All foreign nationals coming to India are required to have a valid passport and a valid Indian Visa. Exceptions are citizens of Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives. Holders of PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Cards also only need passports.

Since the application process can be very time-consuming you should apply for a visa well in advance. One month is a safe bet, although the process can take longer.

Visa application for India

Depending on the duration and purpose of your stay you will have to apply for different visas. Unfortunately, application forms and procedures can differ depending on the country you apply from and in some cases even where you apply within that country. When filling in your visa application make sure that you have used the correct form.

There are certain documents that you will need for all visa applications, no matter which type of visa you apply for. These are:

  • your passport, valid for at least six months (or the period of time you apply for) and with at least three blank pages in it
  • two passport-sized photographs
  • two of the respective visa application forms correctly filled in and signed by you

It is important to keep in mind that all types of visa start from the date of issue, so you cannot apply well in advance for a visa that becomes valid at a later date.

Tourist Visas

Tourist Visas for India are valid for six months. A tourist visa is issued as a multiple entry visa. Keep in mind that this visa is not extendible and not convertible. You will have to leave India to get a new visa once your tourist visa expires.

Getting another tourist visa after you have had two in a row may prove a little difficult. However, nearby Kathmandu is a convenient place to get a new visa.

If you want to travel with your children and they are endorsed in your passport, you will only have to add a passport-sized photo of your child to the application. No extra fees are charged.

Work permit

Procedure for obtaining approval. A foreign national will generally apply for an Indian employment visa to the Indian Embassy/High Commission in his country of residence. The employment visa must be issued from the foreign national’s country of origin, or from the foreign national’s country of domicile provided the applicant’s period of permanent residence in that particular country is more than two years. If the stay in India will be for more than 180 days, the employment visa holder must register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) or the Foreigners Registration Offices (FRO) within 14 days of arrival. The foreign national must have a valid travel document and a re-entry permit (if required under the law of the country concerned). An employment visa may be extended on a yearly basis for a maximum period of five years. An application for extension must be made within 30 to 90 days in advance. The foreign national being sponsored for an employment visa must draw a salary in excess of US$25,000 per annum (except for employment in certain sectors).

Cost. The fee for an employment visa is between US$15 and US$1,000, and is subject to periodic amendments by the government.

Time frame. It is difficult to give a precise time frame as the process is at the discretion of the Indian Embassy/High Commission concerned.

Sanctions. If the visa is not granted, the expatriate cannot travel to India. If the visa is granted for a particular purpose and the expatriate does not adhere to that purpose, the expatriate’s visa will be cancelled and he will be deported. He will also attract the sanctions of imprisonment and/or fines.


Except for the employment visa, no other permits are required from an immigration perspective.

Living costs  

At 1 st January 2015 100 Indian rupee (Rs)  equals 1.5 US dollar

Restaurants Avg.
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 200.00 Rs
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 800.00 Rs
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) 200.00 Rs
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 110.00 Rs
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 180.00 Rs
Cappuccino (regular) 101.24 Rs
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 26.34 Rs
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 13.26 Rs
Markets Avg.
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 48.15 Rs
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 27.62 Rs
Rice (white), (1kg) 54.01 Rs
Eggs (12) 56.63 Rs
Local Cheese (1kg) 376.61 Rs
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 212.19 Rs
Buffalo Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) 441.67 Rs
Apples (1kg) 149.04 Rs
Banana (1kg) 43.78 Rs
Oranges (1kg) 85.11 Rs
Tomato (1kg) 39.17 Rs
Potato (1kg) 28.81 Rs
Onion (1kg) 38.53 Rs
Lettuce (1 head) 36.44 Rs
Water (1.5 liter bottle) 29.21 Rs
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 500.00 Rs
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 98.22 Rs
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 178.91 Rs
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) 200.00 Rs
Transportation Avg.
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 15.00 Rs
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 500.00 Rs
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 22.00 Rs
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 18.00 Rs
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 81.00 Rs
Gasoline (1 liter) 70.77 Rs
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) 750,000.00 Rs
Utilities (Monthly) Avg.
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment 2,556.64 Rs
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 0.96 Rs
Internet (10 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) 1,209.35 Rs
Sports And Leisure Avg.
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult 1,640.26 Rs
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 563.89 Rs
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat 300.00 Rs
Clothing And Shoes Avg.
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) 2,553.77 Rs
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) 2,559.12 Rs
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) 3,455.56 Rs
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes 2,842.31 Rs
Rent Per Month Avg.
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 34,466.23 Rs
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 17,388.48 Rs
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 85,398.39 Rs
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 38,211.58 Rs
Buy Apartment Price Avg.
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre 474,726.11 Rs
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 161,932.85 Rs
Salaries And Financing Avg.
Average Monthly Disposable Salary (After Tax) 45,529.51 Rs
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly 10.61

Rental prices in India vary considerably between different cities and even within different neighbourhoods. They also differ depending on whether they are furnished or unfurnished. Rents are especially high in the big cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. For example, for a furnished 2-bedroom house in Delhi you can expect to pay up to INR 90,000 per month, while an unfurnished apartment comes in at around INR 70,000 per month. Depending on the location, you can rent a 2BHK apartment in Mumbai from anywhere between INR 7,000 per month (Ambernath, Eastern suburbs) to the high end INR 110,000 per month (Altamount Road, South Mumbai). In Bangalore, 2BHK unfurnished flat in Bangalore it will cost you at least INR 20,000 per month, those which are furnished you can expect to pay around INR INR 30,000 — 40,000.

In some big cities, however, such as Madras, you will also find comparatively inexpensive apartments. Rural areas are generally a lot cheaper but if you live outside the city you will have to commute long hours to work. Of course, the rent also depends on the property´s size and quality.

Rent in India generally consists of two components. There is the actual rent for the property and then a maintenance charge for the watchmen. The deposit for a flat can often be three times the rent for one month. You should also check whether the landlord wants the payment each month and try to avoid landlords who are tax evaders since this gives you no sense of security.

The ground and first floors used to be the most expensive in a building. However, this has now changed because of western preferences for top floor apartments.

Salary rates

Average salaries in India are only a fraction of Western salaries. However, they are rising at rates between 12 and 14 percent each year. Expatriates usually earn significantly higher salaries than Indians, though this depends on whether they work for Indian or international companies.

Indian salaries are stated in lakhs, increments of hundreds of thousands. This is confusing at first, but is ultimately much easier to handle than millions of Rupees.

If you are appointed to India by your company from overseas your salary will usually be at a Western level. You will also be provided with the full list of benefits available to employees in Europe or the USA, and your salary will be three times that of your local counterpart.

In addition to salary and standard benefits, international companies often provide special expatriate allowances, such as housing allowance, three to five weeks paid vacation, a round trip air ticket per year, full healthcare coverage etc.

If you work for an Indian company, the situation changes dramatically. Your salary will be significantly lower. Even though you still earn more than your Indian colleagues, you will never reach Western levels.

Most importantly, Indian companies usually do not offer the fancy expat benefits provided by international companies. However, fringe benefits are an important part of every Indians pay check and can account to up to 50% of the actual salary. Since fringe benefits are taxed at a lower rate than regular income (Fringe Benefit Tax, FBT) they are commonly used to reduce the required tax payments. Typical benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, health insurance and maternity leave. Depending on your job and qualification the amount of healthcare benefits varies greatly but will usually be around Rs10,000 a month.

 The job market

India´s billion labour market is one of the largest in the world. In terms of spending power, India is the fifth-largest economy in the world.One of the fastest growing sectors in India is the IT-sector. Every year, many graduates from Indian universities enter the job market competing for the highest salaries. However demand in this sector is still high and likely to remain high. India has become one of the major exporters of software services within the last years, and around two thirds of worldwide off-shore IT services are based in India.Engineering is another rapidly growing sector in India. As Indian companies start to expand globally, it becomes easier for foreigners to start their careers in India. Labour demand is especially high in the fields of biotechnology, aeronautics, auto industry and consumer electronics.Positions in marketing and sales are also widely available. In international companies these positions are often given to foreign nationals.There are many multi-national companies operating in India, such as IBM, PWC, Goldman Sachs, ABN Amro, Microsoft, Unilever, Adobe and BP. Many Indian companies have also started recruiting expatriates. Examples for Indian companies are Tata Engineering, ITC, TCS and Infosys. You find more information on Indian companies on-line at India has a huge supply of cheap labour, good education is the key to success. A western college or university degree is a major advantage and a few years of work experience will improve your chances of finding a job in India.India’s growing economy creates huge demand for highly skilled workers. While sectors such as IT are popular among young Indians, others face the problem of a lack of qualified labour. There are many education and professional training possibilities in India, but they cannot (yet) meet the demand of qualified people. This has created opportunities for expatriates who want to work in the education and professional training fields.Upper management positions used to be filled with expatriates. Work experience in the West, especially in the USA, was seen as major advantage. Although this is often still the case, Indian companies usually prefer to employ indigenous staff.Teaching English is always an option for expatriates and there are many jobs available at high schools, universities and at language schools. Being a native teacher with a TEFL certificate is usually enough to apply for a teaching job. If you want to teach at international schools you will need to meet additional education requirements. Positions at these schools are limited. There are also teaching positions available at institutions focusing on international culture. Many of these institutions train employees for India-based call centres.Learning the language of the Indian region you want to work in is not necessary, as English is spoken in most companies. It will improve your chances of finding a job, however, and, eventually, of getting a promotion.Where can you work?

  • Major industries:textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, pharmaceuticals.
  • Recent growth areas:energy, clothing, telecommunications, banking, steel, IT and automobile.
  • Shortage occupations:as the economy is expanding, there are opportunities for skilled employees in all the main areas of employment.