Frequently Asked Questions on Importation by Post (Foreign Post Office, Mumbai)


The facility for import and export of goods by Post Parcels is provided by the Postal Department at its Foreign Post Offices and sub-Foreign Post Offices. Customs facilities for examination, assessment, clearance etc. are available at these Post Offices. Facility for export clearances is also available at Export Extension Counters opened by the Postal Department where parcels for export are accepted and cleared by the Customs.

International Articles with Tracking Numbers prefixed with ‘C’, ‘R’, ‘L’ & ‘U’ are dealt by Office of the Post Master General (PMG), Foreign Mails, Videsh Dak Bhavan [Foreign Post Office (FPO)]Mumbai – 400 001 and Customs clearance dealt by Postal Appraising Section, Customs, Mumbai Zone – I, Mumbai. 

Parcels /Packets (Letters) having tracking number prefixed with other than ‘C’, ‘R’, ‘L’ & ‘U’alphabet then the subject Parcels / Packets (Letters) not pertain to Foreign Post Office (FPO), Mumbai’s Jurisdiction.

[All Speed Post articles (Express Mail Services)having Tracking Numbers prefixed with ‘E’are dealt by the Speed PostCentre, Near Santa Cruz Domestic Airport, Behind Centaur Hotel, Santa Cruz, Mumbai – 400 099.Customer Care: - 022-26156125, 26156648, 26156703, Email – spc.mumbai[at]indiapost[dot]gov[dot]in]


Hereinafter are mentioned most of the Frequent Asked Questions and their Answers for better understanding of the law and procedure applied for import and export through Post.


Q.        What is the Duty Structure on import of consignments through Postal Mode/Courier?

A.        Duty Structure on import of consignments through postal mode /Courier is as under –


Consignment Type

Basic Customs Duty

Health Cess*

Social Welfare Surcharge (SWS) (%)


Total Duty (%)



As per Tariff

Personal Import (Where Monetary Transaction















*Applicable on B2B consignments as per Tariff.

As per Para 4.1 of CBIC Circular 04/2020-Customs dated 21.01.2020, read with DGFT Notification No. 35/2015-2020 dated 12.12.2019, the goods imported as gifts can be allowed import free (i.e. without prohibition) on payment of full applicable duties as mentioned above.

Q.        What is the duty structure for ‘Personal Import’? Or How much duty is to be paid on goods imported as ‘Personal Import’ through Post?

A.        All Goods imported as ‘Personal Import’ are subjected to a duty of 42.08% (10% Basic Customs Duty, 10% Social and Welfare Surcharge & 28% IGST) provided they do not come under exempted category [Refer- Customs Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017].

Q.        What is exempt category of import of goods through post when it is ‘Personal Import’? or Is there any Exemption of duty when goods imported as ‘Personal Import’?

A.        (i)         All goods imported as ‘personal imports’, whose CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value is not more than Rs.1000/- (Rupees One Thousand Only) per consignment, are exempted from Import duty [Reference -Sr. No. 610 of CustomsNotification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017].

 (ii) Lifesaving drugs/medicines for personal use, supplied free of cost by overseas supplier are exempted from Import duty (Reference - Sr. No. 607A of Customs Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017) subject to the importer fulfills condition at Sr. No. 16 or 104 of Customs Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017.

Any goods other than above two categories are subjected to Import duty as applicable. A reference is invited to Circular No.4/2020-Cus dated 31/01/2020.

Q.        What is the Rate of Duty, when the value of goods imported as ‘Personal Import’ is more than Rs.1000/- (CIF)?

A.        Goods imported as Personal Imports with CIF value of more than Rs.1000/- per consignment, are subjected to Import duty of 42.08% (BCD@10% as per Sr. No. 608 of Customs Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017, SWS@10% of BCD and IGST@28% as per Sr. No. 227 schedule IV of IGST Notification 1/2017 - Integrated Tax (rate) dated 28 June 2017).

Q.        Where is Postal Appraising Section, FPO, Mumbai Customs Zone-I located?

A.        The Office of the Postal Appraising Section, FPO, Mumbai Customs Zone-I is located at the 2nd Floor, Videsh Dak Bhavan, Ballard Estate, Mumbai-400001. The Office of the PAS, Mumbai may be contacted for any queries relating to Customs clearance of consignments that are received through the Postal Channel. The telephone number& e-mail Id of the Customs Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai is as below: -

Deputy Commissioner of Customs Office: 022-22614585

Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai: 022-22671403


Q.        How does India Post categorizes the type of parcels at Foreign Post Office?

A.        For the purpose of handling, identification and weight of the parcel, the postal department has following categories of parcels/packets/letters at FPO, Mumbai:








Registered Packets/Letters, less than 2 Kg

Speed Post


Registered Parcel, between 2 Kg to 20 Kg

Registered Packets/Letters less than 2 Kg


Unregistered (Normal) Packets/Letters

Registered Parcel between 02 Kg to 20



Unregistered (Normal) Packets/Letters


Q.        What is the jurisdictional area of the Foreign Post Office, Mumbai?

A.        The Foreign Post Office, Mumbai has the jurisdiction over the post offices in the six circle.These circles include States of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh up to Hyderabad City, Karnataka-Hubli. 

Q.        How do the Customs differentiate between parcels of personal import and of commercial import?

A.        Personal Imports and Exports -“Personal Imports” include goods imported by a person for his/her personal use not connected with trade, manufacturing or agriculture - as defined in Para 2.07 (a) (iii) of Handbook of Procedures of Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20) read with para 9.2 of Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018.

Q.        What is the Classification of goods, when imported as ‘Personal Import’?

A.        All personal imports shall be classified under heading (CTH) - 9804 of Customs Tariff Act, 1975 whether imported through Post, Courier, or by Sea or Air.

Q.        What is the duty structure for goods which did not cover under the category of ‘Personal Import’?

A.        All Commercial Imports are subjected to import duty as per their classification under Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (Reference - CBIC Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018).

Q.        What are examples of ‘Personal Import’?

A.        Examples of personal imports include purchases made through e-commerce portals by individuals.

Q.        Is Importer/Exporter is required to file a Postal Bill of Entry or Postal Bill of Export for ‘Personal Import’?

A.        No, Postal Bill of Entry or Postal Bill of Export is not required to be filed in such cases of personal imports and exports respectively.

Q.        What are the goods covers under the Commercial Imports and Exports through Post?

A.        This includes all other goods not falling under the category of “Personal Imports”. Commercial samples are also included under this category.

Q.        Which items can be imported through post?

A.        All goods which are not “Restricted” or “Prohibited” under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 or any other law for the time being in force can be imported through post. [Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018]

Q.        Can someone from abroad send a gift through post in India?

A.        Import of goods, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier, where Customs Clearance is sought as gift, is prohibited,except for life saving drug/medicines and Rakhi. [Reference - DGFT Notification No. 35/2015-2020 dated 12.12.2019 and CBIC Circular 04/2020-Customs dated 21.01.2020].


Q.        I had paid for the goods imported, which includes the Customs Duty on e-portal platform. Am I supposed to pay any Customs Duty at the time of receiving of goods through post?

A.        Yes.  Import Duty is leviable on importation of goods at the time and place of import and is assessed by Indian Customs Authorities in India.  So import duty is payable on any such import at the time of clearance as per assessment of duty by Indian Customs Authorities.

Q.        What is the Procedure for Commercial Import & Commercial Export through Post?

A.        (1)In case of commercial exports including online e-commerce exports, it is mandatory to file a Postal Bill of Export (PBE) with other supporting documents such as Invoice, Packing List, IEC Certificate, GSTN Number, Letter Undertaking/Bond for GST, terms of payment and remittance proof of foreign exchange received etc. at Foreign Post Office (FPO), Mumbai. [Reference- Customs Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018]

            (2)  Similarly, in case of import of goods not falling under “Personal Imports”, it is mandatory to file a Postal Bill of Entry. Such Bills of Entry are filed manually. They are classified under the relevant heading of Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and are subjected to duty as specified thereof. [Reference - Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018].

Q.        What is the procedure followed for clearance by the Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai in respect of Import consignments?

A.        The Import consignments are classified by the Mumbai Foreign Post Office into two categories viz.

  1. Import Packets/ letters (consignments weighing less than 02 kgs).
  2. Import Parcels (consignments weighing upto 20 Kgs).

The following procedure is adopted for clearance of the Packets/letters/parcels by the Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai:

  1. Import consignments are received by the Postal Authorities in Bags. These bags are opened and parcels/packets are sorted out by the postal authorities. Only parcels/packets that pertain to the Mumbai F.P.O. Postal jurisdiction are retained at F.P.O, Mumbai for Custom clearance by Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai. Import parcels & Import Packets/Letters are presented to the Customs by the Mumbai Foreign Post Office for screening/sorting respectively. This is the first stage of clearance.
  2. The Import parcels & Import Packets/ Letters parcels that are not cleared at the screening/ sorting stage are held back by the postal authorities, who then present these parcels to the Customs for clearance, by way of Table Examination (Sheet Assessment) which is the second stage of clearance. During the Table examination (Sheet assessment); the detained Parcels, and the Packets/ Letters that were held back by the postal authorities as mentioned above are examined by the Postal Appraising Section Mumbai at the examination table. At this stage of clearance, if the details such as content of Parcels/Packets/ Letters, nature, importability and value of the goods are found to be in order, the Parcels & Packets/ Letters are released after proper assessment. The rate of duty and the total amount of duty is endorsed on the way bill.
  3. At the Table examination (Sheet assessment), in either cases (i.e. Packets/letters or Parcels):- consignments which are not being able to be assessed on the basis of the available documents/data viz., IEC, Invoice etc. or incomplete or vague description or if there is suspected mis-declaration of value or contents, or both, are subject to certain restrictions like No Objection Certificate from other agencies like Assistant Drug Controller, Wild Life Regional Officer, Plant and Animal Quarantine, Ministry of Environment etc. or if they are restricted under other statutory requirements, are not cleared during the table examination, but are further detained. In all such cases, a Call letter cum Show Cause Memo is issued to the consignee directing them to provide the necessary documents like invoice, payment details, IEC etc or to fulfill the conditions of the restrictions as the case may be. After the receipt of reply/ submission of relevant documents, fulfillment of any condition or obtaining required NOC as the case may be, the Parcels/ Packets/ Letters are released, if, otherwise in order.
  4. Parcels/Packets/ Letters which are found to contain prohibited goods or goods that are in contravention to the laws and procedures for the time being in force, are further detained, and dealt with as per the law.

Q.        Which items can be exported through post?

A.        All goods which are not “Restricted” or “Prohibited” under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 or any other law for the time being in force can be exported through post [Reference - CBIC Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018].

Q.        What is the procedure for exports through Post?

A.        Personal Exports - In the case of natural persons (i.e. other than firms & companies) exporting parcels, Postal Bill of Export (PBE) is not required to be filed. They just need to attach the properly filled CN 22/23 forms with the parcel. (Refer- Para No. 6 of Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018).

            Commercial Exports–In the case of Commercial exports, all IEC holders are permitted to export goods through FPOs. In this case, it is mandatory to file Postal Bill of Export (PBE-I) for e-commerce exports and Postal Bill of Export (PBE-II) for other than e-commerce exports at Foreign Post Office, Mumbai.The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC), Government of India has recently makes the Postal Export (Electronic Declaration and Processing) Regulations, 2022 vide Notification No. 104/2022-Customs (N.T.) dated 09/12/2022. These Regulations shall apply to export of goods by any person, holding a valid Import-Export Code issued by the DGFT, in furtherance of business through a FPO appointed by the Board under clause € of Sub-Section (a) of Section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962.

Q.        What are restricted goods?

A.        Restricted goods are those which must meet certain conditions before clearance through Customs. As per Chapter 9 of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, “Restricted” is a term indicating the import or export policy of an item, which can be imported into the country or exported outside, only after obtaining an Authorization from the Offices of Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

Goods such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)/Drones, Rifle Scope, Live and Attenuated Microorganisms, Different kinds of Communication & Radio Equipments, Bank Notes, Unused Postage, Revenue or Other Stamps of current or new issue in the country with a recognized face value etc. are some examples of restricted goods. For detailed list and conditions to be fulfilled, ‘Downloads’ section at may be referred. The restricted goods are liable to confiscation and receiver is liable to pay fine or penalty or both.

Q.        What are Prohibited goods?

A.        Prohibited goods means any goods the import or export of which is subject to any prohibition under the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force but does not include any such goods in respect of which the conditions subject to which the goods are permitted to be imported or exported have been complied with. As per chapter 9 of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, “Prohibited” indicates the export/import policy of an item, as appearing in ITC (HS) or elsewhere, whose import or export is not permitted.

Goods such as narcotic drugs, arms & ammunition, E-cigarette, obscene films/printed material, adult toys etc. are prohibited goods and are liable to absolute confiscation and the receiver is liable to penal action, even if the goods have been sent unsolicited. For detailed list ‘Downloads’ section at be referred.

Q.        How Customs duty is paid, if charged on any item when goods such goods imported through post?

A.        In case of post parcel/packets, the Customs department assesses the duty payable and the postal department collects the assessed duty from the receiver of the consignment at the time of delivery and subsequently deposits it with the Customs.

Q.        What can I do if I am not satisfied with the assessment / levy of Customs Duty which I came to know only at the time of delivery of the packet/parcel by Postal officials at my address?

A.        In such a situation, the consignee should refrain from accepting the delivery of the consignment from the Postal Official. Instead, the consignee should send back the consignment to the Postal Appraising Section (Customs), Mumbai through the Post Master of the delivery Office with a request for reassessment by the Customs. Re-assessment of the duty is done on the strength of the freshvalid documents submitted in person or though post or through e-mail, unless physical examination is required.

Q.        Is it true that every time if delay happens in getting my parcel, Customs is responsible?

A.        Before answering this, it is necessary to understand how Customs works in case of parcels imported through Post. Suppose your relative sends a parcel from USA through Post that is to reach Mumbai. The Parcel, if it comes to Delhi Airport via Post, will not be examined there by Customs. The parcel is in the custody of Postal Department.

Postal Department will send it to Mumbai Foreign Post Office. Mumbai Foreign Post Office will make its inventory and after making that, Postal Department presents it before Customs Officers. Customs Officers examine the parcel. If the value is under duty free category, they clear the parcel on the spot. In case your parcel is liable for duty, the Customs Officer levies the duty amount and hands it to postal department which delivers your Parcel to you and also collects the duty. Only in rare cases where more details are required by Customs or the goods are restricted or prohibited, the goods are withheld or detained and letter is written to receiver. Thus, the parcels are cleared by customs in a very short time.

Q.        Who is responsible for damage to Postal articles?

A.        The Postal authorities being Custodians of the Import parcels are at all times responsible for the safety, security, and handling and repacking of the contents of the consignments. Therefore, no claim for compensation on account of shortage, pilferage, improper handling, damage or defective packing lies with the Customs. The Postal authorities may be contacted for queries relating to the status of consignments at following details:

Email: -;

Telephone:- +(91) (22) 22611791, 22653621

The status of the consignment can be checked from the Postal Department website For queries regarding pilferage, shortage, improper handling, damage or defective packing the Postal Department should be contacted. For queries regarding Customs clearance the Postal Appraising Section, Mumbai should be contacted.





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