A guide to what to do when it’s time to leave India, from obtaining an exit visa to cancelling utilities…
Anyone who registered with their home country’s embassy on arrival needs to advise it that they are leaving.
- For government advice for Australians leaving India: Click here
- For government advice for Americans leaving India: Click here
How easy it is to leave India depends on which type of visa a foreigner possesses. If someone has an employment visa or planned to stay longer than six months on a business or tourist visa, they should have registered at a Foreigners Regional Registration Office within 14 days of arrival.
- To find a Foreigners Regional Registration Office: Click here
If a person has registered at a Foreigners Regional Registration Office, then to leave the country at any time, they will have to show their residence permit (which will have been issued at registration) at immigration.
To leave the country permanently, foreigners who are resident in India should obtain a no objection certificate from the local tax authority. This is something that all employers will organise. However, in practice, most foreigners leaving India will just show their residence permit at immigration.
Any foreign child born in India will need an exit visa to leave the country. An exit visa is obtained by going to the local Foreigners Regional Registration Office, no more than seven days before flying, with the following documents:
- Copy of the exit permission application form
- Child’s birth certificate
- Copy of both parents’ passport and visa
- Copy of the child’s passport
- Copy of parents’ proof of address
- Copy of whole family’s airline tickets
- Passport-sized photographs
It is a good idea to have several photocopies of each document. Agents can be hired to deal with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, which is notoriously bureaucratic.
- For more information on visas in India see the Residency section
The Indian school year generally runs from June to March. If a child is leaving a school, then as much notice as possible should be given and all fees paid.
The following documents should be given by the school to all leavers:
- The student’s academic records
- Any certificates and/or diplomas received
The Ministry of Human Resource Development website provides further information: Click here
- For more information on schools in India see the Schooling & Education section
Terminating Rental Contracts
Most rental agreements in India are for a minimum of six months, with a 30-day termination clause. As huge security deposits are normally paid (up to six months’ rent), it is important that rental contracts are terminated correctly:
- Give the landlord the right amount of notice
- Arrange an inspection with the landlord, so that any damage/wear and tear can be assessed
- Ensure that the security deposit is refunded before leaving the country
- For more information on renting in India see the Renting Accommodation section
It is not necessary to cancel registration with a doctor or dentist, but it is worth obtaining a copy of all medical records.
- For more information on health issues in India see the Health System section
The only tax that can be reimbursed when leaving India is the employees’ provident fund. This is debited from an employee’s salary and saved by the government at a high interest rate. The funds can be withdrawn when the worker retires. In theory, all foreign workers should be able to reclaim their provident fund. However, the Indian government is making this more difficult for people from countries that don’t have a social security agreement with India, such as the UK and USA.
If there is no social security agreement in place, ex-pat workers have to wait until they are 58 to withdraw their money. Hiring an agent can help navigate the red tape. The best way in which to find an agent is a recommendation by a chartered accountant.
- For more information on international workers: Click here
- For more information on the employees’ provident fund: Click here
- For more information on tax in India see the Indian Taxes section
It is not possible to redirect post internationally through the Indian postal system. Notify anyone relevant before leaving the country or ask the landlord to forward any post.
- For more information on postal services in India see the Postal System section
The service provider should be given as much notice as possible – 30 days is generally required.
For telephone, TV and internet services, the customer service desk should be called. This has to be followed by a termination letter.
Gas and electricity utilities are usually in the landlord’s name, so arrange cancellation with them.
Cellphones are predominantly on a pay-as-you-go basis, so they do not need to be cancelled.
- For more information on utilities in India see the Setting Up Home section
Cancelling Insurance Policies
Thirty days’ notice is usually required. Notice can be given by calling the provider’s customer service desk, then following up with a termination letter.
Closing/Switching a Bank Account
To close an Indian bank account:
- Withdraw all of the money (unless its is to be transferred abroad)
- Go to the bank with a signed copy of the account holder’s passport and fill in the bank form requesting account closure
Transferring money overseas from India can be difficult, as the Reserve Bank of India has strict guidelines. If a non-resident ordinary rupee account is fewer than six months old, the balance in the account can be exchanged for foreign currency.
However, if the account is older, the process becomes more complicated. Up to US$1m can be transferred in a calendar year from a non-resident ordinary rupee account, subject to the payment of applicable taxes. The following documents will need to be completed and given to the bank:
- A letter from the account holder providing details of the purpose of the remittance and certifying this. A template for this can be provided by a chartered accountant
- Cheque or debit authority if this is not contained in the account holder’s letter
- An A2 form: Click here
- A certificate from a chartered accountant stating that all taxes have been paid on the balance
- A Foreign Exchange Management Act declaration: Click here
- The bank’s own foreign remittance form
- For more information on bank accounts in India see the Banking section
Leaving with a Pet
- For information about the procedure for exporting animals from India see the Leaving India with a Pet guide