5 Things You Need to Know about FRRO in India

10 August 2018 - 18:29, by , in Living in India, No comments

If you are a foreigner staying in India for a considerable period of time, you might just find yourself making a pitstop at the ‘FRRO’ or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Depending on the specifics of your stay, you may have to obtain a residence permit from the officials. The process tends to be complicated and may take up a lot of time, making it important for foreign nationals to do some research and prepare for the visit. Once you register, it means you are legally allowed to reside in India and can apply for necessities such as a driving license, PAN card, bank account and even an internet connection.

Here are five important things foreigners need to know before heading to the FRRO:

1) Do I need to register?

The short answer is- it depends on the type and length of the visa and the notification on the visa.

In some cases, the printed Indian VISA may explicitly ask you to register. Otherwise, you need to work out the category you fall into by virtue of the purpose of your visit. If you possess a Journalist, Business or Entry Visa, you need to register in case you plan to make a continuous stay of over 180 days. If you are a foreign diplomat or an OCI cardholder, you do not need to register. Similarly, Tourist Visas ( if your stay exceeds 80 days one will need to register) are not even valid for more than 180 days (in a single visit), so tourists are saved a trip to the FRRO.  If your Visa says Medical, Research, Student, Project or Employment and is valid for at least 180 days, you are required to register regardless of the time period of your visit. It can be less than 180 days and they can ask you to register.

2) Where is the office?

FRROs are located in a number of major cities, including Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Goa, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Kochi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

In case the area you live in does not have an office, you can always register at the nearest police station, with a Superintendent or Deputy Superintendent of Police. However, it is advisable to travel to an FRRO. Agents are not allowed inside the office. Only persons suffering from medical issues are exempt from appearing personally for registration. Additionally, children under the age of sixteen do not need to register at all. Everyone else must appear in person.

One has to register based on the geographical area of their stay, once cant travel to a FRRO, certain FRRO allow consultant (not agents). People having medical conditions are not automatically exempted, it’s on the case to case basis.

3) What happens at the FRRO?

Once you present yourself at the FRRO, with all the required documents, the officials will register your presence and issue a permit. They will also register a change of address if any. In addition, the same office can be approached for converting or extending particular kinds of Visas. The FRRO also grants exit Visas for people including children born/adopted here, those who are in the process of getting an extension, those who have overstayed their official visit etc. It is important to note that failing to register at the office, if you are required to, is illegal and punishable with prison time and/or a heavy monetary penalty.

The Resident permit at times not issued the same day and additional trip are needed, The extension in FRO (Smaller cities) can take up to 2 weeks for a visa extension. IF one has overstayed then one won’t be allowed to leave the country without an exit visa and can attract, fines, penalties, and even Jail.

4) When should I register?

It is best to register within fourteen days of arrival, especially if you have a Student, Employment or Medical Visa. If you possess a Business or Journalist Visa, you should register within 150 days of landing in India. Knowledge about the specific details of your Visa and country of origin is crucial to figuring out your deadline for registration. For example, Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals need to register within 24 hours of arrival. Afghan nationals can register within fourteen days, but not those who have a Visa valid for thirty days or less. Missing the deadline makes you liable to a fine of INR 1400 which has to be paid when you eventually register.

Registration depends on the type of visa and notification on the passport, the same goes for Journalist visa, Business visa has to register if stay exceeds 180 days on a single visit.

5) Is there a way to make the process faster?

Your cooperation and preparation can make the process a lot smoother and hassle-free. Apply online in case you are eligible for the same, and arrive at the office with all the papers listed on the government website. Most offices take applications from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., after which they only remain open for those already in line. Make sure you arrive well in advance to avoid long queues. You may have to make more than one trip to the office, even if you think you have all the required documents, so be patient.

Lastly, it is important to remember that the staff members at FRROs have a lot on their plate and being polite to them is sure to make everyone’s day easier.

The FRRO and FRO will not accept you without an appointment, no one can visit the FRRO without taking an online appointment and uploading the required documents, it’s completed and its best to engage an immigration company to assist you.

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