married to an indian national... how do I stay in the country?

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#1 Sep 18th, 2006, 12:08
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  • smallsquirrel is offline
#1
I am now legally married to an Indian national and live in Bangalore. I am here on a one year tourist visa. I came in June 1, and then left the country... coming back again on July 15.

The FRRO here told me I did not need to register, that I could not apply for a PIO card until I was here 2 years, and that I should get a spouse visa. We have been trying to call the MHA for a month to verify this information, and the clock is ticking away. As far as I know, I would need to leave the country after 6 months.

I am planning to just apply for a PIO card now. Am I eligible? Will that allow me to stay longer than 6 months? Do I also need a residency permit? Is there such thing as a spouse visa? Will the PIO card allow me to work? I am terribly confused and the FRRO was of no help at all. Thanks!
#2 Sep 18th, 2006, 12:34
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  • batistuta is offline
#2
You need to be married to an Indian citizen for one year before you can apply for pio card.I dont think there is such a thing as spouse visa.
Here is more info in this thread
http://www.indiamike.com/india/showthread.php?t=19957.
Also ,you can browse the passport and visa section and get lots more info ,i will try to search and post it.
A few members here are married to Indian nationals and they will also help you with your questions
#3 Sep 18th, 2006, 14:07
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  • Nick-H is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by smallsquirrel I am now legally married to an Indian national and live in Bangalore. I am here on a one year tourist visa. I came in June 1, and then left the country... coming back again on July 15.

The FRRO here told me I did not need to register,
You don't and can't while you are staying here on a tourist visa (max sinb=gle visit 6 months)
Quote:
that I could not apply for a PIO card until I was here 2 years,
They 'usually' say after one year of marriage (it doesn't matter whether you are in India or not for that perios)
Quote:
and that I should get a spouse visa.
I think they mean an 'X' (Entry)visa, I gave up on getting this in Chennai, especially after a so-called-professional agent just messed me arround, and found it very easy to get in London
Quote:
We have been trying to call the MHA for a month to verify this information,
The law in india is whatever the beaurocrat you are talking to at the time says it is.
Quote:
and the clock is ticking away. As far as I know, I would need to leave the country after 6 months.
Yes, if you are here on a tourist visa. You should tell us where you come from: then perhaps someone with experience of the Indian Embassy in your country can comment. Getting stuff converted/changed in India is such a hassle you may well be better off doing it in your country of origin. Here we were told to fill this form, that declaration, make this affidavit, write that letter.... In UK I just filled in the visa form, showed marriage cert and wife's Indian passport and it was done in about 15 mins.

Quote:
I am planning to just apply for a PIO card now. Am I eligible?
I've heard of people getting them with less than a year marriage: as I say, the law is the law; its implementation is not consistent --- but you should have one year marriage.
Quote:
Will that allow me to stay longer than 6 months? Do I also need a residency permit?
Information on what you get with a PIO card is easily obtainable from Indian embassy/High Commision websites, MHA and Immigration Dept websites --- and browsing the Passports section here on IM
Quote:
Is there such thing as a spouse visa?
Not that I've ever heard of --- see mention of X visa above.
Quote:
Will the PIO card allow me to work?
Yes. See the various websites mentioned above.
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I am terribly confused and the FRRO was of no help at all. Thanks!
Doesn't surprise me ... Eventually I got my Residential Permit because my wife marched into the FRRO Director's office in Chennai and put our case to him. He was charming and helpful --- not all Indian Govt officials are bad, but...

By the way... You need to register as a foreigner, even with a PIO card.

Good luck It'll work out in the end
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#4 Sep 18th, 2006, 14:23
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  • crvlvr is offline
#4
i can't seem to find anywhere on the internet that you have to wait 1 or 2 years. My sources indicate that spouses of Indian citizens or PIOs are eligible to apply for the card.

Who are the "FRRO" and "MHA"?
#5 Sep 18th, 2006, 15:08
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  • Nick-H is offline
#5
I agree. But I was told both here and in London that they would not grant it without minimum one year of marriage.

MHA: Ministry of Home Affairs
FRRO: Foreigners Regional Registration Officer
CHIO: Chief Immigration Officer

(What is it with India and abbreviations?! An obsession inherited from the British Civil Service of colonial times, I guess...)
#6 Sep 18th, 2006, 15:15
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#6
I am US citizen and am trying to avoid leaving the country, if at all possible. I am getting the serious run-around here in Bangalore.

We finally got our marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act this past weekend.

FRO told me 2 year wait, and then told me I do not have to register. But then if I leave the country at my 6 month limit with no FRO registration, they won't let me back in because I have failed to register. So I am assuming I should go back and ask them to give me a written exemption if they do not require me to register.

I live in Bangalore, so the nearest US embassy is in Chennai... and they are not so helpful. When I contacted the Indian Consulate in Washington DC they were even less helpful and hung up on me about 5 times without telling me a thing.

We have been calling the MHA foreigner's division for weeks with no answer.

Can I apply for a residency permit at the FRO? Will that allow me to stay? Sorry for my confusion. I am completely turned around at this point.
#7 Sep 18th, 2006, 15:38
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#7
I wonder if anyone can help me with a problem I'm having. I'm a british citizen marrying an Indian national in Rajisthan, now the problem is that the local court will not register us untill we have something from an official british department to say I am definetly not married in england AND that they will register the marrage in England. The British high comition and the General registration office both say to speak to the other, or that it can't be done!
Any sugestions on something I can do would be lovely, as I've tried everything I can think of without sucess, and I'm getting a little crazy!
#8 Sep 18th, 2006, 15:57
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I just went through this same thing in Bangalore, and here is how we fixed it. First we gave the gy 500 INR in "undocumented fees". Then we supplied 2 envelopes... one to the US consulate in Chennai and the other to the Indian Consulate in the US. We put in official copies of the marriage application, and agreed if they did not object during the 30 day waiting period that the wedding should be registered. It also helped that we brought along a lawyer who stood there looking very stern and official.
#9 Sep 18th, 2006, 17:09
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#9
smallsquirrel, congratulations on your marriage

Whilst you are here for a less-than-six-month stay on your tourist visa you cannot and need not register as a resident foreigner.

You are a tourist: your marriage makes no difference to that status and, so long as you do not exceed your 6-month stay, it has no relevance to your next visa application. That is one worry that I feel sure you can forget about. Many people "live" here on tourist visas: just don't overstay.

So, your choices are:
  1. Stay for the allowed six months, leave the country, renew your Tourist visa if necessary and stay for another 6-month period (you Americans can get a ten-year tourist visa!). Whilst you have a valid, multiple-entry, visa, this does not necessarily mean going back to USA.
  2. Go back to USA with your marriage documents, spouse's proof of citizenship (eg passport), supporting evidence (eg photos) of marriage (I wasn't asked), etc --- and apply for an Entry visa. (you can try for a PIO, but I think you have to wait a year...).
  3. Try to get your visa changed at the FRRO in India.

As I said above, I tried option 3 and found it next to impossible. Option 2 was easy.

Then... When you have your Entry Visa (or PIO), an intend to stay for more than six months, you have to register. Don't let them fob you off: one IMer was told to come back after six months, and when she did she was fined for not having registered before!
#10 Sep 18th, 2006, 17:18
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#10
Brigit... Oh dear, Indian BeauroPrats

Indeed it cannot be done. There is no such thing as a UK certificate of not being married. Unless you are a divorcee, when the divorce papers will do!

I was told I had to bring something, so I went to a Commisioner for Oaths, explained the situation, and he sent me to a Notary Public, because they do a Statutory Declaration, with a fancy red seal on the bottom. It cost me £40. When we went to the Registrar she wasn't interested in it: she said she was happy to take my word that I wasn't married!

SQ's solution is a pretty neat one! Added to which you could try making an affidavit here, on stamp paper, before an Indian Notary Public.

Just had another thought... do you have any British Inland Revenue or National Insurance documents? They might well show your marital status.
#11 Sep 18th, 2006, 17:48
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#11
nick.. thanks!

hmmm, yeah I would like to avoid having to leave India and going back to US to get all this done... we'll see what my luck is with the FRO.... am contacting lawyers to see what we can do. I think the one thing being married lets me do is convert my visa in Delhi at the MHA itself, but I would have to go there to do it.. I do not think the FRO will oblige. I have 4 months left till my 6 months is up, then I have until April until the visa expires.... I should HOPEFULLY be able to resolve this before the proverbial poo hits the fan.

Brigit... find a local lawyer whose clerks visit that subregistrar's office often... they will know the officials, be able to pass money, and also navigate the system for you. Yes, it is a bit extra but it will expedite the process. You should be able to find a work-around, esp if you suggest mailing the info to your consulate. The issue is that they think there is something akin to a local (to where you live by neighborhood) marriage registrar. Once they understand that it is not that localized and is centralized, they should accept the notarized copy being sent to the consulate.
#12 Sep 20th, 2006, 03:28
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#12
I would say lawyer up. And if the US consulate is unhelpful contact your congressman back in the USA, they love to shake the trees of the beer-o-crats in the State Department.

Portie
#13 Sep 20th, 2006, 10:15
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#13
But, um.... my congressman can't do much. This is all Indian stuff, nothing to do with the US State Department at all.
#14 Sep 20th, 2006, 20:08
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#14
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Originally Posted by smallsquirrel But, um.... my congressman can't do much. This is all Indian stuff, nothing to do with the US State Department at all.
That's just if you need help from the US consulate/embassy. What takes a year via normal channels can happen in a week with a cable from a congressman's office. Even better if he is on some committee or subcommittee dealing with State. For dealing with the Indian side you will find an Indian lawyer may be helpful. Even more helpful would be having a friend/relative with government connections.

BTW some friends who are Indian origin but US citizens lost their ID when they went into Canada. US border security (not sure if they were Customs or INS) would not let them in. So they called their Congressman's office from Canada and his office placed a call and they were back across the border in an hour. This was before 9/11 so calling the congressman might not be as effective now.

Portie
#15 Sep 20th, 2006, 22:32
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  • Brigit is offline
#15
Hi guys I just wanted to say thanks for the ideas, we're having a go, I will let you know. Thanks alot.
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