- Honest Officer
- 10 years ago
- 2650 views
I had come to the US for higher studies and was on my first visit to India after getting a job. I wanted to bring back a laptop for my family - used laptops are dirt cheap on craigslist.
Most of the advice that I got from friends was to just lie about the laptop and say that it was for my personal use. There were also people who warned that customs would search my baggage since I was returning from the US, but that I could "fix" that with a $100 bribe.
Instead, I looked up the customs rules and rates on their website. When I bought the used laptop that I was going to take, I got a notarized receipt from the seller, and also printed out the website information for reference.
Then, when I landed at the airport, I entered the red channel for the first time in my life.
The customs official was surprised because I had only one suitcase - he said something "aapko green channel nahin chahiye?!". I said that I wanted to declare my laptop.
I handed over the receipt and the printout. The officials were very pleasant and helpful (and underworked, I was apparently the only person passing through the red channel from that flight). As expected, their calculations matched mine - and I owed a duty of a little less than $100. The only difference from the bribery "fixing" method was that in this case, my $100 went to the government instead of lining the pockets of a lawbreaker.
I paid the duty (I think I had to convert dollars to rupees, but don't remember for sure) and was given an official, stamped receipt that I handed over to my family along with the laptop.