Research visas for India

John Smith jds10 at
Thu Sep 4 14:42:55 UTC 1997

Like other foreign scholars, I normally travel to India on a tourist visa
if possible. Occasionally, though, it isn't possible, and I have to go
through the rigmarole of getting an official research visa. This is the
case at present: when I arrive in Pune (assuming I ever get there) I shall
have to open a bank account, sign contracts of employment, and buy
equipment worth several lakhs of rupees. This isn't normal tourist
behaviour, so a research visa has to be acquired.

The official position is that such a visa normally takes between three and
six months to come through. I have made use of diplomatic contacts to
press for it to be expedited, but even so I have so far waited nine weeks.
This seems an absurd waste of time: my project is utterly uncontentious,
and will bring a respectable amount of foreign exchange into the country.

I have the impression that American (and Canadian?) scholars have this
business under much better control than we do here in UK/Europe, and that
this is done through American/Canadian institutions based in Delhi. If
this is true I should be grateful for any information on how it works: is
there some way of smoothing out the problems?  I am not here thinking of
short-term ways to improve my own situation; what I want to do is to see
if it is possible to set up some equivalent long-term arrangement for
European Indologists. All information gratefull received.

John Smith

Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at
Faculty of Oriental Studies   *  Tel. 01223 335140 (Switchboard 01223 335106)
Sidgwick Avenue               *  Fax  01223 335110
Cambridge CB3 9DA             *

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