Can a foreigner work/volunteer for an NGO?

If a foreigner joins as an unpaid volunteer in a NGO for a long term period more than 180 days or for around 2-3 years on an employment visa or student visa and foreigner is registered with FRRO as per the required rules then is it necessary to pay any remuneration or token amount to the volunteer or intern? Can he/she continue to work on a voluntary basis even though she/he is here on an employment visa? Is there any rule saying minimum amount NGO has to pay ?

Arvind Kumar

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3 Responses to Can a foreigner work/volunteer for an NGO?

  1. Aman Yadav says:

    A foreigner can do “honorary” work for a registred NGO on an employment visa and such visa will have an endorsement because of which no salary should or can be paid to the foreigner.

    A foreigner can do regular work (as an employee) for a registered NGO on an employment visa provided that he is paid a minimum salary of USD 25,000 p.a.

    A foreigner on a student visa cannot be employed by a NGO or do honorary work, and no money can be paid to him.

  2. Subhash Mittal says:

    A very comprehensive response from Mr Deepak Bansal, hope this has solved your query. From above, all I would like to clarify is that in case the foreigner is on student visa, then s/he can undertake voluntary work, but if s/he is on employment visa, then normally employment visa would be organisation specific and the NGO would have issued formal letter while foreigner applied for employment visa. One would need to comply with those conditions as well as any other conditions imposed by FRRO while granting the Visa.

    By the way INGO in comment by Mr Bansal means Indian NGO and not International NGO.

  3. Deepak Bansal says:

    Please note that Entry, stay and exit of foreigners into India is governed by the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, Foreigners Act-1946 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992. The policy, acts and rules relating to entry of foreigners into India are framed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.(website:

    Now there are various categories of Visas issued, however in the query narrated above – right type of visa is Employment visa or Education visa.
    First option is that if a foreigner comes to India to join an INGO, he would obtain an employment visa and his VISA application would be accompanied with all terms and conditions including likely stipend paid / payable by INGO. Registration of a foreigner with FRRO has got nothing to do with payment of stipend. These are mutually exclusive. However, in case a foreigner comes to India on employment Visa and during his stay, he renders some services to INGO without informing FRRO, it would be a violation of VISA conditions.

    A foreigner if of student age and coming to join an educational course can opt for Student visa and later on during the course of pursuing his studies, he can opt for working as a trainee with a INGO. There in INGO, he cannot be said to be an employee and whatever stipend he receives from INGO, may not create any issue.

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