You should register within 14 days of your arrival in India, irrespective of your length of stay. Children under 16 years of age are exempt from registration. Pakistan nationals are required to register within 24 hours of their arrival in India, and Afghan nationals are required to register within 7 days.
There is no registration fee unless you register late, in which case you will be charged Rs1,400. Note that the date of registration has no impact on the time you are allowed to stay in India, this depends only on your visa. If you wish to stay in India longer, you will need to apply for a visa renewal or a visa extension.
If you register at a police station in a smaller city you might want to bring an Indian friend - quite often the officers who deal with foreigner registrations do not speak English. It will take several visits to the police station and a lot of patience to complete your registration.
Registration in India
In order to register in India, you will have to provide your passport, a copy of your passport and visa, four passport photos, proof of address and a letter from the school or company you’re working at. Indian Scholarship holders take the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) certificate. Students without a scholarship need proof of sufficient funds. Check your air/train fare for your flight/train number as you might need to show these as well. For registration, you need to fill in 3 copies of FORM ‘A’+1. Bring a pen and a book to read while you wait!
When all your documents are processed a police officer will visit you to verify your address. Finally, you will be given a certificate of registration, which you have to keep in your passport at all times, since you may be asked to show it by police officers. It is best to make several copies of the certificate of registration and the passport since they can be really helpful in case you lose the originals.
Once you have received your certificate of registration you can apply for a residence permit which you need to legally work in India. In order to apply for residence permit you must first get a PAN Card (Personal Account Number Card). For more information on the PAN Card, see our article on income tax in India. Finally, take your PAN Card and your certificate of registration to the FRRO/police station and you will get your residence permit.