Section 1 : OCI / PIO CARDHOLDERS
OCI/PIO Cardholders coming to India for commissioning surrogacy will not require a separate Medical Visa. With effect from February 27, 2014, however, on arrival to India and before commissioning surrogacy, they will have to obtain a special permission from the FRRO concerned.
Section 2 : INDIANS LIVING ABROAD
If both partners in a couple, or single man wishing to undergo surrogacy in India, are holding Indian passports, they do not need to procure any special visa. If they are living abroad, they can undergo surrogacy in India. They also do not need to register with the FRRO. They have to though provide an affidavit that they will not change their citizenship, during the surrogacy process.
Section 3 : SHIPPING OF EMBRYOS
You may also ship your embryos to India, procure your medical visa, and come to India for embryo transfer to the surrogate mother.
One common rite of passage for long-term outsiders in India is a trip (or trips) to the FRRO. It is probably too much of India to throw on a newcomer, but many must visit within the first 14 days. Here is an overview of what the Indian FRRO is and why FRRO Registration might be important for you.
The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) handles all the services related to foreigners living in India.
It depends on your visa and how long you plan on being in India. Your printed Indian visa may mention if you need to register and under what terms. If your visa says you must register, then you should. Otherwise, you can follow these guidelines:
Category 1 (Need to Register): If you are on an Employment, Student, Research, Project, or Medical (and attendant) visa, you must register in spite of the length of your stay (provided the visa is valid for at least 180 days).
Category 2 (Maybe Register): If you are on a Business, Entry, or Journalist visa, you must register if you plan a continuous stay for more than 180 days or wish to extend your validity.
Category 3 (No Register): Foreign Diplomats and OCI cardholders do not need to register. Tourist visas are not valid for a single visit of more than 180 days, and therefore do not need to register.
Failing to register is illegal and can get you in big trouble when you try to leave the country (up to 5 years in prison and a fine upwards of Rs. 10,000).
Spouses should come to the FRRO to register. No one under 16 is required to register, but consult your local office before leaving the kids at home as rules can vary and some offices require children 12 and over to sign in person.
If you miss the deadline, you a liable to pay a fee (currently Rs. 1395) while registering.
FRROs are located in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dehradun, Goa, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram. If you live outside of one of these areas, you can register with the nearest Superintendent of Police (SP) or Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), but it is advisable to travel to the nearest FRRO.
Most FRROs take applications from 9:30 – 1pm. After 1p.m., they do not accept new applications, but stay open for those already in line.
The FRRO provides three major services for foreigners:
Exit visas are for people who came into India without a visa (like a child born or adopted here), people who have overstayed their visa, or people who are in the extension process (usually just a simple paper slip in this last case).
The residence permit is a very important document that proves you are legally allowed to reside in India. It is used for getting your shipment from customs, setting up a bank account, getting a PAN card, getting a driving license, setting up an internet connection, and most importantly, leaving the country.
Your registration permit is specific to a certain location that should be in the same vicinity as your work. For example, even if your company has a registered office in Mumbai, you should not register in Mumbai if all of your work is going to be at their Bangalore office.
You are required to inform the FRRO if you will be away from your residence for more than 8 weeks, or if you officially change your residence. The residence permit is extended along with your visa. When you don’t need the RP anymore (leaving India for the last time), give it to the Immigration Officer at the airport.
If you do not know where you will reside for the first 14 days, you can register using your hotel/guest house address. Once you have found a place to live, go back to the FRRO and complete a change of address.
Agents are not allowed inside the FRRO, so you must do it yourself. If you rely on agents for everything else, consider this a badge of honour for braving the Indian bureaucracy. There is an exception for medical patients.
You only have to register once per visa. If you need to extend a visa, you will need to go back to the FRRO to renew it.
(Every office is different, but most follow something like this
First, go online to fill out the application form and set an appointment.
When you arrive, you will wait in line to see the Scrutiny Officer. This is like the triage line. The Scrutiny Officer takes a printed checklist of all the documents you need and gives an initial screening of your documents.
If he/she thinks you have everything in place, you are sent to the Duty Officer who gives you a token to see an actual agent at the counter. If the Scrutiny Officer thinks you are missing documents, he will give you the required checklist and send you back home. If it is for a small form you can get quickly, you may try to plead with the Duty Officer to still give you a token, but he is not obligated to do so.
Your token will tell you what place in line you are and which window you should go to. While you wait, make sure your documentation appears in the exact same order as the checklist the Scrutiny Officer gave you. Just because the Scrutiny Officer allows you to get a token does not mean that your request will automatically be approved. That is up to the agent (and subsequent superiors) you meet with later.
The wait for the FRRO Officer can be very long. It is okay to leave and come back, but do not be late. Once your token is called, the agent at the window will examine all of your documents in detail. Their job is to find any mistakes or missing documents. If they find something, they will let you know and tell you to fix it and come back. If everything is in order, they will process your request.
Processing can be done on the same day for easy requests like change of address. It can take weeks in the case of extending a visa. If you or your spouse is Chinese it will take extra time as these requests must be processed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Delhi.
The FRRO is a place of many horror stories, but can also be a place where you are pleasantly surprised at the efficient service you get if you follow the rules.