With a diverse culture, exotic traditions, a unique value-belief system, flourishing economy, and a lifestyle like no other, India promises to be a home beyond your wildest dreams. It is no wonder that close to 40,000 foreigners call the country their second home. And if you want to enjoy the same life that members of the expatriate community in India are now enjoying, then you should know how to be a foreign resident in this colorful and very vibrant economy. Here’s how.
Get an Indian SIM Card
The moment you arrive in India the very first thing you will need to buy is a local Indian SIM card to put into your mobile phone. Remember that you will be securing several permits and licenses to validate your stay in the country as a foreign resident. It would be unwise to put into these forms your home (international) number as contact information. If you don’t like putting local SIM cards into your phone, you can buy a cheap Indian smartphone which should not cost you more than $100.
Register at the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office
All foreign nationals who are going to stay in India for at least 180 days are required by law to visit and register with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office within 14 days after your arrival in the country. If you have already an employer prior to your arrival in India, you can actually request your company to facilitate your registration with the FRRO. Here’s a tip. Always bring with you a bunch of your most recent passport-sized picture. While other countries don’t have a uniform size of the pictures they require for their legal forms, Indian government offices will require only one size – passport-sized. Make sure to fill up every bit of information required of you in the FRRO Form. Also, it is often a wise idea to bring an Indian friend who knows how to speak English as not everyone in the FRRO are conversant with the language.
Obtain your Residency Permit
Once you’ve registered with the FRRO you will be given a temporary receipt which will serve as your temporary ‘official permit of residence’. Do take note that the processing of your Residency Permit will usually take anywhere between 5 days and 2 months. Anyway, you will be notified of its availability through the contact numbers that you have provided in the registration form.
That is why it’s important that you have a local Indian number with you. Alternatively, you can ask someone from your company to pick the Residency Permit. Now once this document is in your possession, make sure to keep it safe. Also, whenever you leave home make sure to carry your RP with you as this is proof that are a legitimate Indian Resident. This way you can avail of varied discounts at selected tourist destinations such as Amber Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, and Qutab Minar, just to name a few.
Get your PAN Card
Depending on your arrangement with your employer, you can actually pay your income taxes on your own. Or you can negotiate that the taxes be automatically deducted from your salary. Whatever arrangement you may have with your company, it is important to secure your PAN Card. This is a very important piece of document that all foreign nationals living in India should have. It provides proof that you are legally considered an Indian Resident and that you are paying your income tax and other relevant taxes in India. In many institutions or facilities, your PAN Card can be a viable alternative to a Residency Permit. As such, you can keep your RP at home and put your PAN Card right in your wallet so you’re carrying it at all times.
These following links will help:
Get health insurance
You can always go to any Indian public health institution if you require healthcare or medical services. However, do understand that public institutions are generally ill-equipped to manage cases efficiently. As such it’s better to secure a private health insurance so you can have the best care possible.
These are just the preliminary things that you have to do to become a foreign resident in India. Of course, once you’ve secured these documents, you can go about learning more about the country’s culture, traditions, and way of life.