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When you have an Employment Visa but you resigned from that company, can you still stay on in India on your existing visa?

– Shoumendu Mukherji (Advocate)

For a comprehensive legal advice, it is best that you have the following documents handy, for reference: 

  1. Your Employment Visa numbered XXXXXXXX issued on __________ and valid till __________for employment with YYYYYYYYY Company in the city of ZZZZZZZ 
  2. FRRO Registration Proof upon Arrival into India
  3. Passport 
  4. Indian Visa Application Form 
  5. Employment Contract executed with YYYYYYYYY Company and having starting date _________ 
  6. Resignation letter sent to YYYYYYYYY Company (if any) 
  7. Termination Letter issued to you by YYYYYYYYY Company (if any)

Employment Visas for paid work in India are of three kinds, namely: 

The E-1 (for short period paid work up to six months); 

E-2 (for paid work beyond six months) and; 

E-3 (for intra company transfers) 

The above three categories have been recently clubbed into one E-1 category. Though the nomenclature has been clubbed, however the purpose and differentiation between the three categories still remain.    

An Employment Visa is valid for the period of employment and is employer specific. As soon as the employment is terminated the Visa too loses its legal sanctity and the employee must either seek a “Change of Employer” status under the norms, or apply afresh for a new Employment Visa under a new employer. For the latter, employee would be required to leave India and make a fresh application at an Indian Embassy abroad. Dependents of the employee such as spouse and children can also obtain a dependent employment visa.        

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A “Change of Employer” under an existing Employment Visa, as has been laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India, is allowed only for change of employment between a registered holding company, joint ventures, consortiums and its subsidiaries and vice-versa or between subsidiaries of a registered holding company, joint ventures and consortiums. In such cases, a communication addressed to the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) is sufficient, subject to its approval, allowing the employee to stay on in the country further. 

It is the responsibility of the employer company to inform the FRRO of the termination of your employment / resignation with specific date. In such an occurrence the your employment visa will stand invalidated w.e.f. that date of termination / resignation as informed by the employer company. In such an instance you will be required to leave India immediately upon getting an “Exit Visa” issued from the local FRRO office, allowing you to legally exit the country within a specified number of days.    

However in some instances, for senior executives, companies may offer ‘goodwill gestures’ even beyond the date of resignation / termination thereby allowing such employees to remain under the care of the company till termination of the Visa period so that it allows them time to look for alternative employment opportunities.  In such circumstances, it can be said that the Company is unlikely to take a prejudicial step that would affect the employee’s stay in India all of a sudden. However such circumstances are fine delicate lines. 

In the meantime, the employee can apply for a new employment visa under a new employer company as per the applicable criteria. Please also note that an employment visa is non-convertible to any other type of visa except in certain specific cases. Also do note that overstaying beyond the validity of your visa is punitive, punishable and can invite blacklisting which can seriously jeopardize your career.    

Shoumendu is an advocate practicing in the courts of New Delhi and handling Visa / FRRO issues. He can be reached out on [email protected] and +91 9910733947 

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