Obtaining a visa isn’t difficult, but the process can be time-consuming so it is best to start as soon as possible. Visa rules for India aren’t always clear so those planning on visiting or relocating to India should thoroughly research the visa requirements and seek advice if needed.

Some foreigners are entitled to obtain a visa on arrival in India. However, others will need to apply for a tourist visa at the application centre in their home country or via the online e-Visa system. Anyone intending to travel to India should determine which category they belong to ahead of time.

Tourist visas are granted to those who intend on visiting India to see friends and family, or to sightsee. 
Anyone looking to relocate to India for work will need to apply for either an employment visa or a business visa. Both of these types of visa allow the holder to live and work in India legally. There are also further sub-categories that are for applicants working in certain industries as well as those from particular countries that have strong diplomatic ties with India.

Employment visas are granted to expats wanting to work for a company registered in India. To be eligible for an employment visa, expats will either need a guaranteed job offer from an Indian firm or proof of an intra-company transfer.

These visas are usually valid for a year or for the term of the employment contract. Although the initial application should be submitted in the expat’s home country, renewals are permitted from within India.

Expats moving to India as entrepreneurs or investors should apply for a business visa. Applicants are required to prove that they are in good financial standing and that they have expertise in their area of business.

Business visa holders are allowed to remain in India for up to six months at a time. However, in some cases a multiple-entry business visa can be issued for a longer periods of time.