March 2015

This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in India. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.

Overview

BUSINESS VISITOR

Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

• Foreign nationals who want to visit India to establish industrial/business
venture or to explore possibilities to set up industrial/business venture in India;
• Foreign nationals coming to India to purchase/sell industrial products or commercial products or consumer durables;
• Foreign nationals coming to India for technical meetings/discussions, attending Boardmeetings, general meetings for providing business services support;
• Foreign nationals coming to India for recruitment of manpower;
• Foreign nationals who are partners in the Business and/or functioning as Directors in the company;
• Foreign nationals coming to India for consultations regarding exhibitions, for participation in exhibitions, trade fairs, business fairs, etc;
• Foreign buyers who come to transact business with suppliers/ potential suppliers at locations in India, to evaluate or monitor quality, give specifications, place orders, negotiate further supplies etc., relating to goods or services procured from India;
• Foreign 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 some high level technical guidance;
• Foreign nationals coming to India for pre-sales or post-sales activity not amounting to actual execution of any contract or project;
• Foreign Trainees of multinational companies/corporate houses coming for in-house training in the regional hubs of the concerned company located in India;
• Foreign students sponsored by AIESEC for internship on project based work in companies/industries;
• Foreign nationals coming as tour conductors and travel agents and / or conducting business tours of foreigners or business relating to it, etc.

Type of Business Visas – The Business Visa is the typical visa issued to business travelers.

Basic Requirements

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Valid passport;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to India;
4. No intention to permanently reside in India;
5. Proof of funds;
6. A ticket for onward travel from India.

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to India, generally for up to six months during the visa validity period. Visas will be valid for a maximum of five years (or ten years for U.S. nationals) and can be extended in country in increments of one year.

Typical Documents Required – All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

• a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
• a valid visa or authority to enter India.

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Basic Requirements – The principle visa category for temporary employment in India is the Employment (E) Visa. This is a category for employers to sponsor approved skilled workers to work in India on a temporary basis. Note that different processes apply for nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining an Employment (E) Visa is as follows:

1. Employment Visa Application – filed at the Indian Consulate General with jurisdiction over the employee’s place of residence;
2. Local F(R)RO Registration – is required for all foreigners staying in India for longer than 180 days, or whose visa stamp has been denoted as requiring registration. Registration must be completed within 14 calendar days of the employee and any accompanying dependents arriving in India.

Estimated Processing Time – Two to five weeks

Validity periods – Employment (E) Visas are valid for up to two years, depending on length of assignment. Renewals of differing validities are possible depending on the employee’s case-specific details. Renewals are possible for up to five (5) years, after which permanent residency cannot be obtained.

Family Members – Dependents of Employment (E) Visas are not granted permission to work in India.

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