New Delhi: Foreign nationals wishing to apply for an e-visa to enter India can now do so from a place other than their country of origin or domicile—i.e., where they are residing.

In the past, foreigners could apply for an e-visa only from the country they were residing in for a period of 2 years or more.

According to new rules stipulated by the home ministry last month that were quoted by consultancy Deloitte in a statement, foreign circus artists, foreign journalists intending to travel to India to work in Indian media organizations, those employed as employees or managers in India for non-journalistic activities in media organizations are some of the new categories of people allowed to apply for an e-visa.

There was no separate confirmation from the home ministry.

In the case of “foreigners who have stayed for less than 2 years in the country of application", the Indian mission there can consult the mission in the country from where the applicant hails.

“The visa processing duration may be higher in such cases of referral," the Deloitte statement said, adding that “this is still a welcome change, as in the past foreigners who were residing in a country for less than 2 years had to compulsorily travel to their home country to apply for an e-visa."

The new rules also clarify that the minimum salary requirement will be worked out on a pro-rata basis for foreign nationals coming on an e- visa for a period of less than one year, the statement said.

“This clarification should also eliminate the need for additional explanations to officials of the Indian missions or the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) with respect to satisfaction of minimum salary requirement for such foreigners, including those employed under a fixed-term contract of less than a year," it said.

Foreigners employed in business process outsourcing or IT companies will not be eligible for exemption from the annual threshold income limit, the statement said. For example, a foreigner employed as language translator in such companies should draw a gross salary in excess of Rs16,25,000 a year. There is a similar restriction for foreign cooks employed in commercial ventures.

According to the new rules, a foreign national, on an e-visa, can change his employer if the new employer is a joint venture partner or consortium member of the old employer. The new employer can also be a subsidiary of the previous employer.

“In the past, the change of employer on the same e-visa was permitted only between holding and subsidiary companies," the statement said. “This relaxation will be useful in case of foreign nationals working with entities which are involved in corporate transactions," the statement added.

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