“Greetings from Auroville to all [people] . . of goodwill. Are invited to Auroville all those who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life.”
If you are thinking of coming to live in Auroville it is better to make a preliminary visit before making any final commitment. If you decide to join, please get in touch with the Entry Service before returning to your home country, and obtain from them a letter of recommendation. This is an essential document, required for applying for an Entry Visa to join this international township. It is issued to persons who are known to Auroville.
Coming to Auroville from abroad
An Entry Visa for Auroville can be obtained through Indian Embassies / Missions abroad with the letter of recommendation issued by the Auroville Foundation through the Entry Service in Auroville. Under “type of visa” an X or the word Entry is marked. This visa allows a non-Indian to reside in Auroville with the possibility of extending the duration of stay. It should be noted that the date from which the visa is valid may vary from country to country; normally it begins from the date of issue, but this point should be clarified when applying for a visa.
As soon as possible after arrival, people should go to the Auroville Residents Service (RS) situated in the Town Hall. The RS will prepare the necessary documents for registration with the Regional Registration Office (RRO), where the person will be registered to reside in India. This registration has to be done within 14 days of arrival in India. Anyone not managing to register in that time will be required to pay a penalty imposed by the RRO.
On arrival in Auroville
Non-Indians: Should fill in an Arrival Form at the Residents Service office within 48 hours of arrival in Auroville, and contact the Entry Service at this time also. The process of extending one’s Entry Visa can thus be started immediately, as this can sometimes be a drawn-out and complex process. The Government will normally grant an extension of the Entry Visa and give a Residential Permit, provided the person concerned is living and working in Auroville as an Honorary Voluntary Worker. (Please note: a Tourist Visa cannot be extended or converted into an Entry Visa.)
Indian Citizens: If you are an Indian citizen, please register with Entry Service at their office in the Multimedia Centre at the Town Hall within one week of your arrival. Only when you have done so can the process of joining Auroville begin.
Both Newcomers and Aurovilians contribute a fixed monthly amount towards Auroville. These contributions are used to maintain the existing infrastructure of Auroville, including roads, health services, education facilities, Newcomer housing etc. Additionally, a one-time administration fee contribution is requested from everyone, and you will be asked to donate a repatriation fund amount. For foreigners a return ticket to their home country needs to be shown to the Financial Service, or an amount equivalent to the cost of such a ticket deposited with the Service. This latter sum will be returned to you should you decide or be requested to leave Auroville, or upon becoming an Aurovilian.
If someone genuinely cannot make these contributions, the situation will be considered individually. More important than the monetary contribution is one’s contribution through regular and useful work for the community.
Newcomers are expected to maintain themselves and their dependents for at least the first year. After that, as any other Aurovilian, they are expected to continue maintaining themselves for so long as their financial means allow it. The overall cost of living varies depending on individual needs and lifestyle, but for most people a minimum of Rs.6,000 per person per month is needed to meet the most basic expenses. In addition, useful initial purchases may include a bicycle (Rs.3,000), moped (Rs.40,000) or motorcycle (Rs.45-70,000), plus bedding and simple furniture ranging from Rs.6,000 upwards. Then there is the question of housing.
As there is currently a housing shortage in Auroville, it may be difficult for Newcomers, particularly those with families, to find a suitable place to stay. Auroville cannot yet afford to build houses for all those joining, and one should therefore come prepared to live in a temporary home, and if possible to pay for the construction of an apartment or house. Most residences in Auroville are built with contributions made by Auroville residents and Newcomers. There are architects and building units to assist with construction. The location of new houses is finalised in consultation with the group overseeing the development of Auroville. Meanwhile, there are some Newcomer houses/units available to accommodate families or individuals for up to two years (details can be obtained from the Housing Service). If you would like to live in one of these, please contact the Entry Service before arriving in Auroville, so they can inform you about availability and the financial conditions.
Newcomers have to obtain permission from the Entry Service before beginning to build their own residence. During the newcomer period, one cannot be a trustee of any trust under the Auroville Foundation; one cannot receive a ‘maintenance without the approval of the Entry Service, and cannot vote in General or Residents Assembly meetings or in the election of bodies like the Auroville Council and Working Committee.
This is a fund built up from the special contribution that non-Indian Newcomers make on joining Auroville. The fund is used to provide loans to financially hard-up Aurovilians needing urgent repatriation on a short- or long-term basis. Later, the beneficiary, or his/her family, is expected to reimburse the Fund. The Fund is not used for repatriation of Newcomers, as their needs are covered by their return air ticket (to be shown to the Financial Service), or by them depositing with the Financial Service an amount equivalent to such a ticket. (This deposit is returned upon one’s becoming an Aurovilian or on leaving.)
The status of “Aurovilian” is accorded following a successfully completed Newcomer period. This status may very exceptionally be withdrawn or temporarily suspended if a behaviour clearly becomes incompatible with Auroville’s ideals or fundamental standards of social conduct, though only after all other reasonable efforts at solving the issue and correcting the unacceptable behaviour have failed.
Multimedia Centre, Town Hall
Tamil Nadu INDIA