Visa for Expats in India

Published on 28 Apr 2016 by Team

They are unsaid yet familiar scenarios for most expats, getting a visa for India is a purely formal matter, as no restrictions are currently in place on skilled immigration, except for Pakistani or Bangladeshi nationals.

The first point of contact when applying for a visa should be the nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate.

All visa applications must consist of the following:

  • Completed application form (please note that in some countries, you can only fill this in online)
  • your valid passport with two blank pages facing each other
  • the correct fee for the type of visa you are applying for
  • two passport-sized photographs

In some countries, you will also have to provide the following:

  • your ID card or an official document/letter stating your current address
  • a copy of your birth certificate
  • a copy of your marriage certificate if your name has changed as a result of your marriage

Depending on the type of visa applied for, further documents are often required. You can consult with the best immigration consultants in India to know about all the formalities needed to be fulfilled.

The Working Expat

There are two types of work-related Visas, namely:-

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


Can be applied for at the Indian consulate in your area. Certain links have been provided below where one can find downloadable application forms on these sites, visa fee structures, location maps, driving instructions and other details.

How long does it take to get a visa to India

In many countries you should get your visa within the course of a working day: submit your passport and visa application at the consulate in the morning between 9.00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m., and pick it up in the evening, between 3.30 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. or at the timings mentioned at the consulate websites. Top immigration consultants in India can help you with the formalities associated with your visa application.

Application via E-mail

The application can be submitted by mail as well the drawback being slightly extra process time. For example, in the USA it might take up to 3 days to process and additionally 2 extra weeks (or more) to be reverted to you. You may send a self-addressed pre-paid return envelope with the application instead of paying the mailing charges.

Documents needed for Business Visa?

  1. The foreign national must have a valid travel document and a re-entry permit is required under the law of the country concerned.
  2. Proof of financial standing and expertise in the field of intended business.
  3. Documents/ papers pertaining to proposed business activity such as the registration of the company under the Companies Act, proof of registration of the firm with the State Industries Department or the Export Promotion Council concerned or any recognised promotional body in the relevant field of industry or trade etc.


Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted. Payment can only be made with a money order/certified check/cashier's check drawn in favour of Embassy of India/Consulate General of India.


A Business Visa with multiple entry facilities is granted for a period up to 5 years or for a shorter duration as per the requirement. A stay stipulation may be prescribed for each visit by the concerned Indian Mission.

Employment Visa

The employment visa is granted to employees sent to India on an intra-company transfer or to expats with a guaranteed offer of employment from an Indian company. An employment visa will be issued subject to the applicant being skilled and qualified and on the condition that the job for which the visa is being applied is neither routine, ordinary or secretarial/clerical in nature nor one for which qualified Indians are available. An employment visa will be granted to a foreign national if his or her salary exceeds US$25,000 per annum.


An employment visa is initially valid for 2-5 years, which can subsequently be extended at the local FRRO office. It is also available as a one-year visa to foreigners wishing to do voluntary work for a registered NGO.

Documents Required For Employment Visa

In addition to the documents listed above, you will need to provide additional paperwork. It mostly includes proof of employment (e.g. a signed work contract), company information on your employer in India, and proof of your ability to do the job (e.g. academic and professional qualifications).

Those who are applying to work for an Indian company should apply for an Employment Visa. The best immigration lawyers in India can help you with an employment visa.

The duration of the visa is at the sole discretion of the Issuing Authority. All visa fees once paid are non-refundable irrespective of the outcome of the visa application and duration granted.

Other Types of Visas

  • Family members and dependents of expats working in India should apply for an 'Entry visa'. Please note that an entry visa does not give you the right to take up paid employment. It is, however, possible to work as a volunteer or an unpaid intern and attend courses. You will need to provide a copy of the principal visa your entry visa is tied to, e.g. your spouse’s employment visa.
  • Research professors and scholars may be granted a 'Research visa' valid for the duration of their project if they submit the following: an entry clearance, a research proposal, evidence of their financial resources, and a letter of admission from a recognized university.
  • There is a niche category for project workers in the power and steel industries: the project visa.
  • Journalists, irrespective of the purpose of their stay, always need a journalist visa. If you do not intend to carry out any journalistic work during your stay in India, you must submit a written statement to that effect. Journalists going to India for journalistic purposes need to register with the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India in order to obtain a PIB card. You need to produce a letter from your employer stating the purpose of your trip.

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