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Expats Relocating with Families and Pets in India

Submitted: October 2013

Relocating to India with your family can be an exciting adventure for all family members. However, it is crucial to start planning well in advance as it is can be a lengthy process to sort out the required paperwork and find appropriate schooling/childcare.

The first thing to look into are entry requirements. Normally, you will have to obtain a business or employment visa for yourself and your children and spouse will then be able to apply for the so-called Entry (X) Visa, which allows dependants to stay in India for up to five years. The visa may subsequently be extended, subject to comprehensive checks. Note, however, that the Entry (X) Visa does not permit dependants to work in India.

For detailed information on visa requirements see the Q&A on Entry (X) Visa and the website of the Bureau of Immigration. To read more about Immigration matters in general, see Immigration.

In India life quality differs significantly from one area to another, therefore it is essential to invest ample time in finding a family-friendly area to live. You will want to look for an area that has adequate facilities for children and access to good medical care and schooling. In this respect, it is recommendable to have a look at the respective municipality website as well as to consult online blogs and forums for first-hand information. See for example the Expat Briefing Forum.

Another important step is to look into schooling/childcare options. India has been trying to improve  the state-owned schooling system for the past years, yet the reality is that the state of infrastructure and quality of teaching in public institutions still differs dramatically from one institution to another. Overall, most expats in India prefer to send their children to private or international schools/kindergartens, yet even there, quality and costs vary greatly. For this reason, it is advisable to do a thorough online research and check online forums for school/kindergarten reviews! Also keep in mind that popular institutions have long waiting lists, so make sure to contact the schools/kindergartens prior to your move already.

For further information on schooling options in India see Education in India. To read more on childcare, see Family life and Childcare in India.

Finally, make sure to prepare your children for the move. If approached the right way, the move will be an exciting new start for your children. Tell them about India and teach them about the local culture prior to departure already. It is also a good idea to enrol them into a language school if they do not yet speak English or Hindi. For further guidance on preparing children for relocation, see Kids’ Relocation Issues and the article on Relocating Kids provided by India Relocations.

Relocation with Pets

Expats relocating to India are generally allowed to bring two pets per person into the country. These can either be brought in as guest baggage, or unaccompanied cargo on the most direct route to India. In either case, they will have to enter the country through one of the following airports: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, or Mumbai, where they will be subject to a health check.

Dogs and cats can be imported provided that they have a microchip, are vaccinated against rabies and have an official veterinary health certificate for dogs or cats, issued by an accredited veterinary.  At the same time, you will have to obtain a so-called “No Objection Certificate” from Indian authorities, which is  essentially an import permit for pets. Note also that vaccinations against rabies should not be more recent than 30 days and not older than one year.

It is a good idea to hire a specialist pet relocation company to help you move your pet to India. Not only do these providers have suitable travel containers for pets, they also assist with the complicated paperwork. Among the most prominent companies offering pet relocations to India are:

For detailed information on regulations have a look at the website of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. You can also contact Flurry Flyers on + 91 22 4295 5520 / 21 /22 for guidance on obtaining No Objection Certificates.

 

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