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Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

India - Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation


Tourist E-Visas

You will find many websites offering e-visa processing. However, all but one of these are scams and must be avoided. Assertions that they can get a visa application processed faster than the standard route are false.

The official site, Indian Visa Online, is the ONLY site you should use for your tourist e-visa application.

How much an e-visa for India costs will depend on your country of citizenship. US visitors pay almost a tenth of the fee demanded from UK visitors, for example, and Canadian people pay even less.

The length of time you are allowed to stay as a tourist with an e-visa also depends on which country you call home. This might reach up to 90 days in any 12-month period, but UK citizens can only stay for a maximum of 60 days.

You can find out more about tourist e-visa costs and the length of stay permitted on the Travel Supermarket website.

If you want a multi-visit tourist visa, you can apply for one which lasts up to five years.

Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer

If you arrive in India with a long-term visa and intend to stay for 180 days or more, you must legally register your presence in the country. You do this by filing the necessary paperwork with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer.

Most people must complete the registration process within 14 days of their arrival in India, although different rules apply to citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Children under the age of 16 are not required to register, and nor is anyone intending to leave before 180 days.

However, everyone else must register before the deadline, irrespective of the type of visa they hold. This means that whether you have arrived as a student, to take up employment in the country, to undertake research or to receive medical treatment, the registration rules apply to you.

Further information about the process can be found on the website for the Indian Bureau of Immigration.

Entry Visa (X)

The entry visa is usually issued to a person of Indian origin. It is also used to give migrant spouses of Indian nationals the legal right to enter and stay in India.

Sometimes the entry visa is also used to allow expats the right to stay for a specified time if the purpose of their residence is not relevant to the other visas available. For example, if an individual is accompanying a foreign spouse for the period of their university studies, then the entry visa will expire on the same date as the student visa of the principal visa holder.

The embassy in your home country will conduct a visa interview. Fees vary according to the country in which the embassy is based.

The evidence required to support an application for an entry visa will depend on the reasons for the application. However, a typical list of documentary requirements includes:

● Passport with six months’ validity

● Passport size photographs

● Photocopy of passport

● Copy of online filled form

● Copy of the principal visa holder’s passport and visa

● Proof of relationship with principal visa holder

● Birth certificate with parent’s Indian passport

● Marriage certificate

Obtaining An Employment Visa For India

Before starting work in India, you must obtain an employment visa. This would typically be received before you arrive in India, after making an online application and attending an interview at the nearest Indian Embassy in your home country.

Employment visas are usually issued for just one year, and the job should start on the day the visa is issued. If the contract of employment is for a shorter period, the employment visa will expire when the contract does.

However, you can apply to extend the employment visa once you are living in India. Depending on your profession, you may be allowed an overall stay of two, three or five years.

You need to demonstrate that you have high levels of skill, qualifications and training for a specified role, which must involve technical or managerial specialist skills. Your application will be rejected if your income will be less than US $25,000 per year, or if you are trying to obtain a routine position which could be filled from the local workforce.

Typically, you will receive an employment visa if you have been contracted to work for a business or organisation registered in India. Highly skilled professionals may, however, apply for an employment visa so that they can work on a self-employed basis in their field of expertise.

The fees for the employment visa vary according to which Embassy processes the request. You will need to provide the following documentary evidence to support your application:

● Passport with six months’ validity

● Passport size photographs

● Photocopy of passport

● Copy of online filled form

● Appointment letter

● Contract letter

● Resume of applicant

● Organisation registration

● Tax liability letter

● Project details

● Sponsor letter from organisation in India

● Justification letter from employer

We discuss employment issues further in the Finding Employment section of this country guide.

Student Visa

If you have received a place at an officially recognised educational institution in India, you must obtain a student visa to stay in the country legally during your course of study. This applies across the board, from undergraduate degrees at established universities to industrial summer courses and internships as well as the study of Yoga or Vedic culture.

You will need to provide evidence of enrolment on the course, and will have to convince the immigration authorities that you can be privately financially supported throughout your studies.

The visa will last for the duration of the course and remains valid as long as you continue to pursue your studies on the specified course. However, there is a maximum time limit of five years.

The cost of a student visa will again depend on which country you live in and make your application from.

Your application for a student visa must be supported by a number of documents and supporting items. These will typically include:

● Passport with six months’ validity

● Passport size photographs

● Photocopy of passport

● Proof of residential address

● Copy of online filled form

● University admission letter

● University details

If you want a spouse or dependent children to join you in India during your studies, they must obtain an entry visa, which will expire at the end of your studies.

Film Visa (F)

The film industry is a culturally and financially important element of Indian society. Fans of Bollywood can be found across the globe, not just within the communities of Indian diaspora.

The government recently introduced this new F visa so that feature films and TV commercials could bring in actors or crew required during projects. It is hoped that this will encourage production companies to bring their projects to India, which will in turn provide local employment in a wide range of ways.

Each film visa will be issued for a limited amount of time, ending with the film project.

Other Types Of Visa

In addition to those discussed above, the Indian government also issues visas under the following categories:

● Business

● Research

● Intern

● Conference

● Journalist

● Missionaries

● Emergency

● Medical

● Transit

● Permit to re-enter within two months

You can find further information about these visas, along with links to the online visa application portal, on official Indian Visas Online website.


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