Mithras Law Group Immigration Blog

Global Immigration and Business Solutions

GOING TO INDIA FOR A VISIT OR ON BUSINESS?

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If you are a U.S. citizen you require a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose.  Visitors, including those on official U.S. Government business, must obtain visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to entering the country, as there are no provisions for visas upon arrival.Note that the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are unable to assist when U.S. citizens arrive without proper documentation and those that arrive without valid passport documentation are subject to immediate deportation.

It is recommended that when travelling to India you should carry photocopies of the bio-data page of the traveler’s U.S. passport and the page containing the Indian visa in order to facilitate obtaining an exit visa from the Indian government in the event of theft or loss of the passport.  Replacing a lost visa in order to exit the country can take upto three business days.

Americans wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate, as there generally are no provisions for changing one’s immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once admitted.  As of October 1, 2007, the Indian Embassy and Consulates in the U.S. outsourced the visa application process to Travisa Visa

Outsourcing: http://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com.  Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are still accepted directly at the Indian Embassy and Consulates.  Foreign citizens whose primary purpose of travel is to participate in religious activities should obtain a missionary visa rather than a tourist visa.  Indian immigration authorities have deported American citizens who entered India with a tourist visa and conducted religious activities.

American travelers to India who work in “designated institutes and technology areas” will be subject to a two week waiting period in the visa application process and will be required to submit supplemental information with their visa application.  Scholars planning to conduct research in India often need research clearances in addition to their visas.

Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work or act as missionaries, as well as all travelers planning to stay more than 180 days are required to register, generally within 14 days of arrival, with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying.  The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai (known as the “Chennai Immigration Office”), Kolkata and Amritsar.  In smaller cities and towns, the local police headquarters will normally perform this function.  General information regarding Indian visa and immigration rules, including the addresses and telephone numbers for the FRRO offices, can be found at the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs web site for its Bureau of Immigration at http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in.

If a visitor overstays his or her Indian visa, or otherwise violates Indian visa regulations, the visitor can be required a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to leave the country and/or may be fined or jailed until their deportation can be arranged

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Written by MithrasLaw

September 28, 2008 at 7:37 pm

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