Moving to India is a decision that will provide expats with countless possibilities to enrich their cultural understanding and open up their horizons. India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1.2 billion inhabitants. The cost of living in India is extremely low, especially for foreigners coming from Western Europe, the USA or Canada.
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Moving to India
India is one of the countries that almost everyone has on their worth-to-visit places. Certainly foreigners moving to India will not regret their decision. The amazing mixture of cultures and traditions local people have will astonish expats. Upon arrival, the climate and surroundings may be shocking even for those who come prepared, however soon they will realise that the country offers many memorable experiences.
The culture local people in India have varies greatly from region to region. It is also amazingly different from the ones foreigners are familiar with, therefore they are recommended to be prepared beforehand about the general do’s and don’ts. Most of the foreigners may already know about the cows being considered sacred, but not many are aware of the fact that books, papers or even newspapers are seen as a metaphor for the Goddess of learning. Walking over them or even touching them with your feet could be considered offensive. To avoid misunderstandings, there is a quite a long list expats moving to India are recommended to check and learn. Hospitality is the foremost Indian value taught to Indians from childhood, therefore there is no doubts expats will be treated well by local people.
Accommodation in India
Among other things, finding suitable accommodation is one of the many challenges internationals moving to India will encounter. Starting to look for possible options long before your arrival is highly recommended. Most popular expat destinations in India are Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore which are the commercial centres of the country. But even there, housing options are quite limited as the competition there is higher than in other cities.
Because the demand for high quality and affordable rental accommodation is bigger than the supply, expats moving to India for work, can ask their employers to provide them with accommodation options. Although this is the most common way of finding a suitable place, expats could also be expected to solve their accommodation problems by themselves.
In this case, obtaining the services of an experienced Indian real estate agenct may be advantageous. It is crucial for internationals moving to India to be as precise as possible regarding the accommodation type they prefer if they want to avoid misunderstandings. One big issue is that ‘apartment’ may be applied to one room that needs wallpaper to be peeled and at the same time to an ultra-modern, fully furnished living space that is equal to the ones offered in New York or London. Therefore, expats moving to India may face a great challenge to find something that falls in between these extremes.
Signing a lease agreement is another adventure that certainly needs special attention and extra care. Often, Indian landlords will prefer to rent out their properties ‘informally’ (with no official contract). In this case, you will not have any proof that you rented the property and you may end up on the streets. It is better not to accept this kind of offers and require to sign an agreement instead. As for the costs: keep in mind that tenants usually have to pay two or three month’s rent as a security deposit and half a month’s rent as a commission fee to the real estate agencies.
Buying House in India
If you prefer buying a house when moving to India rather than renting one, then the first and foremost thing you have to do is to find yourself a trustworthy real estate lawyer. It will certainly simplify the process.
In order to purchase property in India, foreigners must have a residence permit. Expats on tourist visa (lasts for 180 day) are not allowed to buy property. The residency requirement is 183 days in a financial year, spent in India. Along with that, foreigners who have the resident permit are required to get a permission from local authorities in the area where the property is located. Bribery and corruption are widespread in India, therefore it is wise to never make payments in cash and to pay extra attention when signing any contracts.
When it comes to property prices, an apartment in the city centre is around EUR 1000 per square meter. As for renting homes, a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs approximately EUR 300 per month.
Shipping Furniture to India
Exptriates moving to India who want to import their household and personal goods can do so using the services of reliable international removal companies. What is more, if you are resident of India, you can take advantage of duty- free shipping options. However, there are some restrictions and exceptions to this rule. When shipping furniture to India it is best to consult the baggage rules of the Indian government to make sure there are no unexpected surprises. International removal companies can also be very helpful in providing you with details regarding shipping furniture. Usually international moving companies are experienced in shipments to and from India and they know best about procedures and restricted items.
Foreigners who are eligible to duty-free shipping should make sure to be in India prior to the arrival of their goods. If it is not possible due to circumstances international moving companies you work with can help you with that as well.
If you are shipping container overseas then you will be expected to submit some documents to the customs department; namely your original passport with visa type or Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card, a baggage declaration form and an authority letter which are provided by international removal companies, an inventory with a valuation of each item shipped, bill of landing and Indian customs declaration form (which is also provided by the removal company). International moving companies should provide you with a detailed information about the process.
Therefore, important point that will ease the hassle of international removals to India, is to always rely on the services of experienced international moving companies with good reviews. Expats are also advised to compare quotes from at least three international removal companies before choosing the one that meets their requirements.