A guide to getting an Indian Business Visa

Samuel Clennett

If you’re planning to do business in India, you’ll need to get your hands on a Business Visa. This is your ticket to legally enter the country and crucially, carry out business activities without having to join India’s labour market. You can attend conferences and meetings, close deals, set up supply chains… the sky’s the limit.

Each country has its own rules for getting a Business Visa. Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Business Visas in India, from eligibility and the application process to how much it costs.

And if you’re planning to work in India for any length of time, you’ll need a cost-effective, reliable way to manage international money transfers. Enter Wise. Get a free borderless account and you’ll get the real exchange rate on all business payments, saving you a packet compared to using your bank. ¹

But more on that later. Let’s get you an Indian Business Visa.

Visa types for India

India is like many other countries in that it has multiple visa types, each designed for a different purpose. For example, there are tourist visas, medical visas and so on.

For business visitors to India from Australia, you have two main options – a Business Visa, or an e-Business Visa.

A Business Visa for India will allow you to stay in the country and conduct business activities for up to 180 days. ² You’ll need to apply by post or in person by making an appointment at your local VFS Global office. VFS Global is a company that provides consular services to countries such as India, including handling Business Visa applications. ³

An e-Business Visa is similar, with the key difference that the application process can be done entirely online. This is a double-entry visa which lasts for a year, with a maximum stay per trip of 180 days⁴. You must also arrive through one of 28 designated airports or 5 seaports, leaving through any authorised Immigration Check Post (ICPS). ⁵

An important point to remember with e-Business Visas is to check carefully who you apply with. Some unofficial websites offer the service at an inflated price, and not all are authentic. ⁶ Always go through the official route, through the Indian Government Bureau of Immigration website or VFS Global.

Which countries are eligible for a Business Visa in India?

Business travellers from around 150 countries⁷ are eligible to apply for a e-Business Visa in India. Australian citizens are eligible for both Business Visa and the e-Business Visa.

Business Visa requirements

Just like in other countries, you’ll need to jump through a few hoops in order to prove your eligibility for your India Business Visa. This means providing relevant documentation, proof of ID, a photograph and other key steps.

First of all, check that you meet the following requirements⁸:

  • You are an Australian National or have lived in Australia continuously for at least 2 years
  • You have a valid business reason to come to India – for example, holding business meetings, sourcing new employees for your company, setting up supply chains, buying or selling products, attending business conferences or trade fairs.
  • You can prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your business trip to India
  • You won’t be working as an employee in India – a different Employment Visa is required for this
  • You won’t be lending money or running a petty business
  • You’re responsible and will comply with any relevant tax liabilities.
  • You have a return ticket home booked (this is a requirement for the e-Business Visa.)

Now, what documentation will you need to provide? Here’s what you’ll need, at-a-glance:

Visa typeDocument
Business Visa⁹
  • Completed, printed, signed and dated application form and declaration.
  • Current, in-date passport – this should be the original, with a minimum of six months left before expiry and at least 2 blank pages.
  • A recent good quality photograph (5cm x 5cm) of yourself.
  • A ‘letter of undertaking’ from both your UK company and the Indian company, providing proof of the purpose of your visit. These should be original, signed and on headed paper.
E-Business Visa¹⁰
  • Current, in-date passport – with at least six months left before expiry from the date of your application. The relevant pages will need to be scanned and uploaded.
  • A recent, good-quality digital photo of yourself - square, between 10KB and 1MB, and in .JPEG format.
  • A scanned copy of your business card.
  • A letter of invitation from Indian business contacts (optional).

How to apply for a Business Visa

Planning your business trip to India? Make sure you get your Visa sorted well in advance. Many applications take just days to process, but it could take longer and you wouldn’t want your trip to be delayed.

Here are the essential steps you’ll need to follow to apply for an Indian Business Visa from Australia.

For a Business Visa:

  • Head to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/ or the slightly more user-friendly VFS Global to complete your online application form. This includes payment information.
  • Use the VFS Global table to find your local Indian Mission Jurisdiction. For example, if you live in South Australia, your Indian Mission Jurisdiction is Australia-Sydney. This is where you’ll submit your application form. For applications made in person, the local office is VFS-Adelaide. You may also need to include this information on your application form. ¹¹
  • Print out your completed application and submit along with the required documentation – by post or in person by making an appointment at your local VFS office.
  • Wait for your application to be processed – this takes on average 5 working days for all Australian locations¹², but bear in mind that it could take longer.
  • Receive your India Business Visa by courier, and get ready for your trip.

For a Business e-Visa¹³:

  • Complete the online application process and upload supporting documentation at indiavisaonline.gov.in
  • Submit online and pay the fee
  • Wait around 5 working days for your application to be processed – although it could take longer
  • Receive your new India Business Visa in your email inbox
  • Print out ready for travel.

Business Visa Costs

The cost of a Business Visa for India depends on a few factors – how long you want the visa for (it’s possible to apply for a 5-year Business Visa) and which Australian state you’re applying from. Fees also may vary depending on whether or not you have an Australian passport and whether you apply in person or by post.

But as an example, a business traveller from Sydney with an Australian passport who has lived in Australia for 2 years or more can expect to pay around 436.49 AUD¹⁴ for a 1-year Business Visa for India. This includes multiple entries and the Visa delivered by courier. There’s also a 1.20% surcharge for credit card payments¹⁵. If you need your Visa urgently, you can expect to pay extra for rush processing.

The fee for an e-Business Visa can be much cheaper. It costs just $80 USD¹⁶ (around $124 AUD¹⁷) for Australian citizens, plus a possible bank charge of 2.5% on applicable visa fees.

International business? Have you considered Wise?

A valid Business Visa isn’t the only must-have for an upcoming international business trip. It’s also important to consider how you’ll manage your money.

Get a free Wise Business account and you can send and receive money in multiple currencies with the real exchange rate. You’ll even get a free Wise Business Mastercard® so you can cover business expenses in Indian rupees like a local.

You can pay invoices, run payroll, buy inventory and lots more. Whatever you need to keep your trip, and your business back at home, running smoothly.

Using the info in this guide, and by digging out your documents ready in advance, getting your Business Visa for India should be a breeze. But remember - apply early, just in case!

Sources used:

  1. Wise Business
  2. VisaLink - Indian Visa
  3. VFS Global - How to Apply
  4. Ivisa - Indian Visa
  5. Ivisa - Indian Visa
  6. Wise - Indian Business Visa
  7. Ivisa - Indian Visa for Australians
  8. Wise - Indian Business Visa
  9. VFS Global - Checklist
  10. Indian Visa Online
  11. VFS Global - Business Visa
  12. VFS Global - Business Visa
  13. Indian Visa Online
  14. VFS Global - Fees
  15. VFS Global - Business Visa
  16. Indian Visa Online - Fees
  17. XE

Sources checked on 14-May 2020.

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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