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  • Journalist Visa India

    Any person of a foreign nationality who wishes to enter India must do so after acquiring the relevant Visa that defines the purpose of his/her visit and also defines the limitations on that person’s activities in India. For example, a Tourist Visa is issued to those that wish to travel to India on holiday or for a casual visit to family and friends, but a Business Visa is issued to those who wish to travel to India to conduct business meetings or establish profit-generating businesses. Tourist Visa holders are not allowed to conduct business-related operations or seek employment, and Business Visa holders aren’t allowed to seek employment or conduct journalism-related activities.

    Who Is A Journalist?

    In order for the Ministry of External Affairs to conduct its operations effectively, it has set definitions for all categories of Visa applicants. Journalists are defined basically as anyone who is employed by a media house, media company, news channel, newspaper, television news station, radio news station, journalism-related content creation agency, current affairs reporting organization, etc. in any capacity.

    Any person that’s employed in the field of journalism in any capacity – editors, cartoonists, professional journalists, interviewers, camerapersons, correspondents of media houses, directors and producers (of non-commercial films), all representatives of print/audio/television journalism stations, travel writers/photographers/editors, tourism promotion photographers/writers, etc. should apply for a Journalist Visa in order to enter India. According to the official rules “any professional who is directly or indirectly engaged in the process of creation, management or dissemination of contents for a media organization shall be treated as Journalists”. And those that are treated as Journalists must enter India only on a Journalist Visa, regardless of the purpose of their visit. Even if a person defined by the laws a Journalist wishes to travel to India on holiday, he/she will have to apply for a Journalist Visa and mention the exact purpose of visit in his/her Visa application form.

    Basically all people employed by any company whose business involves the production, development, direction and broadcast of written, audio, or visual news/current affairs through any medium like print/radio/television/internet would require a Journalist Visa in order to travel to India, regardless of the purpose of their visit.

    To avoid any confusion, there is an exception for non-professional, management, administrative, support staff and roadies, etc. who need not apply for a Journalist Visa if their travel to India does not involve journalistic activities. The same goes for producers, directors, presenters, and the crew of commercial films. These people do not require a Journalist Visa for every entry into India, and can apply for Tourist Visas or Employment Visas, etc. depending on the reason for travel and whether they fulfil the requirement for these types of Visas.

    It should also be noted that if employees, directors, producers, camerapersons, crew, etc. of commercial film production companies are travelling to shoot/direct/cast for a documentary film, they will require Journalist Visas. They will also need to apply for Journalist Visas if they are travelling to conduct business meetings, casting calls, etc. in relation to a documentary film that requires any phase of production to take place in India.

    This Visa has a processing time of just 3 to 5 days and has a validity of 3 months, starting from the date of issuance and not from the date of first travel under the Visa to India.

    Journalists who wish to travel to India to make a documentary must first contact the Press and Information Wing of the Indian Consulate.

    Documents Required To Apply For A Journalist Visa

    Given below is the basic list of documents that will need to be produced in order to begin the Visa process:

    • Valid passport with at least 6 months left before expiry.
    • Passport sized photographs.
    • A photocopy of the passport.
    • A copy of the Visa application form filled out online.
    • Letter of invitation from the Indian concern.
    • Proof of identity and residential address.

    Journalist Visa Fees

    Country US Citizens Non-US Citizens Sri Lanka Citizens
    Visa Duration 3 Months Single Entry 3 Months Single Entry 3 Months Single Entry
    Consular Fees $100 $80 $3
    ICWF Fees $3 $3 $3
    Reference Fees $0 $0 $20
    Service Fees $4.70 $4.70 $4.70
    Total Fee $107.70 $87.70 $31.70

    All applications for a Journalist Visa from foreign journalists must be accompanied by a letter from their company/organization/media house detailing the following:

    • Exact job title of the Visa applicant.
    • Job responsibilities of the Visa applicant.
    • Nature of the work the Visa applicant is involved in on a regular basis.
    • Purpose of travel – work or tourism.

    No Visa application will be accepted from anyone defined as ‘Journalist’ if this supporting letter is not produced at the time of application.

    The above information is for foreign journalists who wish to travel to India to create journalistic content/media for their own company (non-Indian media company) or travel as foreign nationals who wish to vacation in India.

    Foreign Journalists Who Wish To Travel To India And Work For An Indian Media Company/Organization:

    If an Indian media company, journalism content creation company, non-commercial documentary film production house, news agency, newspaper, television or radio news broadcaster, etc. has invited or accepted a job application from a journalist of a foreign nationality, then the foreign journalist must apply for an Employment Visa ‘E Visa’ to enter India and seek employment.

    A Journalist Visa would not allow a foreign national journalist to seek employment in India, but only to conduct journalist-related activities in connection with the foreign news media company, journalism content Creation Company, non-commercial documentary film production house, news agency, newspaper, television or radio news broadcaster, etc.

    Foreign Journalists Sent For Long-Term Assignments To India

    Anyone who is employed by a media house, media company, news channel, newspaper, television news station, radio news station, journalism-related content creation agency, current affairs reporting organization, etc. in any capacity who is being sent by their company for a long term assignment in India to replace an existing employee at that organization’s India office must apply for (and enter India using) a Journalism Visa that’s valid for 3 months.

    The foreign news agency, media house, etc. sending their employee across must send him/her with a letter that details:

    • Exact job title of the Visa applicant.
    • Job responsibilities of the Visa applicant.
    • Nature of the work the Visa applicant is involved in on a regular basis.
    • Nature of the work for which he/she is being sent.
    • Estimated duration of the project in India.
    • The name of the person being replaced in the India office.

    Once the foreign journalist arrives in India on the Journalist Visa, he/she will be expected to approach the OSD (PR)/XP Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and explain the situation with the necessary documentation.

    If this journalist wishes to change employers for whatever reason, and continue to work in India, he/she will have to fly back to his/her home country and re-apply for a new Journalist Visa through the new company and obtain a letter containing the abovementioned details from the new employer.

    Journalism Students Applying For Journalism Courses:

    If a foreign national wishes to pursue a full-time educational course in the field of journalism, media, broadcasting, etc. he/she should apply for a Student Visa ‘S Visa’ and not a Journalist Visa. Student Visas will only be issued to those who have been accepted into educational institutions, colleges, universities, schools, etc. that are recognized by the Government of India.

    Journalism Visa For Documentary Filmmaking And Documentary Related Work:

    Irrespective of the topic or subject of the documentary, any film crew, news agency, Media Company, etc. that wishes to record, produce, direct, or broadcast a documentary about or in India must first take authorization for the same from the Indian Government.

    *Disclaimer

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