India Country Guide


Emory enjoys rich and varied engagement with India, which is a leading destination of faculty, staff, and students. India provides endless opportunities for learning and research, but it can be a complex location for project operations. If you are considering research in or extended travel to India on behalf of Emory, please contact Global Services. The information below provides an overview of the type of considerations that such activity can involve.

India Map

Emory has numerous partners and connections to India, with projects in a variety of fields including the humanities, religion, business, and the health sciences. Related activities include the Emory-Tibet Partnership, the Center for the Control of Chronic Conditions, the Global Diabetes Research Center, the Joint ICGEB-Emory Global Vaccine Center, and PH-LEADER. In addition to partnerships across India, Emory has an overseas affiliate in India, named Emory India Research and Education Innovation LLP (Emory India LLP), to support our engagement there.

Emory India LLP

In 2019, Emory University established Emory India Research and Education Innovation LLP (Emory India LLP), an Indian legal entity which provides on-the-ground support to Emory in India. The creation of this entity is an exciting step in deepening Emory’s Indian engagement. If you are interested in learning more about Emory India LLP and discussing how it might help with your work please reach out to Chris Rapalje.

Considerations for projects and research in India

Research Approval

In addition to IRB clearance from Emory, research in India may require clearance from local or national research review bodies. India maintains its own system for reviewing and approving research involving foreign assistance/collaboration in biomedical/health research. This system is administered by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). ICMR maintains processes specifically for international collaborations wherein international applications for biomedical/health research are submitted to ICMR for approval through the Health Ministry’s Screening Committee (HMSC).

For research, consult with your local partner on requirements for informed consent and local review. Many institutions have their own review boards, to which your work may be subject. The clearance process can be lengthy, so it is advised to work closely with IRB, your RAS unit, and local partners to determine if clearance is needed and how it should be submitted for review. Finally, insurance requirements for certain clinical trials that take place in India may be onerous. This should be reviewed in the early planning stages.

Budget considerations

For sponsored research, it is important to work with your RAS unit on budget development. Considerations for projects in India may vary and include costs associated with in-country legal counsel, accounting and auditing services, benefits for local staff, fluctuations in travel costs, currency fluctuations (for projects subject to CFR 200 Uniform Guidance - typically U.S. government-funded grants - this guidance on exchange rates from CFR 200.440 may be useful), import and export considerations, insurance, taxes, and planning for unexpected costs.

Staffing considerations

Emory University cannot hire India-based employees directly or have employees on extended assignments in India. Depending on project specifics, it may be appropriate to engage Emory LLP to handle these and other types of in-country staffing needs. Contact Sarah Harlan Zegeye to help determine the most appropriate staffing approach for your project.

Money matters

While credit and debit cards are becoming more reliably accepted worldwide, as are mobile and e-payments, travelers to India should still expect to pay in cash for some transactions, particularly when dealing with smaller businesses or in remote locations. Given that there is always a possibility for equipment glitches with electronic payments, having some cash on hand can help, regardless of your destination.

Check out the current exchange rate

Learn more about currency restrictions and guidelines

If your project will need banking resources in India, please contact Sarah Harlan Zegeye to discuss possible options.

Program oversight

Programs operating abroad must have clear on-site operational managers and financial reporting lines to a particular principal investigator (PI) or administrator at Emory. Overseas projects should also undergo the same regular academic review as domestic programs. Each program should have a designated financial manager at Emory to ensure appropriate documentation of expenses for reporting purposes, oversee compliance with university financial policies, and guard against fraud. Programs that involve multiple departments are advised to give one financial manager ultimate oversight to avoid gaps or confusion in oversight responsibilities.

Ensure that faculty, staff, and students working abroad know how to report problems confidentially. The following resources are available to all Emory employees (not independent contractors) and can be accessed from another country:

Business Etiquette

India has diverse populations and traditions. While there are 29 regional languages spoken across India, Hindi is the official language, and English is used readily in business and government dealings. Depending on the region, the industry sector, and the religious tradition of your counterparts, etiquette specifics could vary.

Men typically will wear a full Western suit while conducting business, and it is quite acceptable to remove your jacket if it becomes hot. Women should cover their knees and shoulders and avoid low necklines. For women’s business dress, pants, suits or long skirts covering the knee are most common. Women may find carrying a scarf useful for shielding against the sun and for visiting religious areas.

Business cards etiquette is important in India. When presenting your card to someone, hold in with both hands, with the card’s writing facing out so that it can be read by the person receiving it. If you are receiving a card, accept it with both hands and take a moment to read it before moving on.

Arrive on time to meetings and expect that they may begin with some small talk. If tea and snacks are offered during a meeting, it is best to accept and only have a small portion rather than refuse the hospitality of the offer. When greeting a new group, elders and/or superiors should be addressed first.

While English is spoken widely in India, particularly in major urban centers, the following Hindi travel phrases may be helpful.

  • “Na-ma-stay” - Greetings
  • “Aap kay-se / kay-see hayng?” - How are you (m/f) (formal)
  • “Mayng teek hoong”- I am well
  • “Dhan-ya-vaad”- Thank You (formal) - you may also hear “shuk-ri-ya” and English “Thank you” used as well
  • “Ga-yaa / Ga-yee hoong” (m/f) - I’m lost
  • “Kri-pa-yaa” - Please
  • “Baath-room ka-haang hay?” - Where is the bathroom?

If you will be taking photographs while in India, you are encouraged to follow the Unite for Sight photograph ethics guidelines. If you will be in a medical facility, there may be other considerations from your Emory school/department or the host institution.

Communications

Depending on the length of your trip and your access to a reliable internet connection, it may be advisable to obtain an Indian phone or SIM card. Major telecom providers are Airtel, Vodafone, or Reliance.

While access to phone and internet in India are typically reliable, all travelers and project planners should have a communications interruption plan in place that outlines how they would communicate if normal means were not available. Strategies might include obtaining local phones or planning for regular check-ins via an office or hotel landline.

The considerations above are not exhaustive, and we encourage you to review our International Project Planning page to assist in preparing for your research or project in India.

Travel

Travel Safety

Emory travelers are encouraged to contact our travel security and medical evacuation provider International SOS (ISOS) for destination-specific briefings as part of their travel planning. ISOS can advise on best medical facilities, give recommendations for managing illness or medical conditions abroad, and advise on travel plans (e.g., flight vs. overland travel) as well as considerations for your work given your particular profile as a traveler. ISOS serves all Emory faculty, staff, and students when on Emory business, but please note it is not health insurance. All Emory-sponsored travel by university personnel must be registered with ISOS While travel booked through an Emory agency is automatically registered, components of trips booked outside these agencies must entered by the traveler through the ISOS website. Contact Sarah Harlan Zegeye with questions about this process.

The US State Department page for India has extensive information to guide your travel to India, and US travelers should register with the State Department's STEP Program before departing the US.

Visas and permits

A visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter India and can be obtained before travel through a visa service, by applying directly to the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, or applying online for an e-Visa as applicable.

View Indian visa requirements

Immunizations

Consult with your physician on the immunizations and medications necessary for your travel to India. See more about healthy travel to India from the Centers for Disease Control. Emory faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize the Emory TravelWell Clinic for immunizations and travel wellness consultations.