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If you are planning to move to India as an immigrant there are various areas that you will need to understand to help with the immigration process. Visas are needed to enter the country for purposes of study or work. Immigration check is conducted for all passengers, Indians or foreigners, both at the time of arrival and departure. The passports are duly stamped at time of arrival as well as departure. Passengers should be careful to see that their passports are duly stamped before leaving the immigration counter. All passengers, foreigners as well as Indians, coming to India or departing from India are required to fill-up Arrival Card and Departure Cards at arrival and departure respectively.
The following information is required to be provided by the passengers in these cards:
- Name and Sex
- Date of Birth, Nationality
- Passport Details viz. Number, Date of Issue
- Address in India
- Flight Number, Date of Arrival / Date of Boarding & port of Final Destination
- Countries visited during last six days for arriving Indians
- Purpose to Visit abroad
If inadvertently, an immigration stamp is not affixed by the counter officer at the immigration check-post, the passenger may immediately contact the concerned FRRO/FRO/SSP and get the same affixed on his/her passport to avoid inconvenience at the time of next travel abroad. Foreign Nationals coming to India are required to possess a genuine and valid national passport or any other internationally recognized travel document establishing his/her nationality and identity and bearing photograph of the foreigner. Nepal and Bhutan nationals if entering India by land or air from the Nepal or Bhutan border respectively do not require a passport for entering into India. However, they are required to possess, authorized identity proof. Further if they are entering India from a place other than their own country then possession of their national passport is a must.
VISA Requirement: Different categories of Visas with specific endorsement of number of entries allowed and duration of stay in India are mentioned on the Visa depending upon request and subsequent decision of the Visa issuing authority. Foreigners may also look for specific endorsement, if any, on the Visa for their guidance. In case of any doubt, they may seek clarification from any of the Indian Missions abroad. Nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require Visa to enter India. However, citizens of Nepal & Bhutan require a Visa when entering India from China. A citizen of Maldives visiting India for a short period, upto 90 days, is exempt from the requirement of Visa, as a special case, provided he/she holds a valid Passport issued by, or on behalf of Government of Maldives. This Visa free entry is allowed for the tourism purpose only. The period of 90 days shall include any prior period of stay of such foreigner on Tourist Visa Sticker in India during a period of six months immediately preceding the date of his/her entry into India. There shall be a gap of two months between two visits for tourism purpose. The Maldivians who want to visit India for a period of more than 90 days shall get Visa issued. A separate Visa regime exists for diplomatic/& official passport holders.
Overseas Citizen Of India (OCI) :- Passengers who are carrying old cancelled passports having Life Long Indian "U" Visa Sticker affixed on it along with new passport are allowed entry into India. Even if the OCI card holder acquires nationality of a different country, except that of Pakistan and Bangladesh, he/she is also allowed entry into India provided he/she is carrying his/her old passport having Life Long Indian "U" Visa sticker pasted on it along with the new passport of the recently acquired nationality.
Requirements during arrival of Foreigners in India: Immigration check is carried out for all passengers at the port of arrival in India. The passengers are required to furnish true particulars in the Disembarkation Card (Arrival Card) as to his name and nationality, his age, sex, place of birth and address or intended address in India, the proposed length of stay in India. Immigration check includes checking of Passport, Visa, Disembarkation Card, entering foreigner’s particulars in computer, retention of Arrival Card and stamping of Passport of the foreigner. Pakistan nationals other than those on Diplomatic Visa, Non-Diplomatic Visa, SAARC Visa Exemption Sticker and SAU Visa or those who have been exempted from carrying visa application are required to carry a Visa application form (duplicate copies) which will be issued in addition to regular Visa on their passport by the Indian Mission concerned. On presentation at Immigration check post, they are issued Regular Residential Permit and are required to report to the FRRO/FRO or concerned Police Station in their places of stay within 24 hours unless and until they are officially Exempted from Police Reporting.
Foreigners holding PIO cards-The foreigners holding PIO cards can gain entry into India if valid PIO card is presented along with the valid new foreign passport issued in lieu of the passport endorsed on the PIO card. However the foreigners are advised to have necessary endorsement of the new passport from the competent authority on their PIO cards to avoid any inconvenience.
Requirements during Stay In India: Foreigners are required to comply with the purpose for which a visa was initially applied, and also to abide by conditions endorsed on the visa. If the visa is valid for more than 180 days and the foreigner intends to stay in India continuously for more than 180 days, then every such foreigner entering India or resident in India shall present in person or along with an authorized representative to the satisfaction of the appropriate Registration Officer at the place of his stay within the specified period mentioned on visa except certain visa categories requiring registration within the specified time. Such registration shall not be necessary in the case of a foreigner entering India on a visa valid for a period of not more than 180 days and who does not remain in India beyond the said period, unless, specific endorsement/observation is made on the visa by the Indian Mission.
For further information on registration requirement & visa, search for specific category of visa concerned page on this website. In addition, specific endorsement or guideline on registration formalities made on the Indian visa, if any, needs to be adhered to. At the time of Registration every foreigner shall furnish accurate information, to the satisfaction of the Registration Officer and shall, sign the Registration Report, in the presence of the said officer. The foreigner shall also be provided a copy of Certificate of Registration (Part III of Form A).
Foreigners may go through the instructions given on Registration Certificates for their guidance concerning stay and future reporting. Every foreigner shall within twenty hours of the demand being made by a Registration Officer, magistrate or police officer, not below the rank of a head constable, produce, at such place as may be specified in his passport or such other proof of his identity and/or Registration Certificate as may be required for any purpose connected with the enforcement of Foreigners Act/ Registration of Foreigners Rules.