Any individual who wishes to enter India requires a Visa to do so, and different Visas are issued depending on the purpose of visit stated on the Visa application. If a person wishes to enter India to study, for example, he/she would be issued a Student Visa, those who want to see the sights or visit friends and family would be issued a Tourist Visa, and those who wish to pursue commercial activity are issued Business Visas.
Business Visas are issued to those whose reasons for visiting the country are 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. This should not be confused with an Employment visa, which is to be applied for by those entering the country to work as employees or on a contract basis, drawing a regular salary.
Even large manufacturing companies and engineering establishments send their representatives/salesmen/executives to the country to promote and sell their goods/buy large quantities of Indian-made products through a Business Visa.
Business Visa holders that have dependents or travelling companions that don’t fit the requirements for a Business Visa should apply for an Entry Visa for their dependents.
Validity Of Business Visa
The duration of a Business Visa’s 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 Business Visa approved with a validity of up to 10 years, if need be.
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 with a clause that allows for multiple entries.
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.
Eligibility for Business Visa
Given below are details of the types of persons that are eligible to receive a Business Visa to India:
- 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.).
Business Visa Extension
The Ministry of Home Affairs grants the first extension of a Business Visa. Any further extensions are granted by respective State Governments, Union Territory Administrations, FROs, FRRS, on a year-on-year basis as the requirement may be.
Business Visas that have been granted with a validity of less than 5 years can be renewed to be valid for an extended period of up to 5 years, if the foreign national procures all necessary documents that support the business activity and submits the same in order as required.
Any foreign national who has been granted a business visa has managed to generate a gross sales/turnover of at least Rs.1 crore per annum within 2 years of setting up the business in India.
Conditions Under Which Business Visa Is Granted:
The approval and grant of a Business Visa is subject to 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, if any, 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.
Acquiring a Business Visa to India is simply a matter of being able to prove that:
- The trip is to potentially generate commerce and trade in a way that would benefit India, its foreign exchange, and its development.
- The trip is totally legal and the traveler has no outstanding legal liabilities or criminal cases.
- The traveler can fund his/her stay in India without having to seek employment.
- The traveler does not seek to be employed in India using a Business Visa.
- The traveler is either travelling to establish a business, conduct research for business, help an Indian concern establish business, establish trade, or service business machinery that helps facilitate business activities in India.