A Visa is an official document that allows the bearer to lawfully enter a foreign country. The visa is mostly stamped or glued into the bearer’s passport. There are various types of visas depending upon the type of visit. The main classification is:

  • Immigrant or Permanent Visas,
  • Non-immigrant or Temporary Visas, and
  • Transit Visa.



This type of visa is issued to persons who aim to immigrate or settle permanently in a foreign country.




A non-immigrant visa is issued for a temporary period time after which the individual has to return to his home country. The classifications for the different kinds of non-immigrant or temporary visas are as follow-

  • Visitors Visa– Visitor visas are non-immigrant visa for persons who desire to visit to a foreign country temporarily for business, for tourism, or for a combination of both. 
  • Tourist Visa– This type of visa is for a limited period of leisure travel and no business activities are allowed. In India, the visa is issued for 180 days.
  • Student Visa– Proof of admission and means of subsistence while in India must maintain to the Indian Embassy; a visa may be extended in India for the duration of the course of five years, whichever is less. Foreigners who want to study yoga, music, Vedic culture; dance, etc. must apply well in advance. Indian embassies may give visas for up to five years. 
  • Business Visa– This kind of visa is issued for engaging in commerce in the country. In India, the duration for which a business visa is issued varies from 1-5 years.
  • Medical Visa– This kind of visa is issued to persons who are going for their treatment & surgery in a foreign country. In the case of India duration of visa is six months, but can be extended on the prescription of the doctor.





Travelers may sometimes require a transit visa to pass through a country to reach their destination country. Transit Visas are generally required when a person has a layover in a country of more than a few hours. A transit visa will generally be valid for a one-time journey and entry within fifteen days from the date of issue. If the journey is not completed within this period, a fresh transit visa will be required.  A transit visa is only legitimate for direct transit, which cannot be more than three days for each visit. This period is not expandable except in case of extreme emergencies like strikes, traffic disruption, inclement weather, illness, etc.

Type of


  Period for



No. of entries



Documents  required






     Tourist   180 Days    Multiple NO
     Transit    15 Days One Return/onward journey


    Business   1-5 years    Multiple Documents to prove 

Bona fide purpose.

 Letter, etc.

 Employment 1 year or period

   of contract

   Multiple Proof of employment as a 

Skilled worker or at a high

post, terms & conditions. 

    Student    Period of 


   Multiple Proof of admission in 

Indian institution.

Foreigner of





   Multiple Proof of being Indian








  • MEDICAL VISA: The original period of validity of Medical Visa/Medical Attendant Visa may be up to one year or the period of treatment, whatever is less. The Indian Missions abroad may, however, grant a Medical Visa of six months validity with triple-entry as a default choice to all foreigners other than the nationals of 33 countries mentioned in paragraph 19(iii), (iv) & (v). Medical Visa can be expanded for a further period up to one year by the FRRO /FRO concerned with the production of medical certificate from a Government/ ICMR/ NABH/ MCI/ CGHS recognized hospital.


  • EMPLOYMENT VISA: The Employment visa may be expanded by the FRRO / FRO concerned beyond the original visa validity period up to a total period of five years from the date of issue of the original Employment Visa, on a year-to-year basis.


  • BUSINESS VISA: In case a Business visa is granted for less than five years by the Indian Missions, the same can be expanded up to a maximum period of five years liable to the turnover from the business actions, for which the foreign national has been granted a visa, is not less than Rs.1 crore per annum. Extension of Business Visa may be granted by the FRRO /FRO concerned on a year-to-year basis. The period of extension shall not be beyond five years from the date of issue of the Business visa.


  • STUDENT VISA: Foreign students who fail to certify for a course within the recommended course period may also be granted an extension of visa for a maximum of 3 attempts beyond the original course period as high as the concerned University permits the student to outright the course. FRROs / FROs are legitimized to grant permission to change the course or educational institution and extend ‘Student Visa’.


  • STAY VISA/ RESIDENTIAL PERMIT: The extension may be granted by FRRO/ FRO concerned for one year at a time with the prior permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Applications for extension of Stay Visa or Residential Permit will be submitted online by the individual to the FRRO/ FRO concerned in the C-FRO module online.



  • Paper VISA vs Any other VISA-


The digital age of visas: eVisas and Electronic Travel Authorizations

Electronic visas (also known as eVisas or online visas) are modern digital visas that can be obtained by applying via the internet. Many countries have introduced eVisas for travelers of select nationalities to facilitate travel and improve security with the digitalization of data.


Electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) are similar to eVisas, but feature an even more simplified application process and usually remain valid for a period of years, allowing multiple visits, while eVisas are typically more limited. Examples of eTAs are the US ESTA and the Canadian eTA.

Difference between an eVisa and a Visa on Arrival?

The main difference between an eVisa and a visa on arrival (VOA) is that travelers can apply for an eVisa online before their journey, while VOAs can be obtained once they reach their destination.

A visa on arrival is a visa that can be applied for and obtained when the traveler lands at an airport in the destination country. A foreign visitor may be granted a VOA if they meet the following conditions:

  • Their nationality makes them eligible—many countries only offer VOAs to citizens of certain states
  • They have the relevant documentation on their person
  • They pay the fee
  • There is not any reason to deny them the visa, e.g. being on an international watchlist.

If a traveler has the option of applying for either an eVisa or a VOA, it is advisable to choose the eVisa.


  • Registration of VISA



Registration of VISA

No, they do not require visa to

visit India.

PIO card holders do not require a

Visa to visit India for a period of 

15 years from the date of issue of 

PIO card. They can stay for up to 180 days In India without registration to FRRO (Foreigner Regional Registration 


Passport is the primary travel 

document. OCI has a life long

multiple entry permit to enter the

country. They can stay in India 

for any duration without registration to FRRO (Foreigner Regional 

Registration Office) or local 



Note:-  The Indian Immigration will accept all Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards (including handwritten PIO cards), along with valid foreign passport, as valid travel document till December 31, 2021, instead of earlier deadline i.e. September 30, 2020. Indian Immigration Check Post(s) will continue to consider all PIO card valid for exit from/entry into India till December 31, 2021 as last and final opportunity.


  • Conversion of Business VISA to Employment VISA


Business visa shall be non-convertible and non-expendable beyond 5 years from the date of issue. At time of issue of Business visa, India Missions/Posts must make it clear to the foreigner that a Business visa cannot be converted to any other kind of visa during his/her stay in India except in the following circumstances and with the prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs:

  1. a) Business visa can be converted to ‘X’(Entry) Visa if a foreigner who has come to India on Business visa marries an Indian national during the validity of his/her visa and does not intend to continue on Business Visa. Such conversion would be considered subject to fulfilment of following conditions: 

        (i) Submission of a copy of registered Marriage Certificate, and 

       (ii)  Report from the FRRO/FRO concerned about their marital status which will inter-alia include his/her antecedents, confirmation about their living together and security clearance. 

  1. b) Business visa in case of Persons of Indian Origin, who were otherwise entitled for ‘X’ (Entry) Visa but have entered into India on Business visa, can also be converted to ‘X’ Visa. 
  2. c) Business visa of the foreigners who fall ill after their entry into India rendering them unfit to travel and require specialized medical treatment may be converted to Medical visa if they are eligible for grant of Medical Visa and medical certificate is obtained from government / government recognized hospitals. In such a case, ‘X’ visa of family members/ attendant accompanying the foreigner (whose ‘Business’ visa is converted into Medical Visa) may also be converted into Medical Attendant [Med X] visa co-terminus with the Medical visa of the foreigner. 

Note: On conversion of Business visa into ‘X’ visa / Medical visa/ ‘Med X’ visa, the following 13 endorsement shall be made on the Passport / Residential Permit – “Employment/Business not permitted”.


  • Acts governing “Stay by Foreigners in INDIA”


Sr no.                     Acts                   Description
1. The Passport (entry in India) Act, 1920 It prescribes specific authorization of foreigner 

nationals on their valid travel documents/passports

for allowing entry into the country. The foreigner 

coming to India are required to get visa from Indian


2. The Foreigners Act, 1946 It regulates the entry of foreigners into India, their

Presence therein and their departure therefrom. 

3. The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and 

The Registration of foreigners Rules, 1992

It mandates that certain category of foreigners whose

Intended stay in India is more than the specified period

or as provided in their visa authorization are required

To get themselves registered with the registration 




  • Rules & Regulations


Arrival formalities:

Every person entering India by air, land or sea is required to complete the Embarkation/ Disembarkation card (D/E card) proforma (Form ‘D’ – Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992).

Residential Permit:

Residential permit is issued at the time of registration, its validity being the period of stay specified in the visa. Application for extension of the Residential Permit should be made at least two months before its expiry to the nearest Registration Officer in the prescribed form.

Report of absence from address:

If at any time a foreigner who is required to register proposes to be absent from his/ her registered address for a continuous period of eight weeks or more; or is changing the registered address; or is finally departing from India, he shall, before leaving, inform in person, or through an authorized representative, or by registered post to the jurisdictional Registration Officer of his/ her intention to leave, either temporarily or permanently. In case he/ she are moving to another address in India, the new address should also be intimated to the Registration Officer.

Departure formalities:

Every registered foreigner who is about to depart finally from India shall surrender his/ her certificate of registration either to the Registration Officer of the place where he/ she is registered, or of the place from where he/ she intends to depart, or to the Immigration Officer at the port/ check post of exit from India. If the certificate is surrendered to any authority other than the Immigration Officer of the post or check post of exit, a receipt indicating such surrender of the document may be obtained and shown to the Immigration Officer. It is not necessary for a foreigner (except a citizen of Pakistan or Afghanistan) to seek exit/ departure clearance from the Registration Officer of his/ her place of registration. Such a foreigner can straightaway depart from the Immigration Check Point. 

Stay at Hotels:

All foreigners who stay at hotels, guesthouses or places of such nature should furnish on arrival particulars for filling in the hotel register, sign therein, and also furnish the required particulars at the time of departure.



  • Penalties


Financial Penalty for Overstay and / or non-Registration

Sr no. Duration of Overstay and/or non-registration 


Financial Penalty (in Indian Rupees)
1. 1 day up to 15 days 500/-
2. 16 days to 90 days 5000/-
3. 91 days up to 2 years 10000/-
4. More than 2 years 20000/-


Financial penalty in cases of (a) Tibetans, (b) Buddhist monks from Mongolia & (c) categories of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan nationals, who are eligible for grant of Long Term Visa (LTV) for regularization of overstay and/or non-registration


Sr no. Duration of Overstay and/or non-registration 


Financial Penalty (in Indian Rupees)
1. 1 day to 90 days 25/-
2. 91 days up to 2 years 50/-
3. More than 2 years 100/-


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