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What You Need to Know When You’re Moving to Bangalore

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Relocating to Bangalore

At a Glance:

  • Bangalore has a strong expat population, international feel, and forward-thinking mentality.
  • If you’re not used to India’s harsh weather and hot temperatures, it’s normal to become unwell when you first move to Bangalore.
  • You’ll need a visa to enter India — most expats in Bangalore will be using an employment, business, or entry visa.

Moving to Bangalore is probably not the easiest step in many careers, even for experienced expats. The city presents an issue of modern-day India: the sharp contrast between high-tech industries and the luxurious lifestyle of the lucky few and the severe poverty of the larger urban population. However, expats living in Bangalore might be less exposed to this poverty than elsewhere in India.

Bangalore was once called the “Garden City” or “a Pensioner’s Paradise” due to its large, green parks, and a less frantic lifestyle than other Indian cities. While this laid-back environment is no longer what Bangalore is renowned for, most foreigners who decide to live there still benefit from a relatively high quality of life.

The Inconvenient Truth: A Three-Month Monsoon Season

A tropical savanna climate awaits new residents — with noticeable wet and dry seasons. Thanks to the city’s elevated position on the Deccan Plateau, expats in Bangalore who come from cooler countries enjoy the comparatively mild weather. With temperatures reaching an average high of 34°C during the hottest period in April and dropping down to 15°C in January, inhabitants of Bangalore hardly face the same extreme conditions as, for example, those living in New Delhi.

The monsoons bring a lot of rainfall, mainly during the months of June to September. The monsoon season’s humidity becomes a problem for many expats. Even if you are used to high temperatures, do not underestimate the time it takes to get used to the tropical climate: quite a few new arrivals get sick for a couple of days after first moving to Bangalore.

Decades of Diversity

The arrival of the railway in the second half of the 19th century caused a lot of rural dwellers to move to Bangalore. The post-independence era and the 1940s and 1970s again saw huge waves of migrants flocking to the city.

Expats started moving to Bangalore in growing numbers in the late 1980s after the first multinational IT corporations had set up their offices there. With its rich mix of cultures, religions, and languages, the city still has steady numbers of migrants wanting to make Bangalore their home. Expats coming to Bangalore today can enjoy the city’s international flair.

Safety Concerns in Bangalore

Despite repeated terror warnings issued by Western governments, Bangalore is generally considered safe, a comparatively “soft” target. After decades of mostly friendly coexistence, however, religious tensions between Muslims, Hindus, and Christians have manifested themselves all across India in recent years. In August of 2012, for instance, a series of rumors propagating religious persecution caused thousands of people of different faiths to leave Bangalore for their home regions. Evidently, tensions between Muslims and Hindus are still very much alive. More recently, in December 2014, a blast in the center of Bangalore killing one person had the city on edge.

Expats moving to Bangalore should therefore be aware of the potential threat of terrorist attacks. It is always a good idea to stay alert when visiting public places or attending events that attract large crowds. Always keep in mind, though, that you are much more likely to get injured in a traffic accident than in a terrorist attack. So, there’s no reason to be too concerned!

Minimizing Health Risks: The Necessary Precautions

There are other, slightly more tangible, threats to your well-being in Bangalore. These include vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, and chikungunya (another tropical fever), as well as gastrointestinal diseases caused by a change of climate, diet, and hygiene routine. If you take reasonable precautions against mosquito bites and are careful when buying food and drinking water, some of these threats to your health can be avoided.

Check that all standard vaccinations such as tetanus, MMR, polio, pertussis, varicella (chicken pox), diphtheria, and influenza are up to date before moving to Bangalore. As well as your regular vaccinations, it’s advisable for expats traveling to Bangalore to get additional immunizations for the following diseases: hepatitis (types A and B), typhoid fever, pneumonia, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, cholera, malaria (prescription tablets), and rabies.

Although an unlikely case, if no health insurance plan is provided by your employer abroad, make sure to take out comprehensive insurance coverage before leaving for Bangalore. Even though there are some excellent private hospitals, clinics and specialists in Bangalore, the general standard of healthcare and treatment might not conform to what you are used to. Most private clinics offer highly specialized, complicated treatments, but not all of them are suited to provide emergency treatments or to care for patients with general health concerns.

Visas and Work Permits for Bangalore

Visa Applications

Everyone needs a valid visa for Bangalore. Each type of Indian visa can be applied for online, though you will need to visit an Indian overseas mission to have your application processed and approved. If you are unsure as to where the nearest Indian mission is located, please consult the National Portal of India.

While there aren’t restrictions on the issuing of employment visas, make sure you fulfill all formal requirements and submit the application in time. The Indian embassy or consulate should provide you with the correct application form and advice on any additional documents. If this information is not available online, call or visit your nearest consulate to request it.

Standard requirements for most visas are:

  • a passport, valid for at least 180 days from the start date of your stay, containing at least two blank visa pages
  • an official document showing the applicant’s name and address of current residence
  • a completed and signed application form
  • passport-sized (50 mm) photographs
  • application fees

Visa fees include consular or service fees, which vary depending on visa type and the country you’re applying from. Different types of visas require additional documentation.

Visas and Work Permits: Two for the Price of One?

The following two visa categories, which will serve as your work permit in India, are the most common among expats.

Employment Visas

You need to be employed by an Indian company, or you must be on a work assignment from your current employer. You should hold a position for highly skilled staff with an annual salary of more than 25,000 USD (evidence of your salary is required with your application form). This visa is usually valid for an initial period of one year, but it can be extended for up to another five years.

Necessary documents include proof of employment (i.e. a signed work contract) and academic and professional qualifications. For those working voluntarily for NGOs a letter from their organization stating the nature and duration of their work is required.

Business Visas

This is for entrepreneurs or investors wishing to set up a business in Bangalore, to establish ties with an Indian company, or to purchase/sell industrial products. It requires a written statement from the client or contracting body, detailing the nature of the business and the length of the stay, as well as a letter of invitation from an Indian company (if applicable).

The maximum length of your stay on this visa is six months from the date of entry, but the visa does allow for multiple entries during its period of validity, which can be as long as up to ten years depending on your business and nationality. A business visa cannot be converted into an employment visa in India. To do this, applicants must return to their respective home country first and go through the application process again.

Which visa do I need if I don’t move for work?

As well as visas for tourists, medical tourists, and students, there are several other visa categories. Some of these might be relevant for expats too:

  • Entry visas: Family members and dependents of expats holding either an employment, student, or research visa can apply for an entry visa. This does not automatically grant them the right to work. However, expat spouses can look for work in India and briefly return to their home country to apply for an employment visa. The entry visa is valid for as long as that of the principal visa holder. As an expat spouse, you need to present your marriage certificate, a copy of your partner’s work contract, and their employment visa.
  • Journalist visas: Journalists traveling to India, irrespective of the purpose of their stay, need a journalist visa. If they want to work as journalists in India, they must register for an accreditation card with the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India to obtain a PIB card. Additional documentation required includes a letter from the employer stating the purpose of travel. If no media-related work is carried out in India, this must be documented in a written statement. A journalist visa is valid for up to three months.
  • Conference visas: This is a single-entry visa valid for the duration of the conference or up to three months. You can only apply for a conference visa with an official invitation to a conference organized either by a government or public agency, the UN, a reputed NGO, or by a recognized educational institution.
  • Research visas: Research professors or scholars may apply for a research visa if they have the original letter of admission from their university. A research proposal form and proof of sufficient funds must also be submitted. The research visa is valid for a maximum of three years or for the duration of the research period and commences four weeks after having been issued.
  • Project visas: This is only for expats who want to work on a project in the power or steel industries.

Keep in mind that visa requirements can differ depending on your nationality, reason for moving to Bangalore, and personal situation. Visas are granted at the discretion of the individual Indian mission.

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  • Kelly Powell

    I work in software development. With InterNations I've built up some very good contacts in the tech industry here in Bangalore.

  • Maria Lombardi

    My first 2 weeks here in Bangalore were difficult since I didn't know anyone. Then I finally discovered InterNations…

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