Indian Business Visas are issued to those foreign nationals who wish to travel to India to promote, negotiate, research, or establish any part of a profit-making business venture in India. Business Visas are also issued to those who are travelling to establish business relations or to make contact with existing businesses in India, in order to eventually start a profit-making business venture in India.
Business Visas are not to be confused with Employment Visas which are issued to those travelling to take up permanent, contractual, or consultant-based employment in India, and who’ve been sponsored by an Indian business, NGO, industry, etc.
Given below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Indian Business Visa:
- What is an Indian Business Visa?
- Who is eligible for a Business Visa to India? What purpose of travel is considered valid for the issue of an Indian ?
Any foreign national wishing to travel to India must do so one some kind of Visa. The Business Visa is designed to allow foreign nationals to travel to the country if they wish to study, research, establish contact, negotiate, supply, purchase, or establish any profit-generating business establishment in India.
The Business Visa is a multiple entry Visa meaning that holders of this Visa can travel in and out of the country for as long as the Business Visa is valid, provided they are doing so for business-related purposes.
Business Visas are issued to those whose purpose for travel to India can be classified into any of the below situations:
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India for the purpose of exploring the feasibility and viability of establishing business ventures in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to establish business ventures in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India for the purpose of exploring the feasibility and viability of establishing industrial/manufacturing ventures in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to establish industrial/manufacturing ventures in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to purchase industrial, commercial, or consumer products and durables.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to sell industrial, commercial, or consumer products and durables.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to hold technical meetings, knowledge transfers, discussions, etc. for businesses and ventures that are either actively functioning in India or are planning to establish themselves in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to attend board meetings, general meetings, etc. for providing business support to ventures that are actively functioning in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to recruit manpower.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India because they are partners, directors, or functioning executives in a company that runs business operations in India.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India for consultations, feasibility studies, etc. for exhibitions, trade fairs, etc.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to participate in any capacity in exhibitions, trade fairs, etc.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to evaluate potential suppliers of goods or business products.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India to transact and negotiate with suppliers of goods or business goods.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India in order to communicate specifications, place orders, and monitor the quality of goods for which orders have been placed for goods to be supplied from India.
- Foreign Nationals and foreign subject matter experts who wish to travel to India to monitor the progress of any work licensed in India and to provide technical guidance on the same.
- Foreign Nationals who wish to travel to India conduct pre-sales activities like market studies, surveys, etc. which may or may not amount to the execution of a project or sale.
- Foreign National trainees of multinational companies or corporate entities that wish to travel to India for hands-on experience or in-house training for the company’s arm in India.
- AIESEC sponsored foreign students that wish to travel to India for internships or project work in any industry or company present in India.
- Tour conductors, travel agents, senior executives, subject matter experts, etc. that wish to travel to India for any work which has been deemed to be of national importance (including those ventures taken on by public sector undertakings, etc.).
Those foreign nationals that wish to travel to India on a Business Visa must first ensure that they meet the following conditions:
- Applicants must be of ‘assured financial standing’ and must have a certain level of expertise and knowledge in their intended field of business activity.
- Applicants must not be in the business of petty lending or money lending, and must not intend to travel to India for the purpose of establishing such activities.
- Applicants must not be in search of full-time employment in India which involves the regular payment of salary, etc.
- Applicants must adhere to all rules and must comply with the payment of tax liabilities, as applicable, and other dues.
- Indian Business Visas are granted only after following the strict instructions set forth by the Government of India, based on reciprocity and relations with certain foreign countries, as they may stand from time to time.
- Indian Business Visas are granted to foreign nationals in their country of domicile or country of origin, as the case may be, provided the total period of permanent residence of the foreign national in a particular country is over 2 years.
While the total period of stay in India is limited to 6 months at a time for those that enter on Business Visas, an Indian Business Visa may be valid for one year or more.
Business Visa validity is based on the purpose for which it is required. Foreign businessmen who have set up/intend to set up joint business ventures in India can have a multiple-entry approved with a validity of up to 10 years, if need be.
It should be noted that the duration of the Visa starts on the date of issuance, and not on the date of first entry into India using that Visa.
The first validity extension of the Business Visa is granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and all further validity extensions are processed by the relevant State Government, FRRO, FRO, etc. as the case may be. These extensions are done on a year-on-year basis.
The following list contains the documents required to be submitted at the time of applying for a Business Visa to India:
- Properly filled out Business Visa application form.
- A valid travel document and re-entry permit from the applicant’s country of origin or country of domicile (if the applicant has been residing in the country of domicile for at least 2 years).
- Documents that prove the financial standing of the foreign national.
- Documents that confirm or establish that the foreign national has some expertise in the intended field of business.
- Copy of valid passport with at least 6 months validity, to be renewed before travelling.
Any dependents and family members of the primary Business Visa holder who wish to accompany the latter into India should apply for an Entry Visa (designated as ‘X’ Visa).
X Visas held by dependents of Business Visa holders who are accompanying the latter into India will be valid for as long as the Business Visa is valid, or for a shorter time period, as will be decided by the Visa issuing authority.
Any extended delay in communication from the officials, or any difficulty faced in the Visa application process can be detailed in an email and sent to the relevant Indian Mission or Post abroad, or directly to the Joint Secretary (CPV), Ministry of External Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants can also reach out to the Deputy Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs at email@example.com.
There is some confusion that exists about the distinction between Business Visas and Employment Visas to India. These are two very different Visas issued for very different purposes.
The basic difference between both these Visas is this:
- A is given to those foreign nationals who wish to travel to India to promote, establish, or negotiate business-related activities in India. Even people who want to establish contact for future business relations are allowed to travel on this Visa. Large manufacturing companies and engineering establishments, etc. use Business Visas to send their representatives/salesmen/executives to the country to promote and sell their goods/buy large quantities of Indian-made products.
- An Employment Visa is issued to those foreign nationals who wish to travel to India in order to be employed by a business concern or NGO functioning in India. The intention of these Visa applicants is not to establish business communication or establish a business itself in India, but to contribute their knowledge, skill, and experience in a professional capacity to an existing business, NGO, corporation, etc. or for the completion or execution of projects.