Oct 20, 2020


People began moving in significant numbers for greater economic, political and social prosperity as globalisation took place. India is a nation of mixed races and languages, offering refugees from other nations several attractions. For the intent of long-term resettlement, immigration essentially refers to the transfer of people from one country to another. 

However, the primary obstacle for refugees is to gain the host country's citizenship and take advantage of the basic rights of the land to which they have moved. Typically, these problems are resolved by explicitly designed immigration laws and regulations that carry out the procedure and requirements for gaining citizenship. But as far as the Indian Subcontinent is concerned, the rules of the Constitution of India control the immigration laws.

In Part-II of the Constitution, Articles 5 to 11 deal with citizenship and describe a citizen as a person with an Indian domicile or someone with an Indian family heritage. Article 10 deals with the continuity of the rights of aliens as Indian nationals, subject to any legislation introduced by the legislature after that. 

The Indian Constitution acknowledges only country-wide single citizenship and does not accept dual citizenship. It also declares that a foreign citizen may obtain Indian citizenship through the process of Naturalization (ordinarily living in India for 14 years) and registration of foreigners with the FRRO (Foreigners Geographical Registration Officer) or FRO (Foreigners Registration Officer). As compared to jus soli (citizenship by birth), Indian law follows jus sanguinis (citizenship by blood).

Rules and regulations for immigrants

Some actions have been introduced to regularise the procedure of immigrants taking advantage of citizenship, such as:

  1. The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920-The foreigners entering India are required under this Act to receive visas from India Missions. The Act also prescribes unique papers for application for permission to the country during their legal journeys.
  2. The Foreigners Act, 1946-This Act governs the entry and residency of foreigners before their exit from the country within the Indian boundaries.
  3. The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Regulations, 1992. This allows the Registry Officer to comply with those visitors who remain past their designated visa time.

Indian Visa

For their lawful entry into the Indian borders, all international visitors need a visa. However, this does not apply to Nepalese and Bhutanese people. The visas allow for a fixed duration of stay within the country of no longer than 180 days (6 months). If, however, a visa is required for an extended duration (more than 180 days) of stay, the applicant must register with the FRRO or FRO.

Different forms of visas are issued by the Indian government, such as business visas, job visas, internal visas, transit visas, student visas, film visas, etc., any of which can be used as a conventional or e-visa visa. Apart from the above-mentioned valid visas known as the Protected Area Permit (PAP), which permits tourists to access the restricted zones, there are also restricted areas within India that require a special entry permit. This permit must be included as an alternative to the required regular visa.

Foreigner’s registration in India

  1. Foreigners travelling on a long period (more than 180 days) (except Pakistan and Afghanistan) on a student visa, job visa, study visa and medical visa are expected to register with the Indian Missions / FRRO / FRO within 14 days of arrival. For some groups of residents, this mechanism has its limits.
  2. International nationals entering India on any visa other than that of the above forms are not expected to register themselves unless they wish to stay for more than 180 days in India. In such situations, registration must take place well in advance of the expiry of the six-month cycle.
  3. Foreigners over the age of 16 are expected to apply for registration to the relevant Registration Officer in person or by a designated representative. Minors under the age of 16 years are not obligated to file.
  4. Foreigners visiting on an Entry(X) visa, i.e. contingent visas and business visas, who want to stay for 180 days, are also expected to register.
  5. Visitors are expected to enrol themselves with the FRROS / FRO on journalist visas and other visas without any clear endorsements. The visas sought for registration are stamped by all Indian missions.

Recent amendments

The government has made many important changes to the Indian Immigration Law of India, such as:

  1. Any visitor on an employment visa is free to change his or her employer by applying to the Ministry of Home Affairs once they have arrived in India.
  2. Considering the eligibility of the X visa applicant and the work status of the partner, a dependent visa or an (X) visa may be transformed into an occupational visa.
  3. As of the decree passed on January 9th, 2015, the PIO (People of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Resident of India) cards are mixed.