-exported after their designated use.

In simpler terms, yes, you can bring a device for your personal usage or for gifting purposes, but you can’t sell it in India. In addition to this, you will be required to pay customs duty charges for bringing it to India. But, if you buy up to 20 items, then you will be required to give any of the above-mentioned reasons (research, test etc) to import it in India. Once the purpose is fulfilled, you will have to either re-export or destroy the (up to 20) devices that you brought to India.

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