A member has brought to our attention to be careful when applying for an Indian Visa. This member who has been a regular traveller to India and was twice given 5 year multiple entry visas in the past, when applying for the third time was asked to produce either his parents old Indian Passport or a birth certificate to prove his Indian origin. Failing to fulfil this requirement he was refused a five year visa and instead was given just 6 months. To add insult to the injury, the High Commission also refused to refund the difference between two visa fees!
As I am frequent traveller to India. I had to get clarification from Indian High commission Visa section.
Yes The new rule is there but not for TYPE X Visa (i.e five years)
This is the response I received from them:
From: Info on India Visa in UK
Subject: RE: Visa Rules
Thank you for your query,
This is for information that there should be a gap of at least 2 months between two visits to India on a Tourist Visa. Please note that this ruling applies to short term Tourist visas i.e. 6 Months and 1 year and does not apply to the long term entry visa for 5 yrs or any other visa category.
In case of requirement to visit India within 2 months, permission should be sought from the High Commission of India, London or the Indian Consulates at Birmingham and Edinburgh directly without going through the outsourcing agency VFS Global (UK) Ltd. Where permission is accorded in such cases, registration with the local FRRO/FRO would be required within 14 days of arrival in India. Request form can be downloaded through the web-site http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk Processing time of the request will be 3-4 working days.
However, those holding Tourist Visas, who after initial entry into India plan to visit another country and re-enter India before finally exiting, could be permitted more than one entry, as the case may, be subject to their submission of a detailed itinerary and supporting documents i.e. confirmed Air tickets.
In view of the change in the Tourist Visa procedure, Government of India has fixed Pounds Seven (£7) as Miscellaneous Charge for according permission to re-enter India within Two months of last exit.
Tourist Visa Re-entry request form can be downloaded by clicking on the following link: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/visa-forms.aspx
Please note - In view of the spread of the Swine Influenza A (H1N1) all passengers traveling to India will be screened at the International Airports in India on their arrival. This will also involve quarantine and even hospitalization, if detected, with any symptoms connected with the flu.
Information Service Desk
VF Services (UK) Limited
For further information please visit our website http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk or contact our call centre on 0905 757 0045 (Calls to the premium rate number cost 95 pence per minute)
This is link where people cane see their Visa and also check what categories are available
I have made enquiries at both the Indian Consul General in Birmingham, who were not able to provide any details other than ask about what type of visa is held and referred me back to the Indian High Commission in London. Also advising that any concessions for special circumstances can only be dealt with by the Head of the Mission, ie the Indian High Commissioner, himself!!
When I spoke to the visa enquiries office in London, I was asked about the type of visa held and was then advised that if the visa in the passport states "X Visa" under the heading type then the new rules do not apply. If the type is "T Visa" or Tourist then the rules apply. I think it is best to check in individual cases and hopefully the correct answer is obtained. As usual, there was nothing on the HCI website about the new rules, when I looked at the beginning of January and I am sure that officials, both here and in India, will apply the rules as they see fit. I just hope that no one is refused entry because the rules are applied irrationally by the immigration officer when one lands in India.
I have also been told, but there is no firm evidence, that the exit stamps in passports, when one leaves India, state that re-entry is not allowed within two months, only in respect of those visas that the rule applies to. As I say, there is no confirmation of this.
I hope this helps.
New India visa rules
New rules brought in by the Indian government mean that anyone with a multiple entry visa for India, even those with a five or ten year one, will have to wait two months before re-entering the country if they leave for any amount of time. The move means that tourists will no longer be able to use India as a base for travel to other countries in the region such as Nepal, China or Sri Lanka.
It is believed that the government's decision was motivated by the arrest of suspected US terrorist David Headley, who authorities believe to have participated in the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. Mr. Headley had held a multiple-entry visa and made a total of nine entries into the country.
Also affected will be foreigners living in India and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders. The former, who prefer to reapply for six-month visas rather than go through the rigmarole of securing citizenship, will no longer be able to leave the country without staying abroad for two months.
The British High Commission in Delhi commented: "We have discussed this matter with the government of India. We understand the Indian government is reconsidering its plans. We shall keep a close eye on this as it develops because it has the potential to impact on a large number of British nationals."
Following diplomatic protests from the United States and England, the Indian Foreign Ministry issued an announcement on Dec. 24, slightly relaxing the rules for tourists who wish to use India as a base for travels in the region. “Foreign tourists who enter India and then plan to visit another country and re-enter India before finally exiting, may be permitted two or three entries by Indian missions subject to their submission of a detailed itinerary and supporting documentation (ticket bookings),” the official statement said.
Re-entry may also be permitted in special cases, such as a death or illness in the family. Under the new rules, visitors are also required to register within 14 days with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (F.R.R.O.) in India if they return within two months of departure.
While the ministry has stated that the rules will affect only tourist visas, United States consulates in India have issued travel alerts stating that they have received some reports that the rules are being applied to other visa types, including business visas. The alert said that the rules are being applied inconsistently in certain cases, and that they are still subject to change. (See the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai Web site for travel alerts and reports on how the rules are being applied.)