Immigration and Visa Laws in India

All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa obtained from an Indian Mission or Post abroad.

Government of indiaEntry, stay and exit of foreigners into India is governed by the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, Foreigners Act 1946 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992.

Bureau of Immigration (BoI) was setup in 1971 by Government of India to undertake Immigration function in the country. Foreigners Division deals with all matters relating to visa, immigration, citizenship, overseas citizenship of India, acceptance of foreign contribution and hospitality.

Type of Visas issued by India to foreigners for work-related visits :

1. Business Visa designated as ‘B’ Visa
2. Employment Visa designated as ‘E’ Visa

Others :

Type of visa Abbreviation
Diplomat D
Official O
UN Official UD
Transit TR
Entry X
Tourist T
Employment E
Project P
Student S
Journalist J
Business B
Missionary M
Mountaineering X
Conference/Seminar/Meeting C
Research R
Medical MED
Medical Attendant MEDX
Universal U
  • A foreigner who wishes to come to India for honorary work (without salary) with NGOs registered in India may be granted Employment Visa with special endorsement on his/ her E Visa “TO WORK WITH NGO
  • Family members/dependants of a foreigner who is granted ‘Business visa’ or Employment visa may be granted `X’ visa subject to usual security checks provided the family members are otherwise eligible for grant of such a visa .
  • Check here for Visa Fees.

Visa is implemented abroad by Indian missions & posts and in India by Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRROs), home departments & district administrators in the states besides immigration posts.

General provisions connected with Visa :

  1. All foreigners entering India must have a passport or any other internationally recognized travel document and visa.
  2. Nepalese or Bhutanese nationals entering by land must have some Photo Identity Papers as proof of their nationality. But in case of entry by air directly from Nepal/Bhutan or from a country other than China, they must have a passport. No visa is required. However, they must have visa if they are traveling from China
  3. The visa applicant should ordinarily be within the jurisdiction of the mission/post or else it is necessary to make a reference to the Indian mission/post in the country to which the applicant belongs. Additional fee is chargeable for making reference to the concerned mission/post.
  4. Gratis visa is granted to diplomats and officials , UN officials traveling on duty or those traveling to India on invitation of Government of India as its guest. Those granted scholarship under Cultural Exchange Programmes are also granted gratis visa.
  • Pakistani Nationals and Foreigners of Pak Origin: Visa is granted to Pakistani nationals and foreigners of Pak origin only after clearance by concerned authorities. Pakistani nationals holding visitors visa are required to register themselves at the check post of entry within 24 hours of their reaching the specified places. Pak nationals are permitted to enter into and exit from India only through designated check posts.

  • Chinese Nationals: Only single entry Tourist and Business visas valid up to 3 months are granted to Chinese nationals. The visa may be extended up to 3 months by FRROs/Ministry of Home Affairs. All other types of visas fall in prior clearance category.

  • Gratis Visa: In view of the existing bilateral agreements/arrangements, all types of visas are issued gratis to the nationals of Afghanistan, Argentina(Tourist visa only), Bangladesh, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, South Africa and Uruguay.
  • Visa on arrival
    Visa on arrival facility extended to Japanese nationals at 6 major airports:
    1.) Delhi
    2.) Mumbai
    3.) Kolkata
    4.) Chennai
    5.) Hyderabad
    6.) Bangalore
  • Group Tourist Visa on Arrival
    1. Foreign tourists in groups of four or more, arriving by air or sea, sponsored by Indian Travel Agencies approved by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and with a pre-drawn itinerary may be granted collective landing permit for a period not exceeding 60 days, with multiple-entry facility to enable them to visit a neighbouring country.
  • Passengers on cruise ships may be granted a collective landing permit.
    However, in case a cruise ship visits more than one port in India, and does not visit ports of any other country, a collective landing permit may be issued at the first port of entry into India.

 

Acts and rules

Foreigners Division Acts

 Emigration Act, 1983

The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Act, 2000
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Amendment Act,2005
The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010
Investigating Agencies- Notification dated 27 Oct 2011
Compounding of Offence_Notification dated 26 August 2011
Exemption for statutory bodies created under Central and State Acts_Notification dated 01 July 2011
Exemption in respect of GDN_Notification dated 20 June 2011
Notification Dated 29.04.2011 – FCRA,2010
The Citizenship Act, 1955
The Foreigners Act, 1946
The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920
The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939
The Citizenship (Amendment) Rules,2015

Foreigners Division Rules and Regulations

The Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules,2016 and Foreigners(Amendment) Order,2016 bringing “Afghanistan” within the ambit of the notifications issued on 07.09.2015
Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors
Guidelines for Look Out Circulars (LOC) in respect of Indian citizen and foreigners
Amendment to the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992 and the Foreigners Order, 1948 dated 18.3.2016
Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015 and Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Rules, 2007
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Amendment Rules, 2010
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Order, 2007
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Amendment Order, 2010.
Notification S.O.No. 1070(E), Penalty for non furnishing of return by NGOs
Notification G.S.R. 150, Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gifts or Presentations)
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Rules, 2011 and Forms
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2012
The Citizenship Rules, 2009
The Foreign Contribution (Acceptance or Retention of Gift or Presentations) Regulations, 1978
The Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1920
The Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992
Reimbursement of expenditure incurred by the State Governments/UTs for performing agency functions on behalf of Central Govt, Dated 02Sep2013.

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ENCR/ECR

Emigration Check Required (ECR)  require to obtain “Emigration Clearance” from the office of Protector of Emigrants (POE), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for going to following 18 countries.

United Arab Emirates (UAE), The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, Iraq (emigration banned

 


 

Important Link 

  1. Indian Visa Online 
  2. Indian Embassies
  3. Bureau of Immigration (BoI)