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Import Foreign Cars To India – Duty, Rules, Procedure
Oct 10, 2022

Know How To Import Foreign Cars To India–Duty, Rules, Procedure & More

Approximately 295 million vehicles have been registered in India since 2019. A small yet significant portion of this number is said to be imported vehicles, which are the vehicles brought into the country from other regions of the world. It is fairly common knowledge that importing vehicles can prove to be a costly affair. However, there is more to the process than the costs involved. Importing vehicles in India should be carried out in a manner that would allow you to ply them on the roads of the country without having to face any issues. There are a number of rules and regulations governing the import of vehicles in India regarding documentation, car insurance online, and more. These regulations may vary depending on whether you are importing a used vehicle or a new one, or whether it is for private use or commercial purposes. While you know that a motor insurance policy is essential for importing private vehicles, commercial vehicle insurance is also a regulatory requirement when importing commercial vehicles. Let’s take a look at these regulations.

When importing a new car

The following are some of the rules that apply to the import of new cars in India.
    • The import of the vehicle must occur from the place or country of origin, i.e., the car must be imported from where it was built. *
    • The new car should be entirely new. It should not have been registered, loaned, leased, or registered before it enters the country. *
    • Assembly or manufacturing of the car should occur entirely outside India. *
    • The vehicle must be a right-hand drive. *
    • The headlights of the car must be built such that they are suitable for illuminating the left side of the road. *
    • The odometer of the vehicle should be set to kilometres, rather than miles or any other such measurement unit. *
    • The import of the vehicles is allowed only through the naval docks at Chennai, Mumbai, or Kolkata. *
* Standard T&C Apply

When importing a used car

Importing a used car in India is also governed by a specific set of rules and regulations. Here are some of the important ones that you should know about.
  • As with new cars, the imported used car must also be a right-hand drive.
  • The odometer should reflect the distance in kilometres, not miles.
  • The headlights should be able to illuminate the left side of the road
  • The car can only be imported through the naval docks at Chennai, Mumbai, or Kolkata.
  • The car should not have been manufactured more than three years ago.
  • The vehicle should have been either sold, registered, leased, or loaned.
  • The vehicle should come with a roadworthiness certificate that is valid for at least five years, proving its roadworthiness.

Importing costs

Apart from these rules governing the import of new cars to India, there are also some costs associated with the process. It is best to know about these before you initiate the import procedures.
  • Vehicle Registration
Your new vehicle needs to be registered in India. This has to be done at your RTO and it entails some charges, such as registration charges and road tax.
  • Import Duty
You will need to pay import duty for the new vehicle you import into the country. The value of the import duty is 165% of the cost of the car, insurance of the car, and the CIF (freight) value.


When importing a vehicle in India, you will have to ensure that the following paperwork is in order.
    • Letter of Credit/Purchase order
    • Motor insurance policy
    • DEEC / DEPB / ECGC or other documents as required.
    • Vehicle Invoice
    • GATT declaration
    • Import License
    • Test Report
    • Bank Draft
    • Sea Waybill
    While these are some of the documents that are required as a norm, there may be some more docs that may be required. This requirement may vary on a case-to-case basis. When importing a car, remember that you may have to face a number of costs and charges. For example, your car insurance (online or offline) for an imported vehicle may not be the same amount as insuring a car manufactured in the country. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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