India pull your finger out Pt. 1
A two part series, “India pull your finger out” explores, both as a guide and as a cry of exhaustion, what a newly arrived expat has to do to really ‘settle in’ to the place. Obviously the experience will be different by the amount of help (and money) you have behind you, but there is a certain order to the things which need to be done – And I’m not even finished yet.
In this first part, I show the long list of documents I’ve had to get to really be ‘settled’, and that is a generous term.
Visa application forms – 1 passport picture
Contract from Employer
Letter of Undertaking
Letter of responsibility – all of the above in original
Mind, I paid the application fee for a one year visa, and got a six month long one. I asked why and was told that was the consul’s decision which I was not privy to. I’m told this is not uncommon.
As I hope to be staying longer than 6 months, I have to sign up to the Foreign Regional Registration Office. This place is detested by every foreigner in Delhi, and I’ll write why some other time. Documents needed were:
FRRO forms, x 4 (passport picture each)
Proof of address
Letter of undertaking (a specific format, thus had to be rewritten by the company office)
Passport and visa photocopy
Proof of Address (letter by the company/landlord saying ‘yep, this dude is staying here’)
A house (and the all important Lease): This is variable – some landlords ask for contracts, others just want to see you flash your cash. If the lease is longer than 11 months, you will have to notarise it, with all signatories present, at the local housing office, and give fingerprints as well as signature. If less than 11 months, then it can just be stamped (and you can have someone else go do it without being there in person).
Passport photocopy, 2 pictures
A valid form of photo ID, this little baby puts you in the government system of taxation and tells them where to go looking if you evade. Right charmer.
Copies of Visa application form
Contract from Employer
Letter of responsibility
Proof of address (lease)
Passport/Visa photocopy and one picture
Surprisingly (or possibly not, as this is what enables the government to take money from me), I got a PAN card without even submitting all the necessary documents as detailed on their website. Note: You can apply with proof of address from your native state, I’m reliably told.
Their own forms, 1 picture
Bank Account: Again depends on the Bank. HSBC, the world’s most local bank, has stuck to its motto and taken on the local spirit by making the application as much of a pain in the ass as possible. In my case, they needed photo ID (passport) and proof of address – however, this could not be the lease. OH NO. It had to be a driver’s license or a phone or electricity bill.
Their form, 1 passport picture
Passport photocopy, visa photocopy
PAN Card photocopy
Phone Bill photocopy and original
RBS are remarkably simpler to get a bank account in.
This post is long because the process was too. Thing’s I’ve not yet attempted but I’m sure will be a barrel of paper-cut laughs are the extension of my visa and switching the phone number to my name (it has been kindly lent to me by a friend). I’m young so I haven’t been introduced to many bureaucratic systems, but something that struck me is that in almost every application, the name of my father and his address was also requested. Ciao papa’!