Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tips when applying for an Indian Visa for foreigners
November 15, 2010

If you are planning to visit India either as a tourist or for business purposes, then you will need to obtain the correct type of Indian visa. This process has, over many years, created much confusion, complication and headache for many applicants as the process can appear somewhat complex if not dealt with correctly. This article will explain essential points you will need to consider before making your Indian visa application.

Tip 1: Apply for the correct type of visa from the start

The part that causes the most delays is people applying for tourist visas for a trip when they are actually undertaking the trip for business purposes. If this is the case, then the embassy will change the type of visa required. Therefore on the part of the form where it says what your purpose is, ensure you correctly put “business” or “tourism”. Putting a mix and match will lead to errors.

Tip 2: Leave plenty of time for the Indian visa application

If you are visiting India, then ensure you have your visa before making any flight bookings and committing to a date. The visa can only be processed as quick as 3 working days and no quicker. It is possible to obtain an India business visa in a day though. Ideally a 2 week time frame is the safest time you will need to obtain your Indian visa.

Tip 3: Be careful when declaring your profession

There are various occupations which the embassy are sensitive too and may require more information. If you are any of the following: Writer, actor/actress, pilot, cabin crew, solicitor, journalist, publisher, policeman, civil servant, social worker, media executive then you will need to have a letter from your employer that says you will be visiting India only for holiday purposes and will not be undertaking any work (if you are applying for an Indian tourist visa that is). Having these extra documents will ensure you will not have any delays.

Tip 4: Make the embassy aware if you are leaving and re-entering India within an 8 week window

For those that are taking a side trip to another destination during their trip to India, e.g. visiting Nepal, Sri Lanka, China etc, and will need to come through India again, then due to new Indian embassy ruling, you will need to declare this so that you can obtain the relevant paperwork for a re-entry visa. For this you will need to provide proof of your trip travel into India and out using travel itineraries, e.g. etickets, train or bus tickets whilst making your normal visa application.

Tip 5: Ensure all business visa letters are detailed and accurately

For business men that are applying for an Indian business visa, you must ensure that all the letters are accurate. Ensure that each letter contains the following information: The full name of the passport holder, the passport number, the travel dates, the purpose of the visit and the visa type required. The letters should always been on letter headed paper. Formal letters are required by the Indian embassy. For journalists, there is a separate journalist visa application required.

More information by WetPaint, Mumbai,India,50.0.html

The Indian government has recently made changes to the types of Indian visas that it offers. Of particular interest are the new restrictions that have been introduced for Tourist visas and X (Entry) visas. This guide to Indian visa types will help you find out what Indian visas are available, and for whom.

1. Tourist Visa
Tourist visas are issued to people who want to come to India to visit friends and go sightseeing. Although tourist visas can be granted for more than six months, depending on the applicant's nationality, it's not possible to remain in India for longer than six months at a time on a tourist visa. In late 2009, India introduced new rules to curb the misuse of tourist visas in India (people who were living in India on a Tourist visas, and doing quick runs to a neighboring country and back every six months).

Anyone who has an Indian tourist visa must now have two month gap between visits to India. There are a couple of exceptions two month gap rule.

2. X (Entry) Visa
An X visa used to be issued to people who didn't clearly fall into any of the other categories of visa applicants (such as volunteers). However, as of mid 2010, an X visa is only available to the following people:

* A foreigner of Indian origin.
* Spouse and children of a foreigner of Indian origin or Indian citizen.
* Spouse and dependent children of a foreigner coming to India on any other long term visa, such as an Employment visa or Business visa.

Unlike Tourist visas, X visas are not subject to the two month gap. Therefore, people of Indian origin should apply for one of these visas when visiting India. It's not possible to work in India on an X visa. However, X visas can be extended in India, and there's no need to leave every six months.

3. Employment Visa
Employment visas are issued to foreigners who are working in India, for an organization registered in India. Foreigners doing volunteer work in India are now granted employment visas (as opposed to X visas, which was previously the case). Employment visas are usually granted for one year, or the term of the contract. They can be extended in India.

In order to apply for an Employment visa, you'll need proof of employment with a company/organization in India, such as a contract that states the terms and conditions of appointment. There's a new rule that applicants must be earning $25,000 a year or more. Exceptions are made for ethnic cooks, translators, non-English language teachers, and members of Foreign High Commissions and Embassies.

4. Student Visa
Student visas are granted to people who wish to come to India and study at an officially recognized educational institution. This includes the study of yoga, Vedic culture, and Indian system of dance and music. The main document required is student admission/registration papers from the institution. Student visas are issued for up to five years, depending on the duration of the course. They can also be extended in India.

In regards to yoga, the term "Yoga visa" is often mentioned. However, it's actually a Student visa that's provided for the purpose of studying yoga. Most of the well known yoga centers in India will require those who study with them to obtain a yoga Student visa. A tourist visa is not sufficient.
Ministry of Home Affairs FAQ About Student Visas

5. Business Visa
Business visas are available for people who wish to explore business opportunities or conduct business in India. This type of visa differs from an Employment visa in that the applicant won't be working for, and earning an income from, an organization in India. Business visa applicants will require a letter from the organization that they intend to do business with, stating the nature of the business, duration of stay, places to be visited, and intention to meet expenses.

Business visas are valid for six months or more, with multiple entries. However, holders aren't allowed to remain in India for more than six months at a time. Ten year business visas can be granted to foreigners who set up joint ventures in India.

6. Conference Visa
Conference visas are issued to delegates who want to attend a conference in India that's offered by an Indian government organization. Those who are attending a conference with a private organization in India should apply for a Business visa.
Ministry of Home Affairs Information About Conference Visas

7. Journalist Visa
If you're a professional journalist or photographer, and you'll be making a film or documentary in India, you should apply for a Journalist visa. The main benefit of a Journalist visa is if you want access to a particular region or person. A Journalist visa is issued for three months. However, these visas can be notoriously difficult to get, so only apply if you really need to.

If you're employed by a media company, or if you list your occupation as journalist or photographer on your visa application, it's likely you'll be made to get a Journalist visa regardless of what you intend to do in India. India is very sensitive to people involved in the media (including editors and writers) coming to India, due to how they may portray the country.

8. Research Visa
Research visas are issued to professors and scholars who wish to visit India for research related purposes. This is another difficult category of visa to get. It's restrictive and comes with a lot of requirements. Applications are sent to the Department of Education. Ministry of Human Resource Development for approval, which may take three months to be granted. Many people choose to apply for a Tourist visa instead, if they're conducting research informally and not going to be in India for more than six months.

9. Medical Visa
Medical visas are provided to those seeing medical treatment in India at recognized and specialized hospitals, and treatment centers. The treatment should be significant in nature, such as neurosurgery, heart surgery, organ transplant, joint replacement, gene therapy, and plastic surgery. Up to two Medical Attendant visas will be issued for people to accompany the patient.

10. Transit Visa
Visitors staying in India for less than 72 hours can obtain a Transit visa. Otherwise a Tourist visa is required. A confirmed airline booking for the onward journey must be shown when applying for the visa.


Ethan Hunt said...
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Anonymous said...

An emergency passport saved me when I had to leave the country fast. Since my previous visa was revoked before my trip, I feared I might have to postpone essential business meetings. Getting a ticket so quickly was lucky. Unexpectedly, everything occurred swiftly and effectively. I submitted my documentation and explained my situation at the passport office in person. The friendly staff made it simple and fast. My Emergency passport application was accelerated to travel and retain my job.

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