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Frequently asked questions

General Visa

  1. Can somebody else submit the application form for visa on applicant's behalf?
    No, An Application Form cannot be submitted at the Visa Application Centre on an applicant's behalf. It is recommended that you post/courier your application, as this will save your travel to and queuing time at the Centre.
  2. Do all the applicants need to be present at the time of collection an Passport?
    No, the applicant's family member can also collect the passport as long as the family member have the Invoice-cum-receipt issued by BLS, a letter of authority from the applicant along with Identity proof of person collecting the passport.
  3. Can I apply for visa if I am a non Canadian and non-resident in Canada?
     You should obtain a visa from the country of your normal residence or country of origin.
  4. How many photographs are required for visa?
    One photo is required for all Visa Applications. recent color passport size (about 51 mm x 51mm) photograph in color, showing full frontal view of face against a white background to be pasted/stapled on the application form
  5. How can one pay fees?
    Fees can be paid in cash, Debit card, Bank pay order
    Note: Payments cannot be made online however you have the facility to make a payment at the visa centre itself when you come to submit your documents.
  6. Is there a minimum passport validity required for obtaining a visa?
    The passport has to be valid for at least 6-months from the date of application with at least 2 blank visa pages. Applicants are advised to check their passport validity before submitting their application.
  7. How do I know the maximum period of stay allowed on my visa?
     You may stay in India only until the date of expiry of your visa irrespective of your date of arrival.
  8. Is it possible to get a refund of Visa fees?
    Visa Fees and all other charges, once paid will not be refunded under any circumstances.
  9. Where should I apply for my visa?
    Your India visa processing site depends on where in the Canada you currently reside, also known as jurisdiction.
    APPLICANT(S) RESIDING IN THE FOLLOWING REGIONS SHOULD APPLY AT THEIR DESIGNATED APPLICATION CENTRE BLS APPLICATION CENTRE
    British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton,
    Calgary
    Ontario ,Quebec except for areas under the Ottawa Jurisdiction, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland Toronto, Winnipeg, Brampton
    National Capital region of Ottawa-Hull, Kingston, Cornwell, Hawkesbury, Arnprior, Renfrew, Perth Prescott, Brockville, Carleton Place, Smith Falls, Morrisburg (all in Ontario), Montreal (in Quebec) and Nunavut territory Ottawa or Montreal

  10. Are there specific vaccinations required to travel to India?
    The Indian HCI does not require any specific vaccinations for travellers to obtain a visa to India.
  11. Do I need a visa to go to India?
    Yes, all Foreigners except for national of Nepal and Bhutan need a visa to enter India
  12. Do I need a visa for my pet that I am taking to India?
    You do not need a visa for your pet. But you have to comply with certain customs and vaccination-related regulations. Consult your airline/travel agent for details of these regulations and the necessary documents needed to take your pet.
  13. Can I collect my passport from the High Commission of India, Ottawa or the Consulate General in Toronto and Vancouver?
    No. You have to collect your passport from the Indian Consular Services in Canada where you originally submitted the application.
  14. Do I have to submit my passport and visa application only at the India Visa & Consular Services Centre?
    Yes. However, diplomatic, official UN Passport holders can be submit visa application to the HCI/CGI
  15. Will I be allowed to carry liquor to India?
    Yes. But if you are travelling to Gujarat, you will have to apply for a liquor permit on arrival in Gujarat. Please check with your airline for other restrictions on alcohol.
  16. Will the visa and service fee courier service fees be refunded?
    Visa and BLS Processing fees including courier charges once paid is not refundable even if the application is withdrawn or service denied.
  17. Can I enter my pet/Nick-name for my Online Visa Application? Do I have to enter all sections?
    Enter the information requested into the appropriate spaces on the form. Please answer all questions accurately as the details entered will be reflected on your visa. All answers must be in English. Letters like ñ, é, ü, ç are not recognized by the system. Please enter names like Muñoz and Sémonin as Munoz and Semonin
    The Online Visa Application system does not accept any special characters at all.
    Please replace any “-, #, /, etc” with a space, except for telephone numbers which need to be continuously entered, when completing the online application. This is in keeping with the requirements of the Government of India. All sections which need to be completed will be marked as mandatory. The system will not save your application if these sections are left unanswered.
  18. How long will my application be available online?
    You can print your Visa Application Form within 30 calendar days of completing it online. To access your completed online application you are required to note your Web Reference number before you exit. An Email with this information will also be sent to your valid email id, if provided.
    If your application is not submitted for processing within this time, the information will be purged out/deleted from our system and you will need to commence enter your details afresh.
  19. I had a problem while submitting my online application and lost internet connectivity? How do I know if my application was saved?
    If you have completed your application and saved it, you will have received your Web Reference Number via email as long as you have provided us with a valid email id. You can retrieve your application and complete the remaining payment procedure or additional family members’ applications, as required.
  20. I have noticed that my name is mis-spelt; what should I do?
    Applicants are requested to confirm their particulars on the Invoice-cum-receipt at the time of submitting their visa applications and on receipt of their Visa to ensure that there are no errors in printing.
    If the particulars are incorrect, this needs to be informed to one of our team members immediately to ensure timely rectification of the same.
    If you have receive these by Postal/Courier delivery at home. Please call on our Helpline number or email us.
  21. How do I know when my application is ready for collection from the India Passport & Visa Services Centre?
    You can check the status of your application online by visiting our website and entering your web reference number. You can also call our helpline on all business days between 0800 am to 02:00 pm
  22. If I have opted for a Postal/Courier return but have changed my mind, can I collect my processed application in-person and have a refund of my Postal/Courier fees?
    You are requested to send us mail for Collection of passport from the visa application centre.
    Please write following on your mail.
    Name, Passport Number, BLS Reference Number and contact number
    Note: Personal collection can be made only on the day passport received from the mission. If this is not collected, applications will be dispatched as normal to avoid any delivery issues. Fees paid for the Postal/Courier return will not be refunded.
  23. Is there any way in which I can fast track my visa after I have applied. I’m getting a cheaper airfare if I travel earlier?
    Applications which are processed as normal cannot be changed to Emergency/Urgent applications unless in a Medical or Death situation.
    It is strongly recommended that applicants do not make any confirmed travel arrangements until they receive their Visas. Any loss occurring due to confirmed travel plans being made prior to receiving your Indian Visa, under any circumstances, will not be reimbursed. Please refer to the average processing timelines on our website prior to submitting your Visa Applications for processing. Our personnel in the office or at the Contact Centre cannot promise you an earlier issuance at any time.
  24. Is it mandatory to fill the visa form online now?
    You are required to fill the Application form online from 25th July 2011 onwards.
  25. Can I apply for my Visa manually since I don’t have access to a computer?
    From 25th July 2011, all applications will have to be completed online. Manual applications form are no longer accepted by the HCI/CGI
  26. Can I edit the Form once it is printed?
    The online form cannot be edited once it has been printed. Please ensure that you verify all the information you enter before you finally submit the application and take a print out. IN case of an error, you would have to start a new application form.
  27. How do I retrieve the form if I have not completed it?
    At the start and on each subsequent page of the online form there is a unique temporary ID that is generated at the top of the page. This number must be correctly noted for you to be able to retrieve your application before it is printed.
  28. I was issued a visa for a different length of time than I originally applied for, why?
    Visas are issued at the HCI or Consulate's discretion. In some circumstances, visas will be issued for a length of time that is less than what was requested.
  29. I have a visa, but I am now travelling for a purpose that is not covered under my current visa. Should I travel on my visa anyway, or should I apply for a new visa?
    It is advised that you always travel with the type of visa that is most appropriate for your travel purpose. Immigration officials may deny entry if the type of visa does not match the purpose of the visit.
  30. Can I hold two active Indian visas at the same time?
    No, the Indian government will not permit two valid visas at the same time. Your currently active visa will need to be cancelled upon approval and issuance of a second visa.
    Please provide request letter stating reason for not using the current visa
  31. Can I apply at any of the IVACs?
    No, applicants must apply at their local Visa Application Centre. Please view the jurisdiction for further information
  32. Can I mail my visa application and passport to the Consulate of India?
    No
  33. Can my friend in India apply for my visa?
    No, the applicant must apply for a visa in Canada
  34. Can I have my passport sent to my home or work address?
    Yes. The applicant can opt for the courier service after paying a nominal fee.
  35. Do I have to submit my passport and visa application only at the India Visa Application Centre?
    Yes, all applicants have to submit their applications at the India Visa Application Centre.

Tourist Visa

  1. Whether the gap of two months between two visits would apply to all Tourist visa holders?
     The provision relating to 2 months gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the Government. It has now been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons with immediate effect.
  2. Whether the restriction of two months gap for re-entering India is applicable to PIO/OCI card holders and foreigners holding business, employment, student and other categories of visa?
     The provision relating to 2 months gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the Government. It has now been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India except in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and Stateless persons with immediate effect.
  3. How will medical tourists who return regularly to India for onward treatment be handled?
     For persons coming for medical treatment, there is a separate category of Medical Visa. Foreign nationals coming for medical treatment will have to come only on Medical Visa and not on Tourist Visa.
  4. How will the family members of diplomatic households who do not qualify for diplomatic visas (e.g. older children or domestic partners) be handled?
     The family members of diplomatic households who do not qualify for diplomatic visas may have to come on an ‘Entry(X)’ Visa if eligible. If they come on Tourist Visa, the restrictions as laid down will be applicable.
  5. What activities are permissible on ‘Tourist’ visa?
     Tourist Visa is granted for visiting India for recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends and relatives etc. No other activity is permissible on a Tourist Visa.
  6. Can a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa indulge in Business Activation?
     No. If a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa is found to be involved in Business activities, action may be taken for visa violation.
  7. Can a person holding ‘Tourist’ visa accept employment?
     No. If a person is found working, while holding ‘Tourist’ visa, he/she may be booked for visa violation.
  8. If a tourist’s passport is not stamped to indicate no re-entry within two months, can the tourist assume that he will be allowed to re-enter India within two months?
     No. Even if the tourist’s passport is not stamped, the restrictions as laid down will be applicable.
  9. Whether any fee is required to be charged for making the requisite endorsement on the Passport?
     Miscellaneous Consular Service fee may be charged for making an Endorsement
  10. Can my tourist visa be extended while in India?
    No, you need to apply for a fresh visa an at any Indian mission/ post outside India
  11. I have been issued a six month visa, can I stay in India after 6 months of my arrival?
    Period of stay is not calculated from the date of your entry in India but from the date of issue of Visa.
  12. I wish to visit certain areas in India like Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland etc. Can I obtain a visa to visit these areas?
    A tourist visa is not sufficient to visit these areas because all of these regions in India are restricted/protected areas for which it is necessary to obtain a Restricted/Protected Area Permit (RAP/PAP). This permit can be obtained in India either from the Ministry of Home Affairs or FRRO concerned after entering India with a tourist visa. You can visit certain open areas in Sikkim for a maximum period of 15 days in case you request a 'special endorsement for Sikkim' at the time of applying for your tourist visa.
  13. I will travel at a much later date could my visa be issued to with the post date of travel?
    No, post dated visas are not issued. The validity of the visa begins from the date of issue only.
  14. Can I get a visa on arrival to enter India?
    You can obtain Tourist visa on Arrival valid for 30 days for citizen of specific countries like Finland, Japan, Myanmar, Indonesia, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Combodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos.
  15. I have to travel to India on an emergency. Is there any extra charge for the same?
    Visas are granted on holidays and after service hours in case of a genuine emergency like death or medical emergency subject to production of sufficient documentary proof. The decision of the Consular officer in this regard shall be final. Please note a tourist visa cannot be applied for under emergency procedure.
  16. Can I still travel on my Indian passport on acquiring Canadian Citizenship?
    The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, does not allow dual citizenship. Holding Indian passport/acquiring Indian passport/travelling on Indian passport after acquisition of foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under the Indian Passport Act, 1967, and attracts penalties.

Under Indian law, Person whose previous nationality was Indian before acquiring any foreign Nationality, are required to surrender their Indian passports to the nearest Indian Mission/Post immediately after acquisition of foreign citizenship and obtain a surrender certificate. All applications for renunciation/surrender of Indian passports are to be made at any of the India Visa Application Centres in Canada, as per the Jurisdiction.

Business Visa

  1. What is a Business visa?
     Business Visa is granted to a foreign national who wants to visit India to establish an industrial/business venture or to explore possibilities to set up industrial/business venture, or wants to purchase/sell industrial products in India. This Visa is granted subject to following conditions:
    1. The applicant is a person of assured financial standing and expertise in the field of the intended business.
    2. The applicant is not visiting India for the business of money lending or petty trading, or for a full time employment in India involving payment of salary in India etc.
    3. The facility of Business Visa will also be extended to senior executives of firms, experts, tour conductors and travel agents, etc., visiting India in connection with work related to projects of national importance, including those undertaken by public sector undertakings, and conducting business tours of foreigners or business relating to it, etc.
    4. A foreign national will have to comply with all other requirements like payment of tax liabilities etc.
    5. The grant of Business Visa is subject to any instructions issued by the Government of India on the basis of reciprocity with other foreign countries from time to time.
    6. The Business Visa must be issued from the country of origin, or from the country of domicile of the foreigner provided the period of permanent residence of that applicant in that particular country is for more than 2 years
  2. Who are eligible for a Business visa?
    1. Foreign nationals who want to visit India to establish industrial / business venture or to explore possibilities to set up industrial / business venture in India.
    2. Foreign nationals coming to India to purchase / sell industrial products or commercial products or consumer durables.
    3. Foreign nationals coming to India for technical meetings / discussions, attending Board meetings, general meetings for providing business services support.
    4. Foreign nationals coming to India for recruitment of manpower.
    5. Foreign nationals who are partners in the Business and / or functioning as Directors in the company.
    6. Foreign nationals coming to India for consultations regarding exhibitions, for participation in exhibitions, trade fairs, business fair, etc.
    7. Foreign buyers who come to transact business with suppliers / potential suppliers at locations in India, to evaluate or monitor quality, give specifications, place orders, negotiate further supplies etc., relating to goods or services procured from India.
    8. Foreign experts / specialists on a visit of short duration in connection with an ongoing project with the objective of monitoring the progress of the work, conducting meetings with Indian customers and / or to provide some high level technical guidance.
    9. Foreign nationals coming to India for pre-sales or post-sales activity not amounting to actual execution of any contract or project.
    10. Foreign trainees of multinational companies / corporate houses coming for in-house training in the regional hubs of the concerned company located in India.
    11. Foreign students sponsored by AIESEC for internship on project based work in companies / industries.
    12. Foreign nationals who are coming to India on short visits to customer location to repair any plant or machinery as part of warranty or annual maintenance contracts.
    13. Foreign engineers / technicians coming to India for installation and commissioning of equipments / machines / tools in terms of the contract for supply of such equipment / machine / tools.
    14. Foreign experts coming to India for imparting training for the personnel of the Indian company.
    15. Foreign personnel deputed for providing technical support / services, transfer of know-how, services supplies for which the Indian company pays fees / royalty to the foreign company
  3. Can foreign nationals coming to execute projects in India be granted Business Visas?
     No. A foreign national coming for executing projects/contracts will have to come only on an Employment Visa.
  4. Can foreign nationals already in India for executing projects on Business Visas be allowed to extend their Business Visas?
     No
  5. Can foreign nationals already in India for executing projects on Business Visas be allowed to convert their Business Visas to Employment Visas without leaving the country?
     No
  6. Which category of Visa will be granted to family members of foreign nationals coming to India on Business Visas?
     Indian Missions may grant an 'X' Visa [i.e. a Dependent Visa] to the family members of a foreign national granted a Business Visa at their discretion, subject to usual security checks provided the family members are otherwise eligible for grant of such a Visa
  7. Can a business visa be extended in India?
     Yes directly at the Ministry External Affairs and the second time at the nearest local FRRO
  8. I travel to India frequently for business meetings/to explore opportunities for partnerships with Indian companies. Which visa should I apply for?
    You may apply for a business visa valid for multiple entries for either six months or one year along with the requisite documents as per the checklist. Kindly note, that a Business Visa does not permit you to work in India. In case you wish to work in India, you should apply for an Employment Visa.

Employment Visa

  1. What is the duration of an Employment visa?
    A Foreign national coming to India for employment may initially be granted an Employment visa by the Indian Missions abroad up to one year. The first extension, if necessary, would be granted by MHA. Further extensions, if required, can be granted by concerned State Government / FRO up to maximum period of five years from the date of issue of the visa. Foreigners coming on Employment visa are required to register with concerned FRRO / FRO within two weeks from the date of arrival.
  2. Whether a foreign company/organization that does not have any Project Office/subsidiary/joint venture/branch office in India can sponsor a foreign National/ employee of a foreign company for Employment visa?
    No.
  3. Whether an Indian company/organization which has awarded a contract for execution of a project to a foreign company that does not have any base in India, can sponsor employee of foreign company for Employment visa?
    Yes
  4. If the Indian organization/entity sponsors an Employment Visa, does this mean that the Indian organization/entity has to necessarily be the legal employer of the person?
    No.
  5. Which category of Visa will be granted to the foreign language teachers/interpreters?
    Employment Visa
  6. Which category of Visa will be granted to the foreign specialist Chefs?
    Employment Visa.
  7. Which type of Visa would be granted to senior management personnel and/or specialists employed by foreign firms who are relocated to India to work on specific Project/management assignment?
    Employment Visa
  8. I will be going to India for work/employment along with my family. Which visa should I apply for? Would my children be able to study in India?
    You must apply for an employment visa along with the requisite documents. Once your visa application is approved, your wife and children may apply for entry visas in case they are accompanying you on your stay in India. Your children will be able to secure admission in schools/colleges in India once they have been granted entry visas. Kindly note, that you have to undergo mandatory registration formalities at the nearest office of the FRRO/FRO within 14 days of your arrival in India if you are planning to stay in the country for a period longer than 180 days.
  9. 9. Whether a foreign national who has come on Employment Visa to work in one company/organization change his employment to another company/organization within the visa validity period during his stay in India?
    No change of employer shall be permitted during the currency of the Employment Visa within India except in respect of change of employment between a registered holding company and its subsidiary and vice-versa or between subsidiaries of a registered holding company. The change of employment in such cases could be considered subject to the following conditions:
    1. Prior permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs is required for change of employment.
    2. The change of employment would be permitted at a senior level e.g. .managerial or a senior executive position and/or at a skilled position e.g. a technical expert.
    3. The foreign national concerned will have to fulfil all other conditions Stipulated for grant of Employment Visa
    4. A certificate from the holding company, that the company in which the change of employment has been requested, is a subsidiary of the holding company.
    5. No objection from the company from where the foreigner is seeking change of employment.
    6. Justification from the holding company warranting change of employment.
    7. Change of employment between the holding company and its subsidiary
      and vice versa or between two subsidiaries may be permitted only once during the currency of 5 years on Employment Visa
    8. Change of employment would not entitle the foreigner to stay in India for a period of 5 years from the date of change of employment. The residency of 5 years on Employment Visa would commence from the date of issue of the original Employment Visa.
    9. The change of employment would be subject to approval and satisfaction of the competent authority.
  10. Can I work in India?
    Yes. With a valid employment visa only.

Transit Visa

  1. I will be changing flights/airports in India to travel to my final destination (say Nepal, Thailand etc.) Do I need a visa to change flights/airport terminals?
    You need to apply for a transit visa if you are going to change from an international terminal to a domestic terminal of any Indian airport or if you are going to stay in an airport hotel even for a few hours. You don't need a transit visa if you stay in the waiting area reserved for international transit passengers in an Indian airport. Note that you can stay for a maximum period of 72 hours in India on a transit visa. You should have a confirmed air ticket for the onward journey

Conference Visa

  1. I have to participate in a Conference/Seminar/Workshop in India. Which visa should I apply for?
    You should apply for a Conference Visa to enable you to participate in the Conference/Seminar/ Workshop along with invitation letter, details of the Conference etc. Clearance from competent authority from India is required.
  2. Who are eligible for a Conference visa?
    A Conference visa is granted to a foreigner:
    1. Whose sole objective of visiting India is to attend a conference / seminar or workshop being held in India;
    2. Who holds a valid passport, and a re-entry permit if that is required under the law of the country of nationality of the applicant;
    3. Who is not a persona-non-grata to the Government of India;
    4. Who is not considered an undesirable person and is not the subject of a negative list or any warning circular or other restrictive list; and
    5. Who is a person of assured financial standing (the production of a return ticket and availability of sufficient money to spend during his stay in India may be considered sufficient for this purpose).
  3. What is the duration of the Conference visa?
    Conference visa will be issued for the duration of the conference and the travelling time. However, the delegates coming to attend conference etc. in India can combine tourism with attending the conference. Missions can, at their discretion, grant visas for the required period. Such visa shall not exceed maximum validity of Tourist Visa, i.e. 6 months subject to usual conditions applicable for grant of the Tourist visa.

Entry visa

  1. I have to go for internship/training in a university/institute/company in India for a short period. Which visa should I apply for?
    You should apply for an entry visa along with a copy of the offer letter stating the terms of internship. You may also be required to submit a copy of the inter-university student exchange agreement if the proposed internship is a component of such an agreement. You would be required to submit proof of financial standing to support your stay in India. If you receive any monetary compensation/salary from the Indian organisation, you will have to apply for a business visa.

Student visa

  1. I will be studying in India for one semester/trimester in an IIT/IIM/IISc/Indian university. Which visa should I apply for?
    You should apply for a student visa along with a copy of the letter from the institute/university confirming your acceptance as a student. You would also be required to submit proof of financial standing to support your stay in India.
  2. Can I study in India?
    Yes. With a valid student visa.
  3. What are the formalities that foreign students should do on arrival?
    A Foreign students holding Student Visa of more than 180 days are required to register himself/herself with the local FRRO/FRO within 14 days of arrival

Transfer of visa

  1. I have a valid India visa on an old passport that has been renewed or replaced. Can I travel to India with both passports, or should I apply for a new visa?
    You need to transfer the visa from the old passport to the new passport. The name on both passports must match. Please review the Transfer of Visa requirements for more information.

Persons Of Indian Origin(PIO)

  1. 1. Who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO)?
    A person who was an Indian national or any of whose ancestors were Indian nationals and who is presently holding another country's citizenship/nationality i.e. he/she is holding a foreign passport; or Any person who at any time held an Indian Passport; or Any person who was born in or was permanently resident in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter, or whose parents or grandparents were so born/were so resident provided neither was at any time a citizen of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
    The scheme covers up to four generations; or Any person who is a spouse of an Indian citizen or of a person of Indian origin as mentioned above and has been for more than one year. (Please note that if marriage is later declared invalid, the PIO card will no longer be valid).
  2. What is the eligibility to apply for PIO card?
    Every person of Indian origin who is not a citizen of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka is eligible to apply for PIO Card, if:
    1. The person at any time held an Indian Passport; or
    2. Either of his/her Parents or Grand Parents or Great Grand Parents was born in, and was permanently resident in India, provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid excluded countries; or
    3. Spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under (i) or (ii) above.
  3. What are the Requirements?
    To know about the documents required for PIO.
  4. What is Validity of PIO Card?
    The PIO Card is valid for travelling to India for a period of 15 years from the date of issue, provided the holder carries a valid passport with him. If you get a new Passport issued, have its number endorsed in relevant column of your PIO card. In absence of this, the Immigration Officer at the port of entry in India may deny you entry in India.
  5. In what case PIO Card is cancelled?
    The Central Government may, by order, cancel a PIO Card, if it is satisfied that: The PIO Card was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or The PIO Card holder has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected towards the Constitution of India and other laws of India; or
    The PIO Card holder is a citizen or, subject of any country at war with, or committing external aggression against India; or of any other country assisting the country at war with, or committing such aggression against India; or
    The PIO Card holder has been sentenced in India for indulging in acts of terrorism, smuggling of narcotics, arms, ammunition etc. or has been sentenced for committing an offence punishable with imprisonment up to one year or fine up to rupees ten thousand; or
    It is not conductive to the public interest that the person should continue to hold a PIO Card. No reasons shall be assigned for cancellation of the Card.
  6. What is the Processing time?
    If the documents are complete, it will take about 6-8 weeks to issue the PIO Card.
  7. 7. What are the facilities and restrictions of PIO Card Holder?
    Following are the facilities and restrictions of PIO Card Holder:
    1. PIO Card holder does not require a separate Visa to visit India.
    2. PIO Card holder is exempt from the requirement of registration if his/her stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180 days.
    3. In the event of continuous stay in India of the PIO Card holder exceeding 180 days, he/she is required to get himself/herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer/Foreigners Registration Officer.
    4. A PIO Card holder is eligible to engage in activities such as studies, business, employment, tourism etc. by following the prescribed conditions applicable to that particular activity (e.g. licence, statutory approvals, taxes etc.). However, the PIO Card holder is prohibited from acquiring agricultural/ plantation properties.
    5. Prior permission of the Government of India is required by the PIO Card holders for undertaking mountaineering expeditions, missionary activities, research work, and visits to the restricted/protected areas.
  8. What if I have PIO Card and get a new Canadian passport?
    You must get the number of the new Canadian passport endorsed on your PIO card. We have these services at BLS.
  9. What documents need to be produced to High Commission of India in case the person has PIO Card and gets a new Canadian passport?
    You need to have the old Canadian Passport, new Canadian Passport and the PIO card, all in original. All originals will be returned to you.
  10. Is it necessary for the PIO card holder to come personally?
    He/She need not come personally.
  11. Can I apply through post?
    Yes you can apply by post. Please send a return pre-paid envelop with your documents.
  12. What are the charges and mode of payment?
    The charges for endorsing the number of the new Canadian passport on your PIO card are $ 20. If you are sending your papers by post, you may send this amount by way of Bank Draft payable to "The Consulate General of India, Toronto or HCI Ottawa or CGI Toronto/Vancouver". Please let us know on a plain paper your address, phone number and e-mail address, so that we may contact you. If you are coming in person to our office, you can pay by Bank Draft or by cash.
  13. What is the timing to apply in person?
    If you come in person, please come to The Consulate General of India, Toronto or HCI Ottawa or CGI Toronto/Vancouver between 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM on any working day. No prior appointment is necessary.

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

  1. Who is eligible to apply?
    A foreign national, who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at any time after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.
  2. Who was eligible to become Citizen of India on 26.01.1950?
    Any person who, or whose parents or grand-parents were born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who was ordinarily residing in any country outside India was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950.
  3. Which territories became part of India after 15.08.1947 and from what date?
    The territories which became part of India after 15.08.1947 are:
    1. Sikkim 26.04.1975
    2. Pondicherry 16.08.1962
    3. Dadra & Nagar Haveli 11.08.1961
    4. Goa, Daman and Diu 20.12.1961
  4. Can the spouse of the eligible person apply for OCI?
    Yes, if he/she is eligible in his/her own capacity.
  5. Can Minor children apply for OCI?
    Yes, if either of the parents is eligible for OCI.
  6. In what form should a person apply for an OCI and where are the forms available?
    A family consisting of spouses and up to two minor children can apply in the same form i.e. Form XIX, which can be filed online or downloaded from our website www.mha.nic.in.
  7. Can application form be filled and submitted on line?
    Yes. Part A of the application form can be filed online. Part B can be downloaded and printed on computer or by hand in Block letters. Printed Part A and Part B of the application form has to be submitted to the Indian Mission/Post/Office.
  8. What documents would qualify for “Any other proof” for evidence of self or parents or grandparents being eligible for grant of an OCI?
    Any documentary evidence like a school certificate, Agricultural land ownership certificate, birth certificate etc. by which eligibility may be reasonably ascertained.
  9. How many copies of application have to be submitted?
    Only one Set of Application has to be submitted for each applicant.
  10. Whether applicant(s) have to go in person to submit the application (s)?
    No. Application(s) can be sent by post either by Speed post or Registered post only and not through Courier.
  11. Whether the applicant (s) has to take oath before the Counsel of the Indian Mission/Post?
    No. Earlier provision in this regard has been done away with.
  12. Where to submit the application?
    To the Indian Mission/ Post of the country of citizenship of the applicant. If the applicant is not in the country of citizenship, to the Indian Mission/Post of the country where he is ordinarily residing. If the applicant is in India, to the FRRO Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota, Amritsar, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivendrum, Cochin, Calicut, Goa and Lucknow.
  13. Can a person apply in the country where he is ordinarily residing?
    Yes.
  14. What are the consequences of furnishing wrong information or suppressing material information?
    All the applications will be subject to pre or post enquiry depending on whether any adverse information is voluntarily reported in the application or not. If the Government came to know that any false information was furnished or material information was suppressed, the registration as OCI already granted shall be cancelled by an order under section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The persons will also be blacklisted thereby banning his/her entry into India.
  15. Can a PIO Cardholder apply?
    Yes, provided he/she is otherwise eligible for grant of OCI like any other applicant.
  16. Will the PIO Cardholder be granted an OCI registration gratis?
    No. He/she has to make a payment of US $25 or equivalent in local currency along with the application & Rs.1,400/- in case of application is filled in India.
  17. Will the PIO card be honoured till the time it is valid even after acquisition of an OCI?
    No. PIO card will have to be surrendered to the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs for grant of OCI registration certificate and an OCI ‘U’ visa sticker.
  18. What will be issued after registration as an OCI?
    A registration certificate in the form of a booklet will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant. For this purpose, the applicant has to send the original passport to the Indian Mission/Post after receipt of the acceptance letter/ verifying the status of the application online.
  19. Will a separate OCI passport be issued?
    No.
  20. Will a duplicate certificate of registration as an OCI will be issued?
    Yes. For this purpose, an application has to be made to the Indian Mission/Post with evidence for loss of certificate. In the case of mutilated/damaged certificate an application has to be made enclosing the same.
  21. Will a new OCI visa sticker be pasted on the new foreign passport after the expiry of the old passport?
    Yes. On payment of requisite fee, a new OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be issued. However, the applicant can continue to carry the old passport wherein the OCI ‘U’ visa sticker was pasted along with new passport for visiting India without seeking a new visa, as the visa is lifelong.
  22. Will the applicant lose his citizenship after registering as an OCI?
    No.
  23. Can a person registered as an OCI travel to protected area/restricted area without permission?
    No. He/she will be required to seek PAP/RAP for such visits.
  24. Would the Indian civil/criminal laws be applicable to persons registered as OCI?
    Yes, for the period OCI is living in India.
  25. Can a person registered as an OCI be granted Indian citizenship?
    Yes. As per the provisions of section 5(1) (g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a person who is registered as an OCI for 5 years and is residing in India for 1 year out of the above 5 years, is eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship.
  26. Will an OCI be granted gratis to certain categories of people?
    No.
  27. Can OCI be granted to foreign nationals who are not eligible for OCI, but married to persons who are eligible for OCI?
    No.
  28. Will foreign-born children of PIOs be eligible to become an OCI?
    Yes, provided one of the parents is eligible to become an OCI.
  29. 29. What are the benefits of an OCI?
    Following benefits will be allowed to an OCI:
    1. Multi-purpose, multiple entry, lifelong visa for visiting India.
    2. Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
    3. Parity with NRIs in respect of economic, financial and education fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.
  30. Will any other benefit be granted to an OCI?
    Any other benefits to an OCI will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  31. Is the OCI entitled to voting rights?
    No.
  32. Is the OCI entitled to hold constitutional post in India?
    No.
  33. Is the OCI entitled to hold Government posts in India?
    No, except for the posts specified by an order by the Central Government.
  34. If a person is already holding more than one nationality, can he/she apply for OCI?
    Yes.
  35. 35. What are the advantages of the OCI when compared to PIO cardholders?
    1. An OCI is entitled to lifelong visa with free travel to India whereas for a PIO card holder, it is only valid for 15 years.
    2. A PIO cardholder is required to register with local Police authority for any stay exceeding 180 days in India on any single visit whereas an OCI is exempted from registration with Police authority for any length of stay in India.
    3. An OCI gets a specific right to become an Indian Citizen as in, whereas the PIO card holder does not have this.
  36. Whether an OCI be entitled to apply for and obtain a normal Indian passport which is given to a citizen of India?
    No. Indian Passports are given only to Indian citizen.
  37. Whether nationals of Commonwealth countries are eligible for the OCI?
    Yes, if they fulfil the eligibility criteria.
  38. Can a person renounce OCI?
    Yes. He/she has to declare intention of renunciation in Form XXII to the Indian Mission/Post where OCI registration was granted. After receipt of the declaration, the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs shall issue an acknowledgement in Form XXII A.
  39. Do the applicants who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form have to apply again in the new form?
    No. All such applications will be considered for registration as an OCI without seeking fresh applications and fees.

Passport FAQs

  1. Above what age adult passport is issued?
    New Passport for Adults (on and above 15 years)
  2. Upto what age minor passport is applicable?
    Minor Applicants (under 15 years)
  3. What is validity of passport?
    A new Passport is required when the old passport has completed its 10 year validity (for Adults: on and above 15 years) and 5 year validity (for Minors: under 15 years) from the date of issue or where a new booklet is necessitated on account of change in basic particulars like name, appearance, seeking amendment in date of birth etc. or when all the pages have been used.
  4. Till what time Passport could be submitted for reissue before the date of expiry?
    The passport can be submitted for re-issue up to one year before the date of expiry.
  5. Can my child (minor) travel on my Passport?
    All minors are required to have a separate passport. Old practice of including a child's name in the Passport of either of the parents has been discontinued.
  6. Can I retain my Indian passport for travel after acquiring my Canadian Nationality?
    On acquiring Canadian nationality, the Indian passport should be submitted to the nearest Indian High Commission/Consulate for cancellation. It is returned to the holder after cancellation. Use of Indian Passport for travel to India after acquiring any foreign nationality is an offence and invites penalty. After acquiring Canadian citizenship, you do not remain an Indian citizen and need Indian visa to visit India.
  7. What is the difference between Re-issue and Renewal of a Passport.?
    Passports are Re-issued after the expiry of their 10-year validity period. In case you were issued a Short Validity Passport (i.e. a passport with validity of less than 10 years), it can be renewed to extend its validity for a period up to 10 years from the date of issue. The Passport number does not change as the booklet remains the same. Only an entry is made in the passport extending its validity date. In the case of Re-issue of Passport, a new booklet is issued and your Passport number changes. A Passport which has completed its life of 10 years cannot be renewed.
  8. What if I make a mistake in passport application form?
    It is an offence under the Passport Act, 1967 to knowingly furnish false information or suppress material information. Passport facilities can be denied on grounds of suppression of factual information, submission of false particulars, willful damage, tampering of official documents or entries or transferring of passport.
  9. Are there any Passport Service for Refugees?
    No Passport Services (and many other services such as OCI card or PIO card) are rendered to refugees or asylum seekers. Any Indian citizen who has sought refuge in any country on political or any other considerations (such as humanitarian or compassionate grounds) is not entitled to have his Indian Passport re-issued, renewed, or freshly issued. This is so as there is no reason for citizens of India to take "refuge" in a foreign country in view of excellent political, economic, social and financial opportunities available to citizens in India. Therefore, cases which have been or are being considered for Permanent Residency in Canada on political asylum or humanitarian/compassionate considerations (known as CR and HC class of cases) will not be given Indian Passport. However, such persons, for the purposes of returning to India, may apply for Travel Document through Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). They will be issued an Emergency Certificate (EC) which will be handed over to them at the time of departure from Canada at the airport by an officer of the CBSA. The EC is good for one-way travel from Canada to India. Please note that EC is not a Passport and is not valid for normal international travel. Also please note that an EC will have a note written thereon that it is being given due to the fact that holder had taken refuge in Canada. In India also, Passport facility may be denied to such a person, depending on the circumstances in which he was given the EC.
  10. What is the Processing Time?
    Issue of a Passport requires 6 to 8 weeks of processing time. All new passports have to be Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) as distinguished from hand written Passports which were being issued in the past. The MRPs are printed at the central printing facility in New Delhi on first-come-first-serve basis; and thereafter received at this High Commission in Ottawa by post for onward despatch to the applicants. Therefore, it is not possible for us to reduce the processing time. We request the applicants to be patient after submitting their application. We would not be able to respond to requests to expedite issue of Passport as we attend to applicants on first-come-first-serve basis.
    The processing time indicated above is for a normal case. Following are some of the situations when processing can take longer time:
    1. Documents enclosed with the application are incomplete.
    2. The application form is incomplete or illegible.
    3. The photographs are not proper/clear.
    4. Existing Passport is a handwritten passport requiring physical verification of old records from the office of the Passport Issuing Authority.
    5. Lost and damaged Passport cases.
    6. There is no provision for Emergency Processing of Passport.
  11. Is my passport fee refundable in case i choose to back out from my application?
    Fee once paid is not refundable.
  12. What is the fee schedule?
    In addition to the fee mentioned below, you will be required to pay processing fee to BLS.
    1. The ordinary passport booklet containing 36 pages with a maximum validity of 10 years (no extra fee will be charged for renewals up to ten years if initial validity is less) = C$ 65
    2. Passport booklet containing 60 pages = C$ 85
    3. Change in address, inclusion of spouse's name, surname, date/place of birth, change of name, etc in the passports = C$ 20
    4. Passport of children below 18 years = C$ 45
    5. Lost/damaged passport (fee with fine) = C$ 255
  13. What are the documents required for re-issue of Passport?
    To know the documents require for Re-issue of Passport click here
  14. What are the documents required for Duplicate Passport in lieu of Lost/Damaged Passport?
    In case you have lost or damaged your passport, you will need to submit following document in addition to the documents required in a normal re-issue case:
    1. Photocopy of lost/damaged passport and/or the Passport number, if available.
    2. Police Report about the loss of passport
    3. If the applicant is a landed immigrant, copy of the Record of Landing /Permanent Resident card, with one photocopy of both sides of card (original documents will be returned to the applicant within 10 working days after verification by the officer of the High Commission of India).
    4. If the applicant is not a landed immigrant, copy of any other immigration document such as Visa, Work Permit, Student permit.
    5. Signed statement on how the applicant left India and came to Canada.
    6. Copy of the any local photo identity card.

    Please note that issuance of duplicate passport in lost/damaged passport cases depends on clearances from various authorities and your case may take 8 to 10 weeks to process.
  15. What are the requirements for new passport for child born in Canada to parents holding Indian Passports?
    In such cases, the child can acquire Canadian citizenship due to his place of birth being Canada. In case parents wish to obtain Indian passport for the child, birth registration with the Indian Mission is required before applying for passport for the newborn. Both the parents should sign a declaration of non-acquisition of Canadian nationality by the child and consent to issue of Indian passport to the child.
    You will need to submit Application Form duly filled in and countersigned by both parents. Copy of the record of landing or immigration document/PR card of the child and the parents would be needed. Also submit a copy of the birth certificate of the child showing the names of the parents. Personal appearance of the child may be required in some cases. Please also see the requirement for a normal Passport Re-issue case given above.
  16. What is the procedure for a change of name or any other detail in my Passport?
    In all other cases of change of name/surname in the passport, inserting advertisements in two English newspapers – one in local area where the applicant is residing and another in the area of permanent residence in India – is compulsory. After 30 days of the advertisements, following documents should be submitted:
    1. Application form for new passport duly filled in.
    2. Old passport with a photocopy.
    3. Three identical, recent color photographs (3.5 cm X 3.5 cm), showing frontal view of full face against a light background.
    4. Declaration for non-acquisition of foreign nationality.
    5. Sworn notarized Affidavit by the applicant about change in name.
    6. Original clippings of advertisements inserted in the newspapers.
    7. Original landing record or immigration paper with a photocopy.
    8. A new passport will be issued to the applicant giving his new name.
  17. CHANGE OF NAME/SURNAME OF WOMEN IN PASSPORT CONSEQUENT TO MARRIAGE/DIVORCE
    Please note that for change of name after marriage, Marriage Certificate (if issued from India) attested by the Consular Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Patiala House, New Delhi is required. The High Commission of India, Ottawa cannot attest Marriage Certificates issued from India.
    Following documents are required:
    1. Application form duly filled in.
    2. Old passport with a photocopy.
    3. Three identical, recent color photographs (3.5 cm x 3.5 cm), showing frontal view of full face against a light background.
    4. Declaration for non-acquisition of foreign nationality.
    5. Original marriage certificate attested by the Consular Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Patiala House, New Delhi. Original will be returned and a copy retained.
    6. Divorce papers along with a photocopy, if applicable.
    7. Sworn Notarized Affidavit by the applicant mentioning about change in name.
    8. Husband's passport.
    9. Original landing record or immigration paper with a photocopy.
  18. What are the documents required for Change in Name, change in date/place of birth, etc?
    To know more about the documents required for Change in Name, Change in Date/Place of Birth

Notice on Travel Agents

  1. Applications for Visa, Passport, Renunciation/Surrender Certificate, Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), Police Clearance Certificate (PCC), should be submitted at the Centres of BLS International Services Canada Inc. who have been authorized by the High Commission of India, Ottawa/Consulates General of India at Toronto and Vancouver, to accept such applications. BLS International may be contacted for any information pertaining to these services or to ascertain status on processing of applications.
  2. The High Commission of India/Consulates General of India strongly advise applicants to apply at the Indian Visa & Consular Services Centers in person or through a duly authorized family member. The High Commission of India, Ottawa/Consulates General of India do not recommend or work through any agent or agents. All applicants are advised that any services that they may choose to obtain from any other offices/agency shall be at their own risk and responsibility.
  3. The processing of application is done solely by the High Commission of India, Ottawa/Consulates General of India as per existing rules and regulations. In case there is any additional requirement, the applicant will be contacted by phone/e-mail.
  4. The details of India Visa & Passport Application Centres, authorized by the High Commission of India, Ottawa/Consulates General of India at Toronto and Vancouver, along with their addresses and contact details are mentioned on the website www.blsindia-canada.com
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