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    the United States

    Website customs the United States
    Government website
    Website chamber of commerce
    Country Alpha-2 code: US
    Country Alpha-3 code:
    Country numeric code:
    USD 25.463 trillion (2023)
    US Dollar

    Freight forwarders in the United States
    Seaports in the United States
    Baton Rouge
    Airports in the United States
    Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport
    Decatur Airport
    Dalton Municipal Airport
    Bisbee Douglas International Airport
    Edwards Air Force Base
    Orcas Island Airport
    Hector International Airport
    Fond du Lac County Airport

    Shipping between the United States and India

    Table of contents

      Shipping goods across the Atlantic between the United States and the United Kingdom can be a breeze, but navigating costs, regulations, and choosing the right method requires some planning. This guide equips you with the knowledge to ensure your shipment arrives safely and efficiently.

      Below you can also request multiple quotes from freight forwarders for your shipment.

      Pre-import considerations

      Understanding Customs and Taxes for US-India Trade

      Before shipping products between the US and India, it's crucial to understand the tax systems and customs regulations of both countries to avoid delays and unexpected costs.

      United States

      Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)

      The HTS code determines the customs duties applicable to your goods. You can find the correct code for your products on the U.S. International Trade Commission website.

      Customs Duties

      Rates vary depending on the product and its HTS code. Check the U.S. International Trade Commission website for the most current rates.

      Sales Tax

      The U.S. has no national sales tax. Each state sets its own sales tax, typically ranging from 0% to 7%.


      Harmonized System (HS) Code

      Similar to the HTS, the HS code determines customs duties and taxes. Refer to the Indian Customs Tariff for the correct code and rates.

      Customs Duties (BCD)

      These are tariffs levied on the value of imported goods. Rates vary based on the HS code of your product. You can find the specific rates in the Indian Customs Tariff.

      Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST)

      This is a comprehensive indirect tax on the supply of goods and services in India, with rates typically ranging from 0% to 28%.

      Social Welfare Surcharge (SWS)

      This is an additional 10% charge calculated on the combined value of BCD and IGST.

      Other Levies

      Depending on the product, there might be additional levies like anti-dumping or safeguard duties.

      Customs Clearance Process in India

      Customs Value

      Calculate the total customs value, including the price of goods, insurance, packaging, and freight. Provide invoices and other supporting documents.

      Duties and Taxes

      1. Calculate BCD based on the HS code and customs value.
      2. Calculate IGST based on the customs value plus BCD.
      3. Add the SWS (10% of BCD + IGST) and any other applicable levies.

      Customs Clearance

      Submit all required documents and pay the calculated duties and taxes to Indian customs authorities. They may conduct inspections before releasing your goods.

      Costs to consider

      • Carrier fees: USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are major players, each with tiered pricing based on weight, speed, and service.
      • Customs duties and import VAT: Customs duties: Rates vary depending on the product and its HTS code. Check the U.S. International Trade Commission website for current rates.
      • Brokerage fees: Complex customs clearance may necessitate a broker to handle paperwork for a fee.

      Saving on Shipping Costs

      • Compare rates: Get quotes from different carriers to find the best deal. Consider aggregator services like Parcel Monkey that compare rates across carriers.
      • Consolidate shipments: If you're a business, combine multiple smaller packages into a larger one for a more economical rate.
      • Choose the right speed: Urgent deliveries justify express shipping, but non-critical items can benefit from slower, cheaper options.

      Major Routes and Transit Times Between USA and India

      The United States and India share a robust trade relationship, with air and ocean freight serving as the primary modes of transport.

      Air freight is one of the dominant mode for shipping between the US and India since air freight offers speed and efficiency. Major air routes traverse the North Atlantic, connecting major cities in both countries. Transit times typically range from 2 to 10 business days, depending on the chosen service level and final destination. This makes air freight the preferred option for time-sensitive or high-value shipments.

      Ocean freight: While slower than air freight, with transit times spanning weeks or even months, ocean freight is the most cost-effective solution for transporting large volumes and bulk shipments. Key ocean routes connect the US East Coast and West Coast to major Indian ports such as Nhava Sheva (JNPT) and Mundra.

      Sending a Package from the USA to the UK and from the UK to the USA

      Sending packages between the US and the UK is a common necessity for businesses and individuals. Here's what you need to know:

      • Packaging: Ensure your package is securely wrapped and protected.
      • Documentation: Complete a customs declaration form accurately.
      • Carriers: Choose reputable carriers like USPS, Royal Mail, FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
      • Costs: Prices vary based on weight, dimensions, and delivery speed. Generally, prices start at around $20 for small packages.

      Airfreight Between the Two Countries

      Airfreight is ideal for high-value, perishable, or time-sensitive goods.

      • Advantages: Fast transit times (1-3 days), reliable schedules.
      • Disadvantages: Higher cost, weight and size limitations.
      • Major Airlines: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Delta.
      • Costs: Ranges from $4 to $8 per kilogram, depending on the service level.

      Seafreight Between the Two Countries

      Seafreight is suitable for large, heavy, or bulk shipments.

      • Advantages: Cost-effective for large volumes, large capacity.
      • Disadvantages: Slower transit times (10-21 days), potential for delays.
      • Major Shipping Lines: Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd.
      • Costs: Container shipping costs range from $1,000 to $3,500 per container.

      Container Shipments Between the Countries

      Containers are the backbone of global trade, providing standardized shipping solutions.

      • Types: Standard 20ft and 40ft containers, refrigerated containers, and specialized containers.
      • Booking: Done through freight forwarders or directly with shipping lines.
      • Costs: Vary based on container type, route, and volume, typically from $1,000 to $3,500.

      Carriers Who Ship from the US to the UK and Vice Versa

      Here are some leading carriers with their pros and cons:

      • FedEx:
        • Pros: Reliable, fast delivery, extensive tracking.
        • Cons: Higher cost.
      • UPS:
        • Pros: Reliable, good tracking, comprehensive services.
        • Cons: Expensive, especially for international shipments.
      • DHL:
        • Pros: Excellent international network, reliable service.
        • Cons: Higher prices.
      • Maersk (Sea Freight):
        • Pros: Extensive network, reliable schedules.
        • Cons: Slower transit times, potential for delays.
      • MSC (Sea Freight):
        • Pros: Competitive pricing, large capacity.
        • Cons: Longer transit times.

      Restricted items when shipping from India to USA

      Shipping items from India to the US? Be sure to check the prohibited and restricted items list first!

      The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintains a strict list of items that cannot be imported into the country. This list is designed to protect American consumers, businesses, and the environment from potentially harmful or illegal products.

      Prohibited Items Include:

      • Automobiles: Due to safety and emissions standards, most foreign vehicles cannot be imported to the US.
      • Ceramic Tableware: Some ceramics may contain lead or other harmful substances.
      • Cultural Artifacts: Importing cultural property without proper documentation is illegal and can lead to fines or imprisonment.
      • Fruits and Vegetables: Certain fruits and vegetables may carry pests or diseases that could harm American agriculture.
      • Gold: Exporting gold from India requires special licenses and permits.
      • Photographic Film: Due to concerns about hazardous materials, some types of film are restricted or prohibited.
      • Plants and Seeds: Invasive species and plant diseases are a major concern for US agriculture.
      • Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol shipments are subject to strict regulations and require special permits.

      Other Prohibited or Restricted Items:

      • Articles of exceptional value (e.g., works of art, antiques, precious stones)
        Ivory and ivory products
      • Knives or weapons
      • Perfume, aftershave, and other fragrances
      • Tobacco and tobacco products

      Before shipping any items from India to the US, it's crucial to consult the CBP website for the latest information on prohibited and restricted goods. You can also find information on the required documentation and licenses for your specific products.

      If you would like one or more professionals to look at your situation, you can reach out for free to our network of freight forwarders. They are specialized in importing to the US, India and many more countries. Get in touch today.

      Helpful Online Resources for US-India Shipping:

      US Specific:

      • U.S. Commercial Service: Offers country-specific market research and export assistance programs.
      • U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): Provides information on US export controls and licensing requirements.
      • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): Offers information on customs regulations, duties, and restricted items for imports into the US.

      India Specific:

      • Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC): Provides comprehensive information on Indian customs regulations, duties, and procedures.
      • Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT): Offers information on India's export and import policy, trade agreements, and licensing requirements.
      • Indian Trade Portal: A government-run platform that provides information on trade regulations, tariffs, and procedures.

      Additional Resources for International Shipping:

      Knowledge base

      Website customs
      Government website
      Website chamber of commerce
      Country Alpha-2 code: IN
      Country Alpha-3 code:
      Country numeric code:
      USD 3.385 trillion (2023)
      Indian Rupee

      Freight forwarders in India

      India has no freight forwarders

      Seaports in the United States
      Nhava Sheva
      Bombay (Mumbai)
      Calcutta (Kolkata)
      Chennai (Madras)
      Airports in India
      Panagarh Air Force Station
      Yelahanka Air Force Station
      Bellary Airport
      Cochin International Airport
      Hissar Airport
      Madurai Airport
      Kolhapur Airport
      Pantnagar Airport
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