It’s a fine spring morning, you’ve just stepped out on your porch sipping that perfect cup of coffee. Suddenly, you find yourself overcome by an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.
The thought of your homeland – the hustle-bustle, the festivals, the family gatherings, the late-night chai conversations – leaves you with a strong longing.
And before you know it, you’re contemplating the decision of your lifetime – moving back to India.
Sounds like your story? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Thousands of NRIs (Non-Residential Indians) from the USA make the decision to return to India every year, lured by the familiarity of culture, proximity to family, or simply the desire to retire in their homeland.
But the journey of returning home, though emotional, can also be a challenging one, especially when it comes to the practicalities.
To help you on this journey, we’ve curated a comprehensive guide to the process and in-depth takeaways for returning to India from the USA.
In this article...
1. Plan Your Move: It All Starts Here
Like any major life decision, moving back to India requires extensive planning. It’s not a simple home trip for the summer.
It’s a permanent shift; a life-altering decision. Hence, before anything else, plan.
Make a timeline for your move, consider the financial aspects, check the job market (if you’re still in the workforce), consider the school options for kids, if any, and lastly, the city you want to settle in.
2. Shipping Personal Effects: To Ship or Not to Ship?
A significant part of planning your move involves deciding what to take back with you. You might have accumulated a significant number of household items, and shipping them to India can be expensive.
Thus, it’s important to take a hard look at your possessions and figure out whether it would be cheaper to sell them off in the US and buy new ones in India, or ship the items.
3. Managing Finances: Money Matters
Another significant aspect to consider while planning your move is your financial situation. This includes understanding the implications on your savings, investments, retirement plans, tax liabilities, and so on.
Also, don’t forget about your financial obligations in the USA, like mortgages, loans, or credit card payments.
It might be a good idea to consult a financial advisor familiar with both the US and Indian financial landscapes.
4. Health Coverage: Because Health is Wealth
Healthcare in India is a completely different ball game compared to the USA.
While healthcare costs are typically lower in India, the facilities might not always be up to the standards you’ve become accustomed to in the USA.
Thus, make sure you have a comprehensive health insurance policy that provides adequate coverage in India.
5. Sorting Out the Legalities: Red-Tape Blues
Before you board the plane, ensure all your legal paperwork is in order.
This includes sorting out your visa status, if required, ensuring your Indian documents (like passport, PAN, Aadhaar) are up to date, and if you’re planning on working in India, ensuring you have the necessary work permits.
6. Career Considerations: The Work Life
If you’re still part of the workforce and planning to work after returning to India, do thorough research on the job market for your industry.
Check the salary standards, understand the work culture, and know that it might be different from the work environment you’re used to in the USA.
7. Education Concerns: The Little Ones
If you’re moving back with kids, their education is a critical aspect to consider. Indian schooling can be vastly different from American schooling, both in terms of curriculum and the overall approach to education.
Explore the schooling options, consider international schools if you want a smoother transition for your kids, and get all the necessary documentation from their current schools.
8. Cultural Adjustments: Back to the Roots
You might be returning to your homeland, but if you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the USA, there will be a cultural adjustment phase.
Remember, it’s okay to take time to readjust to the pace and style of life in India.
9. Saying Goodbyes: The Emotional Rollercoaster
Last but not least, remember that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Leaving a place you’ve called home can stir up a whirlwind of emotions.
But remember, you’re not just moving back to a country; you’re returning to a part of yourself.
Returning to India from the USA isn’t just a physical journey; it’s an emotional and financial one as well. It involves wrapping up a part of your life and starting anew.
It’s a significant life event and it’s only natural to feel a whirlwind of emotions.
But remember, as with any major life event, the key is in planning and preparation.
So, plan well, prepare thoroughly and open yourself to the new experiences and opportunities that life in India is sure to bring your way.