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June 6, 2021

Understanding immigration and visa terminologies!

Visa TypeExplanation
(1) Visitor visa, B1/B2 visa (USA), F1 visa (USA), Student visa, Study permit(1) This class of visa is known as a ‘Non-immigrant visa’ or Temporary visa. This is for purposes such as tourism, business meeting, attending conference/exhibition, meeting relatives, etc. This visa does not give the visa holder a right to stay in the visa issuing country on a permanent basis. This visa is issued to applicants who are unlikely to be future immigrants. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the temporary visa of the respective country stamped on it.
(2) Work permit (Canada), H1 visa (USA), Employment authorisation, Work authorisation, Work visa(2) A work permit is issued to a person who has a job offer from a foreign company or sponsor. This visa allows the applicant to live and work in the country that has issued this visa. This is again a temporary visa and applicant is expected to return back to his/her home country upon the expiration of the visa.

The applicant cannot apply for this type of visa on his/her own. In most western countries, when a company/employer wishes to hire a foreigner for a job, they need to demonstrate that there is a shortage of workers suitable for that particular job/work in the country or that they cannot find a suitable person who meets the skill ability/experience/ education that the particular job demands in their own country and hence they wish to hire a worker from abroad. However, in the Middle East this type of requirement is not mandatory and companies/employers can hire foreign workers. From labour jobs to white collar jobs, hiring from outside is country is permitted. This is because they have acute shortage of labour, especially skilled labour force. Most Indians living in Middle East have this visa stamped on their passport. Even people doing business in these countries are required to be sponsored by their own company. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the work visa of the respective country stamped on it.

(3) Green Card (USA), Permanent Migration (Oz), Permanent Residency (Canada), Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR-UK), Golden Visa (Europe)(3) This visa gives the applicants the right to live in a foreign country on a permanent basis provided they meet the renewal requirements. The visa is issued to the following persons: (i) Skilled workers – If they have been sponsored by a company or person (as in case of Family Class in USA) on a permanent basis. In countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, applicants can apply to reside permanently in these countries without sponsorship. They are selected as immigrants based on their age, education, language skills and work experience.

(ii) Businesspersons and investors – Applicants who wish to do business and /or invest in a foreign country can apply to become a permanent resident either by starting a business, investing in a business or making some sort of investment in the foreign country as stipulated by the said country’s government. This category is also popularly known as Residency and Citizenship by Investment or Second Passport. (iii) Spouse – Under the marriage class, spouses can obtain the right to live permanently in a foreign country if their spouse is a permanent resident or citizen of that country (iv) Refugees – Persons who have sought asylum in a particular foreign country can apply to stay in that country permanently under the asylum law. The applicant travels on the passport of his/her country of citizenship with the permanent resident visa of the respective country stamped on it.

(4) Citizenship(4) If an applicant has shown his/her commitment to stay permanently in a foreign country over a period of 3,5, 7 or 10 years (time period depends on the citizenship laws of the country), they can apply to become a citizen of that country. Indian citizens cannot hold dual citizenship under Article 9 of the Indian Constitution. In the event an Indian citizen receives citizenship of another country, he/she will lose the Citizenship of India. When an Indian citizen holds foreign citizenship and foreign passport, he/she will be required to apply for a visa to visit India unless he/she has been issued an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.
(5) OCI card holder(5) In general, the OCI card is issued to individuals who are Indian citizens by birth and their children who are now citizens of another county either by naturalisation or by birth. Foreign spouses of Indian citizens may also qualify for an OCI card.


(6) Non Resident Indian (NRI)(6) In general terms, NRI means a person who is an Indian citizen and now living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. However, as per the Indian taxation law, ‘any Indian citizen who is staying out of India in any assessment year for more than 182 days is a Non-resident Indian for tax purposes. Click here
(7) Countries which offer direct citizenship to Indian citizens(7) The countries which offer direct citizenship to Indian citizens are – Turkey, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Malta, Montenegro, Vanuatu, Bulgaria
(8) Countries which do NOT offer citizenship to citizens of any country(8) UAE and most Middle East countries, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City, North Korea, Liechtenstein, Bhutan, China, Austria, San Marino, Japan, Germany, etc., are some of the countries that do not offer citizenship to citizens of foreign countries. These countries may allow foreign citizens to study and work in their countries but do not allow them to become citizens of their country.
9) Countries which offer citizenship after granting permanent residency(9) USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Latvia, Cyprus and many European countries first grant permanent residency to foreign citizens and then citizenship if they fulfil the conditions stipulated in their citizenship laws.


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