Tourist visas for India
Indian tourist visas are for travellers wanting to visit friends or sightsee. They are generally granted for six months from the date of issue (not the date of arrival) and applicants may have to provide biometric data like fingerprints when they apply.
Most foreign nationals will apply for their visa at a VFS Application Centre in their home country before they leave. But travellers from a list of 43 countries are eligible for getting a tourist visa on arrival, including Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the USA.
Work visas for India
Employment visas for India
Employment visas are issued to expats wanting to work for an organisation registered in India or to do volunteer work. Expats are eligible for employment visas if they are relocating to India on either an intra-company transfer or with a guaranteed offer of employment.
To obtain this type of visa expats will not only have to provide proof of a job offer but also proof of the academic/professional qualifications that enable them to do the job. Employment visas for India are usually valid for between two and five years, depending on the applicant’s profession.
Extensions and renewals can be obtained from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs or an expat’s local Foreign Regional Registration Office, but this is generally granted only after foreigners have worked in the country for several years.
Business visas for India
Business visas are available for expat entrepreneurs or investors who want to conduct business in India. Unlike employment visas, business visa applicants usually work on behalf of a foreign company for a limited time and won’t be working for a local employer. It is important to have Indian business contacts who can act as a business partner and provide a letter of invitation.
Business visas are generally issued with six month’s validity or more, and provide for multiple entries. However, business visa holders aren’t allowed to remain in India for longer than six months at a time. A business visa cannot be converted into an employment visa.
Applying for a visa for India
Residential permits for India
The experience of applying for a residential permit will largely depend on the official handling the registration process. Some officials will ask for every possible document, and expats may want to have multiple copies of all documents on hand. Regardless, expats must ensure all information in their documents is correct and should bring any additional documents they think may be necessary. The process involves a lot of sitting and waiting, so expats will need to be patient.