How to Buy the New iPhone and Ship it to India

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Written By Mani Karthik

I share everything I learned in life on this blog. From personal finance to spirituality and everything in between. 

Update: The new iPhone is out and there are many people in India who want to buy it from the US and ship it to India. If you’re one of those, this article will help you.

How to Buy the New iPhone and Ship it to India

Is Buying iPhone from the US a Wise Decision?

The new Apple iPhone is priced with different options in the USA. However, in India, the new iPhone costs about Rs. 1 Lakh+. Therefore, the price difference is significant. On paper, the new iPhone is cheaper in the USA.

This takes the cost of the new iPhone to somewhere around $1600 in India, as compared to the $999 in the US.

So, it looks like the new iPhone is cheaper in the US and it makes sense to buy it from the US. But is it really practical? Let us check.

Varied Sales Tax

The US doesn’t include sales tax, unlike India and Hong Kong, where sales tax is applied on every electronic item. However, in America, state-wide tax is taken into consideration, which can vary from state-to-state.

For instance, the state-wide tax in California is higher than that in Texas and is nearly zero percent in Delaware. So, you might start praying that someone you know lives in Delaware and can help buy the iPhone for you!

But don’t worry, no matter how much sales tax is applied, depending on the state, you are still likely to save on your purchase of the iPhone in the US.

How to Buy iPhone from USA & Ship to India

If you are planning to fly to the US, nothing would be easier. All you have to do is bring back the smartphone with you to India. However, don’t forget that you may have to pay a duty on it. For one-piece, customs don’t usually charge you anything but if you have multiple pieces, they might.

You can also shop for the iPhone online in the US, using an Indian credit/debit card, and then get it shipped ship to India. Use a forwarding service, which specializes in shipping the newest gadgets even before they are released in a certain country.

Coming to the customs duty and taxes, these need to be paid by the receiver, when the shipment reaches India, according to an article published by The Economic Times, on July 1, 2017. Post GST, effective from July 1, 2017, the Indian government is imposing a basic customs duty (BCD) on imported smartphones of 10%. Some people have mentioned that they had to pay 40% in custom duty.

Update: Customs duty on imported smartphones can go up to 20-30%. (Source – Hindu)

To get further information and to know more options, read my article on How To Buy Things From USA & Ship To India.

Will iPhone bought from USA work in India?

Yes. The factory unlocked iPhone bought from the USA will work well in India. Additionally, since Apple has introduced an international warranty on iPhones lately, you will have a warranty on newly bought phones from the US, even in India for a full one year!

Where to buy unlocked iPhone in US?

You can either buy it from directly or Amazon (here’s the product link). While choosing a carrier you’ll need to select AT&T or T-Mobile. In the checkout window, you’ll need to confirm that it’s unlocked from AT&T. You’ll need to then ship it to India.

Is it better to buy the iPhone from US or India?

That’s a difficult question to answer but here are my thoughts.

If you’re an Indian with no connections to the US, it is better to buy it from India because..

  • You will need to pay custom duties when importing iPhone from US.
  • You will end up paying more for the phone including shipping.
  • You may not get international warranty.

However, if you have someone in the US to help, you could ask them to get it for you and pay them for the price. This way, you don’t have to pay for customs duties or shipping. But you may still end up with a phone without an international warranty.

So ideally, if you are in India, without any options to buy the iPhone from the US, go to Amazon and get the iPhone at a discounted price when available.

So, what are you waiting for?

Tip: If you are buying the new iPhone, what about your old phone? Here are some apps where you can sell off your old phones.

Check out your options for owning Apple’s futuristic smartphone even before it hits the Indian markets!

31 thoughts on “How to Buy the New iPhone and Ship it to India”

  1. eSIM will not be provided to phone models purchased in USA.
    International warranty will be available for all the IPhone X series purchased in USA.

  2. Hi Mani,
    The local carriers, Airtel and Jio say that the IPhone X series purchased in USA will not get eSIM from their networks. I find the technical specs of the iphones sold in India and that in USA, specially the X series are the same.
    Secondly, I do not get the VoLTE display in my IPhone XR purchased in USA with Idea SIM, whereas I do get the symbol while using in my Android phone.

  3. Yes. The apple store executives in USA confirmed to me, while purchasing an IPhone XR that all models of X series carry international warranty at the Apple stores.

  4. Hi Mani,i have been reading the news in various newspapers that the iphones would get an international warranty in india. But i did not find this news on the apple website.The question was always there in the discussions but the people have always answered it as a big no on the website.I am in dubai right now & will soon be travelling to India.I have never used an iphone before & so planning to try my hands on XR 128gb with facetime,factory unlocked which currently is 18k less compared to indian price but im not sure about whether the warranty is valid in india or not.Guide me on this.

  5. Hi,I’ll be buying iPhone Xr from US and will bring it back with me to India unboxed but I can keep its box with me right in the baggage?

  6. If I buy iPhone XS in US will it work in India? Will its eSim functionality work? I use 2 sims, Airtel and Jio.
    Also will the warranty work in India?

  7. I live in India, Delhi. I bought iPhone from Glocalzone which is a website provides you to buy things from abroad). So, I bought iPhone X at its US price via Glocalzone.

    Just go to this website, find a traveler who is coming from the USA to India and contacts them. It’s really easy and cheaper way to shop overseas. I got my phone in 1 week.

  8. What if I buy a new I phone and unbox it and carry with me. Should I still pay the tax ??? Is there any way that I can’t pay taxes.

  9. Can you guide me the best and cheap courier service for shipping of a product like i phone x from USA to INDIA??

  10. sir how to place the order of iphone x from apple USA website??
    Is the indian cards work in the apple usa site??

  11. You won’t have any issues from customs bringing it here as it is unboxed. As for carriers, I’m getting mixed reactions from buyers. You got to make sure it is not on contract and it’s factory unlocked. I hear only Verizon and AT&T offers it but don’t take my word for it, check the latest with Apple staff itself. Tell them you intent to use it in India.

  12. Hi Karthik,
    I will be traveling to Florida in 10 days. Planning to buy one unlocked iPhone X there directly from an Apple store for my personal use. My question is whether I have to still select a carrier while billing? And if I bring it along without the box I won’t have trouble with customs right?

  13. Hi Mani,
    may I know the Import and Customs duty charges on Iphone X in India Shipping from USA. Please reply me asap.

  14. Hi Mani,

    Apple is now giving an option of without any carrier on their site. Would that work the same as an unlocked phone in India?

  15. Hi Mani,
    Im planning to get a phone from Canada. I just enquired that some features like Data Calls (voip) might not work in India because of the how the network providers setup is. Is this true? Does all the feature work fine?

  16. Hi Sanjay,

    You could buy the iPhoneX unlocked directly from Apple but you still need to select a carrier (not SIM free). I suggest AT&T or T-Mobile. You can replace the SIM while in India and it should work well. Do not try to activate the phone while in US, because it might create some issues replacing (Not confirmed yet but just in case). So when you go to select AT&T as carrier but in the check out window you’ll notice the following.

    Unlocked iPhone with AT&T SIM – This iPhone model will work on both AT&T and T-Mobile wireless networks. It will use either 3G or 4G LTE cellular technology for voice and data services. It can also roam internationally on many GSM carriers around the world. This iPhone model does not support CDMA cellular technology for voice and data service, such as those used by Sprint and Verizon.

    Hope that helps it.

  17. Hey Mani,

    Are sim-free unlocked iPhone X available for purchase now? I could not find any option for the same in the Apple website. Earlier was told that Best buy was selling unlocked ones,but now it seems that they too have stopped. Can I buy an iPhone X from Verizon for the full amount and just switch the sim for use in India? A friend of mine is coming from the US soon and your reply will help me in saving a few bucks.Thank you!

  18. Hi Anurag, I think I answered you Twitter as well, but just in case you missed it… Yes, your friend who’s coming down can bring it along declaring it as his own for personal use. One is totally fine, unless he’s bringing like a couple of iPhones, which I assume is not the case here.

    Congrats on the iPhone, it’s an amazing piece of tech. 🙂

    All the best!

  19. That is the big problem with duty. Officers at different places charge at their own wish and will making the prices exorbitant. 🙁

  20. Hey Anand,

    If your relatives are bringing it over, then I don’t see an issue of customs. Tell that it’s used and theirs. Just carry it like they bought it for their own use. (Assuming they have the bill of purchase etc). It’s only an issue if it’s more than one piece (that is for business purposes).

  21. Hi, Mani.
    I’m having my relatives bring the Pixel 2 XL for me, which costs 850$ (Rs. 55K). As per the updated laws, can you provide an estimate of how much custom duty I will be liable to pay for this? My main point of confusion is the BCD. Is the 10% going to be charged extra over the customs or 10% is the only amount charged?
    And is there any way to avoid paying it altogether, since this is infact a gift?

  22. Nice information Mani Karthik. are you sure about custom duty? it is just 10% of product value. I had previous experience with freight service to ship iPhone from USA to India (My location is Hyderabad) almost i paid around 29% of product value including shipping.
    for your information I ship that package by using

    Thanks in advance

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