Your Guide to Moving from UAE to India

UAE x India

Indian Culture

Indian culture comes from a rich history and continues to evolve in order to keep up with the modern world. 

You’ll find that many locals identify strongly with a religion in India. Although India is considerably diverse when it comes to religions and languages, the most popular religions are Hinduism, Islam, Christanity and Sikhism. There is an abundance of religious and cultural holidays and festivals celebrated in India, with each region recognising their own public holidays. 

India’s culture has been shaped significantly by their cinematic culture, in particular Bollywood. Academics and historians have written extensively about the crucial role that Bollywood has played in helping India form its national identity after becoming independent from British control. Bollywood has remained a cultural zeitgeist with Indian fashion, music and even some social political trends being strongly influenced by Bollywood films. 

The wealth gap in India is confronting and can be a shock for some expats. You’ll find slums in close proximity to the wealthier areas and beggars will frequently target foreigners to ask for money. Due to this, it is recommended that expats, women especially, are careful when walking or travelling around at night. 

Similar to the UAE, India has a strong patriarchal culture especially in terms of gender roles. While this is slightly less common in the bigger cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, women-identifying expats should be aware that they may receive unwanted attention.

What to know before moving to India

Every move comes with its own challenges, and international moves can be especially complicated. Before you decide to pack up your bags and board that flight, here is what you need to know about moving to India. 

Organising a visa

Ensuring you have the right visa is the first thing you’ll need to do when planning to move to India. The Indian Government does have an e-visa website to apply for tourist and other short term visas, but if you want to apply for an employment or longer term visa then you will need to go through the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. In the case of applying for an employment visa, you’ll need to have an existing employment contract from an Indian or other business based in India. A student visa also requires you have a letter of admission from an Indian institution to apply. If you are wanting to start a business in India, you can apply for the business visa

It’s not uncommon to find websites posing to help expats secure a visa for India or are posing as the Indian Government. We recommend dealing directly with the Indian Embassy to avoid being scammed by third party operators. 


Cost of Living

Compared to the United Arab Emirates, the cost of living in India is very affordable. Eating out, purchasing your groceries, and housing are significantly cheaper in India compared to the UAE. Childcare and education is roughly 85% cheaper in India than in the UAE, with two semesters of middle school education for one child costing AED$4,880. Expat salaries in India are some of the highest in Asia according to MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey by ECA International. Some companies have offered mid-level employees packages around USD$299,700 to entice them to relocate to India. 

Choosing where to live

Whereabouts in India you choose to live will have a significant impact on your overall experience of living in your new country. The bigger cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore tend to be popular choices for expats as they offer a wide range of job opportunities. However, Kolkata, Jaipur and Pudcherry offer both work and lifestyle benefits without the chaos of the bigger cities. You can find out more about which cities are well suited to expats here.  


While there are over 121 languages spoken across India, the official languages are Hindi and English. The majority of business is done in English, however you may find small businesses (especially those in more rural areas) will communicate more in Hindi. 

Money & Taxes

The official currency of India is the rupee (INR) and is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India. At the time of writing, 1 United Arab Emirates Dirham equals 21.67 Indian Rupee. You are unable to bring rupees into the country as a foreigner so it’s best to get local currency from an exchange place or bank within the cities. 

If you live in India for more than 182 days, you are considered a tax resident and will be required to pay tax on your income. Fortunately, the UAE and India have a taxation treaty so you won’t also have to pay double tax. Tax in India can be complicated so we recommend using a professional accountant or tax professional to assist you. 


India is approximately 39 times bigger than the UAE! Due to India’s considerable size, the climate ranges greatly. Although India’s humidity and heat is well documented, it also snows in some areas. The average annual temperature is approximately 25℃, and the average winter temperature tends to range around 17 to 21℃. You’ll have to become accustomed to the significant rain, with Mumbai experiencing an average of 594mm in the Summer compared to the UAE’s average of only 14mm. 


After relocating to a new country, it’s important that you are adapting to your new surroundings which unfortunately can include some threats to your personal safety. Petty theft, such as pick pocketing, over-charging and small scams, is pretty common in India with foreigners being easy targets. If you are unsure where it is safe to walk around at night (especially for women), it’s best to ask a local or neighbour for their advice. 

Aside from petty theft, food safety is another major thing to keep in mind after moving to India. Drinking tap water should be avoided especially in smaller cities and rural areas, as well as limiting any drinks with ice like cocktails. It’s also recommended to eat at restaurants over some street vendors due to food hygiene standards. 

Living in India

So, you’ve decided that you are ready to relocate to India from the UAE. Here is how you set up your new life and embrace everything there is to enjoy when living in India. 

Finding work

As one of the world’s fastest growing economies, India offers an abundance of different job opportunities in a myriad of fields and industries. However, this doesn’t mean competition isn’t fierce. Applying for jobs in India can be extremely competitive, especially for new University graduates. Due to this, we recommend doing an inter-company transfer or securing a job before you have relocated to India.

The IT and telecom industry in India continues to see exponential growth so it can be a great option for expats. Engineering, manufacturing, banking, textiles and tourism are all growing industries which employ expats. You can find suitable jobs via social networking sites such as LinkedIn or applying directly to a company's website. 


While the Indian housing market isn’t as competitive as some other countries, you will find that there is competition for good quality housing in the bigger cities. The cost of housing is fortunately a lot cheaper in India than the UAE, with the average one bedroom apartment in a city centre costing around AED$1,869.

Apartments tend to be the most common type of housing found in India, but you can also choose from bungalows, housing complexes, farm houses and villas at a range of budgets. Using a local real estate agent is a good way to find out about prospective properties, however make sure you review the property yourself before signing a lease or purchasing. 

bridge pic


The transport infrastructure in India pales in comparison to the United Arab Emirates. Public transportation can be incredibly crowded, uncomfortable, and at times even dangerous. The bus system is best suited for shorter journeys, especially around major cities. While the public buses are considerably cheaper, the private buses tend to be more comfortable with air conditioning and less crowded. 

The train network is extensive across India and is a great way to see the country when travelling between regions and cities. The metros in large cities are an efficient way to travel and avoid the infamous traffic congestion. 

Driving in India can be an exhilarating (and occasionally terrifying) experience due to the large volume of traffic, erratic driving styles, and limited road maintenance. It’s recommended to hire a local driver who is familiar with the chaos of the Indian roads over attempting to drive oneself. 


India does have public healthcare, however its inclusion of services is limited and the general standard is much lower than in the UAE. Many expats choose to only use the private system to avoid overcrowding and the poorer conditions of public health care providers. You can use Indian private hospitals for non-emergency medical needs such as check-ups or other consultations. We recommend that all expats relocating to India have adequate medical insurance. Employers may provide insurance, however keep in mind that some Indian hospitals may not accept all international providers, so you may have to pay out of pocket. 

Mosquitos are a common fixture of India, so take the necessary precautions such as covering up and using repellent. Also ensure that you have received all required vaccinations before arriving. 

Book your move to India today!

Make your international relocation as smooth as possible by working with an experienced moving company. Allied has the right expertise, knowledge and skills to ensure that your move to India from the United Arab Emirates is a hassle-free experience. Get in touch with us today to discuss your move and receive a free quote!