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Retirement for Expats in India

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: September 2013

Visa options to India

You may wish to live in India after retirement. However, it may be relatively difficult for you to get a visa to live there permanently.

If you have retired in another country but want to move to India, you would normally need a visa. However, there is no specific retirement visa for India. Furthermore,  it is almost impossible to get a permanent resident visa as Indian law restricts foreigners to live in India permanently. You may apply for a tourist visa but this only allows you to stay for 180 days. If you want to renew this visa, you have to return to your home country and you cannot revisit India for the following two months.

If you are of Indian origin, you can apply for an entry visa for five years. You will receive permission to stay in India for one year and can renew your visa each year for up to five years in total. Indian origin means:  

  • a person who has held Indian nationality, or a child or grandchild of a person who has held Indian nationality,
  • a spouse or child of a person of Indian origin,
  • a spouse or dependent family member of a foreign national coming to India on long term visa such as Employment, Business, Research or Student.

In the last case, the visa duration granted is the same as the period of the principal visa holder.
More information about the entry visa can be found here: https://mha.gov.in/pdfs/FAQ-onX-VISA210510.pdf .

If you are Overseas Citizen of India and holding a lifelong Indian “U” visa you are allowed to enter India, even if you have acquired nationality from a different country.  If you are an India citizen and retired in another country there is no restriction on you living in India.  

For more information about Indian visas, please check here: https://www.boi.gov.in/.

 

Buying your home in India

Another issue you should be aware of, foreigners with a residential permit for less than 183 days are not allowed to buy a property and only can rent a property for up to 5 years each time. Many have tried to buy a property though establishing a legal business in India. However, this has proven to be very risky and costly, you may encounter investigation for your property purchase and you will need to file annual tax returns.

 

Popular retirement places

To decide where to retire some of the following points may be considered: the proximity of family and friends, a peaceful and quiet environment, the climate, living costs including house prices and daily expenses, local services such as access to health services and transportation. Retirement homes or villages may also be considered.

India is famous for it’s the beauty scenery, history and culture. There are many popular places for retirement, such as Dehradun, Goa, Shimla, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Coimbatore and Puducherry (formally Pondicherry).

For more information about beautiful retirement place in India, please see here:
https://www.indianpulse.in/bharat-gaurav/179-best-places-to-stay-post-retirement-in-india-.html ; https://www.retire2india.com/2007/09/10-best-places-to-retire-in-india.html and https://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-planning-to-retire-take-a-look-at-indias-best-places/20111101.htm#1.

 

Financial planning

Most people would like to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living. However, many find their savings will not last as long as they expect. For example, as stated in recent research from HSBC, UK retirement lasts about 19 years on average and financial problems are likely to emerge after 7 years. The report can be found here: https://www.newsroom.hsbc.co.uk/press/release/brits_face_12_years_of_hardshi.

It is therefore recommended to have a detailed financial plan for retirement as early as possible.  Apart from savings and some popular investments, personal or stakeholder pensions or life insurance may be considered.

 

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