India tightens in-country compliance and registration requirements.

Under the Indian Bureau of Immigration’s general policy, all foreign nationals who arrive on a visa valid for more than 180 days and who expect to remain in India for more than 180 consecutive days during a single visit or stay must register at the designated registration office in the place of residence.

Until recently, employment visa holders intending to remain in India for more than 180 consecutive days were required to register (unless otherwise indicated on their visa endorsement). However, now all foreign nationals with employment or visas that are valid for more than 180 days must register with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival in India.

Accompanying spouses and dependents who intend to reside in India also must register. Such individuals now must submit additional documents at the time of registration. For example, a spouse on a dependent visa must present the original civil marriage certificate authenticated with an apostille. In cases where a country does not issue apostilles, the certificate must be legalized by an appropriate Indian consular post. A dependent spouse also must provide a “no work” letter to the FRRO confirming that he or she will not engage in any productive work while residing in India. Currently, the FRROs are not asking for authenticated birth certificates for dependent children, but this could change with little or no advance notice.

List of Mandatory Documents

The following documents are required at almost all the FRROs when registering on an employment visa:

  1. Original valid passports and Indian employment visa;
  2. Four passport-size photographs;
  3. Three copies of the applicant’s passport;
  4. Copy of applicant’s Indian visa;
  5. A letter from the Indian employer, requesting registration;
  6. A letter of undertaking signed by an Indian national working with the company in India assuming full responsibility for the applicant;
  7. Proof of police verification;
  8. Proof of residence address;
  9. Evidence of C-Form compliance if staying at a hotel;
  10. Employment contract;
  11. Proof of compliance with Indian income tax if the applicant has worked in India in the past; and
  12. A copy of the applicant’s earlier registration booklet if he or she has been registered in the past.

The following additional documents are required at some FRROs:

  1. Details of the applicant’s movable and immovable property;
  2. A copy of the applicant’s Permanent Account Number (PAN) card or proof of having applied for a PAN card;
  3. Monthly salary certificate;
  4. A certificate from the Indian company stating that no qualified Indians were available for the proffered job;
  5. A copy of a major utility bill from the landlord of the leased premises where the applicant is residing (if applicable);
  6. A copy of the Indian company registration certificate; and
  7. Evidence of Tenant Information Form compliance.

The following documents are required at almost all the FRROs when registering on an entry (dependent) visa:

  1. Original valid passport and Indian employment visa;
  2. Four passport-size photographs;
  3. Three copies of the applicant’s passport;
  4. Copy of applicant’s Indian visa;
  5. A letter from the principal applicant’s Indian employer, requesting registration of the dependent;
  6. A letter of undertaking signed by an Indian national working with the company in India assuming full responsibility for the applicant;
  7. Proof of police verification;
  8. Proof of residence address;
  9. Copy of marriage certificate (needs an apostille for some FRROs); and
  10. A copy of the applicant’s earlier registration booklet if he or she has been registered in the past.

The following additional documents are required at some FRROs:

  1. Details of the applicant’s movable and immovable property;
  2. A copy of a major utility bill from the landlord of the leased premises where the applicant is residing (if applicable);
  3. Evidence of Tenant Information Form compliance.
  4. Declaration from spouse that he or she will not undertake any business or work-related activities while in India.

Visa Extensions

Per recent changes, all employment visa applications must include the following additional documents:

Foreign nationals granted employment visas before October 2010, who earned an annual salary of less than US $25,000 (approximately INR 1,145,000) must ask their Indian host company for a salary attestation declaration from the appropriate Employee’s Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) confirming that the employee will earn at least US $25,000 for the coming year.

The Indian host company must supply a confirmation letter that no qualified Indian national workers are readily available to assume the employment visa holder’s current position as their specialized knowledge services continue to be required in India.

An employment visa holder must submit a photocopy of his or her PAN card or evidence of official registration for a PAN card, along with a duly signed and stamped income letter by the Indian host company confirming the itemized remuneration paid to the foreign national employee, including his or her annual base salary, allowances, and any bonuses to be paid for the coming year.

Spouses renewing their dependent visas must submit their authenticated marriage certificate. Those whose renewal applications are already filed with the FRRO should check whether their marriage certificate will be required. Those submitting their renewal applications but who do not possess their marriage certificate should submit a letter confirming that they will obtain appropriate certification as soon as possible.

Dependents also must submit a “no work” letter to the FRRO confirming that they will not engage in any productive work while resident in India.

Documentation Tip

All FRROs have not publicized or updated their websites to reflect these changes and seem to be asking for additional documents in an ad hoc fashion. It is best to be prepared with all the documents that may be needed, irrespective of the specific requirements of any FRRO, so that they are available if required at short notice.