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India – Preparing for an Employment Visa Extension

The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) which is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) has been authorized by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to carry out registration and visa extension formalities for foreign nationals who are in India on long term visas.

An application for an employment visa extension application may be submitted within a window of fifteen (15) to sixty (60) days prior to the expiry of the visa.  It is possible to get an extension of the employment visa in India for an additional 12-month period enabling the individual to remain in India for up to a cumulative five years from the date of issue of the initial visa. The visa extension procedure and processing time differ in every jurisdiction within India.

In an attempt to ease visa related formalities for foreign nationals in India, the BoIlaunched ‘e-Services’ in February 2018. Through this effort, in-country registration and visa extension formalities have now been made an online procedure thus eliminating the need for foreign nationals to visit the FRRO/FRO in person. Foreign nationals may be required to visit the FRRO/FRO for an interview only if asked to do so. All messages regarding the status of the application are sent to the foreign national directly via email or through a text message on their registered Indian cell phone number. Once the application has been approved, the Registration Certificate or Stay Visa (evidencing extension of the visa) is emailed to the foreign national.The status is also be uploaded on the FRRO’s e-services portal.

It is important to note that the foreign national must remain in India from the time the application is submitted until the time the service has been granted. Departure from India while the extension application is under process results in the lapse of the extension application. If the individual wishes to leave the country while the extension application is under process and the current visa has expired, an Exit Permit/Visa must be procured from the FRRO/FROand the foreign national will need a new visa to return to India.

Sandhya Maggidi