Business Visa in India and Grant of Permanent Residency Status to Foreign Investors

A Business Visa is provided to those foreign nationals who are doing business in India on behalf of a company outside of India.

A Business Visa is provided to those foreign nationals who are doing business in India on behalf of a company outside of India. Business visas may be valid for three months to one year or more with single or multiple entries. The   grant   of   Business   Visa   is   subject   to   any   instructions  issued  by  the  Government  of  India  on  the  basis  of  reciprocity  with  other  foreign  countries  from time to time.

What are the conditions to be fulfilled for grant of a Business visa?

The following conditions must be fulfilled for grant of a Business visa to foreign nationals:-
  • The foreign national must have a valid travel document and a re-entry permit, if required under the law of the country of nationality of the applicant.
  • The foreign national should be a person of assured financial standing. The foreigner must submit proof of their financial standing and documentation in support of intended business visit to India.  Proof of his financial standing and expertise in the field of intended business will be checked thoroughly by the Indian Missions while granting the visa.
  • The foreign national should not be visiting India for the business of money lending or for running a petty business or petty trade or for full time employment in India, etc.
  • The foreign national shall comply with all other requirements like payment of tax liabilities etc.
  • The  Business  Visa  must  be  issued  from  the  country  of origin or from the country of habitual domicile of the foreigner provided the period of residence of that foreigner  in  that  particular country is more than two  years. If the period  of permanent residence  of  the  applicant  in  the  particular country  is  less  than  two  years, the Mission /Post   concerned will issue Business visa only after personal interview, review of   documentation  and  prior clearance  from  the  Mission   where    the    applicant    has    permanent    residence. These cases   will   be   examined   by   the   Missions / Posts on merits on case-to-case basis and, after  issue  of  Business  visa,  an  intimation  will  be  sent  to  the  Indian  Mission/ Post  in  the  applicant’s  country of origin.
  • The   documents pertaining   to   proposed   business   activity   such   as   the   registration   of   the   company   under   the   Companies   Act,   proof   of   registration  of  the  firm  with  the  State  Industries Department or the Export  Promotion Council concerned  or  any  recognised  promotional  body  in  the  relevant  field  of  industry or trade  etc.  will  be  thoroughly  checked  to  decide  the  category  of  visa  applicable to the foreigner.
Eligibility for a Business visa:

A Business visa is granted to a foreigner for the following purposes –    
  • Foreign nationals who wish to visit India to establish an industrial/business venture or to explore  possibilities  to  set  up  an  industrial/business  venture,  other  than  Proprietorship  Firms and Partnership Firms, in India.
  • Foreign  nationals  coming  to  India  to  purchase/sell  industrial  products  or  commercial  products or consumer durables.
  • Foreign  nationals  coming  to  India  for  technical  meetings/discussions,  attending  Board  meetings or general meetings for providing business services support.
  • Foreign nationals coming to India for recruitment of manpower.
  • Foreign nationals who are partners in the business and/or functioning as Directors of the company.
  • Foreign   nationals   coming   to   India   for   consultations   regarding   exhibitions   or   for   participation in exhibitions, trade fairs, business fairs etc.
  • Foreign  buyers  who  come  to  transact  business  with  suppliers/  potential  suppliers  at  locations  in  India,  to  evaluate  or  monitor  quality,  give  specifications,  place  orders,  negotiate further supplies etc., relating to goods or services procured from India.
  • Foreign  experts/specialists  on  a  visit  of  short  duration  in  connection  with  an  ongoing  project  with  the  objective  of  monitoring  the  progress  of  the  work,  conducting  meetings  with Indian customers and/or to provide technical guidance.
  • Foreign  nationals  coming  to  India  for  pre-sales  or  post-sales  activity  not  amounting  to  actual execution of any contract or project.
  • Foreign trainees of multinational companies/corporate houses coming for in-house training in the regional hubs of the concerned company located in India.
  • Foreign  nationals  coming  as  tour  conductors  and  travel  agents  and  /  or  conducting  business tours of foreigners or business relating to it, etc.
  • Foreign academicians/ experts coming under GIAN (Global Initiative for Academic Networks).
  • Crew members of scheduled/ non-scheduled flights operated by scheduled airlines, non-scheduled and chartered flights operated by non-scheduled airlines and special flights.
  • Foreign nationals intending to visit India to participate in cultural events/ activities with remuneration.
  • Foreign  nationals  who  are  engaged  in  commercial  sports  events  in  India  on  contract  (including   coaches)   like   Indian   Premier   League,   Indian   Soccer   League, etc. with remuneration. They may also be granted ‘B-Sports’ Visa with multiple entry facility for appropriate period.  Such a foreign national will have to comply with all the statutory obligations like payment of taxes, etc.
Validity of a Business visa:

Validity of a Business visa will be as specified below:  
  • A Business Visa can be granted with  10  years  validity  with multiple entry facility to  the  citizens  of  the  United  States  of  America, Canada, Japan, United  Kingdom, or  South  Africa. The condition stipulated with such a visa is that continuous stay during each visit should not exceed 180 days.
  • In  respect  of  nationals  of various other countries, Multiple  entry  Business  Visa is granted  for  a  period  of five years as a default  option
  • With respect to nationals of various other countries like Iran, Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Sri  Lanka, etc., duration  of  visa  is  usually  decided  by  the  concerned  Indian  Missions/  Posts  subject  to  a  maximum  of  5  years.
  • Finally, in respect of nationals of Bangladesh, China and Pakistan, provisions  as  available  in  the  bilateral  agreements/  policy  guidelines,  as  issued  from  time to time, will be applicable.
Grant of extension of stay to foreigners holding a Business visa:

In case Business visa is granted for a period less than five years by the Indian Missions, the same can be extended up to a maximum period of five years depending upon the turnover of the business,  for  which  the  foreigner  was  granted visa, is not less than Rs.1 crore per  annum  In  other  categories,  visa  extension is subject  to  submission  of  documents of proof of doing business/ consultancy. Extension of Business Visa can be granted by the Foreigners Regional   Registration Officer (FRRO)/ Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) concerned on year-to-year basis. The period of extension cannot be beyond five years from the date of issue of the Business visa.

Visa to family members of a foreigner granted Business visa:

The family members or dependants of the foreign national who has been granted a business visa can be granted dependant visa. The validity of such a visa is co-terminus with the validity of the visa of the principal visa holder. The family members can also avail Student/ Research Visa, etc provided they are otherwise eligible for grant of such a visa.

E-Business Visa:

E-Visa in India is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing, casual visits, medical treatment and business purpose and for no other purpose or activity.  This  facility  is  not  available for people  whose parents  or  grandparents  (paternal  or  maternal)  were  born  in,  or  were  permanent  residents  of  Pakistan. This facility is also not available to people who hold Diplomatic/Official passports, UNLP (UN Passport), and international travel document (for e.g. INTERPOL officials).

An e- Business visa is granted for a period up to 60 days with double entry.

How to apply for E-Business Visa?
A person (foreign national) who wishes to apply for such visa can fill out an online application form through:

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

The applicant can apply 120 days in advance prior to expected date of arrival in India.

Grant of Permanent Residency Status (PRS) to Foreign Investors:

Permanent Residency Status (PRS) can be granted to foreign investors making investment under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route.  This scheme is not be applicable to Pakistani citizens or third country nationals of Pakistani origin.

To be eligible, the foreign investor should invest a minimum of INR 10 crores  to  be  brought  within  18  months  or INR 25 crores  to  be  brought  within  36 months. The foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians in every financial year.

The foreign investor promising investment as per the aforesaid threshold limit will be granted an initial  business  visa  ‘B-4  Visa  (Investor)’  for  18  months  or  36  months,  as  the  case  may  be, depending  on  the  level  of  investment  promised, without  any  stay  stipulation.  There will be no requirement of registration with FRRO/FRO concerned. Spouse and dependents of the investor will  be  granted  ‘B-4X’ Visa  co-terminus  with  the  Business  Visa  of  the  investor  on  the  same  terms and conditions.  After fulfillment of the eligibility conditions, the foreign investor and their spouse/dependents may submit an application for Permanent Residency Status (PRS) online to the FRRO/ FRO concerned.
    
Benefits under PRS:
  • PRS serves as a multiple entry visa without any stay stipulation.
  • PRS holders are exempted from the registration requirements with the FRRO/ FRO concerned.
  • PRS holders are allowed to purchase one residential property for dwelling purpose. Transfer of immovable property acquired by PRS holder under the PRS Scheme needs to comply with the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and transfer of Immovable property in India) Regulations, 2000.
  • Spouse/ dependents of the investor who are granted PRS are allowed to take up employment in private sector on the basis of the PRS with the permission of the FRRO/ FRO concerned. The minimum salary limit of Rs.16.25 lakhs per annum prescribed for grant of Employment visa to foreign nationals will not be applicable in such cases.
  • Spouse/ dependents of the investor who are granted PRS can undertake studies in India without a separate Student Visa.