India Immigration Advice
If you are Considering visiting or moving to India you are not alone. First, you will need to secure an Indian Visa. The country is rated as one of the most beautiful in the world, the stunning scenery is breathtakingly diverse, the climate is lovely, English is widely spoken and your money will no doubt go a long way when exchanged into Indian Rupees – you may even have family already living in the country. In fact, India is the most popular adoptive countries.
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Types of Visa for India
Indian Tourist Visas
An Indian Tourist visa is usually granted for up to six months. Holders of this type of travel visa, or visit visa as they are often known, may not work during their stay in India and cannot extend their stay.
India also offers a transit visa, which permits applicants to transfer through India for a period of up to fifteen days en route to another, final destination.
Indian Business Visas
An Indian business visa can be valid for between three months and five years and requires a letter from a sponsoring Indian company to be submitted along with an introductory letter from the employer in the applicant's country of residence.
Business visas can be granted as a single or multiple entry variants and are designed to allow applicants to travel to India in order to pursue business activities, excluding employment, such as attending meetings and business conferences.
Indian Work Permit
In India, work permits, or Indian employment visas as they are sometimes known, may be issued to skilled professionals or to applicants filling a specific role.
The requirements for working permits are loosely defined and remain a subjective area of Indian visa services, however, in order to live and work in India, all candidates must secure one.
Although work permits may be obtained by either the employer or employee, the 'usual' route is normally employer led.
Indian Student Visa
Indian Student visas can be issued either for the duration of the applicant's course or for a maximum of five years. Study visa applications require an unconditional offer from a recognised Indian educational institute.
Indian medical visas, often known as 'M' visas allow those travelling to India for medical treatment to enter the country.
Medical visas are granted for up to one year; however, they can be extended as necessary if medical evidence can be given to show that this is necessary.
Like tourist visas, medical visas are strictly a temporary route and will not provide a means to permanent residency in India.
Indian Permanent Residency Options
Persons of Indian Origin (PIO Card)
The PIO scheme applies to people of Indian origin, defined through their birth or residence, or that of their parents or grandparents and offers a long-term Indian visa solution.
PIO cards are granted for a period of fifteen years, and allow their holders to enjoy visa-free travel in and out of India.
PIO cards allow their holders to freely engage in work or study in India and after the minimum seven-year residency requirement the option to apply for Indian citizenship is available.
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
Overseas citizenship of India allows Persons of Indian Origin who have obtained citizenship of another nation, to acquire long-term leave to remain in India.
Although often referred to as Indian 'Dual Citizenship' it is important to note that India itself does not support dual citizenship and that OCI, whilst offering many benefits, is not a full grant of citizenship.
If, after 5 years, an OCI holder wishes to apply for full Indian citizenship, they must renounce their citizenship of any other country.
OCI cards are granted for life and offer many of the benefits of a PIO card with the advantage that holders do not have to register their presence in India, however long their stay may be. However, unlike a PIO card, the spouse of an OCI applicant is not automatically eligible.
Processing Times and Fees
In India, visas vary significantly both in terms of fees and the time taken to process visa applications. Fees and processing times are both subject to change and will differ considerably depending upon the type of Indian entry clearance being sought, and the nationality of the applicant.