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Checklist for moving abroad from India

A successful move abroad from India requires a lot of legwork and early planning.

When moving abroad, you already have enough on your mind. Use a checklist to tick things off to help ensure you don't forget something important.

Here are some steps to get you started. 

How to move abroad from India

When to open a bank account

Things to pack when moving abroad from India

What bills to pay and deposits to collect

Few last things on your moving country checklist

How to move abroad from India

Set your moving budget

Flights, shipping costs and initial accommodation aside, to create a budget you'll need to understand the cost of living in your new country.

Things to factor include:

  • rental deposits/bonds
  • new furnishings
  • insurance
  • school fees, if applicable
  • hidden costs

Looking for work when you reach your new country or region? Make sure you have enough savings to cover you until you find employment. You can find out more about setting up your finances outside India.

Start a savings goal

Once you have your budget, set yourself a savings goal so you'll be prepared when the time comes to move. Make sure your goal is achievable so you're able to stay on track.

If you feel you may not be able to save enough to meet your budget, consider whether there are any areas where you may be able to pinch pennies in terms of your current spending, or your planned costs, once you move. It can help to prioritise your needs from your wants

Consider travel and other insurance

A fully comprehensive travel insurance policy can cover you for your belongings, illness, travel delays, missed departure and airline failure. It could also cover you for fraudulent credit card charges. 

Travel insurance is not meant to take the place of your health insurance, but rather it's to cover you until you get settled in your new home. 

Other types of insurance you may want to consider might include:

Check with the country or region you're moving to: health insurance may be mandatory even when applying for a visa.

Sort your taxes

Filing taxes while living abroad can be complex. The relevant government tax office is a good place to start for information. Your residential status, and not your nationality or domicile status, determines whether or not you pay taxes in India.

You'll need an Income Tax Clearance Certificate (ITCC) when leaving India and moving abroad. This applies to both expats going home and Indian nationals who'll be classified as NRIs for tax purposes. The ITCC proves that you have no outstanding taxes due. It can be a good idea to do this early, just in case there are any tax payments you'll need to make that you haven't accounted for.

When to open a bank account

Non-resident Indian account

Once you've been out of the country for more than 182 days, you'll be considered a non-resident Indian (NRI) for tax purposes. At this point, you'll need to convert your existing savings account to a non-resident ordinary (NRO) account, especially if you still having earnings in India.

If you're planning to send your foreign currency earnings back to India, you can also open a non-resident external (NRE) account or a foreign currency non-resident (FCNR) bank account.

Browse through our various NRI banking products and services, or complete your application online today.

Apply now

Overseas bank account

How are you going to access the local currency or deposit your salary? You may be able to apply for a bank account online before you arrive, or you could choose to open an international bank account before you leave. This way you'll be able to transfer money to your new account to help with settling in costs.

For seamless global banking services, we can help you open an HSBC overseas account in over 30 countries and regions, including Canada, the UK, Australia, the UAE, Singapore and the US.

See where you can open an HSBC account

Things to pack when moving abroad from India

Your passport

In India, adult passports are generally valid for 10 years, or 5 years if you're under 18. If your passport is due to expire within the next year, you may want to renew it before you move to save you having to manage it from outside India.

Your visa/work permit

Each country or region has its own requirements and timings, so make sure you have the relevant applications submitted well before you're due to move, or start work. In some cases you may not be able to apply for a visa until you already have a job offer, and your family members will need their own visas.

Important documents

Some things will be easier if you arrange them ahead of time. These include your international driving licence, accommodation and getting your kids into school, if you have children.

Bring hard copies of any important documentation you may need, such as your ITCC, rental references and work permit, so that you're not trying to coordinate from outside India once you've moved.

Other documents to bring include:

  • vaccination/medical records
  • insurance policies
  • birth and marriage certificates
  • bank and investment account details
  • living will and testament

Creating a will is a personal choice. However, many advisers will tell you that it's essential for financial planning, particularly if you have assets in different jurisdictions. If you're an NRI without a will, the distribution of your assets, as well as succession laws and inheritance taxes, could be determined according to the laws where you reside.   

Learn more about wealth management solutions for you and your family with HSBC Premier.

What bills to pay and money to collect

Utilities and mobile phone

In addition to making sure all your tax payments are up to date, notify your phone, TV and broadband suppliers at least 30 days' in advance that you'll be moving, and pay any outstanding bills. Most mobile phone contracts are pay-as-you-go, but gas, electricity and utilities will usually be under your landlord's name - contact them to cancel. 

Security deposits

You should get your security deposits back when you cancel your utilities. In addition, many landlords will ask for a large security deposit for rental properties in India - sometimes up to 10 months' rent. Best to give them enough notice that you're leaving so you don't forfeit that money.

Few last things on your moving country checklist

Medical checkup

Vaccinations and medical checkups are sometimes required when you move; this can vary by country and region. There could also be a waiting period before publicly funded healthcare (if applicable) kicks in, so it's a good idea to arrive with a clean bill of health. Check the government websites for the most up-to-date information as guidelines can change frequently.  

Make sure you're able to access any medication you need in your new home and don't forget to pack extra in your carry-on bag, in case your checked baggage is delayed on arrival. Some countries have restrictions - or even bans - on medications. Always check the rules before you arrive.

Shipping and storage

Look at your options for storage and the various costs if you'll be leaving some things behind. Or have a clear out and start fresh!

If you're going to be taking some of your furniture with you, you may need to think about shipping. Get several quotes to make sure you get the best price and also read the fine print of any agreement before you sign. Many companies say they're insured, but that doesn't necessarily mean your possessions are.

Mail forwarding

You won't be able to redirect your post to an international address through the Indian postal system. Instead, share your new address or have family or your landlord collect your mail and send it on for you. 

In many countries and regions, including Canada, the US, Singapore and Australia, you can rent a temporary Post Office Box to receive mail until you have an address.

Double-check your documents

In the days leading up to your departure from India make sure you have all relevant documentation together in a file. You may be asked for this when going through immigration so keep it on hand.

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