Frequently asked questions

General Visa
Tourist Visa
Business Visa
Employment Visa
Transit Visa
Conference Visa
Entry Visa
Student Visa
Transfer Visa

1 Can somebody else submit the application form for visa on applicant's behalf?
 Yes, the application can be submitted at the visa application centres on an applicant’s behalf, but the applicant should be in Russia. It is recommended that you Post/Courier your application as this will save travel and queuing time for you.

2 Can I apply for visa if I am a non Russian and non-resident in Russian?
 You should obtain a visa from the country of your normal residence or country of origin.

 3 How many photographs are required for visa?
Two recent color passport size (about 3.5 cm x 3.5 cm) photograph in color, showing full frontal view of face against a white background to be pasted/stapled on the application form

4 How can one pay fees?
 Fees can be paid in cash, Debit card, Bank pay order
Note: Payments cannot be made online however you have the facility to make a payment at the visa centre itself when you come to submit your documents.

5 Is there a minimum passport validity required for obtaining a visa?
The passport has to be valid for at least 6-months from the date of application with at least 2 blank visa pages. Applicants are advised to check their passport validity before submitting their application.

6    How do I know the maximum period of stay allowed on my visa?
 You may stay in India only until the date of expiry of your visa irrespective of your date of arrival.

7    Is it possible to get a refund of Visa fees?
Visa Fees and all other charges, once paid will not be refunded under any circumstances.

8   Where should I apply for my visa?
Your India visa processing site depends on where in the Russia you currently reside, also known as jurisdiction.

BLS application centre
British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton,
Ontario ,Quebec except for areas under the Ottawa Jurisdiction, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland Toronto,   Winnipeg, Brampton
National Capital region of Ottawa-Hull, Kingston, Cornwell, Hawkesbury, Arnprior, Renfrew, Perth Prescott, Brockville, Carleton Place, Smith Falls, Morrisburg (all in Ontario), Montreal (in Quebec) and Nunavut territory Ottawa or Montreal

9 Are there specific vaccinations required to travel to India?
The Indian HCI does not require any specific vaccinations for travellers to obtain a visa to India.

10 Do I need a visa to go to India?
Yes, all Foreigners except for national of Nepal and Bhutan need a visa to enter India

11 Do I need a visa for my pet that I am taking to India?
You do not need a visa for your pet. But you have to comply with certain customs and vaccination-related regulations. Consult your airline/travel agent for details of these regulations and the necessary documents needed to take your pet.

 12 Can I collect my passport from the Embassy of India/Consulates General of India, Moscow or St petersburg?
No. You have to collect your passport from the Indian Consular Services in Russia where you originally submitted the application.

13 Do I have to submit my passport and visa application only at the India Visa & Consular Services Centre?
Yes. However, diplomatic, official UN Passport holders can be submit visa application to the HCI/CGI

14 Will I be allowed to carry liquor to India?
Yes. But if you are travelling to Gujarat, you will have to apply for a liquor permit on arrival in Gujarat. Please check with your airline for other restrictions on alcohol.

15 Will the visa and service fee courier service fees be refunded?
Visa and BLS Processing fees including courier charges once paid is not refundable even if the application is withdrawn or service denied.

16 Can I enter my pet/Nick-name for my Online Visa Application? Do I have to enter all sections?
Enter the information requested into the appropriate spaces on the form. Please answer all questions accurately as the details entered will be reflected on your visa. All answers must be in English. Letters like ñ, é, ü, ç are not recognized by the system. Please enter names like Muñoz and Sémonin as Munoz and Semonin
The Online Visa Application system does not accept any special characters at all.
Please replace any “-, #, /, etc” with a space, except for telephone numbers which need to be continuously entered, when completing the online application. This is in keeping with the requirements of the Government of India. All sections which need to be completed will be marked as mandatory. The system will not save your application if these sections are left unanswered.
17 How long will my application be available online? 
You can print your Visa Application Form within 30 calendar days of completing it online. To access your completed online application you are required to note your Web Reference number before you exit. An Email with this information will also be sent to your valid email id, if provided.
If your application is not submitted for processing within this time, the information will be purged out/deleted from our system and you will need to commence enter your details afresh.

18 I had a problem while submitting my online application and lost internet connectivity? How do I know if my application was saved?
If you have completed your application and saved it, you will have received your Web Reference Number via email as long as you have provided us with a valid email id. You can retrieve your application and complete the remaining payment procedure or additional family members’ applications, as required.

19   I have noticed that my name is mis-spelt; what should I do?
Applicants are requested to confirm their particulars on the Invoice-cum-receipt at the time of submitting their visa applications and on receipt of their Visa to ensure that there are no errors in printing.
If the particulars are incorrect, this needs to be informed to one of our team members immediately to ensure timely rectification of the same.
If you have receive these by Postal/ Courier delivery at home. Please call on our Helpline number or email us. 

20 How do I know when my application is ready for collection from the India Passport & Visa Services Centre?
You can check the status of your application online by visiting our website and entering your web reference number. You can also call our helpline on all business days between 0800 am to 02:00 pm

21 Do all the applicants need to be present at the time of collection an application
No, you can collect the application of your family member / friend / colleague as long as you have the Invoice-cum-receipt issued by us, a letter of authority from them along with Identity proof of person collecting the passport.

22 If I have opted for a Postal/Courier return but have changed my mind, can I collect my processed application in-person and have a refund of my Postal/Courier fees? 
You are requested to send us mail for Collection of passport from the visa application centre.
Please write following on your mail.
Name, Passport Number, BLS Reference Number and contact number
Note:  Personal collection can be made only on the day passport received from the mission. If this is not collected, applications will be dispatched as normal to avoid any delivery issues. Fees paid for the Postal/Courier return will not be refunded. 

22 Is there any way in which I can fast track my visa after I have applied. I’m getting a cheaper airfare if I travel earlier?
Applications which are processed as normal cannot be changed to Emergency/Urgent applications unless in a Medical or Death situation.
It is strongly recommended that applicants do not make any confirmed travel arrangements until they receive their Visas. Any loss occurring due to confirmed travel plans being made prior to receiving your Indian Visa, under any circumstances, will not be reimbursed. Please refer to the average processing timelines on our website prior to submitting your Visa Applications for processing. Our personnel in the office or at the Contact Centre cannot promise you an earlier issuance at any time. 

23 Is it mandatory to fill the visa form online now?
You are required to fill the Application form online from 25th July 2011 onwards.

24 Can I apply for my Visa manually since I don’t have access to a computer?
From 25th July 2011, all applications will have to be completed online. Manual applications form are no longer accepted by the HCI/CGI

25 Can I edit the Form once it is printed?
The online form cannot be edited once it has been printed. Please ensure that you verify all the information you enter before you finally submit the application and take a print out. IN case of an error, you would have to start a new application form.

26 How do I retrieve the form if I have not completed it?
At the start and on each subsequent page of the online form there is a unique temporary ID that is generated at the top of the page. This number must be correctly noted for you to be able to retrieve your application before it is printed.

27 I was issued a visa for a different length of time than I originally applied for, why?
Visas are issued at the HCI or Consulate's discretion. In some circumstances, visas will be issued for a length of time that is less than what was requested.

28 I have a visa, but I am now travelling for a purpose that is not covered under my current visa. Should I travel on my visa anyway, or should I apply for a new visa?
It is advised that you always travel with the type of visa that is most appropriate for your travel purpose. Immigration officials may deny entry if the type of visa does not match the purpose of the visit.

29 Can I hold two active Indian visas at the same time?
No, the Indian government will not permit two valid visas at the same time. Your currently active visa will need to be cancelled upon approval and issuance of a second visa.
Please provide request letter stating reason for not using the current visa

30 Can I apply at any of the IVACs?
No, applicants must apply at their local Visa Application Centre. Please view the jurisdiction for further information

31 Can I mail my visa application and passport to the Consulate of India?

32 Can my friend in India apply for my visa?
No, the applicant must apply for a visa in Russia

33 Can I have my passport sent to my home or work address?
Yes. The applicant can opt for the courier service after paying a nominal fee.

34 Do I have to submit my passport and visa application only at the India Visa Application Centre?
Yes, all applicants have to submit their applications at the India Visa Application Centre.

1 Whether the gap of two months between two visits would apply to all Tourist visa holders?
 The provision relating to 2 months gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the Government. It has now been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons with immediate effect.

2 Whether the restriction of two months gap for re-entering India is applicable to PIO/OCI card holders and foreigners holding business, employment, student and other categories of visa?
 The provision relating to 2 months gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the Government. It has now been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons with immediate effect.

3 How will medical tourists who return regularly to India for onward treatment be handled?
 For persons coming for medical treatment, there is a separate category of Medical Visa. Foreign nationals coming for medical treatment will have to come only on Medical Visa and not on Tourist Visa.

4 How will the family members of diplomatic households who do not qualify for diplomatic visas (e.g. older children or domestic partners) be handled?
 The family members of diplomatic households who do not qualify for diplomatic visas may have to come on an ‘Entry(X)’ Visa if eligible. If they come on Tourist Visa, the restrictions as laid down will be applicable.

5 What activities are permissible on ‘Tourist’ visa?
 Tourist Visa is granted for visiting India for recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends and relatives etc. No other activity is permissible on a Tourist Visa.

6 Can a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa indulge in Business Activation?
 No. If a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa is found to be involved in Business activities, action may be taken for visa violation.

7 Can a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa accept employment?
 No. If a person is found working, while holding ‘Tourist’ visa, he/she may be booked for visa violation.

8 If a tourist’s passport is not stamped to indicate no re-entry within two months, can the tourist assume that he will be allowed to re-enter India within two months?
 No. Even if the tourist’s passport is not stamped, the restrictions as laid down will be applicable.

9 Whether any fee is required to be charged for making the requisite endorsement on the Passport?
 Miscellaneous Consular Service fee may be charged for making an Endorsement

10 Can my tourist visa be extended while in India?
No, you need to apply for a fresh visa an at any Indian mission/ post outside India

11 I have been issued a six month visa, can I stay in India after 6 months of my arrival?
Period of stay is not calculated from the date of your entry in India but from the date of issue of Visa.

12 I wish to visit certain areas in India like Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland etc. Can I obtain a visa to visit these areas?
A tourist visa is not sufficient to visit these areas because all of these regions in India are restricted/protected areas for which it is necessary to obtain a Restricted/ Protected Area Permit (RAP/PAP). This permit can be obtained in India either from the Ministry of Home Affairs or FRRO concerned after entering India with a tourist visa. You can visit certain open areas in Sikkim for a maximum period of 15 days in case you request a 'special endorsement for Sikkim' at the time of applying for your tourist visa.

13 I will travel at a much later date could my visa be issued to with the post date of travel?
No, post dated visas are not issued. The validity of the visa begins from the date of issue only.

14 Can I get a visa on arrival to enter India?
You can obtain Tourist visa on Arrival valid for 30 days for citizen of specific countries like Finland , Japan ,Myanmar, Indonesia, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Combodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos.

 15 I have to travel to India on an emergency. Is there any extra charge for the same?
Visas are granted on holidays and after service hours in case of a genuine emergency like death or medical emergency subject to production of sufficient documentary proof. The decision of the Consular officer in this regard shall be final. Please note a tourist visa cannot be applied for under emergency procedure.

16 Can I still travel on my Indian passport on acquiring Russian Citizenship?
The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, does not allow dual citizenship. Holding Indian passport/acquiring Indian passport/ travelling on Indian passport after acquisition of foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under the Indian Passport Act, 1967, and attracts penalties.

 Under Indian law, Person whose previous nationality was Indian before acquiring any foreign Nationality, are required to surrender their Indian passports to the nearest Indian Mission/Post immediately after acquisition of foreign citizenship and obtain a surrender certificate. All applications for renunciation/surrender of Indian passports are to be made at any of the India Visa Application Centres in Russia, as per the Jurisdiction.

1 What is a Business visa?
 Business Visa is granted to a foreign national who wants to visit India to establish an industrial/business venture or to explore possibilities to set up industrial/business venture, or wants to purchase/sell industrial products in India . This Visa is granted subject to following conditions:
(i) The applicant is a person of assured financial standing and expertise in the field of the intended business.
(ii) The applicant is not visiting India for the business of money lending or petty trading, or for a full time employment in India involving payment of salary in India etc.
(iii) The facility of Business Visa will also be extended to senior executives of firms, experts, tour conductors and travel agents, etc., visiting India in connection with work related to projects of national importance, including those undertaken by public sector undertakings, and conducting business tours of foreigners or business relating to it, etc.
(iv) A foreign national will have to comply with all other requirements like payment of tax liabilities etc.
(v) The grant of Business Visa is subject to any instructions issued by the Government of India on the basis of reciprocity with other foreign countries from time to time.
(vi) The Business Visa must be issued from the country of origin, or from the country of domicile of the foreigner provided the period of permanent residence of that applicant in that particular country is for more than 2 years

2 Who are eligible for a Business visa?
 I) Foreign nationals who want to visit India to establish industrial / business venture or to explore possibilities to set up industrial / business venture in India.
ii) Foreign nationals coming to India to purchase / sell industrial products or commercial products or consumer durables.
iii) Foreign nationals coming to India for technical meetings / discussions, attending Board meetings, general meetings for providing business services support.
iv) Foreign nationals coming to India for recruitment of manpower.
v) Foreign nationals who are partners in the Business and / or functioning as Directors in the company.
vi) Foreign nationals coming to India for consultations regarding exhibitions, for participation in exhibitions, trade fairs, business fair, etc.
vii) 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.
viii) 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.
ix) Foreign nationals coming to India for pre-sales or post-sales activity not amounting to actual execution of any contract or project.
x) Foreign trainees of multinational companies / corporate houses coming for in-house training in the regional hubs of the concerned company located in India.
xi) Foreign students sponsored by AIESEC for internship on project based work in companies / industries.
xii) Foreign nationals who are coming to India on short visits to customer location to repair any plant or machinery as part of warranty or annual maintenance contracts.
xiii) Foreign engineers / technicians coming to India for installation and commissioning of equipments / machines / tools in terms of the contract for supply of such equipment / machine / tools.
xiv) Foreign experts coming to India for imparting training for the personnel of the Indian company.
xv) Foreign personnel deputed for providing technical support / services, transfer of know-how, services supplies for which the Indian company pays fees / royalty to the foreign company

3   Can foreign nationals coming to execute projects in India be granted Business Visas?
 No. A foreign national coming for executing projects/contracts will have to come only on an Employment Visa.

4 Can foreign nationals already in India for executing projects on Business Visas be allowed to extend their Business Visas?

5. Can foreign nationals already in India for executing projects on Business Visas be allowed to convert their Business Visas to Employment Visas without leaving the country?

6 Which category of Visa will be granted to family members of foreign nationals coming to India on Business Visas?
 Indian Missions may grant an ’X’ Visa [i.e. a Dependent Visa] to the family members of a foreign national granted a Business Visa at their discretion, subject to usual security checks provided the family members are otherwise eligible for grant of such a Visa

7   Can a business visa be extended in India?
 Yes directly at the Ministry External Affairs and the second time at the nearest local FRRO

8   I travel to India frequently for business meetings/to explore opportunities for partnerships with Indian companies. Which visa should I apply for?
You may apply for a business visa valid for multiple entries for either six months or one year along with the requisite documents as per the checklist. Kindly note, that a Business Visa does not permit you to work in India. In case you wish to work in India, you should apply for an Employment Visa.

1 What is the duration of an Employment visa?
A Foreign national coming to India for employment may initially be granted an Employment visa by the Indian Missions abroad up to one year. The first extension, if necessary, would be granted by MHA. Further extensions, if required, can be granted by concerned State Government / FRO up to maximum period of five years from the date of issue of the visa. Foreigners coming on Employment visa are required to register with concerned FRRO / FRO within two weeks from the date of arrival.

2 Whether a foreign company/organization that does not have any Project Office/subsidiary/joint venture/branch office in India can sponsor a foreign National/ employee of a foreign company for Employment visa?

3 Whether an Indian company/organization which has awarded a contract for execution of a project to a foreign company that does not have any base in India, can sponsor employee of foreign company for Employment visa?

4 If the Indian organization/entity sponsors an Employment Visa, does this mean that the Indian organization/entity has to necessarily be the legal employer of the person?

5 Which category of Visa will be granted to the foreign language teachers/interpreters?
Employment Visa

6 Which category of Visa will be granted to the foreign specialist Chefs?
Employment   Visa.

7 Which type of Visa would be granted to senior management personnel and/or specialists employed by foreign firms who are relocated to India to work on specific Project/management assignment?
Employment Visa

8 I will be going to India for work/employment along with my family. Which visa should I apply for? Would my children be able to study in India?
You must apply for an employment visa along with the requisite documents. Once your visa application is approved, your wife and children may apply for entry visas in case they are accompanying you on your stay in India. Your children will be able to secure admission in schools/colleges in India once they have been granted entry visas. Kindly note, that you have to undergo mandatory registration formalities at the nearest office of the FRRO/FRO within 14 days of your arrival in India if you are planning to stay in the country for a period longer than 180 days.

9 Whether a foreign national who has come on Employment Visa to work in one company/organization change his employment to another company/organization within the visa validity period during his stay in India?
No change of employer shall be permitted during the currency of the Employment Visa within India except in respect of change of employment between a registered holding company and its subsidiary and vice-versa or between subsidiaries of a registered holding company. The change of employment in such cases could be considered subject to the following conditions:
(a) Prior permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs is required for change of employment.
(b) The change of employment would be permitted at a senior level e.g. .managerial or a senior executive position and/or at a skilled position e.g. a technical expert.
(c) The foreign national concerned will have to fulfil all other conditions Stipulated for grant of Employment Visa
(d) A certificate from the holding company, that the company in which the change of employment has been requested, is a subsidiary of the holding company.
(e) No objection from the company from where the foreigner is seeking change of employment.
(f) Justification from the holding company warranting change of employment.
(g) Change of employment between the holding company and its subsidiary
and vice versa or between two subsidiaries may be permitted only once during the currency of 5 years on Employment Visa
(h)Change of employment would not entitle the foreigner to stay in India for a period of 5 years from the date of change of employment. The residency of 5 years on Employment Visa would commence from the date of issue of the original Employment Visa.
(i) The change of employment would be subject to approval and satisfaction of the competent authority.

10 Can I work in India?
Yes. With a valid employment visa only.

1 I will be changing flights/airports in India to travel to my final destination (say Nepal, Thailand etc.) Do I need a visa to change flights/airport terminals?
You need to apply for a transit visa if you are going to change from an international terminal to a domestic terminal of any Indian airport or if you are going to stay in an airport hotel even for a few hours. You don't need a transit visa if you stay in the waiting area reserved for international transit passengers in an Indian airport. Note that you can stay for a maximum period of 72 hours in India on a transit visa. You should have a confirmed air ticket for the onward journey

1  I have to participate in a Conference/Seminar/Workshop in India. Which visa should I apply for?
You should apply for a Conference Visa to enable you to participate in the Conference/Seminar/ Workshop along with invitation letter, details of the Conference etc. Clearance from competent authority from India is required.

2 Who are eligible for a Conference visa?
A Conference visa is granted to a foreigner:
(i) Whose sole objective of visiting India is to attend a conference / seminar or workshop being held in India;
(ii) Who holds a valid passport, and a re-entry permit if that is required under the law of the country of nationality of the applicant;
(iii) Who is not a persona-non-grata to the Government of India;
(iv)  Who is not considered an undesirable person and is not the subject of a negative list or any warning circular or other restrictive list; and
(v) Who is a person of assured financial standing (the production of a return ticket and availability of sufficient money to spend during his stay in India may be considered sufficient for this purpose).

3 What is the duration of the Conference visa?
Conference visa will be issued for the duration of the conference and the travelling time. However, the delegates coming to attend conference etc. in India can combine tourism with attending the conference. Missions can, at their discretion, grant visas for the required period. Such visa shall not exceed maximum validity of Tourist Visa, i.e. 6 months subject to usual conditions applicable for grant of the Tourist visa.

1 I have to go for internship/training in a university/institute/company in India for a short period. Which visa should I apply for?
You should apply for an entry visa along with a copy of the offer letter stating the terms of internship. You may also be required to submit a copy of the inter-university student exchange agreement if the proposed internship is a component of such an agreement. You would be required to submit proof of financial standing to support your stay in India. If you receive any monetary compensation/salary from the Indian organisation, you will have to apply for a business visa.

1 I will be studying in India for one semester/trimester in an IIT/IIM/IISc/Indian university. Which visa should I apply for?

Ans : You should apply for a student visa along with a copy of the letter from the institute/university confirming your acceptance as a student. You would also be required to submit proof of financial standing to support your stay in India.

2 Can I study in India?

Ans : Yes. With a valid student visa.

3 What are the formalities that foreign students should do on arrival?

Ans : A. Foreign students holding Student Visa of more than 180 days are required to register himself/herself with the local FRRO/FRO within 14 days of arrival.

1. I have a valid India visa on an old passport that has been renewed or replaced. Can I travel to India with both passports, or should I apply for a new visa?
You need to transfer the visa from the old passport to the new passport. The name on both passports must match. Please review the Transfer of Visa requirements for more information.