Extension for own overseas vehicles in India.
How to stay longer than 6 months.
The current (June 2014) Indian customs regulation is as follows:
After the first entry of a foreign vehicle into India, the vehicle may not stay more than 6 months (i.e. 180 days) in India during the time period of 12 months after first entry. Exiting India and re-entering only means that with re-entry (during the 12 months after first entry) the clock continues running. If you overstay, Indian customs would hand over a very unpleasant customs bill. We heard of sums in the thousands of Euros! By the way, the customs regulation has nothing to do with the visa validity of the car owner!
In our own case that meant: We first entered India at the beginning of November 2013 and left India end of February 2014. We „used“ 4 of our 6 months during that first stay. We spent 4 months in Nepal and went back to India in July 2014. 2 months of the 6 months were left over. Indian customs immediately told us that we have to leave after 2 months because of the current regulation. Just to be clear: would we have re-entered India after November 2014 – i.e. later than 12 months after our first entry – the 6 months would have started from “zero”. The customs officials at the boarder were extremely friendly and professional and clearly informed us about the process on how to apply for an extension of these 6 months:
- Apply in person for an extension at the customs commissioner’s office in e.g. Lucknow (detailed address below; there are other customs commissioners in India – it’s certainly best to get exact information at the boarder)
- Prepare a written application with reasoning why an extension is needed (e.g. India is a huge country which is impossible to visit within 6 months; additionally, some regions like Ladakh can only be entered during a specific season, i.e. summer …)
- In the application specify the chronology of entering and leaving India. The dates must match with the Carnet de Passage dates!
- In our case the customs officials also requested copies of all Carnet slips.
- See the application that we used below!
We went to Lucknow Customs, explained our situation to the Technical Customs Super-Intendant, handed over our application, went through our 2 Carnet de Passage books (you must have a valid CdP), signed copies of the CdP slips, our passports, our visas and thought that our extension will never happen, because the customs commissioner was “out of office” for a week!
The Super-Intendant promised with almost 100% certainty that we would be granted the extension for the entire validity of our new Indian visa (i.e. 6 months) once the commissioner is back and promised he would send the extension as scanned copy to us via email. We had difficulties believing him!
However: after 2 weeks we received the extension via email! Pretty straight forward and as said at the beginning: the customs officials we met were extremely friendly and professional.
Should you have any question, just drop us a message.
Good luck should you need an extension and safe travel wherever you are!
Address of Customs Commissioner in Lucknow:
OFFICE of The Commissioner of Customs
Lucknow Hall No 3
5th & 11th Floor Kendriya Bhawan
Sector – H
Lucknow 226 024
Phone 0522-2329904, 2329829, 2336619