India is a significant player in the global business sector and as such, has increasingly become a hub for foreign nationals. For those eligible to travel to India for business purposes, the Indian visa application process for a business visa will be touched upon.
Validity of Visa
It is important to note that a visa is only valid for the period that the passport in which it appears is valid. A visa may, therefore, be issued according to the applicable passport. The validity of the visa does not begin at the date of entry into India but from the date of issue of the Business visa.
An Indian Business Visa is typically valid for a year, five years or ten years, from the date of issuance for multiple entries for a stay of up to 6 months, dependent on various factors.
In November 2014 the Government of India introduced the e-Business visa, now available to citizens of over 160 countries. The Indian Business e-Visa is valid for 1 year from the date of issuing for multiple entries. The business visa is, however, valid for a maximum of two uses in a calendar year for a maximum stay of no more than 180 days. The e-Business visa is only valid for entry through certain designated airports and seaports.
Foreign business people considering establishing a joint venture in India may apply for the 10-year Indian visa valid for multiple entries. The India business visa may be extended to a maximum of 5 years if valid for less than five years, under certain circumstances only.
The passport used in the Indian visa application should be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in India. The passport should not be torn, frayed or present signs of having been folded in any way, and must have a minimum of two blank pages for the visa stamps. The holder of a Business visa for India may not enter India without a valid and signed passport that complies with these requirements.
It is imperative that the photos provided for the Indian vis application be according to the very specific directives of the Indian Government, to avoid the application being rejected or denied. Photos for the Business must be recent, taken within the last 6 months. The photo must be in color, 2 x 2 inches square (50 x 50 mm), taken against a plain light-colored background. The photo must be a front view of the full face, wearing a natural expression, with eyes open, and without spectacles. The photo should present full center from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin within the frame in a portrait layout without borders
Certificate of Incorporation
You will be required to submit a Certificate of Incorporation from the company with which you are associated or wish to visit in India upon submitting your Indian Visa Application. A Certificate of Incorporation or Letter of Incorporation is a legal document issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to a company in India upon successful registration. The certificate acts as proof of registration with the Registrar of Companies.
Business Cover Letter
The business letter from the employer or sponsoring company must introduce the applicant, indicate their employment status/position held, and clarify the purpose of the visit to India. Contact information for the organizations visited in India must be detailed. The validity of the business visa applied for (1/5 or 10 years) must be stated as well as the entity financially responsible for the applicant. The business cover letter must be signed by an appropriate person within the applicant’s company.
Letter of Invitation
A letter of invitation is mandatory for an application for a business visa and must appear on the company letterhead of the sponsoring company, noting the local address and contact number of the company in India. The relationship between the company and the applicant must be explained, as well as the purpose of travel to India. The information in the letter and that provided on the visa application form and supporting documents must correspond exactly. It must be signed by a fitting person in the inviting company, and state the sponsor’s full responsibility for the applicant.