Importing from India

India is one of the world’s leading producers of petroleum products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceutical products, machinery and clothing – all goods that are in high demand in the UK.

The UK is currently the eighth biggest export market for India. Given that exports from India reached US$ 313.2 billion in 2013, sourcing and shipping products from India to the UK offers a tremendous business opportunity. English is generally used as a business language in India and the countries have similar legal and administrative systems, which makes trade between the two countries especially attractive.

This guide contains information on importing products from India into the UK, including what documentation is required for Customs clearance.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, GOV.UK, The Guardian

For more detailed information when trading with India, download our India Fact Sheet.



India Fact Sheet (2 MB)

Read more detailed
information about India

DHL Facts

Locations: 242

Gateways into the Country: 5

Number of Service Centres: 45

DHL Delivery Zone: 8

Vehicle Fleet: 405

India: Country Profile
Capital: New Delhi IMPORTS TO INDIA
Population: 1.2 billion Imports into
US$ 467.5 billion (2013 est.)
Area: 3,287,263 sq km Import Commodities: Crude oil, precious stones, machinery, fertiliser, iron and steel, chemicals
Currency: 1 rupee (INR) = 100 paisa Top Import Destinations: China, Hong Kong, USA, Germany, Italy
GDP: US$ 4.9 trillion (2013 est.) EXPORTS FROM INDIA
Time Zones:  UTC +5:30; no summertime observed Exports from
US$ 313.2 billion (2013 est.)
Languages: 22 official languages including Hindi, English, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayam, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Maithili Export Commodities: Petroleum products, precious stones, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, vehicles, apparel
Ethnic Groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% Top Export Origins: USA, Germany, UK, Australia, UAE, Canada, South Africa, France, Japan, Nigeria, New Zealand
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with India. Contact the DHL team on 0844 248 0675

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 0844 248 0844

    Calls to DHL UK phone numbers beginning ‘084’ cost 7 pence per minute, plus your phone company’s

Importing from India: Essential Customs Information

To commercially import into the UK, the receiver needs to hold an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number. This is issued by UK Customs, the HMRC. 

Guidance and further information on obtaining an EORI number: 
GOV.UK: EORI Scheme  

General guidance for importing into the UK, including information on restricted items and Commodity Codes: 
GOV.UK: Starting to Import 

Duties and taxes payable

To find applicable duty rates: 

GOV.UK: Trade Tariff

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) rates apply to goods originating from India. To claim these rates, imported goods must meet rules of origin, supported by appropriate documentation (e.g. GSP Form A – Certificate of Origin) endorsed by an appropriate authority in India.

Shipments valued under £5,700: use simpler invoice declaration procedure. Supplier’s commercial invoice must state: ‘The exporter of the products covered by this document declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of India preferential origin.’ 

Essential paperwork

When exporting goods from India, the following documentation is usually required for clearance with India Customs:

1. Certificate Copy of Importer / Exporter Code (IEC) with Permanent Account Number (PAN) issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade

2. DHL Waybill 

3. Commercial Invoice 

Minimal required information:

  • Seller’s name, address and contact details 
  • Receiver’s name, address and contact details, including EORI and VAT registration numbers where possible 
  • Buyer/importer’s name, address and contact details if other than receiver, including EORI and VAT registration numbers where possible
  • Place and date of issue
  • Invoice number 
  • Country of origin 
  • Terms of delivery and payment (Incoterms®)
  • Marks and numbers 
  • Number and type of packages
  • Exact description of goods, including Commodity Codes
  • Quantity of goods 
  • Unit prices and amounts, including net and gross weight 
  • Import licence number if applicable

4. Self Declaration Form (SDF)

Original copy required.

5. Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI)

Instruction to DHL on how the shipment is to be cleared.