How to ship to India

As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, demand for shipping to India has never been greater. But its customs regulations are strict and have led to some shippers facing delays at the border. So it's vital you understand what KYC is and their regulations. You also need to ensure the key documents are completed and ready before shipping.

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What key documents do I need?

To ship to India, the two key documents you need are a commercial invoice and ‘Know Your Customer’ documentation. But bear in mind you may need to provide additional documentation, so check with your carrier what you need before shipping.

Commercial invoice

The commercial invoice needs to clear, accurate and completed in English. Include the full name, phone number and email of your contact in India as well as the legal name of their company.

‘Know Your Customer’ documentation

This is all about confirming the identity and address of the receiver and proving they’re a legally registered business in India.

What is KYC?

KYC stands for ‘Know Your Customer’ and is extremely important when it comes to shipping to India. Indian customs legally requires local businesses to be registered in a KYC database so the authorities know who will be receiving the goods and the declared address.

How does it work?

Before shipping, the receiver in India needs to provide documents proving their business exists and evidence of the trading address. Your carrier will add the receiver to their KYC database and once the first shipment is received, your carrier will register their details with customs. This process needs to be repeated every time you use a different carrier.

What else do I need to do before shipping?

First, make sure the details on your commercial invoice are accurate. The names, addresses, spelling and abbreviations must match the submitted KYC documents. Even if a business has several addresses, every location must be registered in the KYC database separately.

Then check you’ve provided all the necessary contact details. You may need to show the freight and insurance costs as separate items on the commercial invoice. If the insurance and freight values are not shown as separate items, customs will calculate it themselves and you may end up paying more than necessary.  All costs on the commercial invoice must be in an Indian customs approved currency like the euro, pound, dollar or rupee.

Before the first shipment, make sure your receiver has registered their details with the carrier you’re using. Ask them in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Finally, make sure you check India’s regulations before shipping as they’re frequently updated.

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