Tourist Indian visas are the most popular types of visa. In 2009, a new rule was declared by the Indian government about tourist visas.
• Foreign nationals holding tourist visas having multiple entry facilities were needed to have a gap of at least two months between two visits to India.
• According to this rule, once a tourist moves from India, they could not return to India until at least two months had lapsed.
• In a situation when a foreign national wanted to revisit India within the two-month period, they are expected to obtain special approval from Indian consulates.
• This two-month gap rule was later relaxed to support genuine visitors, who wish to visit neighboring countries during their travel to India.
• They are now allowed to re-enter India if they give a detailed agenda and supporting documentation.
• Special permit to re-enter India can be taken when applying for tourist visas in their country of origin.
• Those visitors who have previously left their country of origin, and require permission to re-enter within the two-month time, can do so by contacting the neighboring Indian consulate.
• Immigration professionals at all Indian check posts may also allow such visitors arriving in India without specific permission to make two or three entries into India directed to the production of an acceptable travel route and travel documents.
• PIO/OCI card owners are not affected by the two-month gap restriction as this only concerns those who travel India on a tourist visa.
Types of Indian Visas
There are many different types of Indian visas available. The type of visa a person should get would depend, on the purpose of their journey to India. Every Indian visas assigned with the stipulation that the visa is used only for the purpose it was issued for.
Tourist Visa is imparted to those who travel India for tourism purposes such as, visiting family, friends and sightseeing, etc.
• No other action is allowed on a tourist visa. Tourist visas are usually valid for 6 months to 1 year with single or multiple entries.
• Irrespective of the duration of the validity of the visa, on each visit maximum period of stay in India, is limited to 180 days i.e. 6 months only.
• Tourist visa holders also have to abide by the two-month gap rule, which dictates that there should be a difference of at least 2 months between two different visits to India.
Those who plan to manage a business in India should apply for a business visa. A ‘Business Visa’ is given to those who do business in India such as making sales or building contracts, on behalf of a company outside of India.
Business Visa is not for work purposes. Business visas can be valid for 6 months to 1 year or more, by multiple or single entries. Irrespective of the duration of validity of the Indian Visas, on each visit the maximum period of stay in India is restricted to 6 months i.e. 180 days only. Those who are appealing to work for an Indian company should demand an Employment Visa.
An Employment Visa is given to those who are an employee of an Indian company or do honorary work (without salary) with recorded NGOs in India. Indian Consulates may grant ‘Employment visa’ valid for a short validity irrespective of the term of the contract. Additional extension up to 5 years could be taken from MHA/FRRO in the concerned nation in India. To be counted for ‘Employment Visa’ all foreign workers must earn the equivalent of $25,000 per annum or more.
A student visa is granted to certain students, to pursue regular studies at recognized universities in India. Indian Visas is valid up to the duration of the study as accepted by the educational organization in India, for multiple entries.
An Entry Visa is given for a particular purpose (short term courses and unpaid internships) or other non-business related purposes. An Invitation letter is demanded from concerned organization/authorities in India. Members of the family of a person employed in India are also eligible for an Entry visa. In the following case, documents confirming the employment of the spouse, along with a copy of his/her Employment visa must be added. As of 16, June 2011, foreign nationals who own land in India can apply for a one-year Entry Visa. This type of visa can be continued later by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer in India, on an annual basis up to a maximum period of 5 years.
Long-Term Entry Visa
Long term, 5 years entry visa is usually issued to people of Indian origin only. Five and ten-year tourist visas are available only to US citizens under a bilateral settlement. Persons of Indian origin may find it more careful, to simply take a PIO card.
A Conference visa is given to people who wish to attend international conferences in India. Those seeking conference visas should apply promptly. Indian consulates usually issue this type of visa, only after approval for the conference is received, from the Government of India.
A Journalist Visa is granted to expert photographers and journalists. Journalist visas usually have a validity of 3 months with a single entry. Those who plan to make a documentary in India are needed to contact the Press and Information wing in the Indian Embassy.
A Research Visas are given to Research Professors or Scholars who want to conduct research work in India. Candidates need to obtain prior permission from the concerned authorities, to conduct research projects in India. The validity of a Research visa normally coincides with the research limit.
A transit visa is granted to allow the holder to travel through India to reach their ultimate target. Change of determination is not allowed. Transit visa is valid for primary transit only within 15 days of the date of issue, for a maximum duration of 3 days with single or double entry.
A Medical visa is provided to those who need to travel to India for medical treatment. Visa is confirmed for up to 3 months with the single entry. Documents describing details of the treatment from the concerned hospitals/doctors are usually required.
Medical Escort Visa
A Medical Escort visa is allowed to a person who has to accompany a patient traveling to India, for medical treatment. This visa can be given to a family member, close relative or a friend of the patient. This sort of visa is valid up to 3 months for a single entry. The patient in such cases would need a medical visa, and the escort would apply for a medical escort visa.