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What are the Conditions of Getting a Business Visa in India

February 14, 2017
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Business visa in India

In this blog post, Lalrinngheti Sangsiama, pursuing M.A. Business law from NUJS, Kolkata, explains the conditions vital to get a business visa in India.

Business Visa

A business visa, one of the two types of work related visas (the other being an employment visa, ‘E’ visa), is designated as ‘B’ Visa.

The difference between the two is that employment visas are for applicants who are applying to work for an Indian company whereas a business visa is granted to the following types of foreigners as listed by the Ministry of Home Affairs:

The difference between a business visa and an employment is a point of confusion and concern as obtaining a visa under either category while carrying out activities of the other may result in termination of the visa and thus, deportation.

The confusion is particularly heightened because both business and employment visa require an Indian company sponsor. This is why it is important to make sure that applicants obtain the correct visa for the purpose of their travel.

The Consulate has discretion to grant a 5 year or 10-year visa with multiple entries. Furthermore, if the visa is for more than 180 days, the holder of the visa must register him/herself within 14 days of arrival in India at their respective country embassies in India.

The 10-year business visa is usually granted to foreigners who set up joint ventures in India. Business Visas must be applied before arriving in India and cannot be granted on arrival.

A Foreign National must fulfill the following conditions for getting a Business Visa:

A valid travel document means a passport. Some nationalities are required to also have a re-entry permit. The passport must have at least two blank pages available for visa stamps and be valid for six months beyond the applicant’s stay in India. In making a visa application, a photocopy of the passport is required.

A filled and signed Indian visa application form including its copy is required and can be filled online from the Indian Government website under the button ‘Regular Visa Application’.

The form is supplemented by an ‘Additional Particulars Form for Visa Services’ which must be filled and signed. Two recent passport photo is also necessary.

Documents to prove bonafide purpose are usually in the form of

It must be signed, sealed and written with the company letterhead. This letter must contain all the corresponding information of the applicant and describe their relationship, purpose of travel and details of the job.

For the 5-year and 10-year visa, the letter must also explain the reason for future trips.

The business cover letter, like the letter of invitation, should be written in the letterhead and signed and sealed.

Both the letter of invitation and business cover letter must have the following information

The applicant must prove his/her financial standing to support the intended business visit to India. In addition to this, the Indian Missions will also check the applicants’ expertise in the field of his/her intended business. The applicant must prove his/her financial standing by producing recent bank statement(s), sponsorship letter, etc.

Those applying for a 5-year visa and beyond will have to provide the last two year’s tax return of the applicant.

The foreign national being sponsored for an Employment Visa in any sector should draw a salary in excess of US$ 25,000 per annum. This is not the case for obtaining a Business Visa.

The application should not be made for a full-time employment in India including payment of salary in India. It should not be made for the purposes of a business of money lending, establishing a petty business/trade or full-time employment in India.

If the period of residence is less than two years then, the applicant has to go through a personal interview, get documents reviewed and get clearance from the Indian Mission when an intimation has been sent to the Indian Mission in the applicant’s country of origin.

The visa fees may vary according to nationality or duration of the visa so the applicant must check the Indian Mission of the country he or she is applying from.

Its validity should correspond with the principle visa holder or for a shorter period. Therefore, in applying for an entry visa for a family member, the applicant must provide a copy of the business visa and a copy of the family register to prove the relationship between the applicant and the family member.

An X visa is called an ‘X’ visa because it does not fall into the other visa categories. People are not allowed to work in India on the ‘X’ visa but it can be extended in India and there is no need to leave every six months.

An Entry (X) Visa can only be granted to the following persons:

  1. A foreigner of Indian origin who wishes to come to India for visiting relatives, holiday etc.
  2. Spouse and children of a foreigner of Indian origin.
  3. Spouse/dependents of foreigners coming to India through any other type of valid visa like Employment, etc. This is where the business visa applicant’s family members fall under.

There are only three ways for conversion and each application for conversion will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

On conversion of business visa into ‘X’ visa/medical visa/‘Med X’visa, the following endorsement shall be made on the Passport/Residential Permit – Employment/Business not permitted.

  1. A business visa can be converted if the visa holder marries an Indian national during the stay and does not intend to continue on business visa.This conversion is subject to fulfillment of certain conditions such as submitting a registered marriage certificate and reporting to the FRRO/FRO about the marital status.
  2. A person who enters on a business visa but is also entitled to an ‘X’ (Entry) visa i.e. his/her family member has a business visa or other visa then, the applicant’s business visa can be converted to an ‘X’ Visa.
  3. If the holder of a business visa falls ill after entering India and can no longer travel or work but instead requires specialized medical treatment then, the business visa may be converted to a medical visa, if they are eligible for a grant of medical visa and a medical certificate is obtained from government/government-recognized hospitals.If this happens then, the family members of the person holding the business visa (whose ‘Business’ visa is converted into Medical Visa), who were holding an ‘X’ visa, may also be converted into medical attendant (Med-X) visa co-terminus with the Medical visa of the foreigner.

A Medical Visa is given to those seeking medical treatment only in reputed/recognised specialised hospitals/treatment centres in India.

Up to two attendants who are the blood relatives are allowed to accompany the applicant under separate medical attendant visas and the medical attendant visa will have the same validity as the medical visa.

Serious ailments would be of primary consideration such as neurosurgery, heart-related problems, etc. The initial duration of the visa is up to 6 months or the period of the treatment, whichever is less. The visa will be valid for a multiple entry during the 6 months.

Business visas generally take within three to four days to process except –

For those who were previously an Indian national but who have renounced their Indian Citizenship, the applicant must provide proof of renunciation of Indian Citizenship.

If the Indian passport is officially canceled then, the applicant must provide a photocopy of the bio page.

If it is not officially canceled, the original Indian Passport must be submitted for cancellation and a ‘Surrender Certificate’ will be issued which will have to be submitted in the application.

This is because the Indian passport law does not permit dual-citizenship therefore, all Indian nationals obtaining a foreign citizenship must renounce their Indian citizenship.

In case the applicant does not have the Indian passports in their possession for any reason, they are required to furnish duly notarised affidavit in this regard. A police report is also required if the passport has been declared lost or stolen.

Pakistani applicants who hold dual passports must apply for an Indian business visa on their Pakistani passport.

Those who have either renounced Pakistani nationality or canceled their Pakistani passport would need to submit documentary proof of this.

The processing time for visa applications received from persons of Pakistani origin will be around seven to eight weeks or more. And the processing time for applications from those holding dual passports will be substantially longer.

The same is applied for Bangladesh and Sri Lankans i.e. they must submit their Bangladesh or Sri Lankan passports if they hold dual citizenships.

Visa approval for applicants of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Somalia or Sri Lanka origin are sought from officials in India. Processing time is considerably longer and additional consular fees may be charged. The current processing time is the minimum of eight weeks and an additional declaration visa form will be required.

In case where the applicant holds a New Zealand passport and are also a permanent resident of Australia, the applicant must submit a copy of his/her Medicare card.

Certain other countries are subject to conditions like

This list is not exhaustive so it is important for the applicant to check with the Indian Embassy in their respective countries.

Certain nationalities must check their respective country Indian Embassies or High Commission if they are required to show they hold necessary vaccinations.

For example, those who travel to India from Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia are required to hold a valid polio vaccination certificate.

Similar medical certificate can be epidemics such as yellow fever certificate.

If the applicant needs to transfer an Indian business visa from an old passport to a new passport then both the expired passport which holds the valid India visa and the current passport must be provided.

Visas can only be transferred to a passport of the same nationality i.e. visa transferred from a US passport to another US passport.

Scheduling an appointment means that the applicant needs to appear in the Indian Mission in person and cannot be represented by his/her travel agent, relative, etc.

The same day service is available for urgent business travel. Many Indian Embassies are revamping a Fast Track scheme to increase the maximum validity of business visa allowed under the scheme and to further streamline the scheme. The new scheme is created to assist companies that have a long-term business association with Indian businesses and whose employees need to travel frequently to India.

The business visas under this scheme will usually be granted with a maximum validity of 3 years.

Companies that fulfill the following criteria will be eligible for the revamped Fast Track Scheme:

Conclusion:

The grant of business visa is subject to the discretion of the Indian Mission or any instructions issued by the government of India on the basis of reciprocity with other foreign countries from time to time. This means that obtaining a business visa is not right.

The High Commission or Consulate General of India may seek more information or documents if necessary to process the application. Even if all the conditions have been met by the applicant, the Indian Mission can reject the application without reason.

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Sources:

1.    Ministry of Home Affairs, India

2.    Indian Visa Online, Government of India

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