The Bangalore Assistant Police Commissioner's office in Infantry Road, which earlier used to house the Foreigner's Registration Office (FRO) has now become the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO). This now means that the office is empowered to provide a number of additional services for foreigners and expatriates living in Bangalore, including registration services, visa extensions and granting exit permits to foreigners leaving India.

The central government's Bureau of Immigration has taken over the administration of the processes from the Bangalore Assistant Police Commissioner's office personnel and this has resulted in a number of changes.

  • The procedure and the relevant forms were earlier available on the Bangalore Police Commissioner's website and were managed by the Assistant Commissioner's office. Now these are available at the website of the Bureau of Immigration.
  • The timings for accepting new applications have changed to 10 am to 3 pm.
  • The number of applications accepted in a day is limited to 140.
  • In-person appearances mandated for all applicants including children at the time of application.
  • Only the applicants (and accompanying adults in case of minors) are allowed inside the FRRO.
  • The timings for collection of processed passports and registrations are now 4.30 pm - 5.30 pm.
  • The processing time is now just one working day.

The process has become more streamlined now, yet a lot of confusion exists as the process is yet to stabilise and the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

The overall process now:

  1. Register yourself at the reception and go through the security check.
  2. Go to the 'Single Window' counter for collecting application forms, checklists and any other enquiries regarding the FRRO services. Single Window is located at the far right, behind the FRRO office. Exit forms and forms to obtain police reports are also available here.
  3. Once you have all the required documents as per the checklist in order and have filled the application form, you can go to the FRRO helpdesk and collect the token.
  4. The applicants are called inside the FRRO as per their token number.
  5. Once your token number is called, go inside and submit your documents to the help desk. The officials at the help desk verify your documents and assign you to the right counter.
  6. After obtaining approval signature from the help desk and the officer in charge, you can proceed to the specified counter and submit your application.
  7. The passports, resident permits and so on are available the next working day between 4.30 and 5.30 pm at the same counter.

Immigration office at Infantry Rd

The condition of chairs in the waiting area at the FRRO. Pic: Maragathavalli Inbamuthiah.

On my recent visit two weeks ago, I found that the officials were quite helpful. There is some focus on customer service and they try to be as resourceful as they can. The streamlining of the process and the availability of checklists make the process a whole lot smoother than earlier. There are instructions posted all over the office to guide the applicants. However, there are a few gaps, which if addressed, can make it a less tedious process.

  • The latest changes to the visa related rules are subject to interpretation and cause confusions in some cases
  • The waiting area outside the FRRO has very few chairs and many of them are covered with bird droppings. The result is a huge crowd forced to wait standing outside in the rain and sun

Address

Asst Police Commissioner's Office, 1, Infantry Road
Ph: 080-22942816, 080-22943246

  • Security is lax. Those who register themselves at the reception have to go through the security check. But after the initial registration, people freely move in and out of the Assistant Police Commissioner's office.
  • The distribution process of passports and residential permits is chaotic. It is done from 4.30-5.30 pm. There are no queues or token numbers. The applicants flood inside the office and form long, crowded, disorganised queues. When I went to collect my documents, the person behind the counter ended up giving my passport to another applicant. I was fortunate that she had not left the FRRO and I was able to get my passport back. Such incidents can be avoided if this session is more organised.

I reached the office at 11 am and the counter at 1.30 pm. The wait will possibly be a lot lesser if one reaches by 9.30 am. If you want to avoid multiple trips and have a relatively faster experience, then the following tips might be helpful:

  • Be clear about your objective for visiting the FRRO and have all your details (your passport, dates of your travel, purpose of your travel, your registration status). If you are not good at conversing in English, have someone write these down for you. Clear communication regarding what you want can make the process a lot easier.
  • Reach there by 9.30 am at least to avoid a long wait.
  • Carry stationery items like glue stick, stapler, pens and so on. The application is expected to have the photographs stapled or glued on.
  • Make sure you have all the documents required and arrange them in order as per the checklist
  • Last but not the least, the right attitude and a bit of Kannada goes a long way.

FRO and FRRO

Earlier as a FRO, the Assistant Police Commissioner's office offered the following services:

  1. Foreigner's Registration - Any foreigner, including minor child of Indian parents born outside India, having a non-Indian passport, who plans to reside in India for more than 180 days needs to register themselves at the FRO/ FRRO and obtain a residential permit within 14 days of arrival in India. Pakistani Nationals are required to register within 24 hours and Afghanistani Nationals are required to register within 7 days of their arrival in India.
  2. Collection of visa extension application forms - The FRO used to collect forms and necessary documents and send it to Delhi for processing. The service used to take about 3-6 weeks.

Now as a FRRO, the Bangalore centre is additionally empowered to provide additional services.

  1. Visa extensions - FRRO can now provide visa extensions and residential permits for foreigners. For complete set of rules regarding this refer Bureau of Immigration website.
  2. Granting Return Visa - For foreigners who have travelled to India on a Single Entry Visa, FRRO can now grant a Return Visa in case there is a genuine requirement to leave India and return.
  3. Transfer of visa in case of lost passports.
  4. Issue police clearance certificate for the period of residence in India for foreign nationals.