MHA delegates visa and immigration services to FRROs

30 Sep 14

INDIA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has delegated nearly all its visa services to Foreign Regional Registration Offices .

What does the change mean? Many services, including extensions, conversions from one type of visa to another, and exit procedures, will now be decided by local FRROs rather than by the Ministry.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for visa and immigration services.
  • Impact on processing times: The transfer of functions to FRROs will significantly improve processing times by 30 to 60 days on average;, there may be some changes in interpretation and decisions by FRRO, however, and they cannot be appealed to the Ministry.
  • Business impact: The faster and smoother processing will have a positive business impact.
  • Next steps: Companies do not need to make any changes and may continue to follow existing procedures at the FRROs, but the FRROs will not refer as many cases to the Ministry.

Background: In a move to decentralize visa and immigration services, the Ministry has granted more decision-making powers to the FRROs, allowing the Ministry to focus solely on policy.

The FRROs will now have authority over most decisions, including temporary extension of all visas, exit permission for overstays, cancellation of visas, two-year extensions for employment visas, and new visa extensions.

The Ministry will accept referred cases that involve policy matters, including cases involving nationals of “prior reference countries”– i.e., Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan (and individuals of Pakistani origin), Iraq and Sudan.

BAL Analysis: This is a positive development that is being welcomed as a way to streamline services and reduce wait times.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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