India holds a lot of promise to those folks who would like to make it their second home or perhaps even their permanent residence. The country offers exotic traditions, a flourishing economy, diverse and colorful culture, a very unique value-belief system, and a truly wonderful lifestyle that you won’t get anywhere else. If you want to become part of a growing community of expatriates in India – with more the 40,000 of them – here are some of the things you really have to prepare for if you want to become a foreign resident in India.
Get your own Indian phone number
Even before hailing a taxi to your new home in India, make sure to buy a local Indian SIM card as this will help ease everything, from calling your loved ones abroad to filling out your new contact information on the various forms you will be securing later on for your stay. There are a number of documents that you will need to secure to authenticate and validate your residency status in the country. And you will need a local number to accomplish these processes smoothly.
Get registered at the FRRO
Foreigners who wish to stay in the country for more than 180 days are mandated by the Indian government to visit and register with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office. You have 14 days upon your arrival in India to accomplish this, otherwise you will be considered as an illegal alien in the country. When registering with the FRRO, it is highly recommended that you bring several pieces of your most recently-taken passport-sized picture. All of the legal documents in India that require pictures of the applicant or subject need to be in passport-size so it would really help if you already have a bunch of these before you go to the FRRO.
Also, it is wise to bring an Indian friend, preferably someone who can converse both in English and Hindi. While the English proficiency of most Indians is at par with global standards, there will still be those in government offices where English is not really practiced. As such make sure to tag a friend along. Additionally, you can ask your employer, if you already have one, to help you with the FRRO registration process.
Secure your Indian Residency Permit
Your registration with the FRRO will lead to the issuance of a temporary receipt. Keep this in your person at all times because it basically serves as proof of your official permit of residence, pending the completion of the Residency Permit. Take note that, while the Indian government is doing what it can to cut bureaucratic red tape, the usual processing of the Residency Permit can take as short as 5 days to as long as 2 months.
At any rate, you will be notified of the Residency Permit’s availability through your local contact information. Hopefully you did place your local Indian phone number in the registration form. Once the RP is ready you can go to the FRRO and secure your Indian Residency Permit or ask your office to accompany you there. It is imperative that you keep your Residency Permit in your possession at all times since this is now your Indian ID. You can also use it to avail of discounts that are normally given to Indian residents.
Obtain your PAN Card
One of the most important pieces of document that you will have to secure when you get to India is the Permanent Account Number issued by the Income Tax Department. You can get a full break down of the PAN card meaning here. This is a requirement for all individuals and entities both local and foreign alike that will be deriving some form of income within a given year. Also, certain financial, business, and economic transactions are required by law to have the PAN quoted for such transactions to be consummated.
The following links will help you with apply for a PAN card:
Get your health insurance
The Indian public healthcare system is not necessarily the best in the world. Most expats in India opt to buy their own health insurance that will allow them to secure healthcare services from the private sector which are better-equipped than their public counterparts.
Becoming a foreign resident in India is a fairly straightforward process. The very first thing you need to do is to legitimize your stay as a resident of the country. Once you’re done with that, you can begin on your wondrous journey of discovering more of the Indian subcontinent.