India Legal & Indian Immigration Advisory Services
Immigration is becoming an increasingly important issue as organizations continue to expand their operations globally and transfer personnel to many different locations. The potential consequences of not getting crucial people to the right place at the right time are obvious, so why are the Immigration aspects of international transfers so often neglected or even ignored altogether until a major problem occurs? With a little foresight it is relatively easy to ensure that any necessary Immigration compliance is obtained, thus enabling business to proceed as planned. In the interests of stress-free Immigration management, it is essential for human resource managers to control the processes involved by establishing appropriate internal policies and procedures and ensuring they have access to expert professional advice. Information can then be provided to line managers planning international transfers and appropriate Immigration permission obtained in plenty of time before such transfers take place.
With the introduction of the Immigration rules and regulations and a general tightening up of compliance procedures, there has never been a better time to review policy with regard to hiring overseas nationals or receiving personnel from around the world for employment assignments and business visits. The Foreigners Act makes it a criminal offence to employ anyone who is not entitled to work here or does not have permission to do so. Not only can the employing organization be found guilty of this/her/her offence, but individual directors, company officers or managers can also be guilty where the offence is shown to have been committed with their consent or connivance or is attributable to their neglect. Fines of up can be imposed on conviction for each offence and the only defence an employer can offer is to show that the stipulated checks were made into entitlement or permission to work before the employment started.
It is a mandatory requirement for all Foreigners entering India to get an official sanction from the FRRO to legitimize their stay in this/her/her country. The jurisdiction of the FRRO depends on the place of employment of the foreign national in India. For visas valid for more than 180 days (regardless of the period of stay), registration is required within 14 days of arrival in India. The foreign nationals are required to get themselves registered only once on first arrival during the validity of each visa. The registration is required to be done with the office of the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (‘FRRO’) in the area of stay. Normally, the senior/superintendents of Police of the Districts are designated as FRRO’s, if there is no such independent office in an area.
In this connection we have provided below our scope of work as well as our standard terms of business.
2. Scope of Work
Our scope of work would include the following:
Advice before travelling
On a practical level, it pays to ensure that expatriates are properly advised before travelling. Even where the nature of the visit falls entirely within the rules, it is easy for the situation to become confused on arrival at Immigration control, in particular if visitors are not confident that their situation is straightforward and appear evasive or defensive when responding to the Immigration officer’s questions. Visitors should be clear about their plans and be prepared to produce evidence (such as return airline tickets, schedules for meetings or confirmation of hotel bookings) if required to do so. A letter from the overseas employer may also be useful.
When establishing internal procedures, consideration should be given to the transferees themselves. Whatever the effect that a time-critical transfer has on the business and on the people sorting out the paperwork, the situation for the individual, especially one with a family, can be even more stressful as he or she faces a demanding set of circumstances including moving home, moving to a new country, changing job and facing new career challenges.
Of all the elements in stress-free Immigration management, timing is one of the most crucial. Applications for business-related Immigration permission can take anything from a few hours to several months to process. It is important to be fully aware of the time the procedures are likely to take in any particular case and, where possible, allow additional time for any problems which may arise. If plenty of time has been allowed for every stage, unanticipated delays should not cause a major crisis. Organizations should also make sure that everyone knows which person is responsible for obtaining permission, whether in-house or external and that he or she must be informed at the earliest possible opportunity that a transfer or non-routine visit is taking place.
Entitlement to work
In most cases where an overseas national is brought into the India for an employment assignment a work/employment visa will be needed, although there are a number of ways in which entitlement to work may exist without a visa being necessary. These range from being an Indian citizen or Indian ancestry through a grandparent born here. Spouses and dependent children of people who are entitled to work here or who have permission, such as a long term visa or a PIO card are also free to take employment although they must obtain entry clearance before arriving.
3. Overview of Indian System of Immigration Control
• Foreigners Regional Registration Office – the day to day implementation of Immigration policy under the Immigration Rules falls under the Home Ministry. On a day to day level this/her/her office is responsible for ‘after entry’ of overseas nationals into India. This/her/her includes decisions on how long individuals may remain here and the Immigration status they have, as well as considering cases where an individual wishes to change status from one Immigration category to another.
• Central Ministry (Foreign Affairs) – is responsible for the running of the Indian visa scheme. Although this/her/her only forms one part of the Indian system of Immigration control, it is probably the most important as far as employees are concerned. The Ministry decides whether or not a work permit can be issued to a particular individual for a particular job. The Central Ministry is also involved in considering certain types of business related applications before the individual concerned travels to India. In addition, it is responsible for nationality matters, including consideration of applications from individuals who wish to become Indian Citizens.
• The Immigration Service – is responsible for control at the port of entry. They decide whether or not the person arriving is to be allowed the Immigration status they are seeking. This/her/her involves ensuring that foreigners entering India meet all the requirements laid down in the Immigration Rules and are in possession of any documents that may also be required such as a visa.
• Indian Consulates Overseas – are responsible for issuing the required visas clearances prior to arrival into India. Consulates also process applications for visa clearance for dependent family members accompanying individuals with work or other permission in India.
• Police Forces – also play a part in monitoring overseas nationals in India who are required to register with the police within 14 days of arrival into India and are issued with a certificate of registration.
The above authorities all have direct impact on the timing and procedure of the services provided by our Immigration team. Due to the large number of applications Immigration teams process, we liaise with the various authorities on a daily basis and keep up to date with any changes in the rules and procedures (which may not be published).
The Immigration practice will continue to deal with all aspects of business-related Indian Immigration law, including advice and assistance on business visitors, Indian visas, other business applications, Indian ancestry applications such as the PIO scheme, all other issues concerning Indian business Immigration including advice on accompanying dependants, visa requirements and police registration.
Different criteria apply to each visa category. Certain restrictions apply to some types of visas and it is important for management and permit holders to understand from the outset any restrictions which apply in specific cases. Restrictions on permitted activities may also apply.
Confusion often arises over the distinction between the activities which may be undertaken with a Business visa and those which necessitate an Employment visa. In most cases, it is relatively clear whether or not an expatriate is assigned full job responsibility for the project or if his/her role is for a short term advisory capacity, however it is always advisable to seek a professional opinion in borderline cases. In general, business visitors are permitted to attend meetings and transact business on behalf of an overseas employer but are not permitted to undertake productive work such as the production of goods, provision of services, other types of ‘hands on’ work or project management activities.
A common misconception is that an Employment visa is not necessary for employment assignments of less than two years duration. This/her/her is definitely not the case. The amount of time spent in India is not in itself a deciding factor as to whether or not work permission is required. Another point to clarify is that continuing to pay the individual’s salary overseas does not avoid the need for an Employment visa.
Although the time to be spent here and remuneration aspects should be taken into consideration, it is more important to look at factors such as where the person’s activities are controlled from and by whom, as well as where the benefit lies. An individual who is travelling to India for a short time to attend meetings or undertake other permitted activities and who remains answerable to management in the home location throughout may well be a genuine Business visa visitor whereas, in a situation where the person concerned will be reporting to an Indian manager and undertaking work which directly benefits the Indian organization, the chances are that an Employment visa will be needed. An Employment visa will almost certainly be necessary where the duties or activities of the person concerned are ones normally performed by a local member of staff or another employee of the organization.
Visa Clearance for Dependents
Spouses and children (under eighteen) of work permit holders can be admitted into India for the same period as the Employment visa holder, provided they obtain their respective visas from the Indian Consulate overseas before travelling here. Obtaining an entry visa is generally a straightforward procedure. Applications must be made to the nearest Indian Consulate. In general, the Consulate will require the following documents:
• spouse’s passport;
• work permit holder’s passport;
• original work permit;
• original marriage certificate;
• completed application forms (these are obtainable from the Consulate directly);
• two passport sized photographs of the spouse; and
• application fee.
In addition for each child:
• original birth certificate;
• completed applications forms;
• two passport sized photographs; and
• application fee.
In addition, if either the work permit holder or spouse have been married before the relevant divorce or death certificates would be required. If applicable, custody documents for the children would also be needed.
It should be noted that additional documentation may sometimes be called for by the Indian Consulates and processing times for applications may vary.
Visas Types/ Categories
Nature of Visa -Persons to whom issued
Employment Visa -issued to persons intending to take up employment in India
Business Visa -issued to persons visiting India on business visits
Tourist Visa -issued to persons visiting India for tourism
Students Visa -issued to persons pursuing studies/academic courses in India
Entry Visa -others purposes not covered elsewhere (including accompanying families of foreign nationals)
Long Term Visa -issued to persons of Indian origin who have now obtained foreign nationality
Yoga Visa -issued to persons interested in learning meditation or members of missionary organizations.
Research Visa -issued to persons pursuing/ furthering research in any field
Transit Visa -issued to travellers passing through the country
Missionary Visa -issued to missionaries of registered charitable trusts
Journalist Visa -issued to Press staff
Conference Visa -issued to Organizers/visitors for Conferences
Arrival into India
On entry into India, the visa holder should present visa to the Immigration Officer at the port of entry. The Immigration Officer shall then endorse the individual’s passport with an arrival stamp. If the visa holder is being accompanied by his/her dependants, assuming they have obtained the correct visas before entering India, their passports will be stamped accordingly in line with the main visa holder.
The time period set by the authorities is a Fourteen-day limit to fulfill the required formalities.
Details required for completing the registration application :
• Previous name if any;
• Father’s name;
• Colour of eyes (Black/ Blue/ Hazel/ Brown);
• Date and Place of Birth;
• Previous nationality, if any;
• Manner and date of acquiring present nationality;
• Period of Visa validity;
• Address of last residence outside India;
• Address in India – Temporary and Permanent;
• Designation in the company;
• Whether you have ever served in Military/ Navy/ Air Force? If yes, the details ;
• Airport from which you left for India ;
• Date and place of arrival in India ; and
• Flight number of the flight taken to come to India.
Registration with the Police
The registration procedure must be completed within fourteen days of arrival into India. Any changes in the details recorded in the police registration certificate (such as change of address) should also be reported to the police. The following documents are normally required for each person registering:
• The registration form (in Quadruplicate) and Registration Permit Booklet (‘RP’) is required to be submitted with the relevant FRRO. These may be obtained from the FRRO itself. (Information required to complete these documents is mostly available on the passport) ;
• Copy of passport and visae (alongwith that of your family) ;
• The duly completed form and RP are then required to be submitted with the FRRO. For this purpose, the foreign national is required to be physically present at the FRRO. As an exception, children below the age of 10 need not be present in person. They can be represented by either parent ;
• As proof of completion of all registration formalities, the RP is stamped and numbered by the FRRO officials. Subsequently, the RP is returned to the foreign national. It is important to record the registration number issued by the FRRO (preferably a copy of the front page should be maintained) ;
• A copy of the employment contract or the term and conditions of employment ;
• Two copies of the letter of recommendation (the letter should carry a mention of your family in case they are accompanying you to India). The letter is required to be typed on the company’s letterhead and signed by an authorized signatory. In the event, the foreign national is deputed to an Indian company, the letter is to be typed on the Indian company’s letterhead ;
• Six passport sized photographs each (alongwith those of your family) ;
• If you have already had an HIV/AIDS test conducted from any of the WHO collaborating laboratories please carry a copy of the report. Alternatively, this is required to be filed with the FRRO within 30 days of obtaining the registration.
This information is meant as a general guide only and advice should be sought on each specific set of facts.
As stated above, visa other than employment, student and entry are not considered for extension. A foreign national, on a visa other than a tourist visa and business visa, may seek an extension of visa from the FRRO. Prior FRRO registration would be required if the visa period exceeds 180 days. The maximum period for which an extension may be sought is 1 year.
It is recommended that an application for extension of the visa be made atleast 30 days prior to the date of expiry.
Procedure for extension
The following is the procedure for seeking an extension for the visa:
? The visa extension and return entry forms are (available mostly at the relevant FRRO) are required to be completed. For the purpose of completing the forms, the following documents /details are required from the foreign national:
? Period for which extension is sought
? Formal request from the concerned company/employer (draft copy enclosed in Annexure 2). The letter is required to be typed on the company’s letterhead and signed by an authorised signatory. In the event, the foreign national is deputed to an Indian company, the letter is to be typed on the Indian company’s letterhead;
? Copy of the Collaboration/Joint venture approval/FIPB/SIA approval granted to the company in which the foreign national is employed with/deputed to (in case the foreign national is deputed to a liaison office or project office, a copy of the Reserve Bank of India’s approval to establish the same) ;
? Terms and conditions of appointment and copy of contract or agreement in duplicate.
? Complete copy of the RP;
? Original passport at the time of extension;
? Curriculum Vitae (including College certificates);
? Last tax statement of the company; and
? Four passport size photographs.
Our aim is to build a longterm relationship with your organization. We believe that the essence of building such a relationship is the quality of the service and the expertise that we provide. The combination of expertise and knowledge enables us to be competitive without compromising on quality.
Our fees are normally based on the level of the personnel assigned to the engagement, which would depend upon the level of experience and skill required and the quantum of time we expect to utilize on the assignment. Our endeavor is always to provide high quality service in a cost-efficient manner. During the course of the engagement, we will endeavor to ensure that the staffing is leveraged sufficiently, to keep our fees to the minimum level possible, without of course, compromising on the quality of our service.
Note::The issuing visa office reserves the right to accept/grant/reject any request/ application at its discretion that it deems fit. Drafts & Templates and supporting documents to be submitted to the authorities shall be provided on request by the client based on the advice given by respective authorities. The above services vary on a case to case basis and are dependent on the allotted visa category/ duration/ type/ nationality/ observations/ prevailing security policy of the Government at the time of processing.
4. Engagement Team
For effective execution of the scope of services, an engagement team would be dedicated to providing your organization with the best possible service and solutions at every turn. The engagement team will have a combination of technical expertise and experience to fulfill our commitment to your organization.
Each engagement with Riar becomes the direct responsibility of an identified engagement team. For this engagement, various contact persons for Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai would be designated. Additional resources shall be deployed as required in the course of the engagement.
We believe that our significant expertise makes us uniquely capable of serving your needs with a commitment to provide quality services on a consistent basis. Each member of the engagement team has extensive experience in handling such assignments and hence, is fully geared to meet the needs and requirements in successfully executing this engagement.
We believe that Riar has the right blend of international perspective, combined with local on-the-ground expertise, to provide your organization with a level of professional service that will be fully commensurate with its expectations.
We will be delighted at the opportunity to be of service to your organization and look forward to working with you on this assignment. We request you to sign and return a copy of this letter as our confirmation of the scope and the terms described in this proposal.
If you have any questions or require any clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us on the numbers provided below at your earliest convenience.
Immigration & Legalization Services
B – 1 / 29
New Delhi – 110 057
# +91- 98111 88077 (24 Hrs)- Hunting Line
Fixed Line Tele
# 91-011-6568 2323 – Ms Arti
# 91-011-6568 3747 – Mr Kumar
# +91- 98111 88077 (24 Hrs)- Hunting Line
# +91- 98115 58159- Mr Sharma
# +91- 98110 58159 – Ms Gupta
# +91- 98118 58139 – Mr Rahul