Frequently Asked Questions (FOREIGN POST OFFICE, PAD)
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.
It may be noted that the post parcels arrived at Chennai are cleared at the Foreign Post Office, Meenambakkam, Chennai
1) How does India Post categorise the type of parcels at Foreign Post Office?
For the case of handling, identification and weight of the parcel, the postal department has following categories of parcels at FPO, Chennai
|Document / letter/mail
|Document / letter/mail
|Registered Packets/Letters less than 02 Kg.
|Registered Packets/Letters less than 02 Kg.
|Registered Parcel between 02 Kg to 20 Kg
|Registered Parcel between 02 Kg to 20 Kg
|Unregistered (Normal) Packets/Letters
|Unregistered (Normal) Packets/Letters
2) What is the ROLE of Postal Appraising Department (PAD)?
The role of the Customs Postal Appraising Department Chennai is to clear consignments that are received through the Postal Channel and are presented by the Chennai Foreign Post Office (FPO) for Customs clearance. The Postal Appraising Section works from Monday to Saturday (10:00 am to 5 pm) except on the second Saturday of each month. Deputy/Assistant Commissioner of Customs is the in-charge of the Postal Appraising Department.
3) Where is Postal Appraising Department- Air, Chennai Located?
The Office of the Postal Appraising Department is located at the Foreign Post Building, Meenambakkam, Chennai-600027. The Office of the PAD may be contacted for any queries relating to Customs clearance of consignments that are received through the Postal Channel. The telephone number of the Customs Postal Appraising Department, Chennai is as below:-
Dy. Commr of Customs in- charge PAD Section. Tele—044-22560133, Postal Appraising Department: 044-22340008
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
4) What is the jurisdictional area of the Foreign Post Office, Chennai?
The Foreign Post Office, Chennai has the jurisdiction over the post offices in the Tamil Nadu circle.
5) How does Customs differentiate between parcels of personal use and commercial use?
Personal Imports and Exports
“Personal Imports” include goods imported for 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.
All personal imports are classified under heading 9804 of Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and 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- Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017). Examples of personal imports include purchases made through e-commerce portals by individuals. Examples of personal exports are gifts sent abroad to relatives/ friends.
Postal Bill of Entry or Postal Bill of Export is not required to be filed in such cases of personal imports and exports respectively.
Commercial Imports and Exports
This includes all other goods not falling under the category of “Personal Imports”. Commercial samples are also included under this category.
In case of commercial exports including online e-commerce exports , it is mandatory to file a Postal Bill of Export (PBE) manually with other supporting documents such as Invoice, Packing List, IEC Certificate, GSTN Number, Letter Undertaking/Bond, terms of payment and remittance proof of foreign exchange received etc. at Foreign Post Office (FPO), Chennai. (Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018)
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. (Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018)
6) Which items can be imported through post?
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)
All such imports whose CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value is upto Rs 1000/- (Rs. One Thousand Only) are exempted from Import duty (Sl. No. 610 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017). Personal Imports with CIF value of more than Rs 1000/- are subjected to Import duty of 42.08% (Sl. No. 609 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017). Commercial Imports are subjected to import duty as per their classification under Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018).
7) What is the procedure followed for clearance by the Postal Appraising Department Chennai in respect of Import consignments?
The Import consignments are classified by the Chennai Foreign Post Office into two categories viz.
- Import Packets/ letters (consignments weighing less than 02 kgs).
- Import Parcels (consignments weighing upto 20 Kgs).
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 Chennai F.P.O. Postal jurisdiction as mentioned above (at FAQ 4) are retained at F.P.O, Chennai for Custom clearance by Postal Appraising Department Chennai. Import parcels & Import Packets/ Letters are presented to the Postal Appraising Department by the Chennai Foreign Post Office for screening/ sorting respectively. This is the first stage of clearance. 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 Chennai 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. At the Table examination (Sheet assessment), in either cases (ie Packets or Parcels /letters):- 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 Asstt. Drug Controller, Wild Life Regional Officer, Plant and Animal Quarantine and Police 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. 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.
8) Which items imported through post is exempt from Import duty?
(i) Bonafide Gifts upto a CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value of Rs. 5000/- (Rs. Five Thousand Only) are exempted from Import duty. (Notification No. 77/2017-Customs dated 13.10.2017).
(ii) Personal imports other than Bonafide Gifts upto a CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value of Rs. 1000/- (Rs. one Thousand Only) are exempted from Import duty. (Sl. No. 610 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017).
(iii) Lifesaving drugs/medicines for personal use, supplied free of cost by overseas supplier are exempted from Import duty. (Sl. No. 607 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017 and the importer fulfils condition at sr no. 16 or 104 of Notification No. 50/2017-Customs dated 30.06.2017).
Any goods other than above three categories are subjected to Import duty as applicable.
9) Can someone send a gift through post?
Yes. Gifts can be sent through post.
10) Who can send gifts?
The sender of the gift may not necessarily be currently residing in the country from where the goods have been dispatched and any person abroad can send the gifts to relatives, business associates, friends, companies and acquaintances. The gifts have to be for bonafide personal use. The purpose of this stipulation is that the person receives the gift genuinely free and the payment is not made for it through some other means.
11) Which items can be exported through post?
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 (Refer- Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018).
12) What is the procedure for exports through Post?
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).
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 manually at Foreign Post Office, Chennai till such time feasibility of filing on EDI system is established. These forms are prescribed under “Export by Post Regulations, 2018” vide Notification No. 48/2018-Customs (N.T.). Please refer to Public Notice No. 59/2018 dated 19.06.2018 along with Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018 for further details.
13) What are Restricted goods?
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 Authorisation from the offices of Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Goods such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)/Drones, Rifle Scope, e-cigarettes, 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 http://dgft.gov.in may be referred. The restricted goods are liable to confiscation and receiver is liable to pay fine or penalty or both.
14) What are Prohibited goods?
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, 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 http://dgft.gov.in may be referred.
15) How Customs duty is paid if charged on any item?
In case of post parcel, 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.
16) Can samples be imported through post?
The Bonafide commercial samples and prototypes imported by post are exempted from Customs duty, subject to the value limit of Rs. 10,000/-, provided that the samples are supplied free of cost. Importers having IEC code number can import commercial samples through post without payment of duty upto a value of Rs. 100,000/- or 15 units in number within a period of 12 months. (Refer- Customs Manual-2015)
Further, import of samples under Notification No. 154/94-Cus dated 13.7.1994 and Circular No. 14/2018-Customs dated 04.06.2018, as amended, warrants filing a Bill of Entry as it is limited to IEC holders and subject to various other conditions including value limits.
17) What is the procedure for disposal of the assessed but unclaimed parcels?
If the addressee fails/refuses to take delivery of the parcel addressed to him/her after its release from the Customs, such parcels are returned to the foreign post office. Unclaimed parcels assessed to duty are handed over to the Customs warehouse after serving a notice on the party so that the same is disposed off at the earliest.
18) How can I opt for re-assessment?
There exists a procedure for Reassessment of the Customs duty levied. In case the consignee feels, that the goods require to be reassessed, the consignee should refrain from accepting the delivery of the consignment from the post office of delivery. Instead, the consignee should send back the consignment to the Postal Appraising Section Chennai through the Post Master of the delivery Office with a request for reassessment by the Customs. Reassessment of the duty is done on the strength of the documents available: unless physical examination is required.
19) Is it true that every time if delay happens in getting my parcel, Customs is responsible?
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 Chennai. 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 Chennai Foreign Post Office. Chennai 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.
20) Who is responsible for damage to Postal articles?
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 email : fgnpoair[at]gmail[dot]com; packpost[at]gmail[dot]com Telephone number 044- 25220557; 044-2522329; 044-25240963; 044-25240965.
The status of the consignment can be checked from the Postal Department website www.indiapost.gov.in or http://ipsweb.ptcmysore.gov.in/ipswebtracking/. 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 Department Chennai should be contacted.
Telephone: 044-2496 0172