Indian immigration law requires all foreign nationals to apply for an Indian visa in order to enter the country. All candidates who wish to relocate to India for any length of time, whether for a short visit or to immigrate to India on a permanent basis will need to apply for an Indian visa to do so.
Indian Student visas can be issued either for the duration of the applicant's course or for a maximum of five years. Study visa applications require an unconditional offer from a recognized Indian educational institute. The essential requirement for a study visa is an unconditional offer of admission to a recognized Indian educational institute. Indian study visas only permit their holders to change either their course or institution with specific permission from the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office).
In India, visas for study allow a foreign national to study in India for up to five years. Just like the Canadian study visa, Whilst the duration granted is based upon the length of the course, there is no limit to the amount of consecutive courses of study that can be undertaken under a single grant. However, the collective time in India must not exceed the five year maximum. Study visas issued for less than five years can be extended with the permission of the local FRRO and similarly, the course of study and/or the educational institution may be changed if circumstances are deemed sufficient. A study visa is normally valid for a single or multiple entries to India, although it is possible to obtain a permit for further entries if required.
As outlined above, the main requirement for an Indian student visa is that the applicant is offered a place in a bone fide course of study from a recognized educational institution in India. As part of the application, the details of the course and the place of study must be included. In cases where a letter of admission from the educational institution is not available, a provisional student visa will be issued. However, admission must be confirmed within a period of three months, otherwise the candidate will not be permitted to remain in India. Immigration law in India does not allow a provisional visa of this kind to be extended. Applications must also include a range of other supporting documentation including a current and valid passport from the country of residence, with a minimum of six months validity and at least two blank pages. Where applicants will be attending a medical course of study, a letter of approval, or no objection certificate must be obtained from the Ministry of Health in India. For applicants attending courses in engineering or at technical institutions in India, a similar authorisation form the Department of Education will be required.
Indian student visas may be granted for up to five years and as such may result in a long-term period of residency in India. With this in mind, the spouse and/or dependents of a study visa applicant may apply to join them in India for the same duration as that awarded to the main applicant.
Student visas cannot be obtained by those already in the country on a tourist visa or another visa type. As is the case with all Indian visas for long or short-term temporary visits, all student visas issued for a period of 180 days or more will require the applicant to register with the local FRRO within 14 days of arrival.
List of documents that are required at the time of registration with the Foreigners Registration Offices in India is given below. The registration is essential for all foreigners having visas for a period exceeding 6 months except the exempted categories and should be done within 14 days of first arrival at the nearest office of the Foreigners Registration Officer:
Caution: The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act bans all forms of wildlife trade. Violations of the provisions of the Act are punishable with heavy fines and imprisonment. Foreigners are therefore, advised not to buy any wildlife or wildlife products or derivatives, specially ivory articles, fur and skin articles derived from wild animals such as Shahtoosh.
Beware: Foreigners should not carry, buy, sell or use psychotropic drugs or any other narcotic substances while in India as their purchase, sale or possession is a cognizable offence.