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The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an updated FAQ addressing the Conference (C) Visa and the qualifications required to attend international conferences, seminars and workshops hosted in India.

C visas are required for foreign nationals attending a formal conference, seminar or workshop hosted by the following organizations:

Ministries or departments of the Government of India;

Organizations owned and controlled by the Government of India;

State governments or municipal administrations;

Central educational institutions;

Publicly-funded universities; and

The United Nations or any UN agency. Protected content

A letter of invitation from the host ministry or institution is required to obtain a C visa. The consulate may also request additional approval from the MHA, depending on the nature of the conference. If a foreign national is from a controlled country such as China or Pakistan, or intends to visit a restricted area of India, such as Jammu and Kashmir, or the North Eastern States, additional clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will be required.

Unlike the Business (B) Visa, which may be issued for up to five years, a C visa is generally valid only for the duration of the attendee’s travel time and the duration of the conference or event. Indian consular posts may issue a C visa for up to six months if the application does not require prior approval from the MHA/MEA and the attendee wishes to continue his or her visit to India as a tourist.

Estimated processing times for uncontested C visa applications may range from one to five business days, depending on the consulate. Applications that are referred to the MHA or MEA may take as long as 30 days to process.