A foreigner is a person born in or coming from a foreign country. The entry of foreigners, stay, movements and departure is regulated by
the Acts passed by the Indian Parliament and rules framed there under by the Central Government from time to time.
All foreigners desirous of visiting India should have a valid passport,
all accredited travel documents and valid visa granted by Indian Mission in the country of their residence except Nepalese or Bhutanese citizens who should possess suitable documents for their identification.
Foreigners should enter India through authorised check post or airport
only. They are subject to immigration check at the airport or check post.All foreigners who enter India or depart from India either by air or
sea shall furnish a true statement of particulars setting it out in form 'D' embarkation card.
The civil authority has powers to impose restrictions on the movement of any foreigner in India. The authority can also refuse a foreigner entry into India if he/she does not posses a valid passport, or is insane or
is suffering from any infectious disease or has been convicted for an
extradition offence or if his/her entry is prejudicial to the interest
of the country.
Military installations and areas, defence organisations and research
organisations are considered protected areas, where permits are generally not given to foreigners. Foreigners can visit restricted /protected areas only after getting a valid permit for such a purpose as visa
alone is not enough to visit such places.
q Types of Visas
(1) Tourist Visas: Usually, a multi-entry visa, valid for a period of
180 days, is granted for the purpose of tourism. The visa is valid from
the date of issue. As a rule no extension of stay is granted on a Tourist Visa.
(2) Collective Visas: The facility also exists for the issue of collective visas to group tours consisting of not less than four members and sponsored by a travel agency recognized by the Government of India.Such groups may split into smaller groups for visiting different places
in India after obtaining a collective "license to travel" from the
immigration authorities in India. However, they must reassemble and
depart as the original group.
(3) Transit Visas: Transit visas are granted by Indian Missions abroad.
If a foreigner wishes to come to India for a purpose other than tourism,
he should come after obtaining one of the following visas.
(4) Business Visa: A foreigner can obtain one from an Indian Embassy
abroad a multiple entry visa, which is valid for 5 years but with a
cumulative stay in India of not more than 180 days, provided he wishes
to come for some business. Foreigners of Indian origin can obtain a 5-year multiple entry visa for business, to meet their relatives etc.
The Indian High Commission/ Embassy usually issues the visas in the
applicants country of residence. An applicant must present the following
i) Passport (valid for a minimum period of six months)
ii) Non-immigrant visa application signed by the applicant
iii) Recent photographs
iv) Proof of intent to return to his/her country of residence
v) Any supporting documentation to prove bonafide purpose (a letter
explaining the nature of business and duration from the foreign company
and a letter of invitation from an Indian company, etc.)
vi) Appropriate visa fee
If a Business Visa issued by the Indian Embassy contains a specific
stipulation that the foreign national would be required to leave India
after a stay of 180 consecutive days, then such a stipulation would not
be subject to any negotiation and the foreign national would be required to comply with the same. If, however, the concerned foreign national is
not in a position to leave on the day of expiry of his/her visa or the
day immediately succeeding the stipulated period, and may not be able to
leave India for sometime to come, then he/she would be required to approach the offices of the concerned FRRO with an an application
explaining the reasons for the need to extend his/her stay in India
beyond the stipulated period. The FRO would examine the case on its
merits, and make a decision which would be final and not be subject to
(5) Student Visa: A student visa can be obtained from the Indian Embassy
on the production of proof of admission and means of sustenance while
in India, etc. The visa is valid for one year but can be extended in
India for the duration of the course.
(6) Conference Visa: Delegates coming to attend international conferences in India can be granted Conference Visa to cover the
conference as well as for tourism in India. Delegates are advised to
apply to Indian Embassies well in advance.
(7) Employment Visa: Foreigners desirous of coming to India for taking
up employment should apply for an Employment Visa or a Work Permit,
which are issued by Indian Missions abroad. Initially granted for a
period of one year, it can be extended in India upto the period of
Usually, the employer who offers an employment opportunity initiates the visa application process in India. Alternatively, the applicant may
apply to the Indian Embassy / High Commission in his country of residence. In both cases, the following documents are required: -
i) Recent photographs
ii) Proof of employment i.e., appointment/contract letter, terms and
conditions of employment etc.
(8) Recreation: Foreigners wishing to undertake any international
sporting event, trekking, botanical expeditions, yoga, journalists,
media men, documentary and feature film makers may be granted visas for
the required duration on presentation of full details of he touring
members, nature of the event, area to be visited and any other tourist
information that may be asked for by the Indian Embassy. The Indian
Embassies may grant visas for a period of one year which may be extended on an annual basis in India.
q Conversion/Extension of Visa
If a foreign national holding a visa valid for less than one year wants
to convert it to a visa, which is valid for more than the above period,
then he/she would be required to approach the Ministry of Home Affairs
for conversion/extension of the said visa. Work permits or employment
visas are also extendable in India.
Foreigners who wish to stay in India beyond the visa period should apply for extension of stay 90 days before his residential permit is due to
expire. The Central Government has delegated limited powers to the FROs
to grant extension of stay to foreigners.
q Landing Permit Facility
A tourist group consisting of four or more members arriving by air, ship
or by a chartered or scheduled flight may be granted a collective landing permit for a period of upto 30 days by the immigration
authorities on landing, provided the group is sponsored by a travel
agency recognized by the Government of India and a pre-drawn itinerary
is presented along with details of passport etc. of the members, and the
travel agency gives an undertaking to conduct the group together.
Children of foreigners of Indian origin below the age of 12 without a
visa may be granted a landing permit by the immigration authorities upto a period of 90 days to see their relatives.
Registration of Foreigners
All foreigners (including those of Indian origin), except those covered
under special categories, as mentioned below, are required to register
themselves with the concerned District Foreigners Registration Officer/Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, within 14 days of their first arrival in
India, if they hold a visa for a period which is more than 180 days.
Registration is required to be done only once during the validity of a
visa irrespective of the number of times the foreigner leaves/re-enters
India on multi-entry facility. Only if he/she enters India on a new visa will he/she be required to register again.
Pakistani nationals are required to register themselves at the check
post of entry into India. They have to handover one copy of the visa
application form, given to them by the Indian Mission abroad while
granting visa, to the immigration authorities at the check post of entry,who in turn handover the Residential Permit to the Pak national. The
Pak national has to carry the Residential Permit along with him/her, to
each place of stay, for the purpose of police reporting. This Residential Permit has to be surrendered to the Immigration Authorities
at the check post of exit, at the time of departure. Further, except
those Pakistani nationals, who are granted visa with the endorsement
Exempted from Police Reporting, others have to report their arrival and
intended departure, at each place of stay as permitted in the visa,
within 24 hours at the nearest police station.
All Afghan nationals are required to register themselves with the concerned FRO/FRRO within 7 days of arrival in India, irrespective of
the validity of their visa.
Any violation of the above shall make a person liable for prosecution. (Registration
of Foreigners Act, 1939)
q Registration Reportt
Every foreigner entering India is required to furnish the registration
report containing a true statement of the foreigner's address in India
and such other particulars as may be appropriate to the registration
officer. They are also required to report change of their addresses, if
any, during their stay in India. However, no such report is necessary
for a foreigner holding visa for 180 days or less. Every registration
report shall be made in writing in the English language and in quadruplicate. (Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939)
Every foreigner, who enters India with a valid visa shall obtain from
the Registration Officer having jurisdiction at that place at which he
presents a registration report a permit indicating the period during
which he is authorised to remain in India and also indicating the place
or places for stay, if any, specified in the visa. (The Foreigners Order,1948)
The State Registration Officer in the State capital functions as the
liaison office between the Foreigners Registration Officers (FRO) and
the government. The Foreigner Registration Officer is the primary agencyto regulate the registration, movement, stay, departure and also for
recommending the extension of stay in India. Apart from New Delhi,
Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, at other places, the Superintendents of Police
of the Districts act as the registration officers.
The following documents are required at the time of registration with
the Foreign Registration Officers ("FRO") in India: -
i) Photocopy of the passport and initial visa.
ii) Four photographs of the applicant.
iii) Details of residence in India.
iv) HIV test report from one of the WHO recognized institutions from
people in the age group of 15 to 60 years, if the foreigner is visiting
India on a visa for more than one year.
v) Copy of the marriage certificate in case of those seeking extension
of stay on grounds of being married to an Indian national.
vi) Bona-fide certificate from the University/college/institution in
case of student visa.
vii) Accreditation certificate from the Press Information Bureau in case of Journalist visa.
viii) Approval of the Department of Company Affairs in the case of board level appointees in Public limited companies.
ix) Two copies of the approval of Government of India in case of a joint venture or a collaboration.
x) Copy of permission from the RBI in case of business/joint venture etc.
xi) Terms and conditions of appointments and copy of contract or
agreements, in case of employment visa.
xii) Undertaking (in the format given below) from the concerned Indian
company on the following lines in case of employment/business visa: -
UndertakingWe take full responsibility for the activities and conduct of Mr/Mrs _______________, national of ___________ during his/her stay in
India. If anything adverse comes to notice during this period, we undertake to repatriate him/her on our cost.Date: Signature of
The registration officers would issue a Certificate of registration and
a residential permit upto the validity of the visa period.
q Exemption from Registration
The following categories of foreigners are exempted from registration
i) Foreigners coming to India on tourist visas for 180 days or a shorter period. They can move about freely in the country, except to restricted/protected areas and prohibited places.
ii) US nationals holding 10 years tourists/business visas, provided
their continuous stay during each visit does not exceed 180 days.
iii) Foreigners of Indian origin holding 5 year multiple entry X visa
with an endorsement that "stay should not exceed 180 days during visit".In case a foreigner of Indian origin wishes to stay in India
continuously for more than 180 days or longer, then registration is
required within 14 days of arrival in India.
iv) Foreigners holding five-year tourist visas, who are actively engaged in tourist/travel trade and are desirous of visiting India frequently
over an extend period for promotion of tourism, etc. provided their visa contains an endorsement that "continuous stay should not exceed 180
v) Nationals of Bangladesh are exempted from registration up to 180 days.If their stay exceeds 180 days, they have to register themselves.
vi) Children of foreigners under 16 years of age residing in India, who
are exempted from Registration (Exemption) Order 1957. But they will be
issued a residential permit for their stay in India. They should also
obtain extension for their stay from time to time.
vii) PIO cardholders provided their continuous stay does not exceed 180
days. If the continuous stay exceeds 180 days, the foreigner should
approach the concerned FRO/FRRO for registration within 30 days of the
expiry of 180 days, who will in turn register them.
q Other Regulations
If a person not domiciled in India intends to stay in the country for
more than 120 days, an Income Tax Clearance' certificate is required in
order to leave the country. This document will prove that the person's
stay in India was financed by his own money and not by working or selling his goods. These certificates are issued by the foreign section
of the Income Tax Department at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai on
being shown the person's passport, visa extension form and the currency
exchange receipts, which have been used by the person.
Foreigners should not buy, sell or use psycho-tropic drugs or any other
narcotic substances while in India, as their purchase, sell or possession is a cognizable offence punishable by imprisonment.
Foreign tourists are required to bring Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate conforming to International Health Regulation, if they are
originating or transiting through Yellow Fever endemic countries.
q Departure from India
All visitors holding Registration Certificate have to obtain, before
departure, exit endorsement from the Registration Officer of the district in which they were registered.
All persons, except nationals of Bhutan & Nepal, leaving India by air,
road or rail have to fill in an Embarkation Card at the time of departure.
Every foreigner who is about to depart finally from India shall surrender his Certificate of Registration either to the Registration
Officer of the place where he is registered or of the place from where
he intends to depart or to the Immigration Officer at the Port/Check
post of exit from India. If the certificate is surrendered to other than
the immigration officer at the port/check post of exit, the foreigners
should produce the receipt indicating such surrender of the document to
the immigration officer at the port/check post of exit.