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.
What is the FRRO?
The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) handles all the services related to foreigners living in India.
Do I have to register?
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 regardless 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 ifyou plan on making one 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. Touristvisas 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.
When should I register?
If you are in Category 1, you should register within 14 days of arriving. If you are in Category 2, you can register anytime within your first 150 days.
Pakistan and Bangladesh nationals must register within 24 hours. Afghan nationals must register within 7 days. Sri Lankans also have special terms that should be researched beforehand.
If you miss the deadline, you a liable to pay a fee (currently Rs. 1395) when you do register.