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Outsourcing Triggers Relocating In India - Part 2: Visas And Residency Permits

Nitya Rani

In last part we presented an overview on outsourcing and relocating in India. In this part we will take you through necessary steps in getting visas and residency permits.

* Tourist visas are usually given for six months. Tourists traveling in groups of not less than four members under the auspices of a recognized travel agency may be considered for grant of collective tourist visa. A tourist visa for up to five years may be granted if the foreigner is connected with the tourist trade.
* Business visas are valid for up to one or more years with multiple entries, particularly for technicians/experts going to India as part of bilateral agreements or joint venture projects. A letter from the sponsoring organization, indicating nature of business, probable duration of stay, places and organizations to be visited, along with a guarantee to meet costs such as maintenance expenses, should accompany the application.
* Student visas are issued for the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years, whichever is less, on the basis of firm letters of admission from Universities/recognized colleges or educational institutions in India. Change of purpose and institutions are not permissible.
* The Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card exempts one from registration with the Foreigners Registration Office if continuous stay in India does not exceed 180 days. There is no visa requirement to travel to India for a period of twenty years.
* Foreigners of nationalities other than the country where they are applying for an Indian visa should submit proof of long-term (at least three years') permanent residence in the country where they are applying.
* Transit Visas are issued for a maximum period of 15 days with single/double entry facilities to bona fide transit passengers only.
* Missionary visas are valid for single entry with guarantee for the applicant's maintenance while in India.
* Journalist visas are issued to professional journalists and photographers for visiting India. The applicants are required to contact the External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs on arrival in New Delhi or, in other places, the Office of the Government of India's Press Information Bureaus.
* Conference visas are issued for attending conferences/seminars/meetings in India. A letter of invitation from the organizer of the conference must be submitted. Delegates may combine tourism with attending conferences

Residency permits
* Persons holding the PIO card (see above) hold parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect to residence, education, property, except in matters relating to acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties.
* Employment visas are issued to skilled and qualified professionals or to people who are engaged or appointed by companies, organizations, and economic undertakings to work in positions such as technician, technical expert, and senior executive. Applicants are required to submit proof of contract/employment/engagement of foreign nationals by the company or organization. They are generally good for six months.
* In December 2003, the Indian Parliament granted dual citizenship to the people of Indian origin. The Bill provides for grant of overseas citizenship of India to persons of Indian origin belonging to 16 specified countries and Indian citizens who choose to acquire citizenship of any of these countries at a later date.
* Persons of Indian origin holding multiple entry visas, visiting India to meet relatives or for social purposes are required to register with the FRO/FRRO (foreign office) within 14 days of arrival only if they intend to stay continuously for more than six months. This registration is required during the first visit after the visa is issued. Subsequent travels using the same visa do not require registration. Children below the age of 16 are exempt from this requirement. All other visitors to India, including those of Indian origin, holding any other category of visa valid for more than six months should register with the FRO/FRRO within 14 days of arrival in India.

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