India Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISAindia200All foreigners who wish to visit India are required a valid passport, accredited travel documents, and a valid visa issued by Indian Mission in the applicant’s country of residence. Foreign nationals have various reasons for coming to India such as business, social visit, religious exposure, investment, studies, mass media and permanent residency. Foreigners are required to enter the country only through airport or authorized check post. All individuals who enter or depart India by air or sea should provide a true statement of particulars distinguishing it in form ‘D’ embarkation card.India Immigration

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Central Government are among the local agencies that control the admission and stay of foreign nationals. The civil authority has the right to impose restrictions or deny entry to any foreigner in India such as in the case of missing valid passport, and the presence of mental or physical disease among others. Entry is prejudicial to the country’s interests or conviction for an extradition offence.

This matter was discussed in a post last August 17, 2009 in the Australia Expat Forum:

There are two options :-

1. apply with RPO ( from where ur passport was issued)—- depending upon RPO, either apssport will sent with PCC to your old address or passport with PCC will be handover on the same day— pcc will take one week max

2. Apply with RPO , where u r residing now —(No need to change the address ) — PCC will take 30 days around… you have to have address proof of your latest address and police verification will also be done.

Immigration Laws

The foreign nationals’ stay, activities, and departure are controlled by the Acts passed by the Indian Parliament and the rules set by the Central Government from time to time. The Passports (Entry into India) Act, 1967 empowers the Central Government to require foreigners to have valid passports before entering the country. This also prohibits entry of individuals who do not have a valid passport issued. The Foreigners Act in 1946 (amended time and again) provides authority to the Central Government regarding the entry, presence and departure of foreigners in India.

The Citizen Act, 1955 (amended time and again) manages the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship. The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Act, 2000 makes carriers liable for passengers who enter the country illegally per the provisions of Passport Act, 1920. The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 provided Tribunals to be established to fairly determine whether a person is an illegal migrant or otherwise. The Central Government will then act appropriately.

Thus, the term of the visa may be long term or more than 180 days, student visas, research visas, employment and missionary need to be registered at least fourteen days prior to arrival in India.

Visa Immigration Services

All foreigners are required to have a valid visa, passport and travel documents before entering India. However, Nepalese and Bhutanese citizens are not required yet still need to provide documents for their identification. Visitors are subject to immigration check upon arrival at either airport or authorized check post. Military installations and areas, research organizations and defense organizations are considered protected areas, so permits will not be issued to foreigners, whether or not they possess a valid visa, unless their purpose is officially related to the areas.

Foreign nationals who possess a valid visa for less than one (1) year and wish to convert it to a visa valid for a longer period of time should report to the Ministry of Home Affairs for visa extension or conversion. Employment visas and work permits can be extended. Foreign nationals who wish to stay in India longer than the indicated period in their visas should apply for stay extension ninety (90) days before the residential permit expires. FROs or Foreign Registration Officers have been granted limited powers by the Central Government to grant stay extension to foreigners.

The Bureau of Immigration or BOI is responsible for immigration services at major Indian International Airports and foreigners’ registration work in five major cities. Field officers or FRROs or Foreigners Regional Registration Officers are tasked to handle immigration and registration activities at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Amritsar. Concerned District Superintendents of Police support the FRROs and serve as FROs in all states throughout India.

Registration is required for foreign nationals who enter India on a long term stay and will be issued a visa valid for more than one hundred eight (180) days. Visitors who visit to study Vedic culture, yoga, Indian music, dances and culinary arts should register as students. Others who come for research, missionary work, vocational purposes, employment, medical reasons, etc. should indicate the purpose of visit specifically and register within fourteen (14) days of arrival in India.

Foreign nationals visiting India on a long term stay for other reasons including business will not be required to register if they do not plan to stay for more than one hundred eight (180) days on every visit. If the stay spans more than 180 days, individuals should register well before the 180 days expire. Within twenty-four (24) hours of arrival, Pakistan nationals are required to register while Afghanistan nationals are required to register within seven (7) days of arrival in India. Children below 16 years of age do not need to register on any type of visa.

Foreigners can register with the FRROs located in any of the 5 major cities or the FRO cum District SP located in other places where they plan to stay. However, foreigners do not need to register on every visit as long as they revisit on their previously registered visa. If a new passport is acquired during the validity of the registration and visa, the visa should be transferred on to the new passport from FRRO/FRO. Service fee of Rs.235 is levied, with the exemption of gratis visa regime nationals.

Citizens of most countries except Bhutan and Nepal are required to obtain a visa to get into India. The visa is valid from the date of issue and not on the date of entry.

Types of Visas

Tourist Visa

This is issued to travelers and visitors who wish to enter India for social visits, pleasure, leisure, tours, sightseeing, funeral and other private purposes. Validity of the visa lasts anywhere from six (6) months, one (1) year, five (5) years to ten (10) years with multiple entries. Only US citizens can acquire 10-year tourist visas.

Business Visa

This is issued to foreign nationals who wish to enter India for business purposes, seminars, training, research, investment, transactions, business contracts or commercial contacts with India-based companies. The visa is valid anywhere from six (6) months, one (1) year, five (5) years to ten (10) years with multiple entries. Foreigners who have set up or plan to set up joint ventures in India is eligible for 10-year multiple entry business visas.

Student Visa

This is issued to foreigners who wish to enter India to pursue studies, research and advanced studies in India-based universities, colleges, schools, educational institutions and academies. Duration will depend on how long the school requires.

Transit Visa

This is issued to foreigners who solely intend to travel through India to reach the next destination. Visitors are not allowed to change the purpose of stay and can only remain in the country for a maximum of three (3) days. Otherwise, an appropriate visa is required.

Employment Visa

This is issued to foreigners who enter India to work. Duration will depend on the contract period.

India Transfer Visa

This is a valid visa transferred from your expired U.S. passport into a new one.

Types of Permits

Restricted Area Permit

Possessing a valid visa is not enough to access restricted areas such as military areas, research organizations and defense agencies. Visitors who intend to get a Restricted Area Permit are required to fill out special forms and apply in advance since clearances are needed before a permit can be approved and issued to visit the areas. It takes a minimum of six to eight weeks to receive clearances from the Government of India. The Acts passed by the Indian Parliament and set rules by the Central Government from time to time control the entry, stay, activities and departure of foreigners in such areas.

Landing Permit

A tourist group comprised of four or more members arriving in India by air, ship or a scheduled or chartered flight may be given a permit for collective landing. This is valid for up to thirty (30) days and granted by the immigration authorities on landing, provided that the Government of India recognizes the travel agency sponsoring the group and that a pre-drawn itinerary is shown together with passport details and travel documents of all members.

Children of foreigners of Indian origin below 12 years of age without a visa may be given a landing permit by the immigration authorities with a validity period lasting up to ninety (90) days to see family and relatives.

Work Permit

Work permits are also frequently considered as employment visas. These are issued to skilled professionals with pre-drawn contracts from existing India-based companies. Foreign nationals can submit work permit applications via:

•    The Indian Embassy or High Commission in the applicant’s country of residence
•    The India-based company offering the position, which will start the application process on behalf of the applicant.

If the applicant already has a firm offer of employment in place in an India-based company, the application may also require support documentation such as a completed application form, current valid passport with recent photos and identification files.

Foreign nationals may also have to show proof of the company offer, employment, and residence. In some cases, foreigners may be required to transfer to an India-based branch of the same company or organization that needs a work permit application. This type of transfer is handled on a case-to-case basis by the Indian migration officer. Immigrants issued work permits are also able to extend the privilege to their spouse and dependent family members, but they have to secure their permits independently.

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Prabha December 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I am an Indian origion born in Sri Lanka. Presently living in sweden and holding a swedish passport (swedish citizen) All my relatives encluding sister are living in India, Tamil Nadu. My daughter also studing in India. I like to know wheather I can apply for OCI. Ihave all the prove like my grand fathers house dead etc.

Thanking you,


Prabha December 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I am an Indian origion born in Sri Lanka. Presently living in sweden and holding a swedish passport (swedish citizen) All my relatives encluding sister are living in India, Tamil Nadu. My daughter also studing in India. I like to know wheather I can apply for OCI. Ihave all the prove like my grand fathers house dead etc.

Thanking you,



vinod January 31, 2010 at 1:33 pm

hi just want to ask u that i need apply bussiness visa ( 6 Month ) so how i can apply and what i need submeet the documents please just let me know


Mrs. A.Ponnammal February 8, 2010 at 10:18 am

I am a Srilankan living in India since 1966 married an Indian. I want to take Indian citizenship or duel citizenship. Can u tell me the proceture.



M RAJAGOPAL February 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Dear Sir,
About 400 chinese students immigirated into India under study visa for 3 months.Though the study duration of stay is more than 3 months and the same stayed without Visa document under overstayal.This may be construed as offence and violation under the Foreigners Act.What will happen and the nature of punishment they may face in view of such violation


Hassan March 8, 2010 at 3:02 am

Actually I’m now stay in India with student visa, i want to know is this possible to take work permission here with student visa or no? if possible how?


Manoj Damji Solanki March 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I am an Indian Origion born in Africa. I am holding OCI Card.Please i would like to ask that do i have to register myself.I am in this country since Sept 2008 i am here on retired ground. Secondly if i leave India is it that i cannot come back before 2 months please can you solve this querry.

Thanking you,




Sonu Patel March 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Sir i need a advise am also from africa can i have ur contact no mr manoj


A R Faisal April 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Dear sir, i m pakistani by birth, currently studying in UK , but after the completion of my study i wish to get permanent stay in India, so let me know plz can i do this,if yes then what me to do……

best regards,
A R Faisal,


Sarfaraz Hussain May 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Dear sir, I am a Pakistani National, and i am married in india,My wife is an indian national,and we have two children, in short i am staying in Germany since last 22 Years.and know i am 52 years of age, and i am an ill person,My subject is that i have applied for indian visa too visit my wife and children, last year on 6.02.2009 and still i am wating for my visa,My wife is also ill and my daughter is growen enaugf to marry and she is wating for me and my arrivel,and heir no body is responding in Indian Consulat,the answer is ´that we have send urs application to New Delhi,and after reciving proper answer we will issue Vissa.lastly i visited to india was in Oct 2007.I was granted visa for one mounth and i was returned in 23 days that is attached with my application.and i have also submit nessary documents.If some one can help me in this regards it would be highly Obleiged, He or She can contact me on my Following add. [email protected], Tel.Nr. 00491737210150 or 004971549686874.or u cen send me a letter on . Syed Sarfaraz Hussain, Theodor-Heuss str 20,b 70806 Kornwestheim, Germany.
with best regards,

Syed Sarfaraz Hussain.


Pandya May 31, 2010 at 8:47 am

Dear Sir,
I am an India citizen by birth and hold India Passport, I am married to an Eurpoean (Original Forigner) since 2007, and since then my wife stays in India with me on Temporary Residential Permit, I would be highly Obliged to know IF I can apply for OCI card for my wife (so i dont need to keep on extending her Temporary Residential Permit every 2 years), Is she qualified for OCI card or do I need to get her an PIO card? Waiting for your kind answere, thanking you in advace,

Best Rgds,


jaffri June 18, 2010 at 1:15 am

what happens to my visitors visa to India if I apply for OCI in India while i am on visitors visa in India


manvir July 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

dear sir
i am student in uk. my husband in india . my qus is can my husband coming in uk on depending visa. pls ans yes or no. if yes so how i can apply and what i need submeet the documents please just let me know . thanks


anjali May 3, 2011 at 12:08 am

apply for the workpermit for ur husband on ur dependance…….check ur immigration rules and apply for it.


ANGELA NWANYANWU August 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

i intend to apply for medical permit to india from nigeria how long will it take me and how much is visa fee in nigeria


anjali May 3, 2011 at 12:09 am

check the immigration website….u v get al the details abt india


Kogielambal Snyders September 14, 2010 at 6:45 am

I am born in South Africa .My great grandparents were of the 1820 Settlers that came to South Africa from India .If i want to immigrate to India to work and live there ,would i be considered ?what would the requirements be and how do i go about it ?Kogie


anjali May 3, 2011 at 12:11 am

apply for the workvisa or student visa first and check the immigration website ……for further details


Dave Kohli October 11, 2010 at 4:20 am

Hello Sir, I need some clarifications and information regarding immigration. One of my friend has to come from Lagos (Nigeria) to India. She has been told there to deposit a sum of Rs. 75000.00 towards immigration charges in a bank account with the following details :

ACCOUNT NUMBER: 026305003474

I smell a foul play in all this.

Please clarify the things in depth. An early response at > [email protected]< will be highly appreciated.

Thanks and kind regards,

Dave Kohli


JOYDIP October 12, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Hi Dave
I am from the UK and can advise you the following:
1. Your friend needs to apply for a tourist visa issued from the High Commission of India in Nigeria (Lagos). As far as I am aware Nigerians cannot work in India unlike some British citizens/ OCIs so she can ONLY apply for a TOURIST visa.
2. Advise her NOT TO pay any money to Saj Enterprises or similar. There is huge financial fraud going on in Nigeria.
Kind regards


laxman singh rathore October 27, 2010 at 8:30 am

Dear Sir,
I have recieved a job offer from uk and asked to contact the UK Home affairs on Mail for Visa Processing and transfering 850 pounds through western money transfer I was today again contacted on phone to deposit the money in a bank account in mumai after which I feel theres a foul play going on as the name of the firm is same as the previous post please help i have attached the copy of the mail for you review and comment
Our Contact Information:
House of Commons
7 Millbank
North Wales SW1P 3JA.
E-Mail:[email protected],

Attn:Laxman Singh Rathore,


Welcome to the UK HOME AFFAIRS OFFICE here in United Kingdom,as regards to our phone conversation on how to process your papers and deposit the processing fees,.

Below is our India Local Corresponding Bank Account Details which you will use to deposit the amount by today.





ACCOUNT NUMBER………643405050636


BRANCH……………GOREGOAN WEST(pay in any branch nearest to you)

AMOUNT…………..70,000 INR



As soon as you deposit the amount by today,you have to scan and send a copy of the receipt of the payment for confirmation and send other documents to enable us process your papers.

As soon as the above listed Government /UK HOME AFFAIRS fee are
duly received, we shall forward via DHL courier your necessary
Government and UK HOME AFFAIRS documents to your address suitable for
parcel reception within 48working hours.
You shall be required to forward all mentioned
documents to us via E-mail as attachment .

Contact Person:Darren Hacket
E-Mail:[email protected],


adil murtaza February 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

why wife is from jordan and currently she lives in labanon we have married as per islamic law and our marraige is regestred as per indian law who can she get visa to live in india


James S. Devaraj July 12, 2011 at 1:36 am

Dear Sir/Mdm,
My niece Mdm. Irudayamary, 71 years old is an Indian Citizen. Though she married to Malaysian Citizen in 1957 and has been living here for the past 54 years, neither she nor her children bothered to apply for citizenship. Too careless.
Whenever she goes to India once in 10 or 15 years, she applied re-entry permit here, go to visit her relatives and return as usual with no problem. She plans to go with us next week to India and all arrangements are made. They have checked with authorities in Teluk Intan and KL office to confirm that she do not need such permit any more since she is already over 70 yrs.
PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH TO ADVISE US, as there is only 10 days more for our journey.


kashif August 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

i want to visit india & needvisit visa what doc req i am living in dubai from pakistan


vidyadhar September 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

Dear sir
We have some chinese citizens who are having business visa and they have designated as project engineer,manager etc.etc.the local police objects that,they canot work here with business visa or they have to go back china before 90 days and again they can enter in india.
2.for each re-entry they have to appear before the Dist.SP office,is the rule or act says like that?if so what is solution?please advise me.


priya October 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

How about if a foreign national have over stayed (Staying on expire visa) in india. He/she not indulge in any crime. Jst like the country and dont want to go back.


Navaneethakrishnan January 31, 2016 at 9:36 am

Hi Priya,

I am also facing the same problem. If you find an answer for this problem kindly share with me. This will help me a lot.

My Email: [email protected]


Paul J. D'Rozario November 5, 2011 at 8:19 am

Dear Sir;
I have an employment visa for Dubai. Please tell me where can I do the finger print verification from kolkata. If not in kolkata then which other states.
As per Dubai government it is now mandatory for this finger print verification for employment visa


Lynn April 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

My husband and I are Canadians and recently visited India for medical reasons. We absolutely loved the country and it's people, so much that we are considering retiring there. Do you know if it is difficult for Canadians to become either legal residents or citizens of India? We are both in good health, and have an independent source of money (pensions) so we will not be looking to work.

Thank you!


Teresa June 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hi,Im an Indian married to a nigerian last year.His visa has been expired.pls let us know the procedure to apply for a new that possible to get PIO without applying for new visa..? Thank You..


Rita August 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I am a Swedish citizen,should I have a visa to visit India?thank you


ABIODUN EMMANUEL AWE August 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

I'm a citizen of Nigeria and I want to apply for Tourist Visa from Nigeria. Can I apply to any institution for a program through my Tourist Visa? Beside, Can I get work after completing my Study over there in India? Plz I will like to know this before embark on the process. Thanks


kumar August 31, 2012 at 8:03 am

i am working in thailand with valid work permit. i am indian. my wife and daughter wants to stay with me in thailand long time.
what is the procedure to stay me long time.


Diya March 6, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hi I am a Mauritian. My fiance is from Mumbai (India). I want to know if i`ll get married to him and stay with him in India. (1) Will i get the permission to stay in India.(2) Is there any formality to be done before that?


lawrence dean April 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm

hello,my friend would like to enter the uk with a works permit,to whom do we apply


pravin April 18, 2013 at 9:32 am

sir if a france citizen come in india for research and i want to extend the visa for one year what is the procedure


Afroz May 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I am an Indian working in Gulf Dubai, now on vacation in India. My RP -Residential Permit will expire after 3 months. Will I be allowed to leave India, prior to 3 months of RP expiry.


Uche July 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I am a Nigerian citizen studying in Indian. Due to the condition of my family(i am a widow) I want to process legal
document for my children to join me in India. Please advise me on what to do.
And also,will my kids be allwed to school here for 2yrs?
Thank you.


henry constance August 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Sir, I am a british national married to a indian passport holder we have a two year old son and I am currently in India on a 5 year X visa, if we want to leave on holiday do I still have to wait 2 weeks as I did on my previous tourist visas?
thank you in advance


anamalai September 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

hi as you can see thats my name but wish to relocate to my mother country ie: carola in chennai but i am a south african citizen now although my grand and great parents ars from that country so how do i go about in so far as to obtain residence permit there

many thanks
anamalai morgana govender


Reagan October 25, 2014 at 11:57 am

hi , iam an indian citizen and my girl friend is from sri lanka now i want to marry her so what are all the docements required and is this possible


Howard light November 10, 2014 at 11:00 am

I am a British passport holder living in France. I would like to visit India as a tourist for a couple of weeks. Where do I need to apply for a visa and if, to the Indian office in England, will I have to attend a meeting in the UK


vaseharan November 15, 2014 at 5:44 am

I’m a Srilankan national. Mu wife is a Southafrican holding OCI. Please explain me,
Now we have decided to settle down in India. So what kind of visa I must apply for Work and Live there?


sridhar February 11, 2015 at 4:01 am

Hello Sir,

I was born in Srilanka and now holds Norwegian Citizenship now. I married an Indian Citizen in july 2013. I have my indian marriage certificate and my wife indian passport indicates my name as her husband’s name. I want to settle now in India with my family, but they are only issuing 6 months ” X” visa at a time. I’m I eligible for OCI status visa?



Preiti April 26, 2015 at 6:56 pm

My son is a U.S. Citizen.He lives with me in India since 2006. He is 13years now.Till how long can he still live with me in India?


Jayaprakash.K. July 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Respected sir, My uncle india.My uncle was going to malesia for the purpose of job. But passport missed in past 5 year. Please help this person return to india.


samar October 21, 2015 at 6:40 pm

any one need a help to take a indian visa so contact me
[email protected]


GRLN GAMLATH October 31, 2015 at 8:53 am

I am Srilankan and living in India with my husband on X visa from last 5 Years. I want to visit SINGAPORE. So could i can go directly from INDIA to Singapore because Singapore offer Visa on arrival for Srilankan. Or I have to take permission from srilankan Govt.

Please reply


clement March 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Hi all, am a Nigerian student..i have a professional course of 1year I registered for. I applied to Indian embassy in Lagos, Nigeria and got 3months, upon further inquires, I was told my school will have to extend my visa duration for me. Having confirmed that, I tried booking and now am being told that I can’t book one way ticket because my visa duration is less than 6months…how can I go about this please?!


prasanta sarma May 7, 2016 at 5:48 am

I am serving at FRO office jorhat, Assam, India. I have receipt an application seeking permission to quit india to his own country afghanistan. He also told me he entered in to india in the year 1951 without passport or visa. How can i help him for this.


Matin haji November 29, 2016 at 11:12 am

Hi sir

I am an afghan nationel
And want to imigrate to india

What is the role for faimly imagrate????


Amit September 15, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Hello sir I am amit I am Indian and last three years am doing work in Malaysia last year 15 may I was apply parmit my Agant is Malaysian guy from johar bharu but he not giving my passport and visa I pay him 4000 please help me


Vijayalakshmi jagarlamudi October 1, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Helo sir.i am baby born to us citizenship.she have us passport date of birth , husband and me husband dependant vissa on my baby 4months we are planned to apply visiting vissa for my baby to india. She is travel to india visiting vissa her come back to us 6 months after its necessary or she travel near Malaysia every 6months once its ok or any problems pls tel me


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