India: Biometrics Requirement Introduced in Austria and San Francisco

According to a change in practice, foreign nationals seeking Indian visas in Austria will be required to visit an Indian visa application center to submit an Indian visa application on or after January 23, 2017. Additionally, foreign nationals filing in-person Indian visa applications in San Francisco must appear for biometrics at an Indian visa application center and must secure an appointment prior to visiting the application center.

Hong Kong: Stricter entry requirements forthcoming for Indian nationals

The Hong Kong Security Bureau is imposing stricter entry requirements for Indian nationals entering Hong Kong for business and tourism on or after January 23, 2017. Indian passport holders – who are currently allowed to enter Hong Kong without a visa for up to 14 days – will be required to complete an online pre-registration called a Pre-Arrival Registration (PAR) prior to travel. The new measures are meant to address the increasing number of Indian economic migrants who enter Hong Kong illegally.

India: Minimum salary threshold to be simplified

As part of the Indian government’s efforts to simplify the Indian visa system, the annual salary threshold for foreign nationals to be eligible for the employment visa category will be changed to INR 1,625,000 from USD 25,000. The reason for the change from USD to an amount in INR is primarily to protect employers and foreign employees from falling below the threshold due to foreign exchange fluctuation.

India: Simplified visa system forthcoming

India is revising its visa system to attract travellers and boost trade.

The first step will be a transformed e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme that will merge tourist, business, medical and conference visas into a 60-day multiple-entry visa under a new name.

The new scheme will be extended to nationals from eight additional countries, so nationals from a total of 158 countries will be eligible for the program.

UK & India: Qualifying Indian nationals soon to be eligible for Registered Traveller Scheme and Great Club

Qualifying Indian nationals will be eligible for the UK Registered Traveller Scheme, which allows certain frequent travellers to the United Kingdom to utilize expedited entry e-passport gates at the UK border, and the Great Club, which allows select businesses to liaise with a UK Visas and Immigration account manager to facilitate the streamlining of visa applications and migrants’ entry into the UK.

The Registered Traveller Scheme

Registered Traveller Scheme users can enter the United Kingdom via e-passport gates (including the UK/European Economic Area passport lines) and avoid completing a landing card, the review of which can delay the entry process.

India: Short-term assignees subject to new tax clearance requirement in Gurgaon

Residential Permits for short-term assignees on assignments up to six months will now contain a new endorsement stating that a No Objection Certificate/Tax Clearance Certificate from the Indian Income Tax Department must be submitted at the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) in Gurgaon prior to final departure.

Affected nationals must, therefore, contact their tax consultant to apply for a Tax Clearance Certificate. The special endorsement on the Residential Permit must then be cleared at the FRO in Gurgaon.

India: Residence reporting form requirement extended to two cities

As part of its initiative to maintain updated records of foreign nationals and to curb potential overstays, the Ministry of Home Affairs has expanded the rule for hotels and landlords to report the occupancy of foreign tenants to the cities of Gurgaon and Jamnagar via the ‘Form C’. In addition, landlords in Gurgaon must submit a new Tenant Verification Form.

India: Important information on Karnataka and Tamil Nadu situation

Due to the Supreme Court of India’s ruling over the Cauvery River – an interstate water sharing issue that has increased political tensions in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, especially in Bangalore – foreign nationals in these areas should expect immigration application processing delays and rescheduled immigration appointments over the next week.

US: Visa appointment backlogs at U.S. consulates in India

U.S. consulates in India are experiencing significant backlogs in non-immigrant visa appointments for H, L and other employment-based non-immigrant visas.

Foreign nationals seeking a non-immigrant visa are facing wait times of 75 to more than 115 days to secure an appointment  in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. The delays do not affect B-1/B-2 visitor visas or F-1 student visas.

India, UK: Applicants for Indian visas at High Commission of London must appear in person

Applicants for several categories of Indian visas in London will have to attend a mandatory biometrics appointment on or after August 19, 2016, with a few limited exceptions, according to an announcement by the High Commission of India. 

Applicants for the below categories will be subject to a personal appearance:

South Africa/India: Additional documentation required for visa applications submitted to VFS in India

Following the announcement that foreign nationals in India must file South African visa applications at a VFS centre, VFS is now requiring additional supporting documents for Intra-company Transfer Work Visa Permit applications.

United States: July 2016 visa bulletin: Modest advancement in EB-2 and EB-3 India while China largely holds steady to June dates

According to the State Department’s July Visa Bulletin, there will be modest advancement in the cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa for EB-2 and EB-3 India next month, while these cutoff dates for China will remain largely unchanged, as projected last month.

United Arab Emirates: Consular process to be required for some employment visa applicants

Employment visa (entry permit) applicants from certain countries will soon have to process their immigration applications through designated UAE consular service centres in their home country before entering the UAE, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

South Africa: South African visa applications in India must be submitted to VFS

Effective immediately, South African visa applicants in India must submit their applications to a VFS office in India instead of to an Indian consular post.  VFS assists consular posts in high-volume cities to process visa applications.

India: Random police verifications implemented in Bangalore

In line with the Ministry of Home Affairs’ efforts to maintain updated records for foreign nationals and curb potential overstays in India, the Bangalore City Police department is conducting random immigration status verifications. The goal of the checks is to enhance the security of foreign nationals in Bangalore.

India: Appointment unavailability in Gurgaon causes delays

The Foreigners' Registration Office (FRO) in Gurgaon has drastically cut down the number of available immigration appointments per day, resulting in a wait time of at least seven to ten business days.

This is particularly delaying registration applications, which are due within 14 calendar days of arrival and can only be made after arrival.

India: Residence reporting form likely to become mandatory

All hotels and landlords across India may soon be required to report the occupancy of foreign guests and tenants to local police stations, Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) and Foreigners’ Registration Offices (FRO) through a form called ‘Form C’, similar to the practice already in effect in some Indian cities.

This will allow the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to maintain updated records of foreign nationals and to curb potential overstays.

India: Update - Visa-on-arrival policy for Japanese nationals allows multiple visits per year

The visa-on-arrival policy that was recently implemented for Japanese tourists, business visitors, conference attendees and medical visitors will now allow multiple visits per calendar year, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Home Affairs.  Previously, two visits per calendar year were to be allowed.

India: e-Tourist visa expanded to 37 additional countries

India has expanded the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) program to applicants from 37 additional countries. Eligible visitors under the eTV include business visitors and those travelling to sightsee, visit friends or relatives or to make short medical visits. Nationals from a total of 150 countries are now eligible for the program, as was announced in March 2015.

India: Deadline for OCI in lieu of PIO card applications extended until June 30, 2016

Following the announcement for Person of India Origin card holders to submit Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) in lieu of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card applications by March 31, 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now extended the application deadline to June 30, 2016