Whenever a Foreign National wishes to reside long-term in India, typically a stay that exceeds more than 180 days, one of their key responsibilities is to visit the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within the first 14 days of arrival in the territory of India. It is the FRRO that is entrusted with the role of regulating the legal stay of these Foreign Nationals in India. Further, the FRRO also manages all the tasks related to foreigners residing in India, which includes- issuing residence permits, converting specific kinds of visas, and addressing matters related to visa extensions related to foreigners.
Bureaucratic processes are often considered cumbersome and lengthy in India, involving a long waiting period. While IT and Automation are being deployed to ease the process, still it is best for expats, and companies that employ them, to be well informed on FRRO registration rules in order to avoid any unwanted hassle.
1. What is FRRO?
- As per The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992, it is mandatory for certain category of foreigners, who intend to stay in India for more than specified period of time, to get themselves registered with Registration Officers.
- Foreign Regional Registration office, or FRRO, is the primary agency which is responsible for registration, departure, arrival, and movement of foreign nationals who wish to reside for a period that extends longer than 180 days in India.
- This applies to foreigners visiting India on a business visa, student visa, research visa, or employment visa.
- Foreign registration is necessary for all the foreigners arriving in India on a visa which extends to more than 6 months, except for certain exempted categories.
- Regardless of how many times the foreigner exits or returns using a multiple entry visa, registration is only necessary once at the time of visa usage.
In addition to this, FRRO is responsible for the grant of extension of stay in India, if required, as well.
The FRRO offices in India are located across most major cities in India, such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Cochin, Goa, Calicut, Lucknow. They also function with the District Superintendents of Police located across all other districts, and there are 13 FRRO’s and 674 FRO’s in India.
2. Who is an Expatriate?
- An expatriate is a person who resides in a country other than their native country. In general usage, the phrase refers to professionals, skilled workers, or artists who work outside of their native country, either independently or as part of an employer’s overseas assignment.
- For FRRO purposes, all foreigners, including persons of Indian origin, are required to get themselves registered with FRRO if the above conditions are satisfied.
3. Within how much time an Expat is required to register with FRRO?
Time limit for registration with FRRO is different depending upon the country to which expat pertains or purpose for which visa has been granted. Following is the time limit of obtaining registration with FRRO:
- Foreigners visiting on Student Visa, Research Visa, Medical Visa or Employment Visa valid for more than 180 days are required to get themselves registered with FRRO within 14 days of his first arrival irrespective of his duration of stay.
- All Business Visa holders are required to register themselves with the FRRO/FRO concerned in case the aggregate stay in India exceeds 180 days during a calendar year.
- All other Foreigners will not be required to get themselves registered, even if they have entered India on a long term visa provided their continuous stay in India does not exceed 180 days. However, if a person intends to stay for more than 180 days on a single visit he should get himself registered well before the expiry of 180 days.
- Foreigners possessing tourist Visa are required registration only if they re-enter within 60 days of the last departure and they are asked to register through special endorsement etc
- Pakistani Nationals are required to register within 24 hours of their arrival. Further, except those who are granted visa with the endorsement “Exempted from Police Reporting” (EPR Visa), every Pakistani nationals entering India on a police reporting Visa(PRV) must also report their arrival and intended departure at each place of stay as permitted in the visa within 24 hours to the concerned FRRO/FRO authorities or the nearest police station.
- All Afghan nationals are required to register with the FRRO/FRO concerned within 14 days of arrival except those Afghan nationals who enter India on a visa valid for 30 days or less provided the Afghan national concerned gives his/her local address in India to the Indian Mission/FRRO/FRO.
- Registration is also required in the case where a visa is valid for less than 180 days and there is special endorsement “for registration required” on visa.
Depending on the requirement of FRRO registration, All the Indian Missions shall stamp the visas of the foreigners either of the following:
- “REGISTRATION REQUIRED WITHIN 14 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ARRIVAL”.
- “REGISTRATION NOT REQUIRED IF EACH STAY DOES NOT EXCEED 180 DAYS”.
- In case of Business visa, “CONTINUOUS STAY LESS THAN 180 DAYS – NO REGISTRATION”, “IF STAY IN A CALENDAR YEAR EXCEEDS 180 DAYS, REGISTRATION REQUIRED”
4. Which category of foreigners are exempted from registration with FRRO?
Following category of foreigners are not required to register themselves with FRRO:
- All Business Visa holders where aggregate stay during the calendar year does not exceed 180 days.
- All Foreigners having a Visa other than Business Visa, Student Visa, Research Visa, Medical Visa or Employment Visa will not be required to get themselves registered if continuous stay during a single visit does not exceed 180 days.
- Foreigners below the age of 16 years.
5. How can an expat register himself with FRRO?
- Unlike before, a foreigner is no longer required to visit FRRO office or stand in a long queue to register with FRRO. Government has provided a facility of online registration through portal https://indianfrro.gov.in/frro/.
- A foreigner can apply online for availing registration and other visa related services in the office of FRRO/FROs in India.
- Key objective of providing an online facility is to provide Faceless, Cashless and Paperless services to the foreigners without the requirement of visiting FRRO/FRO office. Person is not required to visit FRRO/FRO office unless specifically called upon by the FRRO/FRO.
6. What is the process of obtaining registration with FRRO?
For the purpose of registration, the following process shall be followed:
- Applicants shall create User-id/Password by registering online into the portal.
- Applicants are required to carefully fill the form and any errors should be avoided. Further,necessary documents and photograph should be uploaded online in the designated format.
- The application would not be successfully submitted unless the documents and photographs are uploaded online successfully.
- The application would be scrutinized by Visa Officers only if the application has been successfully submitted.
- Upon scrutiny, necessary instructions with regard to application i.e. Fee Payment, Correction of Selected/desired Service, re-uploading of documents etc would be conveyed to the Foreigner through email/SMS alerts.
- The foreigner would be intimated to deposit the requisite fee, if any, for the service. The fee has to be deposited online through Bank Payment gateway available on the portal. Amount of fee would be intimated through email/sms/portal alerts.
- The foreigner can track the status of the application through portal. For any clarification, FRRO Support Centres can be contacted.
- Upon Grant/Rejection of service, the same would be intimated to the foreigner. His/Her RC/RP etc would be sent through email or it can also be downloaded from portal by signing in.
- The foreigner can approach the concerned Civil Authority i.e. FRRO/FRO office directly in case of exigency/emergency. Upon satisfaction of the case, the services can also be granted directly at the FRRO/FRO level. Make sure that services granted are electronic and not manual. You may face hurdles at the Immigration Check Posts in case of manual services.
7. What documents are required for FRRO registration?
Except for the exempted categories, all foreigners with a visa for a period longer than 6 months must register. The following documents are necessary for registration:
- Original passport on which visa is endorsed.
- Photocopy of the passport along with initial visa.
- Four photographs of the applicant.
- Details of residence in India.
- If the foreigner is visiting India on a visa for more than one year, an HIV test report from one of the WHO accredited institutions from people aged 15 to 60 years is required.
- If you’re applying for an extension of stay because you’re married to an Indian national, you’ll need a copy of your marriage certificate.
- In case of student visa, bonafide certificate from the University/College/Institution.
- In case of a journalist visa, accreditation certificate from Press Information Bureau.
- In case of a Board level appointment in Public Limited Companies, approval of the Department of Company Affairs.
- In case of a joint venture or collaboration, copy of the approval from the Government of India (in duplicate).
- In case of Employment visa, copy of permission from the RBI in case of contract or agreement.
- In case of Employment/Business visas, undertaking from the concerned Indian company.
- Certificates of registration will be issued by the registration officers only.
- Further, Foreigners must surrender their registration certificates to the Registration Officer of the place where they are registered, or the Registration Officer of the place from which they intend to depart, or the Immigration Office at the post/check post of exit from India. In case the certificates are submitted to someone other than an Immigration officer at the exit post/checkpoint, the foreigners must show the receipt indicating such surrender to an Immigration officer at the exit post/checkpoint.
- Regardless of how many times a foreigner leaves or re-enters India with a multi-entry visa, registration is required just once during the term of the visa.
- Foreigners can visit restricted/prohibited areas only after getting a valid permit as a visa alone is not enough to visit such places.
- Foreigners coming from or through yellow fever countries must come with a valid vaccination certificate.
- On arrival/departure, foreigners should fill up Disembarkation/Embarkation forms.
8. Supporting Documents that must be submitted online to obtain services from FRRO
For Fresh Registration
|S. No.||Visa Type||Mandatory Documents Required|
|1||Medical Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Medical Certificate|
|2||Medical Attendant Visa||Photograph Passport and Visa Residence Proof Medical CertificatePassport and Visa page of Medical Visa holder|
|3 (i)||Student Visa (Provisional Registration)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Bonafide Certificate NOC|
|3 (ii)||Student Visa (Final Registration)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Form S/ Bonafide Certificate|
|4 (i)||Employment Visa (General)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Contract PaperRequest LetterUndertaking Letter|
|4 (ii)||Employment Visa (VIE Intern)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Contract PaperRequest LetterUndertaking Letter|
|4 (iii)||Employment Visa (NGO)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Contract PaperRequest LetterUndertaking LetterCertificate of Registration|
|5 (i)||Business Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Business Proof RBI/ Government Of India Approval Undertaking Letter Incorporation Letter Memorandum of Articles DIN No. PAN Card|
|5 (ii)||Business Visa (AIESEC Intern)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Government of India Approval for internAIESEC letter|
|6 (i)||Entry (X) Visa for dependents of Employment Visa, Business Visa, Student, and Research Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Passport Principal Visa HolderResidence ProofRequest letter undertaking Letter|
|6 (ii)||Entry (X) Visa (Spouse or dependent of Indian citizen/ Person of Indian Origin)||PhotographPassport and Visa Passport Principal Visa HolderResidence ProofMarriage CertificateProof of spouse/ dependent of PIOUndertaking Letter|
|6 (iii)||Entry (X) Visa (others)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Other documents Letter from Secretary, AurovilleLetter from Managing Trustee of Shri Aurobindo Ashram|
|7||PIO Card||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof PIO Card|
|8||Journalist Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Accreditation Certificate|
|9||Research Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Bonafide Certificate|
|10||Re-entry on Tourist Visa (In case of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Foreigners of Pakistan Origin & Stateless Persons)||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof|
|11||Conference Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Invitation Letter|
|12||Project Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Undertaking Letter|
|13||Missionary Visa||PhotographPassport and Visa Residence Proof Request LetterUndertaking LetterProof of Missionary RegistrationProof of Government of India Approval|