Get to grips with India’s new “relocation” visa process
CURRENTLY, India requires any foreign national visitors who are planning on staying for a prolonged period of time to register in person at the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival.
This includes all non-nationals who possess a student, medical, research or employment visa and know they’re staying longer than the 180 days stated on a tourist visa.
In the past, the inconvenience of finding the FRRO offices has put a strain on overseas visitors. Along with language barriers and miscommunications, foreigners have often incurred hefty and avoidable fines.
This is one of the reasons India has announced the opening of the e-FRRO portal.
It sounds magical, and it is.
The new process was declared by Union home minister Rajnath Singh as part of a wider plan to make visa applications easier and more accessible for foreigners across India.
The portal now allows long-stay visitors to carry out all their FRRO-related functions from the comfort of their home.
The homepage on the portal asks a few simple questions such as your present nationality and the purpose of your submission to the FRRO.
Options include registration, visa extension, exit permit, change of passport, and even gaining a police clearance certificate.
Upon selecting the forms you require, you simply create an online profile and submit your information.
The relevant organizations will then be in contact and once all requests are granted, you just pay online.
No waiting around in stuffy offices or getting lost in unfamiliar places.
The new portal also means newbies to the nation won’t get caught up with fraudulent middlemen/agents who will claim to get you quick access to the paperwork you need and charge an extortionate rate in the process.
The extensive website provides answers to frequently asked questions and thoroughly instructs you through each of the processes.
The move online is keeping in tune with the ever-growing paperless and cashless society.
It also aims to entice more visitors to the nation and help India achieve its goal of growing the tourism sector one percent by 2020 and two percent by 2025.