Moving to Mumbai?
Mumbai Expat Info: Visas and Registration
Applying for Visas — Come Prepared
Expats moving to Mumbai to take up employment should experience few difficulties getting a visa, as skilled immigration is generally encouraged by the Indian government. Please consult your local Indian Embassy or Consulate for detailed information on visa categories and the application process.
The following visa categories might be relevant for expats. The application forms can be requested from an Indian diplomatic mission or filled in via the Indian visa online portal. Bring the completed form to your appointment at the embassy or consulate along with your passport, two passport-sized photographs, and supporting documentation.
Which Documents Go with Which Visa Type?
- A business visa is aimed at foreign entrepreneurs wishing to set up a business or an industrial venture. The application must be supported by a letter from your company explaining the nature of the business and the intention and duration of your stay, together with a signed letter of invitation from an Indian company. Crucially, you may not undertake full-time employment while in Mumbai on a business visa.
- An employment visa is initially granted for one year, but expats can apply for an extension at their local FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). This visa is for highly skilled expats sent to India on an assignment or with a job offer from an Indian company, with an annual salary of at least 25,000 USD. Proof of employment is required in the form of a signed work contract, as well as proof of academic and/or professional qualifications. An employment visa can also be granted to foreigners wishing to take up volunteer work with a registered NGO for an initial period of one year.
- Journalists and professional photographers must always apply for a journalist visa, which is valid for up to three months. If you come to carry out journalistic work, you need a letter from your employer with details of the assignment. You must register with the Press Information Bureau of the Government of India and obtain a PIB card before taking up any media-related work. Journalists on private travel must sign a statement to that effect.
- If you have an invitation to an official conference, seminar, or workshop, please apply for a conference visa. NGO-sponsored conferences need special approval from the ministry in question.
- Only workers in the power and steel industries fall into the eligibility category of a project visa.
- Research professors, scientists, and scholars can obtain a research visa upon submission of a research proposal, a letter of admission from a university, and proof of sufficient funds. The visa is valid for a period of three years or the length indicated in the research proposal, whichever is earlier.
- Family members of a foreigner employed in India can apply for an entry visa. The documents required in support of the application vary according to the purpose of the visit. If you are the spouse of an expat sent to Mumbai, you need to attach your marriage certificate, birth certificate in the case of children, as well as a copy of your spouse’s employment contract and employment visa.
Getting Registered in Mumbai
As a rule of thumb, all foreigners who intend to stay in India for more than 180 days must register at their nearest Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival. The FRRO in Mumbai is located on the third floor of the Mumbai Police Special Branch Building, near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on Badaruddin Tayabji Marg, behind St Xavier’s College (office hours are from 09:30 to 13:00).
Fill out and print several copies of the required online registration form before going to the FRRO. Moreover, you have to schedule your appointment online via the same website. You can normally choose between three different days for your appointment. Print out the confirmation message and take it with you to the FRRO.
As waiting times can be rather long, make sure you bring all the required documents with you as well as the completed registration form and fee:
- your passport
- four recent passport-sized photographs
- several photocopies of the photo, visa, and Indian Immigration entry stamp pages in your passport
- proof of your residential address in India (the original and several copies)
Other documents may be required depending on your type of visa. Just in case, bring along at least three copies of each of the following supporting documents:
- your job contract, including salary details (for employment visas)
- your application for a PAN card (i.e. an Indian tax ID number) (for employment/business visas)
- a signed letter from your Indian employer or business partner, with their full name, title, position, and contact information (employment/business visas)
- your admission document/bona fide certificate from an Indian university (student visas)
Take note that for employment and business visas you need to already have applied for a tax ID number before heading to the FRRO office. This is something your company can help you obtain.
Registration Certificates: Your Ticket to Living in India
Every foreigner receives a registration certificate and residential permit, which they must be able to produce if asked to do so by a magistrate or police constable. The registration certificates must be returned to the FRRO when expats leave India for good.
Changes of address, absences from your registered address for more than eight weeks, and requests for visa extensions must also be reported or submitted to the FRRO. If you would like to extend your residence permit, visit the FRRO at least two months before its expiry.
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