India is 7th fastest growing country in world and more than 20 million NRIs. Every year lots of NRIs makes visit to India either for business purpose or for recreational purpose. Similarly, lots of foreign company have business presence in India in form of Branch office registration in India, Liaison office India, Project office India wholly owned subsidiary in India by foreign companies etc. Due to which many expatriates are also coming to India on business visa or for working in their subsidiaries or branch office in India.
As per Indian exchange regulations, in case of NRIs or expatriates coming to India, in case no. of days of visits in India exceeds 6 months, they have to register with Foreigners Regional Registration Office i.e. FRRO.
In this regard law is that any foreigner including those of Indian origin who visits India on long term i.e more than 180 days employment visa, medical visa, student visa and research visa are required to take FRRO registration having jurisdiction over place where foreigner intends to stay within 14 days of arrival.
Further, Pakistani nationals has to take registration within 24 hours of their arrival. Also, Afghan nationals has to take registration within 14 days of arrival except those who has valid Indian visa for 30 days or less and in that case, the Afghan national concerned has to give his/her local address in India to the Indian Mission/FRRO/FRO.
Any foreigner other than above, are not required to get themselves registered, even if they have entered India on a long term visa in case their continuous stay in India is less than180 days. In case, the intention of the foreigner is to stay in India for more than 180 days, he/she should get himself/ herself registered well before the expiry of 180 days from the date of arrival with the FRRO/FRO concerned.
Previously, the process was online as well as offline visit was also required wherein they had to be physically make presence on the appointed date at the FRRO office for processing of the application.
However, as part of Government of Indi’s vision of “Digital India” and “Ease of Doing Business in India”, the process of FRRO registration has also been digitized for NRIs and expatriates and foreign nationals visiting India.
Accordingly, the government has introduced an e-FRRO portal for seamless processing of application for FRRO registration and there shall be no requirement to visit the FRRO office anymore as everything can be done online.
The main features of new scheme are as given under:
- Now, with effect from 12th February 2018, there is no mandatory requirement to make visit to the local FRRO office located at Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.
- A new portal has been introduced through which all the facilities like FRRO registration, visa extension, change of address, change of passport, conversion of visa, exit permissions etc can be availed online and no need to visit anywhere.
- Further, clients or customers will be kept informed by way of email and sms for services approved or rejected
- Similarly, copy of Registration Certificate can be downloaded from portal as well as same will be sent by post and on the registered email id. .
This is a welcome step from government of India as it will save time and cost of millions of end users in India. Further, it will also help government to have better control over processes. At present, the scheme or facility is available in 4 metro cities of India and sooner it will be implemented throughout India.
Address of new portal is https://indianfrro.gov.in/eservices/