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I am currently in India on business. I have a 5 year multi-entry business visa where each stay can not exceed 180 days but I can leave and re-enter multiple times.

The company is planning on keeping me in India longer, possibly up to a year or more.

I recently went to Thailand about halfway through my 180 days, by leaving the country and re-entering, does this "reset" the 180 days so that it starts when I arrived back in India?

As long as I go back to the USA (or otherwise leave India) at least once every 180 days, will I have any problems with immigration? What can I do to get out in front of the issue and eliminate any problems or prepare to deal with them accordingly?

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Re-entering is fine, and quite common. Previously, Indian tourist visas for all nationals briefly prevented re-entry within two months; however, this has now been repealed for all except a few countries that India doesn't have great relations with (Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan). Indian multiple-entry business visas have never had this limitation.

And for what it's worth, I spent well over a year in India on a multiple-entry visa, flying out and returning every month or so. Never had the slightest problem at Immigration.

  • When you said "flying out and returning every month or so" did your total stay in India exceed 180 days total in country or did you only stay 6 months but left every 30 days? My concern is staying for a year but periodically leaving to be able to exceed 180 days by breaking it up into periods that are less than 180 days. Just want to get clarification so I don't make assumptions. Thanks. – jmort253 May 31 '15 at 8:14
  • As said, I spent well over a year in cumulative time in India, but this was on tourist visas and well before they changed the rules. – jpatokal May 31 '15 at 10:00
  • Ah, thanks for clarifying. I missed that part. :) – jmort253 May 31 '15 at 10:01
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A visa is permission to enter a country, nothing more. Each time you enter you will be given a stamp that tells you the date when you must leave. You can leave any time before or on that date.

In this case, it sounds like you get a 180-day stay each time you enter, so leaving and re-entering will get you a 180-day stay.

Usually a visa is good for one entry, but double- and triple-entry visas are not uncommon. But yours is "multiple".

"Multiple" means as many times as you like, for as long as the visa is valid. You could go to the US for three years, and then go to India - you will get a 180-day stamp. Or you could go to Phuket for a weekend and go back, and get a 180-day stamp.

  • Thanks Scott. This is what I understand too, but I also heard immigration authorities may hassle someone who does this repeatedly. I'm wondering if that's something I'll need to worry about? – jmort253 May 25 '15 at 10:27
  • To clarify, I'm not worried about going to the US for three years and coming back. Instead, I'm worried about how it will look if I go to another country for the weekend and then come back to India for another 180 days. – jmort253 May 25 '15 at 10:28
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    What I described is the general "this is what should happen" case. Of course, as with everything, the immigration officer at the point of entry has absolute power, and if you catch one having a bad day, or wanting to exert his power over you for whatever reason, you can still have problems. This is the same the world over. – Scott Earle May 25 '15 at 10:28
  • Plus - people are allowed to take holidays for a weekend. It's not uncommon :) – Scott Earle May 25 '15 at 10:29
  • Thanks for the reply. To clarify again, I'm not worried about taking a holiday, but instead using it as a way to stay longer in India by resetting the 180 day clock through such holidays. Your first comment is helpful and true. Thank you. – jmort253 May 25 '15 at 10:43

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