A Tourist Visa is the most popular option among individuals who wish to visit India. Now, while the Tourist Visa enables one to get quick entry into the country, it does have certain limitations, which are negated by the X or Entry Visa. An X Visa is a special visa granted to individuals of Indian origin or to foreigners who have married Indian nationals. Foreigners who find themselves in a situation where their Tourist Visa is expiring can look at the X or Entry Visa as an alternate to stay in the country for a longer period of time.
Who Can Convert Their Tourist Visa To An X Visa
Not all individuals who come to India on a Tourist Visa are eligible to get it converted into an X Visa. There are certain restrictions, with the basic eligibility criteria listed below:
- Individuals of Indian origin who are entitled to an X Visa but came to India on a Tourist Visa. Such individuals can get their Tourist Visa converted if they wish to stay in the country for a longer period of time. One should ensure that they are of Indian origin or have held an Indian passport in the past in order to benefit from this conversion. Additionally, individuals whose parents/ancestors were permanent residents of India are also eligible to apply for an Entry Visa.
- Foreigners who are married to Indian citizens. Such a foreigner can convert his/her Tourist Visa into an X Visa by submitting relevant documents. Conversion is possible only if the partner holds a valid Indian passport.
- Children of Indian citizens who are citizens/permanent residents of other countries. The child should have an Indian parent who currently holds an Indian passport.
Let us illustrate this with the following examples.
Example 1: Raghav is a Canadian citizen whose parents were born and raised in India. Both his parents are permanent residents of the country, while he holds a Canadian passport. He comes to the country to visit his family, applying for a Tourist Visa. After arriving in India, he realizes that he needs to stay longer, with his Tourist Visa expiring in 3 months. He decides to convert this visa into an X Visa in order to extend his stay.
Example 2: Rakesh is an engineer who works in an MNC. He is sent to Portugal as part of his work, where he falls in love with a colleague, Ria. The couple decide to get married to each other, with his partner coming to India on a Tourist Visa to finish the wedding formalities. This Tourist Visa can be converted into an X Visa as Ria is now married to an Indian citizen.
Example 3: Ramesh, an Indian citizen who works in South Africa decides to return to India with his family, which includes his South African wife and two children, both citizens of South Africa. They come on a Tourist Visa but realize that they could get this converted into an X Visa to stay for a longer period of time. His wife and the children, both get an X Visa on account of his Indian citizenship.
Procedure To Convert Tourist Visa Into X Visa
Individuals looking to convert their Tourist Visa into an Entry Visa can do so by following a few simple steps:
- Check if they are eligible to get the visa converted. If they meet the requisites they can begin the conversion process.
- Conversion application can be done online, through the official website of the Indian Bureau of Immigration. The form should include details including the current visa number, country of issue, expiry date, contact information, etc.
- Post the online application, a physical application should be given to the FRO/FRRO. Appointments for the same should be taken. Submit proof of marriage/relationship with Indian citizen. In certain cases the FRO can be the local Police Commissioner’s office.
- Once the application is submitted to the FRO, the local authorities will do a background check to verify the information.
- The application will be passed to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) if all the information is accurate.
- The MHA will check the application and either reject or accept it. If accepted, the passport of the individual will be stamped with the X Visa.
Note: The application to convert a Tourist Visa into an X Visa cannot be made directly to the MHA. The application should first be placed before the FRO/FRRO, with only those applications which pass the background check sent to the MHA for approval.
Documents Required For Conversion
Individuals will need to submit the following documents in addition to the duly filled application form:
- Marriage certificate which has the name of both partners. This should be issued by a relevant authority.
- Passport and current visa of individual who wishes to change the visa.
- A recent photograph of the applicant. This photograph should meet the necessary requirements, as prescribed by the government.
- Valid ID proof of the Indian partner. This should be an ID which is provided by the government. It could be either the passport, DL, Aadhar, etc.
- A valid document indicating proof of residence in the country. This could be either a utility bill or a rent/lease agreement.
- Security clearance and reports from police authorities which validate the marriage. This should be submitted by the police station under whose jurisdiction an applicant resides.
- The applicant should also provide a signed Indemnity Bond. This bond should be on a stamp paper of value Rs.100. The Indian partner should sign this bond as well.
Time Taken To Process Conversion Application
The entire process could take anywhere between 2 months to 6 months, depending on a number of factors. It is also possible to have the visa converted before this. A majority of the time goes for police verification. In cases where the Tourist Visa would expire before the X Visa is granted, an extension could be given by the FRO/FRRO.
Note: The time taken to complete the formalities varies from case to case. It is possible to get the visa converted within a few weeks as well.
Conversion Of Other Visas To X Visa
In addition to the Tourist Visa, it is also possible to get certain other visas converted into an X Visa, as highlighted below.
- Individuals of Indian origin who enter the country on a Business/Employment Visa can convert this current visa into an X Visa.
- Foreigners who come to India on an Employment/Business Visa can get them converted into a Medical Visa during emergencies. This conversion is possible only if the individual falls ill and is incapable of leaving the country. Additionally, any family member accompanying said individual can get his/her visa converted into a Med X Visa.