Dear Mentor:

Do I need a work permit to work in India?

I am a citizen of the UK with Indian visa. I would like to work in India. Will I need a work permit? Where should I apply for the permit? Should my employer give some sought to a letter of appointment? How do I go about getting the permit? My visa is valid up to 2007.

Work Permit for India, Bangalore, India

Dear Work Permit for India:

First we should note that we are not immigration lawyers. We have some knowledge and information that we can certainly share with you. While we have access to the general information offered by the Indian government, we do not have the detailed knowledge or precise information on the requirements and procedures for visas for India. It may surprise you that the requirements and procedures set by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India for Indian High Commissions and Consulates vary somewhat across countries, although the general approach is similar.

You have not provided complete information but we suspect that your current visa for India is a multiple-entry, multiyear visitor's visa. Just like any other country in the world, including the UK of which you are a citizen, India does not allow employment for those on a visitor's visa. A visa for work - a work permit - must be sought and obtained from the official authorities of the Government of India, prior to starting any employment in India. Failure to do so is grounds for prompt deportation. This rule is not draconian; it is a common practice for all countries. Every visa is issued for a purpose, and any deviation from the stated purpose of the visa results in a deportation in every country.

You must have understood by now that the above was our long way of saying that you do require a work permit for employment in India. Your visitor's visa is of no use in that regard. To obtain information on the requirements and procedure to affect a change in your status, you should contact the Consular Passport and Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. We can offer you our understanding of the rules and requirements. They include:

  • Passport (should be valid for a minimum period of six months)
  • Visa application should be filled in ink with BLOCK (CAPITAL) letters only. Incomplete and illegible applications are likely to be rejected.
  • Applicant's name should be filled in as per his/her name in the passport
  • 2 passport size photographs
  • Attach supporting documents along with visa application. These documents for employment visa include: an appointment letter, contract letter, applicant's resume, and proof of organization registration in India.
  • Appropriate visa fee in cash, cashier check or money order (Personal Check (s) not accepted)

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