There are a great many reasons for visiting India besides sightseeing, business purposes, or for short term medical stays. Although the majority of foreign nationals visiting India do so for tourism and business reasons, we will briefly touch on some lesser known, more unusual Indian visas for entering India for other reasons.
A Research Visa is issued to a foreign research scholar for the duration of the research project or a period of 3 years, whichever is less. The total period of the Visa may be restricted to the duration of the project as approved by the Institute of Affiliation, or five years, whichever is less. Extension for a period of not more than six months can be given even after completion of the project. Foreign Student Advisers, Administrative Officers, or Registrars of educational institutions must report to the concerned FRRO to confirm that the foreign research scholars are studying in their institutions.
Any foreigner intending to pursue an internship in an educational institution, NGO, and Indian company can apply for an Intern Visa. The period of visa is determined by the duration of the internship program or one year, whichever is less. A maximum of 50 interns per year for each Indian Mission/Post are admissible, limited to 100 per year for countries where the PIO (Person of Indian Origin) population is over 1 million. Intern visas are granted immediately after completion of graduation/post-graduation. The gap between the commencement of the internship and completion of graduation/post-graduation should be under two years.
Foreigners needing permission to travel through India to another destination are granted a transit visa, valid usually for a single journey.
Most commonly entry visas are granted to a foreigner in the following cases:
- A Person of Indian Origin without an OCI card can get a multiple entry Entry Visa for a period of five years at a time
- Spouse and children of an Indian citizen/POI/OCI cardholder for a period of five years at a time, with multiple entry facility
- Foreign nationals who own property in India, for a visa for a period of one year
- Diplomats/Officials on a personal visit to India
- Ordinary passport holding dependents of diplomats/officials assigned to India (including the UN and Non-UN International Organizations)
- Participants in international sports events and the officials, including a coach
- Foreign nationals coming to join Auroville Foundation, Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, or temples for true and spiritual training
- Foreign Buddhist monks joining the Buddhist Monasteries/Buddhist organizations for charity work
- Foreign nationals applying for a visa for a purpose not specifically covered under any visa category
Foreign sports teams and sports persons may be invited to visit India by Sports Federation/Association in India with approval from the Government of India in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Foreign nationals on remunerated contract for commercial sports events in India will be granted a Business Visa (B-Sports). Members of foreign delegations attending sports body meetings will be granted Conference Visas.
Requests for Mountaineering expeditions must be made four months in advance through the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), providing full details. A liaison officer will be assigned by the IMF to each expedition in order for the expedition to be allowed. No mountaineering expeditions will be permitted without prior permission for approach areas or peaks within the restricted/protected areas.
Visas for feature film shooting, television or reality show, serials, and Cinema shooting are issued as per the schedule submitted or 1 year, whichever is earlier, for single, double, or multiple entries.
Foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is Missionary work, may apply, or persons coming to India for religious purposes or to join a foreign Missionary organization in India approved by the Government of India, and not involving proselytization. It is not available to evangelists and preachers on propaganda campaigns in India. Only foreign missionaries with outstanding qualifications or specialized experience in their field will be admitted and only if an Indian is not available for the job. The Indian Missions/Posts may take up to 3 months to process a Missionary Visa.