Immigration Provisions In India

In today’s era of globalization people migrate to a different country in significant numbers. Lead India lawyers are experts in interpreting the immigration laws and policies. Foreign nationals are strictly required to adhere to laws for the purpose of visit while submitting the visa application.

Rules & Regulations for immigrants:

  1. The Passport (Entry in India) Act, 1920
  2. The Foreigners Act, 1946
  3. The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and The Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992
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With the process of globalisation, there has been a huge upsurge in the migration of individuals to other countries for better economic, political as well as social stability. India, being a country of mixed race as well as religion and culture, serves as a centre of attraction for several immigrants from other countries as well. Immigration can be defined as the process of movement of individuals from one country to another for the purpose of long-term settlement.

One of the most common issues faced by immigrants is acquiring citizenship of the country to which they intend to travel and reside. This includes the challenge of availing fundamental rights of the country to which the individuals have migrated. Several laws, as well as policies, have been formulated concerning the immigrants by addressing these issues. In India, the provisions of the Constitution of India govern immigration laws.

Categories Of Immigration

A valid Indian Visa along with a valid passport of the country to which the foreigner belongs must be carried at all times by the foreigner while visiting India. The foreigner will be deported at an instance if they are found with a visa not bearing valid dates as well as number of entries.

  • Immigrant- When an individual migrates from any other country to India with the intention of residing permanently, such individual is known as an immigrant.
  • Non-Immigrant- If an individual visit India for a short period of time and has no such intention of residing permanently in India, are categorized as a non-immigrant.
  • Overseas Citizen of India- Except for Pakistan and Bangladesh, foreigners who are of Indian origin must carry the Overseas Citizen Card provided certain conditions have been fulfilled. An individual is allowed to hold dual citizenship under the Overseas Citizen of India Card if dual citizenship is allowed.

Immigrant Visas

There are several kinds of Immigrant Visas such as long-term visas, student visas, medical visas, research visas as well as an employment visa.

  • Employment Visa is granted to employees or interns of an Indian organization. In the case where individuals travel to India for any volunteer work which is registered with Non-Government Organisation (NGO), then a special endorsement is required on the employment visa stating “To work with NGO”. Notwithstanding the duration of the contract, an employment visa is granted for 1 year. This visa can be extended for a maximum of 5 years.
Eligibility conditions for employment Visa- 

Based on the following conditions, foreign nationals are eligible for employment visas-

  • The individual is a professional or qualified expert who has been appointed or engaged by an Indian organization. Such foreigners may be hired by any Indian organization at a higher position based on their employment.
  • Any other competent individual must not be present in India for the job for which the foreign national has been hired.
  • An employment visa is not granted in case of any routine or clerical or secretarial work.
  • All the essential and applicable legal requirements must be complied with by such individuals.
  • After providing all the supporting documents necessary for the visa, a thorough check is performed before deciding the category of the visa.
  • The individual must be employed by an Indian organization or by a foreign organization that is committed to completing some venture within India.

Non-Immigrant Visa

Unlike Immigrant Visa, the duration for staying allowed on this visa is less than or equal to 180 days. Non-Immigrant Visas include business visas, conference visas, student or research visa,s etc.

Business Visas are granted to the individuals having the intention to visit India for the purpose of business such as contract on behalf of an organization, meetings, for sale purposes, monitoring the supplies, etc.

Eligibility conditions for Business Visa-
  • Visiting for setting up a business or industrial ventures or for exploring other opportunities.
  • Visiting for the purpose of selling, purchasing any industrial or consumer products.
  • Visiting for the purpose of transacting business with the suppliers or assessing the quality of products or negotiating deals.
  • The individual must not visit India with the intention of lending money or petty trading.
  • No full-time employment shall be given to such individuals that involve payment of salary in India.
  • All the regulatory requirements such as payment of tax liabilities must be complied with by the individual.

Requirements By Passengers Arriving Or Departing India

Every passenger, Indian, or foreigner goes through the immigration check while arriving in the country or departing from the country. They are required to carry a duly stamped passport while arriving as well as at the time of departure.

Any individual, Indian, or foreigner who visits India or moves from India to another country is required to fill out Disembarkation and Embarkation Cards while arriving or departing from India respectively. These cards must contain the following details filled by foreigners as well as Indians who are moving to other countries.

  • Name and Sex
  • Date of Birth, Nationality
  • Passport Details such as Number, Dates of Issue
  • Address in India
  • Occupation
  • Flight Number, Date of Arrival / Date of boarding & port of final destination
  • Countries visited during the last six days for arriving Indians
  • Purpose to Visit abroad

Indian Visa

All foreign visitors require a visa for legally entering into the Indian borders. However, this is not applicable in the case of citizens of Nepal and Bhutan. The visa provides a period of 180 days or 6 months for staying in the country.  However, if a visa for an extended period (more than 180 days) of stay is required, the applicant must register themselves with the Foreign Regional Registration Offices (FRRO).

Rules And Regulations Concerning Immigrants

For regularising the procedure to avail citizenship by foreigners, certain acts have been passed.

  • Passport Act 1920- This Act is also known as the Entry in India Act, where a foreigner is required to obtain a visa from India in order to reside in India. This Act makes provisions for submitting certain documents while traveling as well as being allowed into the country. 
  • Foreigners Act 1946- The entry, as well as the residence of the foreigners within the border of the country, is regulated under this Act till their departure from the country.
  • Registration of Foreigner Act 1939 and Registration of Foreigners Rules 1992- The foreigner who visits the country for a short period, however, stays beyond the period specified in their visa is required to register with the Registration Officer.
  • Immigration (Carriers’ liability) Act 2000- In order to confront the issue of the arrival of a large number of passengers in the absence of valid documents required for traveling, this Act was enacted.

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FAQs On Immigration Issue

A foreigner can stay in India for a maximum period of 180 days.
ECR (Emigration Check Required) Passports are required by Indians who wish to travel to certain countries for employment.
Foreigners may become Indian citizens by naturalisation after residing in the country for at least 12 years and renouncing any previous nationalities.
No dual citizenship is not allowed in India. So people seeking citizenship in other countries must give up their Indian passport as per law.
Immigrant visas can start the process for permanent resident status, but they do not provide resident status themselves. A green card is a physical card that represents the holder's right to permanently live and work within the United States.

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