One quick way to tell if an outsider has been in India a long time? Ask him/her if they have a favorite place to get passport photos.
You don’t have to be in India long to realize that you need to have a lot of documents ready to go at any time. Whether it’s something heavy-duty like a visit to the FRRO or just getting an internet connection, every service seems to have their own unique list of forms to get what you want. You’ll never know exactly what you need for every situation, but most services in India require some blend of the documents listed below.
Keep the physical copies in a safe, accessible place. Also keep an updated digital file with scans of everything. You will never regret the time put into this exercise. You will either do it now, or wish you had done it at some point in the future.
You will obviously have the physical passport in a safe place, but make sure all of these scans are ready to go in your digital file:
- Scan of the first page that shows your picture
- Scan of your Indian visa
- Scan of any previous visas
- Scan of the last entry stamp you got into India
2. Passport Sized Photos
Don’t spend a lot of money in your home country getting these; wait until you arrive in India. They are ridiculously cheap and very easy to get. About every 200 meters down any busy road, you will find a small shop where they take and print passport photos. Simply sit, get your picture taken, and then pick up the prints. You can either wait for about 30 minutes for them to finish, or arrange to have them picked up later.
Never have less than 8 passport photos on hand at any time for each family member. That may seem excessive, but you will run out quickly. Every time you get a new set, it is smart to get a large number like 24 at a time.
3. PAN Card
This is called a Permanent Account Number. It is usually only given to foreigners who are responsible for paying income tax, but is also used for many other financial transactions.
4. Residency Permit
This is only for foreigners who have registered at the FRRO. Having an RP is very convenient, but not essential for life in India.
5. Marriage License
This one is rarely required, but you never know when it will come up.
6. Employment Contract
This is only for those on an employment visa. It should state your designation, salary, and key responsibilities. If you are on a business visa, it is good to keep a copy of your invitation letter from the Indian company that is sponsoring you.
7. Lease Agreements
This is going to look very official on lovely stamp paper, and should have all the details necessary. Your landlord will prepare it for you. If you renew a lease, make sure to ask for a new contract as you may need it for paperwork purposes later on.
8. Driver’s License
Generally, your passport is enough for identification, but not all passports list your home residence. A driver’s license from your home country is a great backup for many reasons. Keep it updated and handy.
Image Credit: Chris Hand on Flickr