There are a variety of visas foreign investors can apply for depending on their purpose of visit. With the introduction of e-visa, which is open to 166 countries, it has become easier for applicants to apply for an Indian visa. The applicants can apply online without the hassle of visiting an Indian embassy or consulate.

Business Visa

Foreign nationals looking to engage in business activities during their stay in India should apply for an e-business visa.

Business visas can be granted to foreign investors for five years, which can also be extended if they have any of the following purposes for their India visit: 

  • To establish an industrial or business venture, or to explore possibilities to set up an industrial or business venture in India
  • To purchase or sell industrial products or commercial products or consumer durables
  • For technical meetings and discussions, attending board meeting or general meetings for providing business services support
  • For recruitment of manpower
  • Functioning as partners and/or directors of the company
  • On visit of short duration for monitoring and conducting meetings for ongoing projects
  • For pre-sales or post sales activity not amounting to actual execution of any contract or project

The extension is subject to the condition that the gross sales or turnover from the business, for which the foreign national has been granted visa is not less than INR 10 million (US$131,370) per annum – to be achieved within two years of setting up the business or date of initial grant of the business, whichever is earlier.

Documents required for business visa processing

  • Valid passport with two blank pages and six months validity and relevant travel document
  • Passport size photographs
  • Copy of online filled form Introduction/support letter issued by the foreign entity
  • Invitation/support letter issued by the Indian entity
  • Proof of financial standing and expertise in field of intended business
  • Certificate of incorporation of Indian entity 

Employment Visa

Skilled and qualified foreign nationals who are interested to work for a company in India should apply for an employment visa, if it matches any of the purposes or job description below: 

  • Involved in execution of projects or contracts
  • Foreign nationals coming to India as consultants on fixed remuneration
  • Provision of technical support services or transfer of know-how for which an Indian Company pays fees or royalties
  • Foreign engineers and technicians coming to India for installation and commissioning of equipment, machines, or tools as part of a contract for supply of such equipment, machines, and tools
  • Foreign artists or coaches employed with national or state level teams, including foreign sportsmen and foreign specialist chefs

Further, the foreign national should also meet the following eligibility criteria for an employment visa in India: 

  • The applicant seeks to visit India for employment in an entity registered in India, or for employment in a foreign company engaged in a project in the country
  • The applicant is a highly skilled and qualified professional, who is being hired by a company on a contract or employment basis
  • The applicant is filling a role that the employer was unable to staff with a qualified Indian employee
  • The applicant will not be working in a routine, secretarial, or clerical job
  • With the exception of language teachers, cooks, staff working for an embassy or the Indian High Commission, and voluntary workers, the foreign national must have an annual salary in excess of US$25,000
  • Letter of invitation from the host Indian company
  • Covering letter from the foreign company
  • Contract of employment and statement of income
  • Certificate of incorporation from the host Indian company
  • Certificates of the applicant’s educational qualifications and professional expertise
  • A valid passport that has two blank pages and a validity of six months

Documents required for employment visa processing 

Documents required by the applicant

  • A completed visa application form
  • A valid passport
  • A passport sized photo
  • Proof of address, such as a driver’s license or utility bill
  • A detailed resume or curriculum vitae

Documents required by the applicant’s employer

Employers ordinarily need to provide the following documents to support visa applications: 

  • A permission letter that requests approval for the applicant’s visa
  • A sponsorship letter that pledges responsibility for the applicant’s activity in India and promises to repatriate the applicant at company cost if any adverse conduct comes to notice
  • A tax liability letter pledging responsibility for the applicant’s income tax in India
  • A justification letter that confirms that the employer was unable to find a qualified Indian candidate for the job and details the applicant’s unique specialization and professional capabilities
  • An appointment letter detailing the job role and salary
  • A comprehensive employment contract
  • Copy of the company’s PAN card
  • Company’s Incorporation Certificate

Employment visa can be extended up to 10 years, if the following conditions are met: 

  • Applicant’s conduct during stay
  • Submission of all necessary documents that justify continuation of employment
  • Proper filing of income tax returns
  • No adverse security inputs

Project Visa

Project visa is only issued to highly skilled foreign nationals who are visiting India for execution of projects in the power or steel sectors.

[tips title="Important Tip"]The project visa is also a multiple entry visa which is granted for a year or for the duration of the project – whichever is less. It can be extended by another year.[/tips]

State government or the union territory administration can grant the first extension of a project visa on the expiry of the initial visa term. Any subsequent extension will be granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Download this guide on PDF

Find Other Guides and Magazines:


Your Insights & Resources Library for Asia

Asiapedia is a collection of resources based on what we have learned about doing business in Asia. It’s the product of more than 300 team members collaborating across 28 offices in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Back to top