Tips Moving from UAE to India

Moving to India

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

Capital City: New Delhi
Population: 1,300 Million
Language(s): Hindi (53%), Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Malayalam, Punjabi (and at least 50 others)
Currency: Indian Rupee (Rs)
GDP per capita: USD 7,150 (2015)
Drives on the: Left
Time: GMT +5:30
Internet domain: .in
International dialing code: +91

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to India from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.


India makes up the bulk of the Indian subcontinent and is the second most populous nation on earth after China. India’s coastline stretches over 7,500 km of which over 40% is sandy beaches. The country is divided into 29 states and 6 union territories. India is the largest democracy in the world.

In 2000 BC, the first scriptures associated with Hinduism were being composed and 1,000 years later Buddhism and Jainism began to emerge. By the medieval ages Judaism, Christianity and Islam appeared in India and also Sikhism emerged which over the decades and centuries added to the regions rich but diverse culture and traditions.

By the mid 1700’s the British East India Company started to influence many areas and aspects of life in India and a century later the country was ruled by the British Crown. By 1947, India had gained independence in large part due to the nationalists’ movement (latterly lead by Mahatma Ghandi) and their nonviolent resistance.

Modern India is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual country with the fast growing major economy (7th largest nominal GDP), which is now regarded as a newly industrialised country. However poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare remain challenging areas.

Expats in India

For new arrivals the sheer scale of India and the sensory overload which one can be exposed to might take a little adjustment. The country is rich in history and traditions which can vary widely in different areas of the country.

Most Indians are open and friendly. Business and social gatherings tend to be fairly relaxed, although the society is hierarchical and you should always respect and recognise someone’s role and status. Addressing people with their professional/ academic title is strongly advised.

In most major cities, expats may find speaking English is easier than one might expect. The business language in the urbanised areas is often English.

Whilst most expats may find the cost of living quite reasonable, it is important to ensure employers are able to provide you with a good real estate agent at minimum. Good housing is in very high demand. It is also worth trying to visit India ahead of the move so you have a chance to view some potential areas, properties and schools ahead of the move.

Bureaucracy can be very challenging in India and things probably won’t progress in a linear fashion. It is best to go with the flow and definitely avoid losing your temper. You may have the option of using a gofer or perhaps someone in public relations who works at your company, which should help to accelerate things.

Public services like healthcare vary from region to region, but private healthcare is recommended and really your employer should provide this. You can read more about this below.

Cost of living (New Delhi – prices in US$)

India is generally fairly inexpensive. The larger cities are certainly more expensive, but in most cases cheaper than most peoples home countries. For this example we have used prices in New Delhi (other cities may differ).

A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost roughly US$ 10-12 per person with a beer priced around US$ 3 and soft drinks around US$ 0.50 per can.  A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately US$ 12 and a coffee typically sets you back around US$ 1.80

At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around US$ 0.50, a liter of milk approximately US$ 0.75 and a dozen eggs roughly US$1.

Public transport in New Delhi (and India in general) is not the best. Taxis start around is US$ 1 and then around US$ 0.30 per kilometer thereafter. Petrol is relatively expensive at around US$ 1.10 per liter.

There are a wide range of prices available, but typically a 2 bedroom apartment in New Delhi would range from around US$ 500 – 800 per month. It is best to try and find accommodation close to your place of work in order to minimise the effects of congestion.

Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around US$ 80.  Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately US$0.05 per minutes and broadband Internet us roughly US$ 20 per month.


Education has become an increasingly important factor in the last few decades in India, which has in large part fuelled the emerging economy since the early 1990’s. Many parents attach enormous significance to their children’s school work and this can make things very competitive.

Public schooling in English is available but not very common. Class sizes tend to be larger than most pupils would be accustomed to and the facilities may not be up to an acceptable standards.

Private schooling is very popular to anyone who can afford it. With the immense emphasis placed on grades, reports and performance, expat kids may find the learning experience very challenging. For students whose parents intend to make India their long-term home, the additional integration which the student may not benefit from at an International school can be very beneficial.

International schooling is perfect for parents who want their children to remain familiar with their home countries education. American and British schools are represented in the largest Indian cities, but places are at a premium and long waiting lists may apply. This despite the fact this type of schooling is by far the most expensive.


There is no universal healthcare or nationalised health service in India and so private medical cover caters to the vast majority of healthcare. Around 25% of Indian families have some kind of medical insurance, and so a high proportion of medical procedures are funded by individuals or families.

In 2014 plans were introduced to provide the national health assurance mission which would provide free consultation, medication and treatment to all citizens, however budgetary constraints have delayed the implementation of this.

Private healthcare which allows access the best facilities and medical specialists is very expensive and it is highly recommended that anyone moving to India has a comprehensive private healthcare plan in place.

Pharmacies are plentiful in major Indian cities and are often part of a medical facility. A wide variety of medication is available at reasonable prices.

Moving Documents

When moving to India from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects

  • Copy of passport
  • Residence Permit (foreigners)
  • Lease agreement / Letter of employment
  • List of electronic items
  • Valid visa
  • Original packing lilst
  • Bill of lading / AWB
  • Owner must be present for customs clearance
  • Indian nationals must have lived overseas for more than 2 years and remain resident in India for a minimum of one year
  • Air shipments must be dispatched within 15 days of the owner’s arrival in India.
  • Sea shipments must be dispatched within 30 days of the owner’s arrival in India.
  • Electronic items should be loaded last/nearest the door of the container / liftvan.

Unlike many countries India will impose import duty on items which may be considered used/personal, especially home electronics which in other countries would not qualify as dutiable.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

All NEW items are subject to duties (invoice must be supplied).

  • Customs duties are approximately 15.45% to be levied on the following items (included but not limited to):
    • Televisions
    • DVD players
    • Video consoles
    • Laptop and PC
    • Home theatre/Music system
    • Microwaves
    • Dishwashers
    • Air conditioners
    • Refrigerators / Freezers above 300 L or equivalent
    • Deep freezers
    • Video cameras
    • Photocopying machines
    • Gold or silver in any form other than ornaments

IMPORTANT – Duplicate items or items in sums of excess of Rs. 150,000 (Rs. 500,000 in Delhi and Mumbai) may be subject to duties of approximately 36.01 to 61%.

Helpful Website(s):

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to India from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.