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The Cost of Living in India as an Expat

Living in India may not have the same universal appeal as moving to Ecuador, Portugal, or Thailand does, but it might belong on the short list for adventurous people who love a good value. India can be one of the cheapest places to live in the world if you do it right and for some nationalities anyway, it’s got one of the best long-term residency visas in the world.

cost of living in India

Mariellen Ward, who founded the Breathe Dream Go blog, kept going back and forth for years between Toronto and India. After getting tired of a divided life and having her feet in two different places, she decided in 2018, “That’s it, I’m going. I gave up my apartment of 11 years in Canada with no idea where I was going to settle down. After a month of looking around in Delhi, I ended up settling down in Rishikesh.”

Anna Phipps, travel writer and blogger at Global Gallivanting, settled down in Goa after trying a lot of other places on for size. “I was having a quarter life crisis and decided to quit my job and travel to somewhere as different from the UK as I could get—that was India! That first trip was really challenging but I also fell in love and nowhere else has captivated me so much. After another year of traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia I decided I wanted to take a break and settle down a bit somewhere interesting. I missed the excitement of India and Goa kept calling me so I decided to head back and rent a house here. The longer I’m in Goa the more people I meet and the harder it is to leave.”

India is a place where many people have decided to shed their baggage—physical, mental, or spiritual—and start anew with a fresh outlook. There’s a long history here, dating back before the Beatles and The Razor’s Edge, of people coming to find enlightenment or at least do some soul-searching. What they expect and what they find are usually quite different though. This is not a country where anything is simple or easy. Almost everything is cheap in monetary terms, but extremely taxing in emotional terms. Outside the biggest cities, you can live in India for less money than almost anywhere else in the world. It takes a certain kind of person to do that, however, without wanting to scream or strangle someone on a daily basis after dealing with the non-stop annoyances.

The Pros and Cons of Living in India

Let’s get it out of the way and say that India is about the wackiest place you can choose to live. The less you are able to spend, the wackier it’s going to get. This is a country in the midst of massive changes, with its economy lurching forward quickly, then pulling back just as quickly by a crumbling infrastructure and a government that can’t get out of its own way. If the country’s economy were a train, it would be a third class one lurching through the countryside, occasionally picking up speed before having to clear cows and make small station stops.

Then there are the Indian people themselves: the hustlers, gropers, and scammers that seem to be around every corner, waiting to pounce on the next foreign face that drifts by. Ask anyone who has spent a month or more in the country for some stories about maddening experiences and they will regale you with entertaining tales for hours on end.

India is, however, one of the world’s greatest bargains. You get more for your money here than nearly any other spot on the globe you can point to. This is one of many countries that’s cheaper now than when I put out the first edition of A Better Life for Half the Price thanks to a currency value decline. In most of 2011, a U.S. dollar would get you around 43 Indian rupees. A few years later it was 60. Now you get around 75 rupees for a buck.

Janet Hasam had a high-paying job for a British organization when she first moved to India, but then lived with her Indian husband in Hyderabad, after a fairy tale wedding at the Taj Mahal. Her husband is a university professor and they’re better off than many, but while living there they only spent around $250 a month for the two of them. “We lived in a family compound, so our living expenses were limited to paying utilities and food,” she says. “That helped a lot. Still, we could buy a huge batch of groceries for the equivalent of four British pounds and that would go a very long way. We had a regular maid and a cook.”

Typical local wages tell you a lot about how little it requires to just get by here. Janet used to run a charity organization in Chennai and their workers earned $100 to $170 per month. One had a mother working in a hospital as a nurse and she only got $67 per month.

People will tell you India can be expensive though—especially expatriate executives—because there are really two sides to India. There’s the side the tourism bureau likes to emphasize, of $1,200 a night hotels, luxury train trips, and spectacular restaurants. This coincides with surveys listing Mumbai as one of the most expensive cities in the world for expatriate business executives—if they want to live the same kind of life as they had at home, with the same kind of apartment and appliances.

If you’re not trying to live the life of the top two percent though, it’s a different story. Spend $600 or more a month outside of the largest cities and you will be living better than a middle class local. You’ll probably have more space than their whole family too when you come home.

Margot Bigg, author of several books on India, outlines some of the places popular with foreigners who move here. “Goa is a hotspot for artisans from around the world, and there’s a large community of self-made expats there. The southern state of Kerala attracts fewer foreigners, although it’s arguably more pleasant. Pondicherry is also popular, especially with the French. The hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are also nice, and Dharmsala in particular attracts foreign visitors interested in studying Tibetan Buddhism (as it’s the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile).”

Kerala fishing boat

“Spend some time traveling around the country before you decide where to live,” says says Philippa Kaye, founder of Indian Experiences, a travel consulting company. “I started traveling around India 22 years ago and there are still places I have on my list to get to that I haven’t visited yet.”

“Goa has a magical and unique culture,” says Anna. “It’s India’s smallest, most laid back and westernized state and you can still see, feel and taste the influences from nearly 500 years of Portuguese rule and the hippie past which create an intoxicating and captivating blend of East and West. There’s really nowhere else in the world like it.” India’s version of beach paradise comes with a reasonable price tag too. “When I first lived in Goa in 2014-15 I was living on about $425 a month (when sharing with one other person). Nowadays it’s more like $700 per month because prices have gone up and also because I like more comfort and Western food.”

“I consider myself on a mid-range budget. You could probably scrape by on $500 a month but wouldn’t have so much fun. Each year things get fancier in Goa so you could also spend a lot more, especially if you were to book your accommodation online or on Airbnb, especially for a short time in peak season.”

India Cost of Living: Apartment Rental and Housing

You can rent a penthouse with a waterfront view in Mumbai for as much as you would pay in Hong Kong or London. Delhi and Bengaluru (Bangalore) are no bargains either. “I looked at a lot of apartments in South Delhi but was getting really despondent after a while,” says Mariellen. “I saw so many dumps that were a worse value than I could get in Toronto. I couldn’t believe it.”

Philippa has lived a total of 13 years in India. She has lived in Jaipur, Delhi, and in a wildlife reserve. “When I first came to Delhi a company was paying for my apartment, then later I had to go out and find my own. What I discovered was that most corporate expats were living in these gated expat complexes where the rents were ridiculously inflated and overpriced,” she explains. “I met women in those complexes who almost never left home because they thought it was too dangerous to travel. I didn’t want to live like that in a foreign country. I fortunately had lots of Indian friends to turn to and both apartments I rented in Delhi were US $800 or so then. That’s three bedrooms, lots of space, in a high-end area.” Someone I interviewed for the first edition of the book, who has now moved on, was paying $275 per month for his central New Delhi apartment that he says was bigger than the $1,340 one he rented in San Francisco right before.

Philippa says Jaipur was a lot less, around $200 for a small three-room house with two bathrooms and a kitchen. “You can easily find a place in Jaipur to rent long-term for less than $300 a month.”

housing costs living in India

In most of India, rents drop dramatically once you get outside the big cities and can sometimes be too cheap to believe. Spend some time on message boards like and you’ll find people paying $100 a month for their half of a two-bedroom apartment in Goa or $60 for a one-bedroom with a kitchen and mountain-view balcony in Manali. Others hike into the Parvati Valley with a backpack on and decide not to pick it up again until five months later because they’ve found a whole house to rent for under $100 a month, loads of cheap restaurants, and it must be said, lots of bargain-priced hash to smoke.

After the disappointments in Delhi, Mariellen moved on to the yoga center of Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas and found a furnished apartment in a secure gated community with its own electricity system for $350 per month. She calls it “a really posh place” of 1,200 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two balconies, and a roof deck. “Someone referred me to this place before I even got here and about a week later, I moved in. I didn’t realize this residential area existed apart from the tourist zone and I really like it here. The manager told me it was ‘very expensive’ when I said I liked it, so I was worried. Then he told me the price and I was thrilled.”

It’s not going to cost you much to stay in a guesthouse while you look around for an apartment. Many people check into a cheap hotel and find that’ll do just fine. This is a country where you can still find rooms for as little as $2 a night in some areas and for $5 a night there’s a good selection. See for the best selection there or rent a short-term place from Airbnb.

There are lots of regional quirks though, especially in cities where demand is high from workers making a decent salary. In Bengaluru, for instance, you need to put down a deposit for six months rent in some complexes. Liz Scully, who has since moved away, lived in Kerala before Bengaluru and says, “It was much cheaper there and I didn’t have to put down as much.”

She notes though that in India, you often get what you pay for, with more expensive places having screens on the windows, plus a better bathroom with a western toilet. “In India,” she adds, “it’s hard to find a place without loads of bathrooms and bedrooms: houses and apartments are set up for extended families. Most have at least 3 bedrooms, often a maid’s quarters too. Sometimes you can find two-bedroom places, but more common is three bedrooms, three baths.”

Liz was paying around $1,000 per month for her last apartment but, “It had three bedrooms, four bathrooms, in a complex with a swimming pool, squash court, gym, 24-hour security, and parking. My expat colleagues thought I was paying a tiny amount, my Indian friends thought I was paying an outrageous amount.” She says you’re almost sure to get some nasty surprises though, or downright cheating. “I had to pay a fee to move out. When I asked what that fee was for, they told me, ‘Because the committee that runs the home owners’ association has to make money somehow.'”

Anna says you can get a decent apartment or house to rent in Goa for $200 – $300 per month, but you shouldn’t expect soft mattresses and comfy couches. “Houses are quite basically furnished so if you want to live a comfortable lifestyle by Western standards then you’ll need to invest quite a bit in furnishing and appliances.”

Health Care Costs in India

India is a major medical tourism destination, with people flying in from around the world for elective surgeries—or necessary ones that they either can’t afford or can’t wait for in their home country. The country churns out a lot of medical doctors and a fair number of them don’t have any interest in leaving their home country. All the doctors speak English in India. Even though they may know another dialect, English is the language of government, education, business, and medicine. It may take a while to get used to the accent, but you won’t have any trouble communicating your symptoms.

Prices for many medical procedures are often one fifth or even one tenth of what they would be in the USA. From check-ups to shots to lab work, you can expect to pay far less than the rates in your home country, with little to no waiting. Complete hip surgery here can be well under $10,000. Want to get a facelift to get rid of some of those sags and wrinkles? Your bill will probably be $1,250 instead of the $10,000+ it would cost in New York or California.

“”The health care is quite good in the cities,” says Philippa, “and the prices to pay out of pocket are quite cheap. I got a set of three MRIs for around $120 and once when I had to spend a stint in intensive care in the best private hospital it worked out to around $60 a day. A full set of blood tests to check for just about everything was $30.”

This assumes you’re in or near a major city, however. If you’re out in a rural village somewhere, expect care to be rudimentary at best. There’s a reason the average life expectancy in this country is only 69. Most locals can’t afford the doctors who paid six figures to study abroad or the gleaming air-conditioned hospital with a high-end clientele. This is a country, after all, where you see dentists who don’t look much wealthier than the beggars setting up on a blanket on the sidewalk, a hand-scrawled sign advertising their ability to yank out your bad tooth on the spot for the equivalent of a couple dollars.

If you’re living far from a city you can get to easily, you are better off being young and healthy than retired with failing body parts. If nothing else, keep money aside for a last-minute flight and a MasterCard with a large credit limit. The other option would be to sign up with an evacuation insurance company or have an expat policy that includes that service.

Food and Drink Costs in India

India is one of the world’s greatest bargains when it comes to food, whether buying it at the market, eating at a simple restaurant, or going for a fine dining meal. “I’m from Canada,” says Mariellen, “where we have a short growing season and we’re used to fruits and vegetables being expensive. Here they are so cheap in comparison that it seems like next to nothing in my budget. I’ll fill up a massive bag with juicy tropical fruit like papayas, watermelons, mangoes, and pineapple and the price ends up being 200 rupees—less than $3.

“The biggest food shopping bill I ever had was around $100,” she adds, “but that was stocking up during the early days of the pandemic, where I got a taxi and went from store to store getting enough to last for weeks. Normally I spend $15 – $20 per week on groceries if I’m not buying imported items.”

This is a country where you can still stuff yourself for a dollar at a basic place to eat. In a thali restaurant where you’ll get heaps of different curries with rice or chapati bread, you can ask for seconds if you’re not satisfied. If you step up to a nicer version with more atmosphere, it may be $3 or $4 but you’ll also get better quality items. Just don’t expect the huge variety you see on Indian restaurant menus at home when you eat out here. Those restaurants abroad usually cover the whole country, while in reality there are regional differences according to tradition, religion, and what’s easiest to grow in the area. In some spots the food is really spicy, in others it’s more likely to use milder spices and coconut. Naturally on the coast there’s more seafood and in the northern mountain regions more lentils and potatoes.

Indian meal

“There’s only one really fancy restaurant where I live in Rishikesh but even there you’d really struggle to spend more than $10 on a meal,” Mariellen says. “Usually a nice one in a normal restaurant will be half that.” No alcohol is served in her sacred city though, so add a few bucks if you’re somewhere that will bring you a beer or glass of wine. Plus there’s no meat on the menu.

You can spend a fortune in a 5-star hotel in Mumbai or Delhi of course, if you want. “One of my favorite contrasts when in Delhi was when three of us went out to a typical dhaba local eatery and had three thalis, something to drink, and dessert and the tab for three came to £1.50. Then I went out with some posh friends who will only eat in the nicest places. We shared a starter and a bottle of wine with our meal and it was £100 each!” She adds that, “In most of India, it gets a lot more expensive when you start drinking alcohol.”

Alcohol is a mixed bag in India, sometimes not available at all except at a high premium from a smuggler, but as little as $1.30 for a large beer in a simple place in Goa. The cheapest hooch is Indian-made whiskey, some brands better than others, while wine—all imported—will cost more than what you would pay at home. As often happens in these places where sin taxes are high or drinking is banned altogether, drugs are plentiful and cheap.

“I spend about $140 a month on groceries and eat out at least once a day,” says Anna. “You can eat in a simple Indian restaurant in Goa for about $1.25 or you could eat Western food in a more fancy tourist restaurant for about $7.”

In general terms, the areas with more Muslims will have a lot of meat—though when you see the open-air butcher shops in the 95-degree heat (35 Celsius), you’ll probably decide to be very careful about where you partake. In the south of India, it’s almost completely vegetarian, as it will be in sacred cities like Pushkar and Varanasi.

In general though, unless you’re really on a super-tight budget, you will eat very well in India and your taste buds will seldom be bored. Just understand that if you want food that tastes like what you’re used to from the home country, you’ll have to seek it out (often in an international chain hotel) or make it yourself. Even the McDonald’s menu is going to look very foreign, with mutton burgers and spicy veggie burgers. 

India Transportation Costs

Getting around is quite cheap in India, once you figure out what’s what and get a sense of real prices. The 14,000-kilometer train network tops all kinds of lists, from being the largest employer in the world (1.6 million people) to having the most continuously running routes to having a record 7,321 stations. Almost 14 million people travel on the train every day.

India train system

An overnight second-class sleeper can be as little as $3, and the 17-hour trip from Delhi to Jaisalmer is around $6 for a bed in second class. Air-conditioned first-class is roughly 2-1/2 to 6 times the price of second class, but you get what you pay for and you’ll be far less annoyed, especially on journeys that can last all night and half the day. All train prices are set according to the number of kilometers. You can go 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) on an air-conditioned sleeper train for less than $50, including bedding. On the one-day A/C express trains ($13 from Bangalore to Chennai, for example) and on all Rajdhani Express trains, multiple meals are thrown in as well.

Buses can be dusty, crowded hulks crammed with people and a pig or two on the roof, or can be a “luxury” bus that at least has assigned seats. Prices are comparable to the train (in 2nd non-A/C class), but the buses are more direct for some routes. As a rule of thumb, a cheap bus is a dollar for 2-3 hours, while a private express bus costs 70 to 90 cents per hour traveled and it’s unlikely you’ll want to stay on board for more than 12 hours. Long distance night buses have “sleeper” options as well (usually for a 25 percent extra), but avoid those buses whenever possible as they are not the safest option. When the number of passengers plus the age of the bus is over 100, you have discovered the real rural India. And it’s a good time to get off.

Apart from a cruise down the backwaters in Kerala, there aren’t many opportunities to get around on a boat. Internal flight prices have come down in recent years with more competition. A flight can shave days off a long trip: India is a big country. Delhi to Mumbai (Bombay) can take at least 24 hours on the train, so $50 to $120 for a flight can be money well spent. Budget airlines can get as low as $40 to $70 one way for a trip of several hours.

transportation costs living in IndiaIn most of the major cities the plentiful cabs and auto-rickshaws have a meter, but you’ll have to fight to get them to use it. Elsewhere you’ll need to bargain like crazy up front. Ask a local first what a reasonable fare should be. There are usually enough drivers hanging around that you can end up at a reasonable price by haggling. Prepaid taxi and auto rickshaw booths are available at major railways stations and airports with government-approved fixed rates.

“The first time I got a taxi in Chennai it cost me 400 rupees ($12 at the time),” Janet says. “It took 20 minutes, and it was from the airport, so I thought it was very reasonable. By the time I finished living there two years later, I was paying 40 rupees for the same ride. Every time I’d come out of the shopping mall the drivers would all shout ‘150 rupees for a taxi madam!’ Eventually I would ride home for 30.”

“Uber and Ola have changed our lives,” says Philippa. “They have standardized prices and made things so much easier. Normally, every morning I had to start over with the bargaining just to get them to use the meter and it was exhausting. I would still end up paying a ‘white face tax.’ Now I use one of the app services and it’s a dollar or two for a ride of 30-40 minutes in Delhi.”

Only a foreigner with a death wish would try to own and drive a car here. India has one of the highest road accident rates in the world and five minutes on those roads will show you why. You can hire a driver ($20 – $60 per day) and agree ahead of time on what is included in the price. Then kick back and let him navigate around the sleeping cows and loaded-down auto rickshaws. Mariellen had furniture and belongings in Delhi that were too much to fit in a regular car, so she hired a driver with an SUV to bring it all from the capital up to Rishikesh. It was around $100 for a trip of around five hours, around 160 miles/260 kms.

If you’re living here and need a car regularly, there are car services that can have a regular driver on call or if you have to commute each weekday, you can get a monthly rate. “For a lot of people who have corporate jobs, a driver is the biggest expense. If you found someone direct you could trust, it could be as little as $300 a month for just the labor, before fuel costs. But if you went through a firm, which is the best way to keep from getting fleeced, it’ll be at least $600 a month,” says Janet.

If you do want to explore on your own and you’re not in a huge city, a motorbike is cheaper and probably safer. You can dodge the potholes and cows more easily. This is the transport method of choice for most foreigners in Goa. “I spend about $80 per month on scooter hire and petrol,” says Anna. “Local buses are cheap (30 cents from Anjuna Beach to Mapusa city) but taxis go from expensive to very expensive if you don’t have a local contact or good haggling skills. A reasonable price from the airport to Anjuna, for example, is $20.”

City infrastructure in India has typically lagged far behind growth, but Delhi has done a commendable job with its city rail projects. There’s a high-speed rail line to the airport and the fast-expanding, air-conditioned subway is the 12th-largest in the world, with 285 stations and 389 kms (242 miles) of track—and growing. It runs until 11:30 at night and the fare is 14 cents to 84 cents depending on distance, with discounts for using a fare card and riding in off-peak hours.

Other Costs for Living in India

How much things will cost you in India depends a great deal on your bargaining skills. Buying almost any product or service requires a game of negotiation. Without participating in it, you’ll get robbed. “You will get fleeced by everyone, all the time, and have to accept that,” says Liz. “If you get angry every time you’re getting ripped off, it will drive you crazy. You need to have a limit you’ll accept and stand your ground on that.”

Liz says utility bills depend a lot of your set-up and how you deal with the frequent power outages. “A lot of people have solar hot water heaters so they can shower without being dependent on the finicky electrical grid. “Plus you always need some kind of backup emergency power,” she adds. “Internet is really solid in a place like Bangalore and it’s blisteringly fast, but you need an uninterrupted power source. Mobile internet is quite fast as well.” 

She stresses that in local currency terms, inflation is massive. “When I first got my apartment, the electricity bill was usually around 350 rupees per month. At the end it was 675 rupees, for the same consumption. Inflation is so fast that I would go home for Christmas, then come back from the break and prices were higher.”

Philippa says was paying $45 – $50 per month for electricity in Delhi in the warm months. Mariellen lives in a housing complex with its own electricity set-up, which enables her to avoid the power outages problem. She says her electricity is pretty cheap normally, running around 800 rupees per month ($11), but “It’s been as high as $35 if I have the air conditioning running all the time in the hottest months.”

Living in Goa, IndiaShe says India has some of the cheapest internet rates in the world. Because the mobile phone and data landscape is so competitive, you can get rates that seem too low to believe. “I have a plan that’s the equivalent of US$8 for 84 days. I get 2gb of data per day for 84 days then I renew and it starts over. So I doubled down and got that for my phone and for my laptop via a USB stick. Now I have 4 gigabytes per day combined, for $16, which covers me for almost three months.” 

“A mobile package for one month of calls, texts, and 1.5 gigabytes of data per day is about $3.50 in Goa,” says Anna.

Most foreigners spending $800 or more a month here are living quite well because of all the domestic help that income can afford. “You have to have a maid,” says Liz. “It’s a social responsibility to have staff in India, as many as you can afford. If you don’t, you’re viewed as socially horrible in a way that doesn’t really have a western equivalent. You have wealth, so you must spread it about. My maid’s useless, but she’s honest. Nearly everyone has a story of a maid who stole from them. You always have to get receipts from supermarkets. You have to be prepared to be fleeced a certain amount, but you must set a limit and don’t let it go beyond that.”

Liz paid her housekeeper the equivalent of $85 a month to work two days a week, which she says is very high by local standards. “Some expats are paying more than $200 for a cook or cleaner and they think it’s grand,” she says. “But really that’s what a trained sous chef at the Marriott is getting.”

One of the great things about living in India is you can afford to have staff,” Philippa says, “like a driver or housekeeper.” At first she resisted, but eventually got a housekeeper to come in six days a week and it was only about $60 – $80 per month. Anna pays around $7 a week for basic cleaning and laundry service. “Yoga classes are plentiful and cost a little more than $5 per class on average,” she adds.

Visas for Living in India as an Expat

Understand that India loves bureaucracy perhaps more than any country in the world and the civil service is a massive employer in the country. Picture an office with 50 people, desks stacked with papers in triplicate, those papers held down by paperweights since fans are blowing at full speed in the heat. Nobody is in a hurry, nobody is striving for efficiency, and rules are adhered to with glee at every level. Occasionally you can speed up the process with some baksheesh placed in the right hands, but otherwise you will need lots of time and even more patience than usual. You must apply in advance and be approved even for a basic tourist visa.

The good news is, the residents of some countries—the USA, Canada, UK, and Japan—can get a long-term visa that allows them to stay for five or ten years, only needing to leave the country every 180 days (for one day is fine) to keep it active. Canadian Mariellen is on a long-term business visa, which is good for five years. “Normally it’s not a big deal. In the summer I’ll go to Canada, in the winter somewhere like Thailand,” she says. “They are very serious about it here. If you overstay your visa, it’ll definitely put your future status in trouble.”       

For many other nationalities, a five-year visa is available, but with more restrictions on how long you can stay at a time and how long you have to leave for. The good news is, all the applications are e-visa electronic now.    

“This is not a country where you want to overstay your visa,” says Margot. “You may face deportation and never be allowed back in the country again. If you are deported, you may have a difficult time getting visas for other countries in the future.”

Mysore in India

If you’re not from one of the favored countries though, living in India is hard to do full-time unless you are Indian to start with (or can demonstrate recent heritage). There is no such thing as a retirement visa here for people with no Indian blood. For a tourist visa, most countries get 90 days or 180 days. Then you’ll need to stay away a while before you can return.

There are myriad other visa types you can apply for, but understand that for a business or employment visa you generally need to be sponsored by a local company. “You have to apply for an employment visa under the sponsorship of your country at the embassy of your country of residence before leaving for India.” Says Margot. “Employment visas normally last one year and can be renewed in India. You’ll be asked to submit detailed contract and employer information along with your visa application. Specific requirements can vary and change, so it’s best to check with your local embassy or consulate. You’ll also be required to register for a residency permit within 14 days of your arrival in India.”

Some retirees have managed to get a part time local job to obtain a business visa, with the pay they’re getting not really being the point: they’re doing it to avoid leaving the country every six months.

Trying to come set up a business is possible, but it requires extensive paperwork, an attorney, and a pledge to only hire local workers unless you specifically need foreigners for work that can’t be done by a local person. It gets much easier if you have an Indian spouse who can be the official owner on paper. Naturally if you marry an Indian person, everything gets much easier for a long-term stay as well.

Spend some time on your local embassy site and follow the instructions to the letter when applying for a visa. There is usually a private agency in place that handles the paperwork and they will have more information on their site. Take listed turnaround times with a grain of salt and double them to be safe.

Have you lived in this country long-term? Let me know how it went for your cost of living in India in the comments!

Portions of this post were excerpted from the second edition of the book A Better Life for Half the Price, published in autumn of 2020.

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Paula Soto-Maior

Thursday 27th of May 2021

I have been looking everywhere and I am not sure yet you got it right: I only need to leave India for 1 day to be able to continue in my multiple entry visa? That is so much better. I want to retire in Diu (I lived in India before and I am a Vedas student). I am also of Portuguese descendent although I do have USA citizenship as well. Do you think it's a good choice? I have to visit there before moving, but that won't happen before 2023. Thinking to start retirement by the end of 2024.

Tim Leffel

Monday 31st of May 2021

Yes, that is correct. Take a weekend vacation and then start over.

Kaylini Naidoo

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Thanks for the extremely thorough article! Im an expat living in Indonesia and see a lot of similarities. Thankfully there a number of visa options to live in Indonesia which have been created in the last few years. Thanks so much for sharing!

Tim Leffel

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Thanks for that. Just sent you an e-mail.


Friday 28th of August 2020

Wow, what an amazingly thorough article! Will save it for near future reference, I have a friend who lives in Kerala who always told me that I'd love it. The lure of Goa is strong too.


Thursday 20th of August 2020

Hi, Thank you for sharing , gather a lot of information about India living.

Keith Hajovsky

Thursday 13th of August 2020

Lots of great information!