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Delhi: The FRRO and Challenges for Expats

Around 19 million people are currently living in Delhi, including a large number of expats. We give you the key facts about expat life in Delhi, and the challenges and charms of living in India’s capital as a foreign resident. Our guide to Delhi covers Indian culture, the (in)famous FRRO, and more.
Cows are not an uncommon sight in the streets of New Delhi.

Once You’ve Seen the FRRO, You’ve Seen It All

One hurdle every foreigner living in India has to overcome is the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO). The FRRO in Delhi is located at East Block VIII, Level 2, Sector 1, R.K. Puram, 110066.

Non-Indian nationals intending to remain in the country for more than 180 days are expected to register within 14 days of arrival. Please note that different rules apply for selected nationalities, e.g. citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan (within 24 hours and seven days respectively). If you are unsure if you should register, consult your individual visa, which will be stamped with registration instructions.

Ask any expat in one of India’s metropolises, and they’re likely to tell you their personal version of the well-known expat saga that is the FRRO, the standard ingredients being insanely long waiting times, cryptic and often contradictory instructions, and a frustrating bureaucracy.

Once you have successfully registered with the FRRO in Delhi, you will be issued with a residence permit certificate that serves as a form of ID during your stay in India. Please note that changes of address or prolonged absences from your registered residence must also be reported to the FRRO.

Registration at the FRRO

Fill out the online application form, upload a picture, and print out the page with the date of the FRRO appointment. You may have to show it to the person on duty once you show up to register. Also make sure you bring along all the necessary documents, preferably the original, and at least three copies each. The standard requirements are:

  • printout of your completed application form
  • your passport plus visa
  • registration fee of 100 INR
  • photocopies of the photo, expiry date, and visa pages of your passport bearing the arrival stamp of Indian Immigration
  • at least one other proof of identity
  • proof of your residential address in India (i.e. electricity bill, lease agreement, municipal bill)
  • a signed letter of undertaking (for example by your Indian host, sponsor, company, or guarantor)
  • four recent passport-sized photographs

Depending on your type of visa, you may also be required to supply one of the following:

  • your employment contract, including salary information (employment visa)
  • your PAN card or application (i.e. for an Indian tax ID) (employment/business visa)
  • a signed letter from your Indian employer or business associate, with full name, title, position, and contact details (employment/business visa)
  • documents proving the existence of the company, e.g. registration (employment visa)
  • bank statement showing your financial standing (business visa)
  • your admission from an Indian school or university, aka “Bonafide” certificate (student visa)
  • a letter from the institution sponsoring your research (research visa)
  • an accreditation from the Press Information Bureau and approval by the Ministry of External Affairs (journalist visa)

Please note that these requirements may be subject to change, so it’s best to check with the FRRO shortly before you intend to go there. Foreigners of Indian origin may also need to hand in additional documents. Sometimes you may get conflicting or contradictory information, which is especially the case when it comes to expat children under the age of 16, who usually do not need to be registered. When in doubt, the FRRO staff on duty has the last word.

Challenges in Delhi: They Keep on Coming

The FRRO is not the only challenge expats face upon moving to Delhi. Like other Indian metropolises, Delhi is overwhelming in many ways: there’s the unbearable heat, the relentless noise, constant traffic congestion, everywhere you go being overcrowded, and the poverty which you will invariably encounter on the streets. Delhi also has the highest violent crime rate of any major Indian city, including crimes against women and children.

The latter type of crime includes, but is by no means limited to, “Eve teasing”, a nation-wide phenomenon particularly prominent in the big cities. This euphemism is used to denote a specific kind of sexual bullying or harassment. It is most common in its milder forms such as staring or offensive comments, but it can extend to serious assaults by way of slapping, groping, indecent exposure, or worse. Although expat women are likely to attract a lot of attention and frequently become victims of “Eve teasing”, it is Indian women, especially younger girls, who suffer most.

If you’re walking the streets of Delhi as a woman, one possible way to minimize such unwanted attention is to travel in a large group or with men. If you are in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or have been sexually harassed, you can get help via the 24-hour emergency helplines 181 (whole of India) and 1091 or 1092 (only in Delhi).

You can find more safety tips for expat women in our article on moving to Delhi  and living in India.

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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