Laws governing illegal immigrants in India

This article on ‘Laws governing illegal immigrants in India’ was written by Anukriti Prakash, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


In recent times, the Indian government has formulated laws and regulations to address the increasing concern over the presence of illegal immigrants in India. India, a country renowned for its vibrant culture and rich diversity, has always been open to welcoming people from various parts of the world, but maintaining national security is also a top priority.

Addressing the status of illegal immigrants in India falls under The Foreigners Act, 1946, which is the primary legislation in this regard. Another relevant act is The Citizenship Act, 1955.

Furthermore, the Indian government is dedicated to preserving human rights and abiding by international conventions, while simultaneously addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Taking measures to tackle illegal immigration, the Indian government is also committed to upholding international conventions and respecting human rights.

The Indian government aims to uphold the rights of its citizens, whilst preserving social harmony and protecting national security through proactive measures and well-defined laws. This article talks about the various laws regulating illegal immigrants in India.


An illegal immigrant is someone who lives or works in another country when they do not have the legal right to do this.


The identification of individuals residing in a country without proper authorization or in violation of immigration laws is a key objective that involves various methods and processes. We follow a distinct process when it comes to identifying illegal immigrants in India:

  • Documentation and Visa Checks
  • Border Control and Surveillance
  • Immigration Detention and Screening
  • Collaboration with International Agencies
  • Analyzing immigration data, patterns, and trends

Immigration Policies and Enforcement Practices

Immigration policies in India are a complex web of regulations, seeking to interweave state security with economic risks and humanitarian interests. At the heart of implementation lies stringent border and document control, with monitoring and deportations playing central roles. Additionally, there is close collaboration with global organizations to guarantee that immigration rules are adhered to thoroughly. All of this exists to form a delicate balance, preserving the country’s security from external threats, it’s economic standing, and allowing sensible and safe migration.

illegal immigrants in India
Laws governing illegal immigrants in India



The Foreigners Act, 1946 grants the Indian government the ability to manage the entrance, presence, and departure of those who are not citizens of India. This act allows the authorities to apprehend, detain, and deport foreigners who break its terms, such as those who have entered or remained in India without substantial documents or permissions.


The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 meanwhile, establishes the registration of foreigners residing in India for over 180 days. This act necessitates the registration of such visitors with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRO) within limited time frames in order to facilitate the monitoring of those living in India, guarantee compliance with immigration rules and regulations, and aid in national security and administrative needs.


The Citizenship Act, 1955 defines Indian citizenship and provides the methods by which one can acquire or lose citizenship. It outlines the criteria for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, and naturalization. The act also regulates matters related to the acquisition, termination, and deprivation of citizenship, ensuring the legal framework for citizenship in India.


The Immigration (Carriers Liability) Act, 2000 is a regulation enforced in India that penalizes transportation companies, such as airlines and shipping companies, who fail to ensure their passengers are in possession of valid travel documents before departing or entering the nation. This legislation has been designed to deter unlawful immigration into and out of the country, by making it challenging for unauthorized individuals to cross the border. The act enforces an obligation on carriers to carefully check passports and visas, preventing such individuals from travelling.


The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010, an Indian law regulating the acceptance and utilization of foreign contributions within India, strives to preserve the nation’s interests and national security. Establishing guidelines for registration, regulation, and examination of organizations that receive foreign contributions, this act seeks to prohibit certain activities within the country deemed as detrimental to the public interest. It works to ensure that donations in India do not harm sovereignty or integrity, amending a country once fraught with dangers from illicit external forces.

Resources for Further Information and Assistance

  • Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India: The official website provides information on immigration laws, policies, and updates on related issues.
  • Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO): FRRO offices across India provide assistance, guidance, and registration services for foreigners staying in the country.
  • Legal Experts and Immigration Consultants: Consulting with legal professionals and immigration consultants can provide personalized advice and assistance on immigration matters in India.
  • Human Rights Organizations: Organizations such as Amnesty International India and Human Rights Watch can offer resources and support regarding immigration-related human rights concerns.


The laws governing illegal immigrants in India encompass a range of regulations and practices aimed at regulating the entry, stay, and departure of foreigners. The Foreigners Act, 1946 empowers the government to control and enforce immigration regulations, including the arrest, detention, and deportation of individuals violating its provisions. The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 mandates the registration of foreigners staying in India for more than 180 days to ensure effective administration and security.

Identification of illegal immigrants in India involves various methods such as document checks, border control, detention and screening, international cooperation, public reporting, and data analysis. These practices aim to verify travel documents, detect fraudulent activities, and maintain national security. By understanding these laws and resources, individuals can better navigate the immigration landscape in India and seek appropriate information, assistance, and guidance to address their specific circumstances.


  1. “ACTS, RULES AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO FOREIGNERS DIVISION”, Ministry of Home Affairs, available at: (last visited on 11 July 2023).
  2. “Identification of illegal migrants and monitoring thereof”, Ministry of Home Affairs, 8 August 2017, available at: (last visited on 12 July 2023).
  3. Tulika Chakraborty, “Immigration laws in India”, Legal Service India, available at: (last visited on 12 July 2023).