A Bridge

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

Passport photocopies

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

Visa photocopy

PAN Card:

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.

PAN forms

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.

Telephone/Internet Line

Their own forms, 1 picture

Passport photocopy

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’!


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2 thoughts on “India pull your finger out Pt. 1

  1. Tiziano on said:

    I have been going through a lot of work Visas (i.e. Saudi Arabia , twice because I had to get also one specifically for my newly wed wife…..Egypt , Turkey, Thailand) but never was asked the name of the father……….may be it is India who wants to know the “casta” you come from………
    ciao Albi

  2. Pingback: India Pull Your Finger Out, Pt. 2 « Will I have to rebrand this?

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