Moving to India

Whether you want the mountains or the desert, the sun or the rain, the hills or the plains, you can find all of it in India. India is one of the most diverse countries on earth.

Known mainly for its spiritual history and vibrant culture, India is also emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With a large English speaking population and endless states to choose from, it can be the best country for you to move to.

You can move to the heart of the country, Delhi, if you want to be in the crowd and yet a part of the culture. You could live in Bombay among what’s hot and happening. If IT is more your jig, you could try Bangalore. If you love the winters, Himachal Pradesh will be a place you will never forget. For those of you who are partial to the heat, most of South India will provide you sunshine throughout the year.

No matter what you are looking for, India will have something to suit your taste. The vibrant culture, the numerous festivals and the sheer diversity will make you feel alive like nothing else has ever done. And since it is an up and coming economy, you can be sure you will get good opportunities. It is also a relatively cheaper country.

Visas and becoming a citizen

Getting a visa to India is not a difficult job, provided you have the requisite documents. There are different kinds of visas you can get. The various types include:

  • a tourist visa (which has a maximum six month stay at a time);
  • business visa (where there is a special offer for US citizens who can be granted a ten year, multiple entry visa);
  • employment visa (with a legal requirement for the employee to be paid at least $25,000 to be able to get this visa);
  • entry visa (non-business person, typically granted to the family of those applying for an employment visa);
  • student visa (for studying at a recognized educational institute);
  • long-term entry visa and others.

Citizenship of India can be obtained by either of four ways – birth, descent, registration or naturalisation. If a foreigner has either lived in India for 11 of the last 14 years prior to application, or has lived in India continuously for a period of 12 months prior to the application, then they may apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Registration can be done by anyone wishing to become a citizen. Under permanent residency you can either get an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) or PIO card (Person of Indian Origin).

Select the size of your move to get free quotes


Most people in India tend to not use health insurance. It is not as widespread and common as it is in some other countries. There are both public and private hospitals. In big and mid sized cities it is quite easy to find good English speaking doctors.

Health insurance in India tends to cover only hospitalisation and emergency costs, and you have to pay the rest upfront. However the costs here tend not to be too expensive, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

If you don’t have a medical cover provided by your employee, it is recommended to take one out yourself.

You can choose between government healthcare and private healthcare. The biggest pro of government health care is that it is significantly cheaper than private health care. However, the cons involve long waiting periods and a lack of proper infrastructure in some areas.

While private health care, on the other hand, is top of the line. It may be more expensive than the government healthcare option, but compared to other western countries, it is quite affordable.

Job market

The job market in India is heavily focused on education. All of the fields that are booming right now - IT, engineering, or biotechnology - require a level of education. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The IT sector is one of the most popular sectors that have continued to grow successively each year. The IT boom is centered around Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka.

India has a lot of expats working in multinational companies; these are centered around major India cities, like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai etc. In the fields of biotechnology and the aeronautics industry, the demand for labour is high. What you basically need to be able to succeed in the Indian job market is a good education, and English language skills are prized.

Another popular option for a foreigner to work in India is to become a teacher. There is a demand for native English speakers, while French and German are other languages that are gaining popularity. Native English speakers in fact have endless possibilities - they could also take on writing or freelancing jobs.

Essential information for India:

Official language:Hindi and English at the national level; 22 languages on the state level, including Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Urdu.
Capital city:New Dehli
Currency:Indian Rupee (INR)
Timezone:UTC+ 5
International dialling code:+91
Emergency numbers:100 (police), 101 (ambulance), 102 (fire)
Population:1.3 billion
Electricity:230 volts 50hz
Drives on the:left
Tipping:not required
Unusual fact:India has the largest postal network in the world with over 1, 55,015 post offices

Property information

Like virtually every other country in the world, property rates in India are highest in the biggest cities and decline as you move towards the suburbs and the rural areas. As such, the property prices vary greatly.

Rent per month for an apartment in the city centre would be Rs. 10893.02, while the same for a three bedroom would be Rs. 26392.31. As far as renting outside the city centre is concerned, on average a one bedroom would cost you Rs. 6811.74, and a three bedroom Rs. 16491.11. About buying an apartment, the average cost per square meter to buy an apartment in the city centre would be Rs. 90084.46, while it would be Rs. 45349.43 outside the city centre for the same.

The cities of Gurgaon, Thane, Mumbai, and Delhi tend to be the most expensive with regards to property. On an average, cost of living is 67.93% lower than the United States overall while the rent is 83.59% lower.

Cost of moving to India

The cost of moving varies from country to country. Here is an estimate from some major cities in the world to some of the major cities in India. Bear in mind this is the cost of moving for an average family, and may be different compared to your needs:

New York City to Mumbai£1,500
Berlin to Chennai£1,900
Dubai to Kolkata£2,200
Sydney to Bengaluru£2,600
London to Delhi£3,600
Toronto to Delhi£3,800

Living costs

Living costs in India are not too expensive. On an average it is 67.92% lower than that of the US. Rent will be the major expense per month. Food and utilities are comparatively cheaper.


A meal at an inexpensive restaurant, for example, will set you back by Rs. 130 on an average. If you were to have the same meal at a better restaurant and with someone else, and made it a three-course meal, the cost would up to Rs. 600. A McMeal at a McDonald's will cost you about Rs. 200.

The average price of milk per liter is Rs. 41.81, while a dozen eggs will set you back by Rs. 54.99. Apples on an average cost Rs. 127.70 per kg, while a bottle of wine (mid-range) will cost you Rs. 500. Potatoes, for example, can be obtained for as low an average as Rs. 24.32.


The average price for basic monthly utilities including electricity, heating, water and garbage for an 85 square meters apartment is Rs. 2104.77. If you don’t use any special packs or discounts, than a minute of prepaid mobile tariff (local) will set you back by Rs. 0.96.


There is a wide variety available, and you can find clothing from Rs. 100 to Rs. 10000 and above, literally. But to give a basic idea, a Levi’s 501 or similar would cost Rs. 2307.54 on average. A pair of mid-range Nike running shoes would set you back by Rs. 3198.12. If you were to buy a summer dress at a chain store like Zara or H&M, it would cost you Rs. 2234.34.

Bear in mind that this is a national average and depending on which city you’re in, the prices can be higher or lower.

Schools and education

The schooling system in India is rigorous compared to the likes of the United States and UK. There are private and government schools in India. The private schools are considered better and are sought after. Maximum of the private schooling is done in the English medium. Hindi or a regional language is usually one of the subjects though.

Overall schooling in India lasts 12 years, following the 10+2 model. However, children are often enrolled in kindergarten at a much younger age.

Primary schools in India are numerous, and you can find good primary private schools in almost every city. Children are enrolled in primary school at the age of 6 years, generally, and this includes standards one through five. Sixth to eighth standard constitutes middle school.

Extreme competition tends to begin after this, in secondary and higher secondary school. The exams for the 10th and 12th standards are of a national level and are considered of paramount importance.

There are a number of school boards you can choose from. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is the most common, however there is also the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certification Exam) Board as well as the various state boards, international schools and national open schools.

Universities in India

Great importance is attached to grades and marks in India. Competition is very fierce, especially at the senior secondary and university entry level.Undergraduate studies involve specialisation in a particular stream, for example, a Bachelor of Arts typically takes three years. Further specialisation can be obtained in postgraduate courses.

Driving in India

Driving in India can be a stressful experience for some who are not used to driving along congested roads.

  • At no point should your blood alcohol level be above 0.3%. Drunk driving is a serious offence and may land you in jail for six months and/or cost you a fine of upto Rs. 2000.
  • Using seatbelts at all times is recommended, although it is considered mandatory in only the major cities. It is also highly recommended that you get car insurance. Also, if you intend to drive a heavier vehicle like a truck or a bus, you need to get a special license for that.
  • The process of getting a license in India is quite easy, whether you have one from your home country or not.

Using your existing driving license

If you have a driving license from your home country, you will face no hassle. You only have to go to the RTO office, show your driving license, proof of address, birth certificate, valid passport, and a valid visa to get an international driver's’ license that will be valid for a year.

If you are getting a driving license from scratch, the easiest way to go about is through your local driving school. The process becomes quite easy. The driving school handles all your paperwork. You need the filled form, a copy of your residence permit, proof of address and four passport size photos for your application.

Ranking against the world

India is a country that features number one of the list of countries with the lowest cost of living. It is developing fast and is a fast growing economy, and this only adds to the attraction as you get all the facilities of a developing nation without the prohibitive costs of one.

India also features higher up on the happiness scale, above countries like USA, China, Australia, and Singapore. India also does reasonably well on the monthly disposable income scale, with a monthly disposable income range of $400 to $700.

India is one of the most populous countries in the world. As of 2013, it ranks at 30 in a pool of 238 countries worldwide. India also has a decent sized English speaking population. Especially down south, the popularity of Hindi ceases and most people have English as the common language. India ranks 14th in a list of 133 countries worldwide that have English speaking populations.