Marina, volunteering until August 2016, published a movie on YouTube about her experience.
Foreign volunteers or interns: how to apply for a visa
Foreign volunteers or interns can only come to Auroville holding an X-Visa (also called Entry-Visa) on a recommendation issued by Auroville; it is a rather long process (6 to 8 weeks minimum) to obtain this recommendation. You will have to submit Auroville’s recommendation with your visa application at the Indian Embassy in your country.
Volunteering in Auroville holding Tourist Visa, Business Visa, Student Visa or any other Visa not issued on recommendation of Auroville is by Indian regulations not allowed.
To assist you in the below mentioned formalities, we ask foreigners to contribute 1500 Rs to support Savi.
You have sent your application form to Savi with your passport copy; our Savi team has sent to you a selection of opportunities to contact;
Matching with an Auroville organization
After your email-conversation with several units/services you have come to a mutual agreement with one registered organisation of Auroville for a long term stay as intern or volunteer: the duration must be minimum 6 months or (more exceptionally) 12 months. If you wish a practicum/internship of less than 6 months, as recommended by your institution, contact us to work out a solution.
This step is to clarify the mutual expectations between hosting unit’s mentor and volunteer, including your future conditions of stay: objective of mission, arrival/departure dates, accommodation, budget, etc. The volunteer agreement is to be e-signed by your mentor and yourself: it is the basis of your voluntary stay that engage you and your hosting unit.
Recommendation from Auroville Foundation
The volunteer agreement will be validated by our Savi office, this qualifies your case for starting the Visa preparation process (which might take 3 weeks). At this point, your passport photocopy and address of your Indian Embassy must be known to us. We will fill in the necessary documents to request the Auroville Foundation issue a Recommendation Letter. The Recommendation Letter will be given to us in a sealed envelope, that we will send to you. You must not open this envelope.
To hasten this step we can send you the Recommendation Letter after it is issued, in a personal envelope to your address, by courier (ca 3 days time), for which we will charge Rs 2000.
Visa application in your country
The Recommendation Letter does not mention your arrival and departure dates. It is valid for 2 months. It is up to you to give the exact dates of your intended arrival to India in connection with your flight arrangement according to the agreement with your unit. Be aware that your visa will be valid from the very date of its issuance. You can only apply for an X-Entry visa, nothing else; and inform us as soon as you obtain your visa. If your stay exceeds 180 days, the next step is mandatory and needs a lot of paperwork.
Arrival and RRO registration
You will have to register at the RRO office in Pondicherry within the first 2 weeks of your arrival, in order to get the Residential Permit. Savi will help you to prepare the needed documents (which are many), to get an appointment for the visit to the Auroville Foundation, and finally to apply on-line through the Immigration office website. Several visits to the RRO office will then be organized.
Follow-up during the stay in Auroville
In order to comply with the Auroville Foundation requirements, a regular update of place of residence and hosting unit has to be made on a monthly basis.
Final exit interview (before departure)
Leaving Auroville, foreign volunteers and students are asked to meet Savi to share their experience and give feedback.
As Auroville is engaging its formal responsibility for the activities and conduct of foreigners “if anything adverse comes to notice during this period”, Auroville hosting units are expected to report to Savi any incident, premature leave or interruption; it is the responsibility of the volunteer to inform about his changes of residence in Auroville.
Extension of visa
Requests for an extension of visa for volunteers are limited and accepted case by case; they should be justified by Aurovilian necessities and demands.
Transition from Volunteer to Newcomer
At the end of a voluntary service, it is possible to apply for becoming an Auroville resident, and then start the “newcomer” probation period. Refer to Volunteer and Newcomer page.