Return to India Checklist for NRIs

So, you’ve finally made the monumental decision to move back to India. First of all, congratulations!

This is a huge step, and it’s the start of an exciting new chapter in your life. But as with any major change, it comes with its fair share of preparation and planning.

That’s where I come in, your friendly guide, here to help you navigate through the maze that is ‘Moving Back to India.’

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the ultimate checklist for NRIs returning to India for good.

1. Financial Planning

  • Bank Accounts: Convert your NRE/FCNR accounts to resident accounts or RFC accounts. Inform your foreign bank about your change of status to avoid potential legal issues.
  • Income Tax: Familiarize yourself with Indian tax laws and understand the tax implications for returning NRIs. Seek help from a tax consultant if needed.
  • Investments: Review and revise your investment portfolio. Understand the fate of your foreign investments and the best investment options in India.
  • Insurance: Evaluate your insurance needs in India. Consider getting health and life insurance policies that cater to your requirements.

2. Legal Formalities

  • Visa and Immigration: If you have family members who aren’t Indian citizens, apply for appropriate visas or OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards for them.
  • Property Matters: If you own property in your foreign country of residence, decide whether to sell, rent, or retain it. If you choose to rent, appoint a reliable property management company.
  • Driver’s License: Apply for an Indian driver’s license. An international driver’s license is valid for a year in India, but it’s better to get an Indian license at the earliest.

3. Career and Business Planning

  • Job Search: If you don’t have a job lined up, start your search well before moving. Network with industry peers in India and leverage online job portals.
  • Business Setup: If you plan to start a business in India, research the market, understand the legal and bureaucratic aspects, and prepare a robust business plan.

4. Education

  • School Admissions: If you have kids, research schools, understand the admission process, and start it in advance to align with the academic year in India.
  • Education Records: Carry all necessary academic records and certificates for your kids. These will be required during the admission process.

5. Health and Medical

  • Medical Records: Bring along all essential medical records and prescriptions.
  • Health Check-ups: Complete necessary health check-ups and dental appointments before moving.

6. Shipping and Relocation

  • Mover Selection: Choose a reliable international moving company. Compare quotes, check reviews, and understand the insurance cover provided.
  • What to Ship: Decide what to take back and what to leave behind. Consider the shipping cost, the item’s utility in India, and sentimental value.
  • Sell/Donate: Organize a garage sale or donate items you’re not taking back.

7. Social and Emotional Preparation

  • Connect with Returnees: Join online forums and groups of returning NRIs. These platforms offer practical advice, share experiences, and help you know what to expect.
  • Emotional Preparation: It’s normal to have mixed feelings about the move. Address your fears, manage your expectations, and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the change.

8. Settling In

  • Housing: If you don’t already have a house in India, decide whether to buy or rent. Research housing options in your preferred city and locality.
  • Utilities: Arrange for basic utilities like electricity, water, internet, and gas.
  • Local Transportation: Research the local transportation options or consider buying a car for convenience.

Remember, moving back to India is a significant life change. The key is to be prepared, be organized, and anticipate challenges. Don’t rush things; take one step at a time. It might seem overwhelming at first, but remember, every journey starts with a single step.

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And most importantly, amidst the chaos of moving, don’t forget to look forward to the positives – the joy of being with family, the warmth of familiar culture, and the comfort of home.

The road ahead is exciting, my fellow returnees, and I’m here to help you navigate it smoothly. Welcome back to India!

Here’s to new beginnings, new adventures, and the journey home!


Q1: When should I start planning my move back to India?

A: Ideally, start planning at least six months to a year before your intended move. This time frame allows you to sort out financial matters, research housing and schools, plan your shipment, and prepare yourself emotionally for the move.

Q2: What happens to my NRE/FCNR account when I return to India?

A: Upon becoming a resident again, you should inform your bank and convert your NRE/FCNR account into a resident account or a Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) account.

Q3: Can I continue my foreign investments after moving back to India?

A: It largely depends on the rules of the foreign country where you’ve invested. Some countries allow NRIs to continue holding investments, while others may require you to liquidate them. It’s advisable to consult a financial advisor to understand the implications better.

Q4: What is the admission process for schools in India?

A: Admission processes vary by school. Generally, they include an application form, an interview or entrance test, and submission of various documents, including the child’s birth certificate and past academic records. Begin this process well in advance to ensure it aligns with the academic year in India.

Q5: How do I ship my belongings to India?

A: Hiring a reliable international moving company is recommended. They will help you pack, insure, and ship your belongings, handle customs clearance, and even deliver to your new home in India.

Q6: What happens to my property abroad when I move back to India?

A: The decision is yours to make. You may choose to sell, rent, or retain it. If you choose to rent it out, it’s advisable to engage a reliable property management company to handle rental and maintenance.

Q7: What healthcare facilities can I expect in India?

A: India offers a range of healthcare facilities, from public hospitals to private clinics and specialty hospitals. Major cities have world-class medical facilities and experts. However, do remember to get a comprehensive health insurance policy for you and your family.

Q8: How do I emotionally prepare for the move?

A: Talk about the move openly with your family, address any fears or concerns, and manage your expectations. Join online groups or forums of returning NRIs for support and advice. Also, consider engaging a counselor or coach to help navigate the emotional aspect of this major life change.

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