Tuesday, November 21, 2006

VISA AND PASSPORT

Passport, Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuance of Indian visas to the foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.
Some Basic facts on Visa to India:

Passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of intended departure from India should accompany visa applications.

Paste one photo and staple the other one on the form at specified place.

Foreigners holding other nationalities (other than the country where applying for visa), should submit proof of long-term (at least three years)/ permanent residence in the country (where applying).

For citizen of other countries, a reference has to be made to their country of residence for which an additional fee is applicable and will involve extra processing time.

Following visas are available from the Indian missions abroad:

TOURIST VISA

Is given for 6 months normally, rest specifically depends on the country of residence. The applicant is required to produce/submit documents in proof of his financial standing. Tourist travelling in groups of not less than four members under the auspices of a recognised travel agency may be considered for grant of collective tourist visa.

BUSINESS VISA
Business Visa is valid for one or more year with multiple entries. A letter from sponsoring organization indicating nature of business, probable duration of stay, places and organizations to be visited incorporating there in a guarantee to meet maintenance expenses, etc. should accompany the application.

STUDENT VISA
Are issued for the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years whichever is less, on the basis of firm letters of admission from Universities/recognised colleges or educational institutions in India. Change of purpose and institutions are not permissible.

TRANSIT VISA
Are issued for a maximum period of 15-days with single/double entry facilities to bona-fide transit passengers only.

VISA TO MISSIONARIES
Are valid for single entry and duration as permitted by Government of India. A letter in triplicate from sponsoring organization indicating intended destination in India, probable length of stay, and nature of duties to be discharged should be submitted along with guarantee for applicant’s maintenance while in India.

JOURNALIST VISA
Are issued to professional journalists and photographers for visiting India. The applicants are required to contact on arrival in New Delhi, the External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and in other places, the Office of the Government of India's Press Information Bureaus.

CONFERENCE VISA
Are issued for attending conferences/seminars/meetings in India. A letter of invitation from the organiser of the conference is to be submitted along with the visa application. Delegates coming to attend conferences may combine tourism with attending conferences

EMPLOYMENT VISA
Are issued to skilled and qualified professionals or persons who are engaged or appointed by companies, organisations, economic undertakings as technicians, technical experts, senior executives etc. Applicants are required to submit proof of contract, employment, engagement of foreign nationals by the company or organisation.

FEES
The fee structure depends on the nationality of the passport holder and type/duration of

Visa applied. The existing fee structure is:

Transit Visa US

Visas with validity up to six months: $60.00
Visas with validity up to one year: $120.00

Visa fees indicated in US$ are payable in local currencies as well. Visa fees are not refundable except in cases where a visa already issued is cancelled thereafter.

PROCESSING DURATION
Depends on the type of visa applied.

MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION:

The duration of stay in India, for each visit on a tourist visa or business visa is only for a period of 6 months even though a valid visa may be for more than 6 months.

Visa is given for a period for which passport is valid. For example, if a passport is valid until April 30,2003 and an applicant is applying for 5 years visa on December 31,1999, the applicant will not be issued a 5 years visa as the passport expires before the 5 year visa.

Validity of all visas is counted from the date of their issue.

Tourist visa up to 5 years may be granted if the foreigner is connected with the tourism trade. If visa is for more than 180 days, registration is compulsory within 14 days of first arrival in India.

Extension of visa in Delhi-

MHA- Director (F), Lok Nayak Bhawan,

Ist floor, Khan market,
New Delhi-110003

TATKAAL SCHEME

Under the Tatkaal Scheme, passports would be issued on the payment of additional fee over and above the normal passport application fee. The additional fee in India for out-of-turn (Tatkaal) Passports would be as follows:

Fresh Passport
(i) Within 10 days of the date of Application Rs.1500/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

(ii) Within 11 to 35 working days of the date of Application Rs.1000/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

Duplicate Passport

(i) Within 10 days of the date of Application Rs.2500/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

(ii) Within 11-35 days of the date of Application Rs.1500/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

After expiry of validity

(i)Within 10 days of the date of Application Rs.1500/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

(ii) Within 11-35 days of the date of Application Rs.1000/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

Additional Booklet

(i) Within 10 days of the date Rs.1500/- plus the passport fee as applicable.

The ‘Tatkaal’ Scheme would only be applicable in cases where either the police verification report is not required (minors less than 15 years of age) or where a passport can be issued on post police verification basis (duplicate passport/re-issue of passport without change in address, Government servants with NOC and their spouses and applications with Verification Certificates).

Initially passports under the ‘Tatkaal’ Scheme would be granted in cases where there is a genuine urgency and would cover the following categories:

i. Patients requiring to go abroad for medical treatment or consultation (without any enhanced fee);

ii. Close relatives of a person residing abroad who is seriously ill or is in maternity confinement.

iii. In case of death abroad of a close relative (spouse, father, mother, children, children’s spouses, grand children, brothers and their spouses, and sisters and their spouses) of applicant (without any enhanced fee)

iv. Businessmen wishing to travel abroad urgently for trade conferences, trade fairs/exhibitions, export/import or seminars.

v. Students requiring a passport for appearing in examinations such as SAT (without any enhanced fee if the earnings of the parents/guardian of the student applicant is less than Rs.2000/- per month);

vi. Students going abroad to join foreign universities (without any enhanced fee if the earnings of the parents/guardian of the student applicant is less than Rs.2000/- per month);

vii. Spouse, parents, parents-in-law, children, brother, sister, brother-in-law and sister-in-law of individuals working abroad;

viii. Winners of promotional awards and schemes where foreign travel is a prize/incentive;

ix. Spouses of officials/passport holders going abroad availing of companion ticket;

x. Pilgrims and journeys for religious purposes;

xi. For marriage or honeymoon after marriage;

xii. Individuals wishing to go abroad to attend marriage of relatives such as children, grand children, brother, sister, niece or nephew.

xiii. For employment, project work, interviews, training, conferences, seminars and any other work in their professional capacity e.g. journalists, employees of public/private sector, air/ship crew, charity workers, film persons;

xiv. Cultural troupes for performance abroad;

xv. Individual as well as groups on Study Tour;

xvi. All infants/minors accompanying their parent(s) /guardian;

xvii. Businessmen and their spouses for incentive tours and Dealers’ Conferences;

xviii. Sports persons and accompanying officials, managers, trainers, doctors etc. going abroad to participate in an international event or for training;

xix. Employees and their dependants who get free passage tickets; and

Other cases approved by the Chief Passport Officer.

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