Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Visa-related Issues

We have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions by expats concerning their visas in India. The answers have been provided in consultation with the immigration experts of Santa Fe Relocation Services and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Bangalore.


Q. I’m on an employment visa and my son is on a tourist visa. Can I get his visa converted to a dependent visa so he can stay longer with us?

A. Provided your son is below 18 years old, yes he can convert his visa to dependent visa. But he cannot do the visa conversion in India. He has to go back to your home country first and apply for a new dependent visa.

Q. Can I change my employment visa from one employer to another without leaving the country? 

A. No. You have to go back to your home country and apply for a new employment visa under another employer and sponsor.

Q.  What if the new employer is my own company, do I still have to exit? 

A.  Yes, you have to exit and apply for a new visa under your new company.


Q.  Can a spouse who is on a dependent or X visa work or do business in India?

A.   No. If a person holding a Dependent’ visa is found working or involved in business activities, action may be taken for visa violation.


Q. Can a person holding a ‘Tourist’ visa accept employment?

A.  No. If a person is found working, while holding a Tourist visa, he/she may be booked for visa violation.

Q. I was in India on a Tourist visa one month ago. Can I go back again with a new tourist visa after just a one-month gap?

A.   The 2-month gap rule on Tourist visas was abolished in late November 2012. You can now re-enter India with a Tourist visa without the two-month gap.

Q. I have a six-month tourist visa.  In between, can I make a side trip to a nearby country like Thailand or Sri Lanka and re-enter India?

A.   Yes, you can, provided you have a multiple or a double entry tourist visa. If you have a single entry tourist visa, though the date is still valid, it becomes invalid as soon as you exit India.


Q.  Are language translators exempted from the $25,000 salary rule to qualify for an Employment visa?

A.  Only language teachers and ethnic cooks are exempted from the $25,000 annual salary.

Q.  I am on a business visa. Can I have my children stay with me in India with a dependent’s visa? 

A.  They can, but their visa is always co-terminus with your visa. If they are studying in India, it’s better to get them a separate student visa.


Q. What are the first steps I should take if I want to register at the FRRO?

A.  (1) Submit your online application form at this link: 
      (2) Upload your photo and documentary requirements
      (3) Set an appointment and print your filled out application form.
      (4) Download the requirements from this link:
      (5) Complete all the documentary requirements and bring it with you when you go to the FRRO for registration. There is no fee for registration. But if you are late in your registration, you will have to pay the penalty fee of USD 30. This fee can be revised from time to time.

Q. I was given a 6-month business visa. There is a note which says, "Registration required within 14 days of arrival in India for visas valid for more than 180 days." I do not intend to stay for more than 180 days at a stretch in India. Do I still need to register?

A.  For as long as you do not stay for 180 days, you do not need to register. If you have plans of extending this business visa, then you definitely need to register within 14 days of arrival in India.

Q. I have a one-year employment visa and failed to register within 14 days of arrival in India.  Will I be penalized?

A.   No fee is charged for registration, but a penalty in Indian currency equivalent to USD 30, in case of late registration is charged. This fee can be revised from time to time.

Q. I am on a long-term Entry (X) visa. Do I need to register with the FRRO if I am not staying for more than 180 days in a single visit?

A.  Foreigners visiting India on long term Entry(X) visa would not require registration with the concerned FRROs/FROs if the duration of his/her stay does not exceed 180 days on a single visit. In case a foreigner intends to stay for more than 180 days on a single visit he should get himself registered well before the expiry of 180 days.


Q. How many times or for how long can I extend a business visa or an employment visa?

A.  For as long as you meet all the requirements to qualify for a business or employment visa extension, it can be renewed as many times within 5 years from the original date of visa issuance from your home country, or two months before the expiry of your passport. After 5 years of extension or if your passport is expiring, you definitely need to exit India and apply for a new visa from your home country.

Q. How soon can I apply for a visa extension before the expiry date of my visa?

A.  You may apply for extension of residential permit or visa at least 60 days before the date of expiry of your visa.

Q. I am on a student visa but the expiry date is one week before my final exams in school.  I cannot leave India before then.  My passport is also nearing expiry hence I would not qualify for a visa extension.

A.  You can apply for an exit permit at the FRRO with an attached letter explaining the reason for the overstay, and a letter from your school attesting that you had to take the exams at that particular date. As long as it is a legitimate reason, they will not give you any trouble.


Q. Why is it that though my Business Visa is valid for one year, there is a fine print which says my visit to India should not exceed 60 days?
A. This means that you cannot stay for more than 60 days every time you enter India. If you want to stay longer in India, the Indian government is encouraging business owners to shift to employment visa. Under employment visa, you can stay for one year at a stretch. The bottomline is, you will be paying the Indian government more taxes under an Employment Visa.

Email if you have other questions concerning your visa. If you have a "special case" which requires more specific answers and documentary assistance, we can refer to you some reliable immigration experts. 

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