WORK PERMITS AND BUSINESS VISAS IN INDIA
Contributed by Surana & Surana International Attorneys
In India there are two types of work related visas for non-Indian’s who wish to come to India for work related purposes: Business Visa designated as ‘B’ Visa and Employment Visa designated as ‘E’ Visa.
This type of visa is not applicable for foreigners who are coming to India for part time or full time employment. The following activities can be carried out under a business visa:
- establishing an industrial/business venture or exploring possibilities to set up industrial/business venture in India,
- purchase/sell industrial products or commercial products or consumer durables,
- technical meetings/discussions,
- attending Board meetings or general meetings,
- providing business services support,
- recruitment of manpower,
- performing duties as partners in a business and/or functioning as Directors of the company,
- consultations regarding exhibitions or for participation in exhibitions, trade fairs, business fairs etc.,
- transacting business with suppliers/ potential suppliers at locations in India as buyer,
- to evaluate or monitor quality, give specifications, place orders, negotiate further supplies etc., relating to goods or services procured from India,
- acting as experts/specialists on a visit of short duration in connection with an ongoing project with the objective of monitoring the progress of the work,
- conducting meetings with Indian customers and/or to provide technical guidance,
Foreign national who wants to visit India for employment in a company/ firm/organization registered in India or for employment in a foreign company/ firm/organization engaged for execution of some project in India, can obtain employment visa provided that they are being sponsored for an Employment Visa by their employer and they draw a salary in excess of US$ 25,000 per annum. Those who want to take up employment or consultancy in India for a substantial duration are required to take an employment visa.
Following categories of foreign nationals are eligible for an Employment Visa:
- Foreign nationals coming to India as consultant on contract for whom the Indian Company pays fixed remuneration (this may not be in the form of a monthly salary).
- Foreign artists engaged to conduct regular performances for the duration of the employment contract given by Hotels, Clubs or other organizations.
- Foreign nationals who are coming to India to take up employment as coaches of national/state level teams or reputed sports clubs.
- Foreign sportsmen who are given a contract for a specified period by Indian Clubs/Organizations.
- Self-employed foreign nationals coming to India for providing Engineering, Medical, Accounting, Legal or such other highly skilled services in their capacity as independent consultants provided the provision of such services is permitted under law.
- Foreign language teachers/interpreters.
- Foreign specialist chefs.
- Foreign nationals deputed for providing technical support/services transfer of know-how/services for which the Indian company pays fee/royalty to the foreign company.
- Senior management personnel and/or specialists employed by foreign firms who are relocated to India to work on specific project/management assignments.
The required documents for availing an Indian Visa under the aforementioned categories are:
- Passport with 6 month validity
- Passport size photographs
- Photo copy of passport
- Copy of online filled form
- Appointment letter
- Contract letter
- Resume of applicant
- Organization registration
- Tax liability letter
- Project details
- Sponsor letter from organization in India
- Justification letter from employer
Residential permit for employees and dependants
Foreign nationals including their family members who intend to stay in India for more than 180 days or have visa for more than 180 days, have to get themselves registered with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 2 weeks of their first arrival in India. For the purposes of registration, the persons are required to make an application in the prescribed form and be present in person at the time of registration. The following documents are required to be submitted along with application:
- Application form in quadruplicate (Form A)
- Passport and visa in original
- 4 passport size photographs
- Proof of residence in India
- Copy of employment contract and undertakings by the employer
Once the FRRO is satisfied about the above documents, a “Residential permit” to stay in India is issued to the foreign national.
Foreigners who are married to Indian citizens are issued with an X (entry) Visa, which is a residential visa. It provides the right to live in India but not work. This type of visa is also issued to those dependants accompanying people who hold long term Indian visas such as employment visas.
The process of application has been made straightforward by the Government of India. The visitors are required to fill online visa application by visiting website http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa and visit their nearest embassy with printout of the online filled application and required travel documents.
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