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Passport and Visa

More and more people are coming to India for doing business and that is why the problems and demand for visa documetation is increasig dayby day*. Indian law does not place restrictions on the number of foreign nationals that can work or do business in India, but the entry, stay, movements and departure of foreign nationals into India are regulated by various Indian acts and rules framed by the Indian Central Government.

General Information
All foreign nationals planning to visit India should have a valid passport or other travel document and an appropriate visa. All passengers arriving in India are subject to immigration checks on their arrival into and departure from the country. There are no provisions for visas upon arrival. Those arriving in India without a visa bearing the correct validity dates and number of entries are subject to immediate deportation. Foreign nationals who have obtained Persons of Indian Origin cards or are registered as Overseas Citizens of India, which are granted to certain foreign nationals of Indian origin or their spouses, are exempt from certain visa requirements.

Applicants should apply to the appropriate Indian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate (the Post) depending on the location of their residence. For instance, applicants who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) may apply for Indian visas at the Indian Embassy in Beijing. However, PRC citizens holding Hong Kong ID cards can apply for visas at the Post in Hong Kong. The Post at Hong Kong may issue visas to applicants who do not normally reside in its jurisdiction, after obtaining a clearance from the Indian Missions in the applicant’s country of residence.

A foreign national should apply for a visa depending on the category most suited to the purpose of the visit, which cannot be changed once the foreign national arrives in India. The Posts grant visas with validity from the date of issue and for the period requested by the applicant. There is a common visa application form for all categories of visas, which has to be submitted with the prescribed visa fee and supporting documentation. Visa fees once received are not refunded even if the application is withdrawn or the visa is denied.

In India, the Indian Bureau of Immigration grants an applicant entry for a specific time depending on the purpose of the visit. The change of visa status from one category to another is normally not allowed. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has the power to convert (in limited circumstances) or extend visas within India.

Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. The principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below.

Tourist Visa :
This Visa is normally granted for a period of six months. The applicant is required to produce/submit documents in proof of his financial standing. Tourist Visas are non-extendible and non-convertible.

Business Visa :
This Visa is normally granted for one or more years with multiple entries. A letter from the sponsoring organisation indicating nature of business, probable duration of stay, places and organizations to be visited incorporating therein a guarantee to meet maintenance expenses, etc should accompany the application.

Student Visa :
This Visa is issued for the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years whichever is less. It is important to furnish proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India. Change of purpose and institutions are not permissible.

Transit Visa :
This Visa is issued for a maximum period of 15-days with single/double entry facilities. Transit Visa cannot be obtained from immigration counters at ports of entry in India. Transit Visa is non-extendable in India.

Visa to Missionaries :
This Visa is valid for single entry and duration as permitted by Government of India. A letter in triplicate from sponsoring organization indicating intended destination in India, probable length of stay, and nature of duties to be discharged should be submitted along with guarantee for applicant's maintenance while in India.

Journalist Visa :
This Visa is issued to top professional journalists and photographers for visiting India. The applicants are required to contact the External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs on arrival in New Delhi, and the Office of the Government of India's Press Information Bureaus in other places.

Conference Visa :
This Visa is issued for attending conferences/seminars/meetings in India. Along with the application you are required to submit a letter of invitation from the organiser of the mission.

Employment Visa :
This Visa can be obtained on furnishing proof of employment/engagement of foreign nationals by the company or organisation in India.

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