7 Things to Know When Expatriating to IndiaMay 1st, 2012 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on 7 Things to Know When Expatriating to India
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Take the right taxi when you arrive. Look for the pre-paid taxi stand. Do not let anyone approach you and offer you a taxi. They are definitely overcharging by a high amount (up to 300 percent!). The difference is often between one with A/C and one without. In the middle of the night and in cooler periods, it’s is not needed, just more expensive. ‘Luxury cabs’ do not exist.
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, but not a US one. 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 with that. If not, try to find a reliable Indian 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 proves that you are in India legally. The process for your permit to be approved can take anywhere between 5 days and 2 months.
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 most 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, try eating at a good restaurant and not a roadside stand. Whether in India or New York, nobody can guarantee healthy food under those conditions.
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.
Lastly, remember that cows are sacred in India. They’re liable to be wandering anywhere, but you should always treat them respect. And women, no short skirts, tight clothes, or tank tops. Consider yourself warned.
The Jetsetter Show Team
Flickr / opoponax