The registration process for foreigners to apply for an Indian Employment Visa has gone through a major change. Whereas earlier the first in-country encounter the expatriates had with the Indian bureaucracy was at the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO), they’ll now be able to complete the administration process online. This change was implemented on February 12, 2018. Foreigners can now register their visa, request a new visa, or even extend their visa using this easy portal, and not have to deal with the long FRRO process many often complain about. In spite of this upgrade, advisors should be hired by employers and foreign professionals to manage and review the visa applications in order to avoid registration delays or an investigation.

Supporting documents should be provided by both the visa holder as well as the employer. Both the parties should coordinate to gather the documents and submit them accordingly.

The documents that the visa holder needs to provide include:

  • A completed visa registration application form
  • Six passport size photos
  • A copy of both the visa page and the photo page within the passport
  • Proof of address
  • Notarised copy of a lease agreement or a C-Form from a hotel of residence
  • Visa registration fees

The employer requires to submit the following:

  • A permission letter requesting the approval for the applicant’s visa registration (two copies)
  • A sponsorship letter pledging responsibility for the applicant’s activity while in India and a promise to send back the applicant at company cost in case of any adverse conduct (two copies)
  • A letter confirming the visa holder’s Indian residential address (two copies)
  • An employment contract specifying the monthly salary, designation, tenure of employment, etc.
  • Incorporation Certificate of the company

While double copies aren’t required by the authorities, it’s better if the employee too has a copy of each of the documents for their personal record. Barring the Incorporation Certificate, the applicants should possess the original copy of all the documents, which have been signed by a senior manager, drafted on company letterhead, and marked with the company’s official stamp.

While registering through the online portal, both the employers and the visa holders should make sure that all the documents submitted are correct. These are the steps that should be followed and kept in mind:

  • The foreign national must first create a user ID and password on the FRRO portal
  • The online application form must be filled
  • A passport size photo in .jpg format, with the file size not exceeding 1MB, is required for the application
  • The fee should be paid online

The application status can be looked upon the FRRO website. The document will then be sent to the delivery address provided by the applicant, or to the registered email address. The applicant can also download it from the online portal. If the applicant wishes to apply for a visa by visiting the FRRO, he/she should be prepared to wait for a considerable amount of time, since it can often be a long and tedious process.

Companies often employ local visa consultants, most of who are certified lawyers, to help make the foreign national’s registration process easier. This process can be quite cumbersome for freshly arrived expatriates, but it also provides them an insight into the Indian bureaucratic system. Additionally, it also reflects the time and energy required for doing business with the local government offices, which can turn out to be some truly useful information.