India: Country and Foreign Investment
Entry and Residence
Foreign nationals (except citizens of the countries of Nepal and Bhutan) require a valid passport or travel document and a valid visa to enter India. The Indian embassy or consulate in your country of residence will issue a visa.
- Tourist visas last for up to six months and their holders have no right to work in India; they are not extensible.
- Transit visa allow a stay of up to 15 days while en route to another destination.
- Business visas lasts for between three months and five years; an invitation letter from a resident Indian company is required, plus a request letter from the individual's company. They can be single- or multiple-entry.
- Employment visas (work permits) are necessary to live and work in India, and are usually obtained by the prospective employer, but the rules are not clear. It usually takes about three months to obtain a work permit and they allow the issuance of an annual 'stay permit'.
- Student visas are issued on request by an Indian educational institution.
- Medical visas permit an individual to enter India for medical treatment and last for up to one year; they are extensible.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the issuance of work permits (employment visas) under the Foreigners Act. They are normally necessary for foreigners, although people with Indian ancestry may be exempted from the need for a visa. The family members of an individual holding a work permit are also permitted to work. Indian Consulates issue work permits and visas prior to arrival.
Normally a foreigner employed by a foreign or Indian establishment will require an Employment Visa, although if only short visits are being made a Business Visa may be sufficient.
The local Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), an agency of the Home Ministry, is responsible for registering the visas of foreigners employed by liaison offices in India and for supervision of the individuals during their stay.
Registration with the police is required witin 14 days of arrival in India (which may or may not be the same as registration with the FRRO in a given region). Documents required include a registration form in quadruplicate and a registration permit booklet, copies of passport and visa, a copy of the employment contract, copies of a letter of recommendation from the parent company, six passport photos. An HIV/AIDS test result must also be filed, within 30 days.
Non-citizens of Indian origin may take advantage of the 'Persons Of Indian Origin' or 'Overseas Citizenship Of India' schemes, under which PIO or OCI cards are issued permitting long-term residence in India, without obtaining Indian citizenship as such.