Filming in India - Process, Permissions, Policies - for Foreigners | Filmapia - real sites . reel sights

Filming in India - Process, Permissions, Policies - for Foreigners

Find out about the typical process, permissions involved for Film Shoots - Movies, Web/ OTT Shows, TV Shows, Documentaries, Music Videos, TVCs/Advertisements, etc - in India.

 

I) Filming in India for Foreign Film Teams

 

II) Filming Permissions

III) Visa

 

IV) Protected (PAP), Restricted (RAP) Access Permit

 

I) Filming in India for Foreign Film Teams

India due to its astounding variety of geography, weather, culture, language, food, landscapes, sports, business and more - is evidently a favored destination for Filmmakers from around the world.

 

 

But...Film-Shoot permissions and procedures in India, just like in most countries, may sound daunting to the uninitiated.

 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) of India have taken cognizance of this and attempted to allay the fears and uncertainty to a large extent. NFDC has set up the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) which is slowly becoming the single window for all filming applications in India. 

FFO, though doesn't yet handle certain kinds of Filming permissions, due to the nature of work and bodies involved. Read on.

 

II) Filming Permissions

Before you apply for the respective travel visas, you have to get the right set of permissions from the right bodies based on your filming project.

 

A) Scripted Dramas: For Feature Films/Movies, TV/Web Shows/Series, or a Reality TV/Web Shows/Series, the body to go to is the FFO.

Process: You can either directly apply by registering at the FFO website, or take support of a local Production House/Fixer who can apply on your behalf and do the required follow-up. FFO will route your application to be cleared by MIB & MEA. Do make sure to have the right set of documents provided with your application.

Once your application is approved, you will receive the Permission Letter which will be needed for the next step - i.e. Film Visa (F-Visa)!

Share the permission letter with your Local Producer/Fixer for further local permissions, as required.

NOTE: Do visit the FFO guide here for other important points before, during and after the shoot procedures.

Documents: Be as unambiguous and complete in your set of Documents that you provide, as possible.

  • Synopsis and detailed script of the Film.
  • Passport (along with copies) details of the cast & crew.
  • Details of shooting locations in India, including the dates and duration.
  • List of equipment temporarily being brought in India for the filming.
  • "No Objection" letter - in case the any living personality is being portrayed in the Film, from the personality or his/her legal heirs.
  • In case of Co-Production projects, copy of the agreement between the Foreign and Indian Producer/Company.
  • Undertaking: You also have to upload an undertaking (sample here) on your Company Letterhead.

Fees:  A non-refundable processing fee of USD 225 is to be made online along with the application.

Time Taken: Typically, this process, from the time of application with the documents is expected to take around 21 working days (i.e. excluding all holidays). If the content of the Film is controversial or seemingly having any content depicting India in "bad light", things can go into a tail-spin for months.

Useful Links

FFO Step-by-Step Guide

Undertaking Sample

 

B) Other: For Documentaries, AV Commercials, Corporate Videos and Music Videos, you have to approach the Indian Consulate/High Commission in your respective country.

Process: You have to contact/visit the Press & Information Officer (Secretary) at the Indian Embassy/High Commission in your country. Provide signed application and related documents on your Company letterhead. Sample content : SF ConsulateMEA.

The Officer will keep you posted about the updates or alternatively you too can follow-up in person, calls or emails.

Once your application is approved, you will receive the Permission Letter (sample here) which will be needed for the next step - i.e. Journalist Visa (J-Visa)!

Share the permission letter with your Local Producer/Fixer for further local permissions, as required.

Documents: Be as unambiguous and complete in your set of Documents that you provide, as possible. This just helps reduce the back & forth and resulting delay. All documents should be on your Company letterhead (signed, and with your company seal where applicable)

  • Synopsis of the Film.
  • Details of shooting locations in India, including the dates and duration.
  • List of equipment temporarily being brought in India for the filming.
  • List/ full details of Crew members (name, nationality, gender, DoB, Phone and Email) along with copies of Passports.
  • Undertaking: You also have to upload an undertaking (sample here) on your Company Letterhead.
  • Letter from Local Fixer/Producer - though not mandatory it does help your application.

Time Taken: Typically, this process from the time of application with the documents is expected anywhere between 2 to 8 weeks (i.e. excluding all holidays). If the content of the Film is (seemingly) controversial, you might be called for consultation which can delay the process into months. The Local Producer/Fixer has no say in expediting your application (at least legally).

Useful Links

MEA - Documentary Filming in India - this has the process, application form details, sample undertaking, and a sample of the approval letter.

San Franciso Consulate - application sample, San Francico Consulate - undertaking sample

 

III) Visa

We recommend applying for your Visa only after you've got the required Filming Permission letter.

You can apply for the visa here - IndianVisaOnline or visit the Indian High Commission/Embassy website applicable for your country.

 

 

Film Visa (F-Visa): This is applicable when the Filming Permission Letter is issued by the FFO, depending on the category of your Filming project mentioned above.

Journalist Visa (J-Visa): This is applicable when the Filming Permission Letter is granted by your local Indian High Commission/Embassy, depending on the category of your Filming project mentioned above.

Time Taken: Every crew member would have visit the local Indian Consulate as part of the Visa application process. If all documents are in place, and if no issues, the time for the Visa being granted for either F-Visa or J-Visa is 5 to 10 working days.

 

 

 

IV) Protected (PAP), Restricted (RAP) Access Permit: There are certain parts of Indias that require special permits, specifically for non-Indians. Read more here.

 

 

If you have any query regarding filming in India, do drop in a message @ info@filmapia.com.