Terms And Conditions For Imported cars In India

“There is a certain kind of hype about cars that are imported, especially if they are customized”. Till date, if we take a look at the car collections of A famous actor, a big business tycoon, or a cricketer, we can mostly see imported cars. You can almost say that the curiosity citizens have over the lives of these celebrities, half of the curiosity is only over their car collection. These absolutely fascinating foreign cars are all about their looks, up-to-date features, and technologies. 

The process of importing a car is a bit complex and very time-consuming. But if you are a person who is ready to gladly spend his/her money and time to get the car of your dreams then you should just go for it. What you have to do is read every rule and regulation in the book, abide by them, and Voila! There comes your chic imported car with its ultra-stylish features, topped with utmost tech-savviness. 


Imported cars have a very high demand in India because they give many features which are rare in Indian cars. Like smart driving and connectivity and many more. This all makes the car more stylish and attractive in India. But before driving or importing it to India it’s mandatory to know some rules and regulations. Which makes the car safer to use on Indian roads and user-friendly while driving on Indian roads. So the terms and conditions of importing foreign cars to India are:

What are the rules to follow while Importing New Cars?

  • The car must be manufactured and assembled outside India. 
  • The vehicle should import from the only country it was built. 
  • The car must be new in every sense. And not previously sold, loaned, registered, or leased before imported to India.
  • The vehicle must be a right-hand drive.
  • The Headlights of the car should be such that they are suitable for illuminating the left side of the road.
  • The speedometer should show speed in kilometers and not in miles.
  • The importing of car is done via navel docks that are situated in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

Thus, via any of these ports, the car has to be brought to India.

Importing Used Cars

  1. The manufacturing year of second-hand imported cars should not be more than 3 years.
  2. The vehicle must be a right-hand drive.
  3. The headlights of the car should be such that they are suitable for illuminating the left side of the road.
  4. The speedometer should show speed in kilometres and not miles.
  5. The vehicle must be roadworthy. Thus it should have a roadworthiness certificate and validity should be at least 5 years

Prohibited vehicles 

There are a few banned and prohibited cars or vehicles that are not allowed to import in India. You need to make sure that the vehicle being imported does not have the following specifications:

Prohibited vehicles 

  1. Cars that have an engine capacity ranging from 1,000 cc to 2, 500 cc.
  2. Heavy-duty two-wheelers or bikes that have an engine capacity ranging from 50cc to 500cc.
  3. Scooters that have engine capacity ranging from 250cc to 800cc

What is Transfer Of Residence?

The above points might have been able to convince you that, India is a strict country when it comes to importing cars. But India also allows foreign nationals or Non-resident Indians (NRIs) to import one vehicle while they are shifting permanently to India. The type of vehicle does not matter, it can be a car or two-wheeler, new or used. The following other conditions to be kept in mind, in order to import a car/bike under “transfer of residence”:

  • If you want to import your car, then you (The foreign national/NRI) should not have stayed in India for at least 2 years or more, before the transfer.
  • Before you have decided to settle down and permanently import your car, you should have chalked out a plan of residing in India for at least one year after you transfer.
  • If you have decided to immigrate and import your car, then you should not have gone through the process of “transfer of residence” for at least three years or more before the current transfer process.
  • The process of importing the car has to be carried out by anyone member of your family. Only He/she can fill the Transfer of Residence Form, for the purpose.
  • Your car/bike has to be imported within six months of shifting your base to India, permanently. 
  • The sale of imported vehicle is prohibited for at least 2 years after being transferred. Thus, you will have to wait for 2 years in order to sell the vehicle.
  • No restriction of being new or used will be imposed on your imported vehicle if the engine capacity of the vehicle is between 75cc and 500cc.
  • If the engine capacity of your imported car being is more than 1,600cc, then it has to be registered for at least 1 year before the import.

Now the question is, Who all Can Import Commercial Vehicles To India?

Commercial vehicles which are to be imported need to fulfill additional criteria before laying their wheels on India. The strict rules are imposed for commercial vehicles, because passengers may travel via imported passenger cars, multi-utility vehicles, or even jeeps. The following are the set of profiles that can import such vehicles into the country if you:

  1. (foreign national/NRI) have not resided in India for at least 2 years before the import, then you should own a vehicle for at least 1 year.
  2. your Relatives i.e. legal heirs/successors have died abroad and have left a vehicle in their possession.
  3. are physically challenged.
  4. have Business entities or Foreign business entities that have a branch office in India and that have foreign equity participation.
  5. have Religious, missionary, or charitable trusts that are legally registered in India and follow the said rules laid down by the State or Central Government.
  6. are a part of Any Honorary Consuls that is recommended by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
  7. are a journalist possessing the accreditation certificate from the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.

The paperwork that will be required for importing a vehicle to India is Invoice of the vehicle, Insurance policy, GATT Declaration, Bank Draft, Bill of Lading or Sea Waybill, Import License, Purchase Order/Letter of Credit, Test report, DEEC (Duty Exemption Entitlement Certificate) / DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book) / ECGC (Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India) or other documents as required.

These are the few things that you need to keep in mind while importing vehicles to India. Without following these terms and conditions you cannot import your car or bring it inside India. 

Because these are the guidelines that make it safer for you and as well as for India while importing vehicles. Also, it avoids future road accidents and maintains the regulation of the road. 

Also Read: Top Racing Cars of India



An automobile writer. I have done my graduation from Bennett University (Times Group) and writing content for AutoFlipz. And love to drive cars and knowledge about cars.

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