NRI(Non-Resident Indian) FAQ's


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Can I use my US-based cellphone in India???
The usual cell phones used in USA are CDMA-based and hence you cannot use it in India.But if you have the tri-band phones which both AT&T and T-Mobile are using by default can be used in India if it is a Tri-band phone.Hence the new handset can be used anywhere in the world where GSM is used.I personally prefer the GSM technology over CDMA simply because it is used in more then 170 countries and hence your handset can work in some many places compared to CDMA which can only work in US and probably Canada. Currently I use pre-paid cell phone service from .There is no recurring monthly fees,no service charges, and no contract.
Also if you are buying a new cell-phone please consider donating your old cell-phone to Support Network for Battered Woman or Wireless Foundation.


I want to buy/renovate a house in India.Can I get a loan for this???
Here are the banks which can NRI's
State Bank of India
Citibank NRI Housing Loans


What is the best and easy way to send money to India in an emergency???
If you don't have an account like the Citibank NRI checking account or State Bank of India checking account then there two ways you can do that.
Western Union.They have thousands of location in every corner of the world and the money can be picked up anywhere.The only disadvantage is that it is quite exepnsive i.e. $39 for upto $3000.Also there is a limitation that you can only send maximum $2500.
Remit 2 India.This is a Times Of India company.I have not tried it till now.
There is a comparison article on Times of Indias website of Western Union and Remit 2 India.
Of course the comparison is biased and one important thing which Times of India doesnt mention and is hidden in their faq is that it takes minimum 3-4 days for the money to be delivered.So to some extent I feel that Western Union is better as they pretty much guarantee that the money will be available with 30 mins anywhere in the world.


Which are good/cheap calling cards for India.??
I have started writing about the latest calling cards which i have been using on a separate page

I want to return to India.Is there a site which has information about various rules and regulations and relocation help for returning Indians??
Return 2 India


I would like to invite vistiors to US.While in US they will be visiting multiple locations by air.Is there any discount facility available for such kind of visitors??
You can get a VUSA coupon.


We/Our parents are strict vegetarians.We find it difficult to find vegetarian food at many places.Is there a cooker available which can be used with an electric outlet so that we can take it wherever we go??

Presto multi-cooker is really very good.We have used it for boiling potatoes,making khicdis,maggi and so many more things.Instead of buying a rice cooker I would really suggest this as it can also be used for making rice.You can buy it online from Target for about $25.Really worth the price.


If you are calling your parents/visitors to US you might want to consider this health plan for visitor Visas.

http://health.kvrao.org/.I have heard that these folks are pretty good. The best thing is that all medical claims are settled in US and you dont have to pay upfront medical costs.


Another new player who has joined this market is Tata-AIG.Their website doesnt say much but I have heard that they give you insurance only for 90 days after which you have to renew it.I think it would be worth taking a look at it.

New India Assurance Company.This is a company in India which has health coverage for visitors.It is quite cheap compared to the health Insurance if you buy it in US.

Please Note : To the best of my knowledge no visitor insurance covers pre-existing medical conditions.


I would prefer if someone could accompany my parents while travelling when they come from India is there any website which can help me coordinate with other folks ??
Sulekha.com has a page where you can check out for Travel Companions.

We/our kids are citizens of other countries like US,Canada etc but we were born in India.Is there any way in which we/our children can still enjoy some benefits like no visa required to travel to India,ability to buy land in India etc??
PIO cards are meant for this purpose.
Some of the benefits of these cards are
· Visa-free entry into India for fifteen years- revised from the earlier validity period of 20 years.
· Exemption from the requirement of registration at the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office if the period of stay in India does not exceed 180 days. In the event of continuous stay for more than 180 days, the PIO card holder will have to register himself/herself at the concerned FRRO office.
· PIO card holders shall enjoy parity with NRIs in respect of facilities available in economic, financial and educational fields except matters relating to acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties. The facilities will include the ability to acquire, hold, transfer or dispose of immovable properties in India (except agricultural/ plantation properties), open rupee accounts in India, lend in rupees to Indian residents, make investments in India etc.
· Admission of children in educational institutions in India in the general category quota for NRIs including Medical, Engineering colleges, IITs & IIMs.
· Eligibility for various Housing schemes under Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) or Central/State Governments.All future benefits extended to NRIs would also be available to PIO card holders.



Are there any radio programs online/on-air for Indo-Americans??
Bollywood Beat is transmitted both on-the-air and they also have the show archived so that you can listen to it online.
Garam Chai is transmitted over the air every thursday morning 6am to 9 am.
India FM is a website which also has online radio with various classifications.
Mostly Tamil is transmitted over the air every thursday morning 6am to 9 am in the bayarea.


Is there a list of Travel Agents which provide competitive prices to India from US.??
Path2USA has a long listing of travel agents all over the US for tickets to India.


Are there any good portals for NRI's which have lists of travel agents, grocery stores, restaurants and other things Indian??
Garamchai
Sulekha.com
Path2USA



I would like to get politically involved in Indo-US relationships.Are there any organisations sepcially focussed on it??
US India Political Action Commitee is the organization which focuses on Indo-US relationships.






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