India: Some Consular Posts Issuing Visas Without a Stamped Seal or Signature
In an unpublicized change in policy, certain Indian consular posts in Germany, Japan, and the United States have stopped issuing visas bearing either a stamped consular seal or a visa officer’s signature, or both. The change may delay or complicate entry or in-country registration procedures for foreign travelers to India.
The new practice already applies to visas issued by posts in Germany, Japan and Houston, Texas. Other posts in the United States and around the world are expected to implement the practice in the near future. The change is thought to be the result of a recent internal governmental directive related to the new Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) Central Processing Office.
Travisa, the outsourcing firm that processes Indian visas in the United States, has stated on its website that the unstamped or unsigned visas are valid for travel and will be accepted at all Indian ports of entry.
However, foreign travelers and their employers should be prepared for delays on entry and during the foreign registration process. Indian ports of entry and in-country immigration offices may be unaware of the new practice of issuing unstamped and unsigned visas. There have been some reports of travelers with the unstamped or unsigned visas encountering close scrutiny at ports of entry, and at least one report of an in-country immigration office refusing to accept these visas.
Fragomen is closely monitoring these developments and will provide additional information as necessary.
We worked closely with Fragomen Immigration Services India (Pvt.) Limited (“Fragomen-India”) to prepare this alert. It is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work or send an email to IndiaQueries_NewPolicy@fragomen.com.