The most important aspect to plan a trip to any country is setting in order all the paperwork required to facilitate the trip, but when it comes to India its more than that. The journey to finally getting your Registration Permit (RP) and I say “journey” deliberately, is, if you’re lucky, and good humored, a learning experience as to how things work here.
India is a land of paradoxes. You will most definitely be annoyed at the inefficiency of the staff, be frustrated at the lack of courtesy shown towards you and by the end of it, be ready to SCREAM. But this largest democracy with the craziest diversity in the world has so many pleasures to offer that it will all seem worthwhile after an initial speed bump.
So, let this post be a beacon of hope to avert the usual ruckus associated with government proceedings and prep you towards enjoying your stay in India.
If you initiate your Registration process in a timely manner, then there are no charges for the whole process. So here goes all the important information that you will need to make this process a little easier.
Step 1 – Identifying your Visa and Registration process
Foreigners visiting India on the Visa’s mentioned below are required to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration office within 14 days of arrival irrespective of their duration, if not, you will be charged a fine of US$30 or its equivalent in rupees. In some cases, visitors under other visas may also be asked to register with the FRO (sometimes called as FRRO if it is a regional office).
Registrations are required for :
- Student Visa (S)
- Research Visa (R)
- Medical Visa (M)
- Medical attendant Visa (MED-X)
- Employment Visa (E)
Generally, children below the age of 16 are exempt from registrations. In some cases, the FRO staff will not clarify this to you – as in many cases they themselves will be unfamiliar with some rules.
It is mandatory for all foreigners to personally appear at the FRO to obtain any legal services. Information for Foreigners possessing (X) Visa. If you have an (X) visa or a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card then you have to register only if your stay exceeds 6 months on a single trip.
This process is basically put in place to track and identify the number of foreigners visiting & residing in India.
Step 2 – How to Register
Recently the FRO office underwent a full electronic makeover, and so, now, they insist that all patrons register online before coming in to the Office and submit scanned copies of documents. This does make things easier, but you will still need to physically carry all documents to the office for verification.
You should begin by filling this application form for obtaining service at the FRO. This will allow you to schedule an appointment for an in-person visit to the FRO. The documents that you need, depend on your visa type. You can find a list of documents for registration with FRO by clicking here. Make very sure to have more than 2 photocopies of everything mentioned as you will not find any copy center nearby.
* Make sure you have all required documents before you go to the FRO on your allotted date of appointment. Here are some general instructions for foreigners’ registrations in India.
You are halfway done. You have successfully filled an application form and gotten an appointment date. All you have to do now is gather a few more documents that you will need on the day of your appointment at the FRO.
Step 3 – Police verification
This part of the process is fairly quick. Depending on where you are staying, find your local police station. This shouldn’t be too hard but ensure that your address falls under said police stations jurisdiction. Carry along the following documents with you to the police station:
- 2 Passport sized pictures
- 2 copies of your lease and license agreement
- 2 copies of your Passport2 copies of your Visa page
- 2 copies of the Pan Card or any kind of permanent address proof of the licensor of your agreement. ( In the case of you residing in a rental)
- One envelope
- Copy of your C form ( unsigned but filled)
- Once you submit these documents, the police may or may not come to the mentioned address to verify if you are actually living there.
- You will be asked to visit the police station again, usually on the next day, to collect a sealed envelope. Do not break the seal.
Step 4 – Form C
Form C is basically a document that acts as a proof of address and along with your registration permit keeps an account of where you are situated. So, before you go ahead and apply for this form, make sure you have your police verification document taken care of.
Form C needs to be filled out by your landlord if you are staying in a rented property. Else your hotel, temporary lodging, university, hospital is responsible for filling it.
Generally hotels and lodges are familiar with the Form C process. If not, they will just need a reminder. Do insist on them doing it personally if they happen to make excuses. This is because the licensor or landlord has to be present while getting the C form. If that isn’t possible, ask him/her to write a handwritten application stating why they couldn’t come and granting you or someone else the authority to get it signed.
In some cases, your landlord or hotel would charge you a small fee for going through this hassle.
Now that you have most of your documents in order, you may scan and upload them online or do it at the FRO office on the day of your appointment. Form C is verified, signed, stamped at an office located very close to the FRO office. Also, carry the envelope you received from the Police on the same day, as it needs to be opened by an official and signed/stamped.
Some tips to make your “day” easier at the FRO office:
- Print your application form, get copies of Form C, and the police verification certificate.
- Make sure you carry at least 2 or more copies of each document.
- Keep your Passport size pictures handy.
- Prepare to spend a few hours at the FRO office.
- Carry a bottle of water. (If you have children, keep them at home.)
- Keep calm, makes the process easier.
- Do not be condescending towards any staff members and accept the cultural difference (or indifference).
After your appointment at the FRO and finishing up with all the processes that happen there, you will be given a date on which you have to return. On that day you will receive a printed sheet with all your information and an expiry date. This date usually coincides with that of your Visa. This sheet is your Registration Permit (RP). You might be asked to produce it at the immigration office while you are leaving so keep it handy.
You’re done! This process is fairly simple if you follow each step in order. Often times what happens is a little bit of mis-communication at the hands of various officials giving you part of the information per visit, as the rules are updated and revised quite often. So be sure to visit their official website whenever you’re unsure of anything. Hope this post helped you to expedite the paperwork for you stay in India.
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