UPDATED JANUARY 13 2020 :
Drones are officially banned in India, since October 7 2014. And there has been no regulations since then regarding it by DGCA. So, as per DGCA and WPC India, all the airport and cargo customs officers have been notified about the regulation and made clear that, drones should be restricted/prohibited item for India, and should not be allowed to enter into India at any cost, no matter if its an toy drone or a professional drone.
Many users who are not aware or even were aware, have tried to import it and have ended up getting their drone confiscated by the airport customs or cargo customs since months or years. Mumbai Airport Warehouse has more than 500+ DJI Phantom boxes lying still with sealed boxed.
FYI, the customs are not allowed to auction the drones nor destroy it. Your drone is still lying with them in the airport warehouse, until you produce the DGCA clearance letter to them and release it. Well, so here some ways to make sure, either you get your drone or get your money back against the drone, instead of losing both ways, drone and the money.
- DGCA Permission Letter : If you have a friend or relative from Air Force India, you can talk to them and ask them to goto DGCA office with you and get a temporary permission for you, or a permanent license, once DGCA comes up with some regulations. For now, there is no proper regulations approved by DGCA, so there is no direct method to get it done, until you do something under the table.
- Return Back to the Origin Country : If you were a visitor, who came to India, through some airport and got his drone confiscated by the airport customs, then you can request the customs to give it to you, while you are going next abroad.
- Return Back to the Seller : If you had ordered your drone online, and it came either with fedex or DHL or any courier company or forwarder agency, then for sure, the customs would confiscate it during the cargo scan anyways. That way, your only option is requesting the customs to send it back to the seller. Here you have to bear the customs demurrage charges and also, bear the shipping costs to the seller. But atleast you can get your refund from the seller.
PRO TIPS :
- When the airport customs confiscate your drone, they will hand over a detain receipt to you, and ask you to sign. Make sure, the option “RE EXPORT” is checked by them. The customs are very smart and they would knowingly avoid to tick it. Just do not sign the letter, until they tick that option. We have complete rights to ask them to see it checked and ticked. Only when you have that option checked, you would be allowed to take the drone out of india, while going abroad next.
- Keep the customs detain receipt original with you, until you get your drone back. The customs do not accept the xerox or scanned copy whatsoever. They need the original copy of it only.
- If someone else had brought it and had got it confiscated by the customs, and the customs had made him sign the detain receipt, then you can make a 100 rupees notary authorization letter for you as well, telling that Mr.X who has brought it, is authorizing Mr.Z to pick up the drone from the customs as he is going out of India.
- When you goto the customs to collect your drone, make sure, you have all the documents intact and verified before you go.
- Call the airport customs and talk to the assistant commissioner of customs directly to make sure, you have all documents correctly arranged before you goto pick it up.
- Whenever the customs ask you about, why you got it, make sure, you should be very clear that, you were not aware of the restrictions and banned regulations, and just treat it or resemble it as a toy drone camera and make it look cheap.
- Keep some cash ready in your pocket as well, as you might be asked to pay the demurrage charges and also ghoos to the warehouse person.
- Avoid showing the invoice of the drone, to the customs unless asked.
- Do not goto the customs with any kind of bag or purse in your hand. Move low profile and try to be very courteous.
- The customs will push you to contact DGCA for permission letter. Just tell them directly that, you had tried to contact many times, but DGCA guys refuse to do anything.