Procedure for leaving and entering India by air

This page will explain the procedures of entering and leaving India by air, relating to recent experiences at Bangalore International Airport.

Changes as per 2014 mean that forms may or may not be given on the flight. Foreigners have to fill out an arrival form, whereas Indians do not have to fill out any form.

On arrival, you will first come to the immigration queue. Indians and foreigners both have to complete the processes and in most airports, if not all, the queue is the same i.e. there are no different queues for Indians and foreigners.

When you reach the booth, hand over your passport to the immigration officer. Make sure your documents are fine. You may be questioned a little before he stamps your passport and immigration form. Make sure the officer stamps your passport. Then leave the booth and go to the baggage claim- it can sometimes take ages for the baggage to reach the carousel. In some airports, there may be a hand baggage screening after immigration, before baggage claim.

As you leave the airport, you will meet the customs officer near to the airport's exit. Pass through the green channel if you have no goods to declare and through the red channel if you have to declare goods. You will then have exited the airport. Welcome to India!

At Bangalore airport, you will see touts outside but my recommendation is to take a licensed taxi- in Bangalore there is a taxi rank very close to the exit (turn left once you exit). Delhi airport also has a taxi rank- or take a cheaper pre-paid taxi if you want. Chennai airport too has pre-paid taxis, and so does Mumbai airport.

As you may seen on arrival, security guards are posted at the terminal doors. While entering the airport, you will have to stand in a queue to enter- security guards will check your ticket and ID/passport. Have it ready and have a printed paper copy of your ticket. While a copy of your ticket on your smartphone may be acceptable, this being India, carry a paper copy as well.

As you get into your check-in line, airport officials will be distributing the departure cards. This form, however, contains no customs form. The departure form is to be filled by Indians only.  Make sure you receive a departure card before leaving the check-in counter after check-in. Only Indians have to fill in the card. Make sure to take your luggage tags for hand bags- even for small pouches etc.

In Bangalore airport, check-in is at the ground floor. Many people fill in the departure card here standing on tables. Alternatively you can go upstairs and fill in the form; sit and fill, it's more comfortable! There is a currency exchange booth there in case you need to change money.

Fill in the departure card before proceeding to the immigration counter. Present the immigration form, passport and boarding pass to the officer. He must stamp all three documents and keep the immigration form.

Pass straight through to security check if you have nothing to declare. The normal security check procedure applies (but with segregated queues for males and females); also make sure your boarding pass is once again stamped along with the luggage tags for your hand baggage.

Last travel: Aug 2016

Reconfirm with official sources before travelling.

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sabir pasha said...

Hi ,

Is it not true that The departure form at the Bangalore airport is to be filled before you take the stairs (escalator) to the first floor, since we need to give the departure form to the immigration counter before going to the security check which is in the ground floor.

This is based on my experience 3 years ago.

Ansh Jain said...

Thanks for your comment.

The immigration counters, along with the security are on the first floor.


Sreekar Guddeti said...

How much volume of foreign liquor is allowed without customs duty for an Indian citizen on arrival at an Indian airport?


Ansh Jain said...

I think it is 2 litres, but not completely sure. Maybe you can check the websites of Indian customs.