Fulbright to India Guide – 2021-2022

Cost of Living

The maintenance allowance may appear to be modest from U.S. standards.  Grantees should be prepared to accept that their lifestyle in India may be different from what they are used to in the U.S. However, we have received feedback from our grantees over the years that the allowance paid for different grant categories by USIEF is quite generous and indeed sufficient to maintain a decent lifestyle in India.

Costs vary in different parts of India.  Housing in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, will be significantly more expensive than outside these metropolitan areas.

It is common in India to pay a security deposit before securing housing. Using a realtor is also the way to find appropriate housing. USIEF covers realtor fees up to a certain amount as per your grant category upon submission of a receipt.  

Please make sure to cash at least US$ 1000-2000 (for students & ETAs) and US$ 2000-3000 (for scholars) in Indian rupees upon your arrival in India. This is important as you will be immediately incurring certain expenses during your initial settling-in period for housing deposit (security), advance rent, realtor fee, local grocery shopping, etc.  Please note that most of the house owners prefer to take a security deposit, advance rent etc. in cash only, and the same is usually the practice with realtor fees also.  You can seek guidance on managing these expenses during your briefing session with USIEF staff.


The rupee is the standard monetary unit of India. Each Indian rupee is divided into 100 paisa. Coins currently in circulation are 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupees. The 50 paisa coin is still used but it has become rare. Bills, known as currency notes in India, are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. The dollar-rupee exchange rates may fluctuate. Insist on obtaining official receipts from banks, stores, hotels or other agencies authorized to accept foreign currency, and save them. If, when you leave India, you have extra rupees that you wish to reconvert to dollars, those receipts will be required.

To understand the Indian currency system, click here

Know Your Bank Notes

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