What to Expect when Relocating to India

“India is not a nation, nor a country. It is a subcontinent of nationalities.”

relocating-to-India1

India indeed is a land of contrasts. It is multilingual, multicultural and multifaceted. Everything from what you eat and what you wear to how you speak and what you celebrate depends on which part of India you are in. In the Western imagination, India has however been equated to a land of wise men and snake charmers for centuries. Thus, the first thing to bear in mind when you move to India is that the clichés do not apply everywhere.

No, you will not meet a man in saffron every time you turn a corner. No, every other person you meet will not work for a call centre.  No, every Indian you meet will not be a math whiz. No, every traffic jam will not be caused by a cow meandering down the road.

However, we list a few important things you should be prepared for in case you decide to make the big move.

  1. The Traffic: Well Indians do not specially like sticking to rules. Pedestrians rule the roads and expect cars to stop with a hand gesture (there is a total lexicon of such gestures that work on the understanding between the Indian Driver and the average pedestrian). The car with loudest honk generally gets its way. A general disregard to traffic rules and regulations is the order of the day. Thus unless you are driving in one of the major metros with strict enforcement of traffic rules, it is better to hire a local driver. Manpower is quite cheap, and once you get used to the order in the chaos that rule the Great Indian road network, you can navigate unassisted.

 

  1. The Power of ‘Understanding’: The average Indian celebrates the power of ‘Understanding’ with great gusto. You must have an ‘understanding’ with your vegetable vendor (he will save you fresh produce), your maid (she will be punctual), your newspaper boy, your milkman and everyone else you can think of.

Now there are several ways to enforce this bond of ‘understanding’. A generous sprinkling of ‘bhaiya’ and ‘yaar’ helps. You can address any male with these terms of endearment. When the world threatens to freeze over you, you never know, a ‘Bhaiya please’ might help.

  1. The Walking Dollar Sign: If you look remotely foreign, chances are everybody from the footpath fruit vendor and curio seller to the cab driver will quote prices sky high. The high exchange rate of currency has heavily contributed to this phenomenon. Thus, never, I mean NEVER, buy anything without bargaining. Bargaining is an expected way of Indian life and an art several shoppers pride themselves in (except in shopping malls and in stores with omnipresent ‘Fixed Price, No Bargaining’ signs). A good price to start with would be exactly half of the original quote. A line that usually works is- “Come on Bhaiya, I just bought the same thing from that other guy for half this price yesterday” (Notice the strategical use of Bhaiya).

 

  1. The Domestic Help: It does not matter what your pay packet is. Most middle class families in India hire domestic help to help with household cleaning and doing the dishes and laundry. Manpower is cheap in India, work is efficient and your help will enthusiastically acquaint you with the ubiquitous Indian culture. The only problem is that they have their own ideas regarding punctuality, and the time that they show up in is unanimously to be regarded as the ‘right’ time.

 

 

  1. The Dress Code: India, to put it mildly, has a conservative sense of dressing. Instances of sexual harassment are pretty common and thus it is prudent for women to dress modestly. No, you do not exactly need to put on a burqa, but covering your cleavage, shoulders and legs help.

 

The most important thing to expect from a land as diverse as India is the blissful chaos that characterizes it. Your perception of the country will change every moment you spend here, you will love it one minute and hate it the next. But the journey, will definitely, be worth it.

 

 


Moving Back to India: The Survival Guide

In the recent years, Asian countries like India and China have been displaying tremendous scope in terms of opportunities and growth. With the American Economy slowing down, the Great American Dream has actually made way for the Greater ‘Moving Back to Your Roots’ phenomenon.  The vast entrepreneurial and career opportunities that exist in the fast growing Indian Economy have laid the foundation stone for the current ‘Repat’ or Reverse Expert phenomenon.

Now, the Repats are of two types-

  1. The ones who moved to the US or other countries not earlier than a few decades. They now plan to move back to the country they grew up in.
  2. The Second Generation of American born Indians, whose parents had moved away from India. They have little or no experience of the country their parents had left in search of a better future.

 

Both these groups face their own set of challenges. Irrespective of which of these groups you belong to, a move back to India will definitely be difficult. Maybe more fulfilling, definitely more interesting; it can very well be a satisfying learning experience. But if you are expecting a smooth ride then you are bound to face more than just a few bumps on the road.

 

One needs to remember the fact that India has evolved dramatically in the last decade. High-rises, flyovers, multiplexes and malls have mushroomed all over the country. The Indian Metros have settled into a happy admixture of American brands and ‘desi’ chaos. To settle (or settle back) into the Indian way of life, you need to respect the fact that India has its own character. Chaotic- yes! Resilient- Yes! Confusing- Of course! But then accommodating?  Indians are celebrated for their warm hospitality throughout the world, but potentially starting (or restarting) a life in India is completely different from a month long trip.

 

Adapting to the Indian Way of Life

 

Moving to a new place is always difficult. You will face the same problems adapting to India that you had faced while you were trying to adapt to the States. The dust, the heat, the Traffic and the shouting are but just a few of the obstacles that you will have to live through. The transition will be a lot easier if you have a network of family and friends to fall back on. In all the metropolitan cities you will have the choice of shopping from any Branded store that you wish, but the products will be more expensive than those in America.

 

Now, the Indians are sensitive people. If you start all your sentences with “you know, in America…” chances are a lot of the people will be sniggering behind your back. It is always good practice to pick up few local tastes when you are trying to start a conversation. Brush up your knowledge on cricket and Bollywood. Start your sentence with “ Tendulkar is the greatest cricketer ever..” and chances are you are inducted into the tightest group of friends before the week is over.

 

The Indian Education System is quite different from its Western counterpart. Evaluation is examination oriented and you have a few Education Boards to choose from. But the private schools are definitely good and kids always have a higher flair of adapting to new circumstances. Many International Schools have also been set up in the recent years.

 

The fact is that you (or your parents) have grown up in India. It did not kill you then, it will not kill you now. Accept India with all its good and bad qualities and you will definitely be in for a treat.


How to Be a Foreign Resident (Expat) in India

India is a huge country with many religions and ethnic groups. Still, there are some basic rules that all expats should and have to follow if they are planning to live and work in India for an indefinite period of time. Of course this guide also helps people who stay for periods starting from 6 months on a work visa.

 

This guide starts off with the following presumptions: – The person moving to India is not a traveler, but will work in the country – The person moving to India has accommodation, work and visa in place

Take the right taxi when you arrive. Look for the pre-paid taxi stand. Do not let any person approach you and offer you a taxi. They are definitely overcharging by a very high amount (up to 300 percent!). Make a difference between A/C (airconditioning) and non-A/C cab. In the middle of the night and in the cooler period, A/C is not needed, it is just more expensive. ‘Luxury cabs’ do not exist, thus a higher amount for taking one is not justified.

Pay the correct amount. When reaching your destination, your cab driver will do everything to charge you an extra amount. He might give you the following reasons: driver’s charge, night charge, luxury charge, tip, waiting charge, parking fees, sick mother, grand mother, dog, cat, cow or sheep. None of this is true! Pre-paid taxis are called pre-paid taxis because they are pre-paid. Tipping cab drivers is not common and not advisable.

Get a telephone: Every Indian owns a mobile phone. Getting one takes some patience, but is quite easy. Identify the most reliable mobile provider in your region. Common ones are: Airtel, Hutch (now Vodafone), Idea. Usually you need your residency permit and passport as well as 1-2 passport pictures. You can use your European telephone or a U.S. one (although India providers are mostly using the GSM network — same as AT&T and T-Mobile in USA). But simple mobile phones can be bought starting from 30 USD.

Register at the FRRO. Within the first 14 days of your arrival you need to register at the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO). Usually, your employer helps you with that. If not, try to find a reliable Indian person, who can help you out with the language spoken in the area you live in, as nobody in the FRRO will speak enough English to understand you. Do not forget to fill the simple form with your address and other details. And take passport pictures. In India passport pictures are needed for everything, so make it a habit to carry at least 5 with you at all times.

Get a residency permit. Once the FRRO has worked on your registration, you (or somebody in the company you work for) will be asked to pick up your ‘residency permit’ (stamped form). This paper is very important. Do not lose it and carry it with you when you are traveling, as it is proof that you are an Indian Resident and will give you discounts at many tourist sites (Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, Qutab Minar in Delhi, Amber Fort in Jaipur and many more). It also proofs that you are in India legally. The process for your permit to be approved can take anything between 5 days and 2 months.

Get a PAN card: Your employer will pay taxes for you or you will pay your own taxes. In any case you will receive a PAN card that shows that you are 1. an Indian Resident and 2. paying your taxes in India. This card you can carry with you instead of the residency permit, as it serves the same purpose and is accepted by most people and institutions as a means of identification.

Obtain health insurance: either you have taken up a private health insurance in your home country or your employer offers you a certain health insurance package with your contract. Bigger cities in India have good private hospitals and doctors at prices that are affordable.

Learn about transport: If you are not lucky enough to live in one of the cities that has a metro, you will have to rely on the following methods of transport:

  • Bike rikshaw: slow, unreliable and usually the drivers do not know their way around. Not advisable after dark for single women. Price: bargain, bargain, bargain! It is cheaper than you think and foreign people pay a higher price than Indians in any case.
  • Auto rikshaw: They do have meters, but those never work. If they do, in many cities the drivers have lists that show the rates you have to pay according to the meter. If the meter does not work: bargain, bargain, bargain!
  • Taxis: same as for auto rikshaws. There are also taxis that have fixed prices which can be booked for a certain number of hours and kilometres with the driver. Ask your Indian colleagues for the local prices for these (and everything else). And usually, even though a fixed price had been agreed, the drivers will want more money. The only charge that really does apply is the night charge (usually from 11 PM)and parking charges (in Delhi between 10 and 20 RS). Do not pay anything they ask you without asking for proof.

Experiment with eating out: Restaurants are quite cheap and usually the food is fine. Indian food is very spicy and contains a lot of beans. In most of the bigger cities, there is a good variety of Western food available (at higher cost though). Hygiene is a very sensitive topic. Mostly the plates and cutlery are clean.It is only a myth that the food is not cooked in hygenic conditions. Today maximum Indian restaurants observe the hygiene standards laid down by the central board. Indian chefs work very hard to give you the right quality food. If your concern about hygiene is genuine we suggest you eat at a good restaurant and not at road side. Nobody can assure healthy food at road side whether in India or in New York.

Get an International Driving Permit from your home country. Indian transport authorities do not recognise a driving licence without an IDP. It is NOT recommended to drive yourself in India — driving is chaotic and random, and rules are rarely followed in India. If you wish to drive, do so with caution, and remember that drivers in India will not extend the same courtesy as expected in Western countries.

 

Buy food in a market. Fruit and vegetables are widely available on markets. They usually weigh what you buy, so if they don’t, insist on it, otherwise they will definitely overcharge you. There are good supermarkets as well, which sell imported products at the same prices as in your home country or slightly more expensive.

 

Wear appropriate clothing: This is especially important for women! Do not wear short skirts, tight clothes or tank-tops.

 

Try out the nightlife: Mostly nightclubs are in expensive hotels and the prices are even higher than in Europe or the US. Clubbers are either rich expats or posh Indians. Music is mostly Indian Bollywood, Punjabi etc. or techno/house music.

 

Observe state alcohol laws. In some states, the minimum age for drinking is 18, in others, it is 21, and some, such as Maharashtra, it is 25 for hard liquor. Transporting liquor across state lines are often illegal — eg Goa to Maharashtra, (because of high excise duties in Maharashtra); Maharashtra-Gujarat (because Gujarat is a dry state). In Maharashtra, to drink alcohol, you need to make a permit, although this rule is rarely enforced.

 

Be prepared to see poverty: It is everywhere. And even the poor expect more money out of you than of their Indian people. So they might cling to your legs, grab your arms or in any other way with their whining voices try to get your attention. There is no solution for this.

Other Tips:

  • Tourist vs. Indian price: Your PAN-card and residency permit allows you to enter important sights at the price of an Indian. This does not work everywhere (e.g. Taj Mahal) and sometimes needs some convincing. But do not forget: you pay Indian taxes, so you should be treated as an Indian.
  • Most of the people you deal with in everyday life (vendors, waiters, cleaning people, cab drivers etc.) will not speak English, so learn your share of Hindi or whichever language/dialect is spoken where you live. Most important words: namaste = hello, seedha = straight (for the cab drivers, they do know left and right), ye bas = stop here, achhha = good, nahi = no, han or hanji = yes, nahi = no, nahi chahiye = no, I don’t want and the numbers, so that you can negotiate for prices ; Kya hua= What happen? ; Seb = Apple. Dukaan= shop; Chai= Tea; Bhai= Brother; Kal= Tomorrow.Chutti= holiday;
  • You will be stared at! Find your own way to deal with it.
  • Download yourself the free guide books published by New Delhi-based Knowledge Must on working, volunteering, doing internships, or studying in India [1] in order to get a more detailed overview of what working in India implies.
  • Bargain, bargain, bargain! Foreigners in India are generally being treated as walking ATM-machines. Everybody will just want your money. No matter if that person is poor or fairly rich. They all think foreigners can just pull a 1000 Dollar note out of their pocket. Once you are familiar with the prices in your area, do not let them convince you the prices have increased. Foreigners are foreigners and you will be surprised how much less Indians around you pay for the same thing.

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Foreign-Resident-(Expat)-in-India

Edited by Choicefresh, Zoe Volt, Jack Herrick, Sondra C and 9 others


Moving to India – Things to know before visiting the country

A visit to India forms a part of everybody’s travel bucket list. If you are no exception, let us tell you that there can be only one outcome out of these two – you would either like India or hate it. Though depending on how well prepared you are, your notion may change. Nadine, a Great Barrier Reef snorkelling instructor cum personal attendant of a ship in Cairns, Australia, summed up her experience of visiting India with one sentence – India is infested with cockroaches and mice. That had happened because her trip to India was neither well-planned nor well-researched.

Someone aptly said, “Patience is the key to manage in India”. Right from your arrival at the airport, you will feel the need of it. The over-eccentric noise and bustling of the over populated city life will greet you while the continuous blabbering of the touts may get on your nerves. From the click happy youth’s camera pointed towards you to the sweaty traffic jams, you have to remember that the keyword to survive this mayhem is “patience” indeed. There are many visitors of India who fall in love with just that – a different kind of life of the Indians.

Special treatment

The “foreigners” here are not only treated specially, but at some places are charged so too. Some of the tourist attraction under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India charge “special foreigner rates”. At these sites you may find the details of such “special” rates by the ticket counters at the entrance. You may find the numerical differences between the local and the foreigners’ rates however chances are that such rates would be comparatively cheaper than your country of residence. Many hotels as well as airlines too have special charges for tourists in India.

Every tourist has one or two instances to share about the touts they encountered while visiting India. The guardians of dupery – the touts have a knack of sniffing out tourists from the most unexpected spots and you, as tourists, may find them at every junction of your journey. The thumb rule to deal with them is to “ignore them”.

We are here to help you avoid summing up your journey to this incredible land as a nightmare. Here’s presenting you the “to dos” and “not to dos” while visiting and experiencing India – one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of geography, ethnicity, cuisine, arts, culture and tradition.

What to do:

  • Check that you are applying for the right Visa from the Indian embassies or consulates in your country. Different countries have different Visa norms.
  • Be prepared to pay an “application fee” for your Visa application in case your Visa is being done by third party outsourced companies and not the embassies.
  • Apply for the Protected Area Permit (PAP) along with your Visa application. [The PAP is required if you are visiting North-East India (Assam is exempted from this) and a few other parts like Andaman and Nicobar, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal.]
  • Choose the Multiple Entry Visa as they are more flexible than the others.
  • Check the website of ‘Central Board of Excise and Customs’ beforehand to know what you are permitted to and what you are not permitted shipping to india.
  • Chalk out different areas of your interest beforehand and target the main festivities in one part of the country during your tour.
  • Take the help of your friends in India (if you have any) to arrange a trustworthy tour guide who can take you to the places of your interest. If you don’t have a friend in India for that, you can trust your hotel concierge. The local tourism departments can be of help in this case.
  • Connect through Gulf countries as this provides you with plenty of options to reduce your airfare. [Air Arabia, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways are some of the options.]
  • Book your tickets as early as possible.
  • Look for the airlines which do not charge extra from foreigners (non-residents).
  • Keep plenty of buffer time in hand for the in-between journeys through the congested streets and lanes of the big Indian cities.
  • Look for cheap domestic airlines for intercity travelling. Apart from the government airlines, there are plenty of private competitors (Indigo, Jet Airways, Spicejet etc.) too.
  • Just ignore the touts. Go on with your business. Tell them a firm “NO” for whatever they are offering.
  • Always carry your drinking water along.
  • Take care of your belongings while in a crowded public place.
  • Always consult your hotel concierge before going anywhere alone.
  • Buy a local sim card for your cell phone for easy communication.
  • Keep photocopies of your passport in the hotel locker.

What not to do:

  • Don’t overstay your Visa tenure. Violation will cause hefty fines. [Keep in mind that Indian Visas are validated from the date of issuing and NOT the date of entering the country.]
  • Don’t go for the airlines which apply separate charges for non-residents of India.
  • Don’t go for street food stalls unless you are into experimenting.
  • Don’t argue with the touts, just ignore them.
  • Don’t let your tour planner do the research for you as they might miss many local attractions in their packages.
  • Do not eat at open food stalls.
  • Do not trust over friendly people.
  • Do not take lift from unknown people.
  • Do not give anything to the beggars.
  • Do not buy any ticket from a third person. Always buy ticket from the correct counter by following the correct procedure.

India is rightly symbolised by its national flower – the Lotus. Here, amidst the filth, dirt, pollution and poverty, revolves of the wheel of life. The spirit of the nation spreads its diverse beauty to the world. People come here as guests and travellers, but with time and a strange bonding or attachment they gradually become one of the nation’s own. Each experience in India has something to cherish. Be well-prepared and India will give you whatever you have come here for.

Read More : http://www.worldluxurytourism.com/destinations/india-things-to-know-before-visiting-the-country.html


moving from us to india on ‘Transfer of Residence’

Moving from us to india- Transfer of Residence

Watch this Video for more information on clearing your household goods availing transfer of residence benefits


Helping Kids Cope with Relocation

A new place is hard enough but for parents it adds an extra challenge of helping their children cope with the stress of moving. For kids, moving entails not only a change of home but also moving away from their school, their friends and their comfort zone. While there is excitement of being in a new place, the actual adjustment for them may be far more complex. Parents have to deal with many questions and challenges. What should we tell the kids about the move? How would they react? How do we explain the reasons for the move and why it would be good for them? What should they expect in terms of the schooling and making new friends etc?

Moving could affect children socially, mentally and emotionally and often times academically. If a child is older and has been in the same school for several years, the idea of moving can be revolting at first. They would miss their friends, their routine and their way of life. In a new place they would have to go through the regime of making new friends and adjust to the academic structure of a new school. This could create anxiety, emotional stress and trauma in the mind of the children. In such a scenario the role of the parents and the community becomes crucial.

Some of the things parents could do to help children cope with the relocation is: 

  • Talk to the children as soon as the decision to move comes up. Be honest with them and give them enough time to think about the idea of moving and adjust to it. Answer their questions and encourage ideas and thoughts and their gauge their emotions regarding the subject.
  • Take the help of teachers and school counselors speak to the children. Involve their friends to find ways of keeping in touch. This helps children stay connected with their existing world.
  • Be positive about moving to a new country, as this not only generates excitement in their mind, it can also help them respect the new culture they are moving to. Identify places that would spark interest in the kids in the new place, like museums, parks or entertainment centers.
  • After identifying the new school, parents should share web sites or forums with them so they familiarize with the place and set up a positive expectation from it. Children may worry about how they would cope with the new curriculum and how they would perform academically in the new school. Ease their stress by telling them not to worry about that, as everyone will need an adjustment period.
  • If your kids are into sports or any other extra-curricular activities see if you could identify places where similar activities are available.
  • Get them involved. Kids are more vested in the move if they are involved in the major aspects and tasks around moving. Let them pack their special things in boxes and identify things they want to keep or give away. Also encourage them to set those things up in their own rooms in the new place.
  • Give kids ample space and time to say their good byes. Kids cope better if they are given the opportunity to say goodbye to their close friends and teachers. Help them exchange information via email or postal address or even give gifts to their close friends. Encourage a farewell party and invite your close network of friends and relatives so that there is an atmosphere of celebration as you embark on a new journey and not that of a loss.

All kids are different and they would react differently to a new place or a new environment. Being a good role model would help parents help their kids to cope. Patience, open communication and understanding are the key to a successful move. It could take as long as 1-2 years before children adjust or even earlier so parents need to show complete understanding and patience when relocating with kids.


Moving to India shipping – A Guide

Choosing a Moving Company

  • The first step would be to call the Removal companies. There are numerous companies listed online that will help you Shipping to India. Filling in the details online help you secure a free quote.
  • Choosing a moving company can be be a daunting task considering that you have a life time of valuables, possessions and memories to be moved. There are a number of companies that specialize in moving to India. Make your self comfortable with the Company, its policies and advise of any special requirements you might have and also give them a chance to ask any questions or advise you about the move.
  • Though price is a crucial determinant, don’t choose a mover only based on price, instead pick a mover that suits your requirements, circumstances and one that puts you at ease in terms of quality and service.
  • Be frank with your mover about your moving needs. Knowing the household goods to be moved will help them give you a more accurate quote, right sized van and allocate the right manpower. Show them around and make them aware of all items (including plants, piano, items that need ladders etc)   to be moved.
  • If you are having various company representatives to come and visit make sure you are prepared. They will want to look every where, under the stairs, inside cupboards and even under your beds. Anything that needs to go with you must be put on your inventory form or shown to the company representatives. It you do call up and ask several removal companies to give you a quote it is very important that you ask them all the same questions and to do exactly the same things, if not then you will receive quotes that not only vary widely, but are for completely different jobs.
  • Carry or Dispose  Its time to go through your stuff and decide what you would like to keep, throw away, sell or give away. Remember to point out to moving company representative what items you will not ship to India.
  • Write down any concerns – Make a note of any concerns or special needs and the moving companies will help you out. Check about insurance, additional charges, paper work, references etc
  • Finally choose a Moving company that suits you.

Continue reading


Moving to India – Cultural Tips for Foreigners / Expats visiting India

One of the most ancient civilizations of the world – India, is a land of many contrasts. With a billion plus people, India will amaze you with its diversity, be it geography, cultures, arts, languages, religion or lifestyles. Get ready to be greeted on your arrival by an array of sights, smells and sounds that have made India synonymous with “multi dimensional”.

The country so diverse in its geography with snow capped mountains, arid deserts, sun kissed beaches and tropical forests. India is a land of spiritualism and Philosphy and is known to be secular with people of multiple faiths coexisting ranging from Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and even Jews . Culturally diverse India is an amalgamation of sub cultures, languages, arts, dance, music, architecture, clothing, traditions and food spread across the subcontinent .

India’s economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world but there still remains a vast majority of the country that lives below the poverty line. While one end of the social spectrum struggles to make ends meet, the other end of the social spectrum boasts of a class that are super rich. Housing, education, malnutrition and poverty are the core issues for the administration. But what holds the economy together is the Middle class which is the real driver of economic growth. seem to be committed to working on them.

Continue reading