Research Visa to India

Reiko Kanazawa's picture

Dear Scholars in the H-Asia Forum,

My name is Reiko Kanazawa and I am a first year Medical History PhD at the University of Exeter. I am hoping to do field research in India next year as a Japanese national, so I wanted to ask the community if any research students have recently gotten a research visa and if so, how the process was?

From what I understand, the basic three steps are:

(1) You must first be affiliated with an Indian institution, which begins by contacting an academic or a research centre that might be interested in your project, making a case for your project and why you need to be in in India to do it, and receiving some official letter or certificate of affiliation.

(2) Then, you will begin the authorization process through the Education Department of the Indian Embassy in the country you are applying from. Depending on the type of project you are proposing, your personal information, project details and certificate of affiliation with an Indian institution may be sent for approval through a variety of Ministries. This stage can take up to 8 months.  

(3) Finally, you will complete the actual online application form through Indian Visa Online. You can check the status of this application throughout. 

Does this basic procedure more or less describe how researchers have gotten research visas in the past few years? Would anyone with recent experience in Indian research visa application care to share their experiences with the length of the process, difficulties getting approval from Government Ministries, etc?

Thank you for your time, I'd really appreciate any information.

Reiko Kanazawa
University of Exeter
rk346@exeter.ac.uk

Dear Reiko and all,

I applied and got (after many months) a research visa for India, whilst based in a different country than my 'home'. This information is a little dated, but it was good at the time:

http://www.indiamike.com/india/for-citizens-of-other-countries-visa-and-...
(second page for the resolution)

http://www.raphael-susewind.de/blog/2011/how-get-indian-research-visa

Good luck,

Ian

Dear Ian Cook,

I'm sorry for this extremely late reply but thank you for the reference to the blogs, Raphael Susewind and India Mike (and their comments sections) were both very helpful!

Reiko

Dear Scholars in the H-Asia Forum,

My name is Reiko Kanazawa (PhD Med History at University of Exeter), about a year ago, I sent out a post asking H-Asia members if they had any recent experiences applying for an Indian research visa - thank you very much for your replies. I am currently in the middle of getting my application processed and have been asked to produce a PDF document showing Government of India (GOI) approval for my research project, but I do not know what this document looks like or how to get it. I wanted to ask: have any H-Asia members heard of the High Commission asking the applicant to produce a document showing GOI approval for their project, rather than referring the application to GOI Ministries in Delhi?

The reason I ask is because when I call VFS or the High Commission about how to get this document, I am told to ask my affiliated institution. But according to my affiliated institution (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and my supervisor's previous experiences (obtained around 2011), the High Commission in London should only need the letters of affiliation and of admission to the university, and they also have not heard of this document. From what I can gather reading blogs, some people have experienced their application being referred to GOI Ministries in Delhi by the High Commission (at its discretion regarding how sensitive the project is, nationality of the applicant, funding sources, etc, which means a longer wait time), but I have not come across a case where the High Commission has asked the applicant to produce this document themselves. Would any H-Asia members have any information about updated procedures or your own recent experiences with VFS/High Commission regarding Indian research visas?

Again, thank you in advance to the members of H-Asia for reading this, I'd really appreciate hearing from you if you have any information. My email is: rk346@exeter.ac.uk

Best regards,

Reiko Kanazawa

Dear H-Asia Forum Scholars,

Thankfully, I was able to get my research visa in the end, thank you to everyone who emailed me with their experiences! If anyone is applying for an Indian research visa around this time and encounters a request for a "document showing Government of India approval", I think it's best to just go directly to the High Commission's Office wherever you are to clear things up ASAP (in London, they hold open hours on Wednesdays from 11 am – 12 pm but there will probably be a line so best to be there at 10:50 am. The officer was very helpful when I went in late May 2016). I'm not sure why this condition for "GOI approval for research project" was in my letters of admission and certificate of affiliation, but it definitely shouldn't be necessary for you to get as an applicant according to the High Commission in May/June 2016. So perhaps at an early stage when you are requesting affiliation documents from an Indian institution, you can ask about the specific conditions for affiliation regarding GOI approval for the project (also there may be a few others, such as relieving letters from your home university to join the affiliated institution, a medical fitness certificate, etc, so you can prepare early), just so that you can bypass the situation I was in.

All the best!

Reiko Kanazawa

Hi Miss Reiko

Thanks for posting this! I would say to future visa applicants: do not hesitate to ask for more 'transparency' in the vvisa process: it might make it more difficult for the first few apdlicants, but overall it will help the profession. This is enough: but you might also want to 'give' the visa officers a way and method where they can appreciate, understand and gain a handle on the work you are eventually planning to do.

All best for your fieldwark!

Dear Ian Cook,

I'm sorry for this extremely late reply but thank you for the reference to the blogs, Raphael Susewind and India Mike (and their comments sections) were both very helpful!

Reiko

Dear Reiko and all,

I applied and got (after many months) a research visa for India, whilst based in a different country than my 'home'. This information is a little dated, but it was good at the time:

http://www.indiamike.com/india/for-citizens-of-other-countries-visa-and-...
(second page for the resolution)

http://www.raphael-susewind.de/blog/2011/how-get-indian-research-visa

Good luck,

Ian

Yes, that is true as well! At the end of the day, it seems that the policy (that Indian institutions granting the two letters to foreign scholars applying for research visas acts as GOI approval for the project) is still true, so that is good news.