Everything you need to know about sending parcels to India
The UK has enjoyed strong trading links with India for centuries and the same applies in the present day. Not everything that is mailed to India is for commercial purposes though; many Brits have family and friends out there, needing to send their grandma / cousin / school friend a birthday gift every year.
With over 1.2 billion people living in India, it's no wonder that the country's postal service is always busy. The postal service also works slightly differently from the UK's and since India's not in Europe, there are a number of restrictions you have to bear in mind when sending parcels there.
Addressing your parcel
Addressing a parcel to India is a little unusual and can be complicated. Parcels heading to urban areas need to the include (in this order):
Name of addressee
Name or number of the house and name of the road
Post box number (if applicable)
Locality or Mohalla (lane/area)
Post town and pin code (this should also be in block letters and underlined)
Name of the district and state pin code
The country in capital letters
Parcels to rural areas are similar, but the name of the recipient's father or husband must be stated under the addressee's name. Moreover, after the village name you should state the post office the package is being to delivered to, plus its pin code.
Weight and size restrictions
An unregistered parcel must not exceed four kilograms, but a registered parcel can weigh up to ten kilograms if it's going to a post office and 20 kilograms in other cases. Unregistered parcels cannot be tracked, whereas registered packages can.
Should you wish to send any odd-shaped packages, be aware that they must not be longer than one metre and wider than 1.8 metres. Furthermore, India Post won't allow any of its employees to suffer an injury because of the way you packaged something, so make sure it's definitely safe to carry.
Liquids and live bees
If you need to send any liquids to India, you must ensure that the contents cannot leak. This means double-packaging everything. For example, a bottle would need to be placed within a strong wooden or metal box. The box should be packed with a material that can further protect and soak up any spillages, such as saw-dust.
Unless you're a bee keeper, it's unlikely you'd want to send any live bees in the post, but it goes without saying that in the event you do, you need to ensure they're properly enclosed. Again, India Post doesn't want any of its workers getting stung, so it pays to be considerate.
Every country lists certain items that cannot be sent through the post, but some of India's restrictions are rather unusual. You must not send any mobile phones to India, nor baby gender prediction kits or credit cards without a signature. Jewellery containing precious stones isn't allowed either, so be careful when sending expensive gifts.
It's a good idea to do your homework when sending parcels to any country, but India has some rather unique rules in particular. Therefore, it's wise to check that you've done everything correctly before posting, to ensure that your gift reaches grandma without incident.
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