Notes From Our Move To India

Happy New Year and Greetings from India! We finally arrived in India last week. It really feels good to be home! We got up today to the doorbell ringing with neighbors bringing in sweets for Pongal/Sankranti festivals. We are staying with some close friends who had moved to Bangalore a couple of years back. They have been extremely helpful for our family (my wife, two young kids and myself) to get setup here. The past week has been extremely busy – finding a rental apartment, clearing customs, tracking a couple of our bags that Lufthansa managed to misplace, etc. But, finally things are falling in place. We are moving to our apartment next week. And I’m quite excited about starting work on Monday.Before work kicks in next week I wanted to jot down some points from our move to India for those of you interested in moving here. For others, please skip the rest of this post.Preparing for the move

  • Identify a good mover: I did some shopping and settled with Sky2C Freight Systems. Tarun & Anu Tandon there were helpful in planning my move and executing it. Four of my friends had used them with positive experiences. Mine has been great so far (packing, loading the container, delivery to Bangalore customs, customs clearance in Bangalore). They will be delivering my stuff home next week and I’m hoping that will go smooth as well.
  • Buying stuff: I would suggest buying as much as you can in the US and shipping it here. Particularly electronics such as a Home Theater system, BluRay player (and DVDs), Playstation/Wii and a good LCD/Plasma TV (ensure that it’s PAL compatible or buy a PAL to NTSC converter – I found this particular Blog helpful in deciding what specific electronics to buy). I was also advised by people to buy furniture from the US (Sofas, Dining Table Sets, Beds, etc.) – you get good furniture in India but it is more expensive. In our case, since my wife and I had planned this move for a few years, we accumulated stuff over the years and that made it easier.
  • Customs: I would suggest spending a few minutes familiarizing yourself with this customs page If you have stayed for a couple of years abroad you are normally eligible for “transfer of residence” and in that case the customs duty is very less. Please note that if you are planning to bring expensive items (such as an acoustic piano), you might be levied 35% duty even though this is not mentioned in the customs webpage.
  • Planning your travel to India: Once you ship your container, it takes about two months for it to arrive in your Indian city of residence. Plan your travel so that you arrive in India well in time to find an apartment before your stuff arrives (we cut it too close but luckily things worked out).

What to expect once you arrive here

  • Missed Luggage: If you are moving here with family and checking in a handful of bags, there is a high likelihood that a couple of them might be misplaced (Lufthansa is particularly famous for this). The day I arrived, there were at least 20 people missing their luggage. Pack accordingly – especially if you have kids. I would suggest carrying valuables as well as stuff you need for 10 days in your hand luggage
  • Apartment Hunting: It would be good to do some homework on where you would like to stay before you arrive. I found the MagicBricks website very helpful for finding an apartment in Bangalore. Most good apartments rent through real estate agents (who take 1 months rent as commission). It’s tough to avoid this especially since many of the apartment owners live abroad and prefer to rent via an agent. You will be able to find agents through MagicBricks listings. A few agents I found helpful in Bangalore are – Pradeep (+91 99450 60262), Saleem (+91 98806 60669) and Ram Rajpal (+91-98450 79698). I would also recommend living in one of the bigger apartment complexes that are quite self-contained (shops, swimming pool, gym, squash courts, etc.). Here are a few good builders here in Bangalore that I have checked out – Mantri, Prestige, Sobha, Salarpuria
  • Transfer money to India: If you are renting an apartment, you will have to give a 10 month deposit + 1 months commission to the rental agent. In addition you will need to buy a car and household appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.). As a rule of thumb, I would say it would be safe to have between Rs. 5 to 10 lakhs in an easily accessible account in India from which you can write a check or issue a draft
  • Stay with family or friends: The first few weeks are the toughest, especially if you are moving to a city where you haven’t lived before. It is easy/cheap to find a service apartment to spend the first month. But if you have a close relative or friend living in the city you are moving to, I would suggest staying with them. Obviously this is a very personal call, but in my case my wife and I decided to stay with a very close friend and his family for the first couple of weeks and this has made our transition much smoother. In fact, we are renting an apartment in their same apartment complex just so that we have them (as well as another friend) close by for support and guidance in settling in
  • Stay close to work: This is particularly important in Bangalore where traffic is quite unpredictable. I’m violating this advice that I got from multiple people mainly because I wanted to stay in the same complex as our other friends (as mentioned above)

That’s about it for now. If I can think of other things to add, I will append this post. For those of you who have been through this process before, please feel free to add what I might have missed. If you are considering a move to India and have any specific questions, let me know.

24 thoughts on “Notes From Our Move To India

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  1. Thanks for the write-up Danny. May the Lord continue to lead you with His presence as you settle down in Bangalore.

  2. Very good info Anand… Your research/initiative to share your experience could possibly tempt others to relocate to India 🙂 We will definitely rely on you if we ever decide to move back. All the best at your new Job!

  3. Welcome back. Please drop us a visit when you are in chennai. Let me know how I can be of help. Looks like you have planned really well and would be settling down pretty soon.

  4. Hey Danny didnt know u were already in India. Was in Bengaluru last wednesday and thursday. Would have dropped in if I had known that u were here.

  5. Hi – Thanks for sharing the informartion. I will follow your blog surely as I am planning to settle down in India after being in US for 11 years..Looking for the right oppurtunity..Please update the blog regularly..Thanks

  6. You have become a "A1" journalist, Dany, with your magnum-opus (I havent seen anyone use that term so dont want to lose the opportunity when I could!). Yes, I couldn’t disagree on any of the points you mentioned even though I tried hard! I guess most of the folks who migrated from India after college have pretty much gone through the same cycle – except that they didn’t complete the cycle (excuse the bad pun). If you are going to actively maintain and write about good and bad experiences here, it would be so freaking useful for future relocatees (is there such a word?). One of my close Cinti friends was complaining big time about not getting a LPG gas valve a few years back when he went to Bangalore (not sure if that is regulated still) – which was a funny story by itself (another time). I guess, part of the bureacracy and stupidity is by itself a comedy not to be missed. Oh, the last few lines in Page 2 of your MIT friend’s article – I almost fell off the chair.-Shankar R

  7. Hi-This blog has exactly what I was looking for :). I am moving to India(Bangalore) in the month of June (My parents are visiting me before that). I stayed in US for 4 years. As suggested in your blog i am planning to buy few electronic items from here. Looks like SLR cameras won’t fall under any category to pay the customs (Please let me know if I am wrong). I am also planning to buy LCD tv and Home theater system (i am assuming i can buy the converters in India) from here, and ship it as a checked in baggage with the airlines(Lufthansa). 1. Is it a good idea to do this? 2. Is it suggestible to buy the product that has international warranty?3. Do i need to declare it in the customs form with the exact price?,and from the website I found this:(i) clearance of items listed in Annexure-II, whether old or new, at a concessional rate of duty of 15% ad valorem + 2% educational cessSo will I be paying the customs as mentioned above?I am really sorry if any of my questions are redundant.Thanks in advance for the reply.-Chandra

  8. Thanks for the feedback Chandra. Regarding your questions.1) SLR cameras should be ok to bring along with you (I did). Very helpful if you are an avid photographer2) Good idea to bring LCD TV, Home Theater – I did. Bring along the converters as well. I brought along a couple of 220-110V convertors (Rated for 2000W) and also the following PAL to NTSC convertor (works quite well): I don’t think international warranties are that relevant. I bought all my electronics more than 6 months before the move (TV was more than a year old) and since I availed of the transfer of residence didn’t have to pay too much duty4) Regarding price of electronics, the customs department has their own price list and based on that + how long you have had the product they will levy duty. It would be good to have your original receipts in case they don’t have a price for your particular product.Hope this helps. All the best with your move.-Anand

  9. Hi Anand,I am yet another R2I candidate scheduled to move back to India from US (after 7 years!) by end of July 2010. I am an electronics enthusiast and I’m taking home a 46" LCD TV and a Home theater gears such as receiver and speakers. My questions for you -What is your advice on packing a 46" LCD TV that i intend to ship via a typical container service? I am counting on the original TV carton with all its thermo stuffing… and hoping that will do. Some people advise on going for a wooden crate as an additional protective measure but that costs an extra $200. Sounds too much for me. Your thoughts might be of great help.

  10. Hi Hari,I just shipped my TV with the original TV carton (with all the thermo stuffing). It worked just fine.All the best with the move.-Anand

  11. How much does it usually cost for shipping through Sea. Just looking for though number. Trying to negociate with my company (we pay first, they reimburse) as they have a cap. Moving from Sunnyvale, CA to B’lore India.Appreciate your responce.

  12. Thank you for the info. I am looking to take on a large development in Bengaluru in a few weeks. I live in Utah and look forward to this adventure.I was in Bangalore and Mumbai in July and it was both exciting and scary at the same time. So much to take in.

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