Updated on 13 April 2016

The Office for International Students and Scholars Services extends a warm welcome to all international visitors. Our office offers many services, starting with visa assistance. Our links are designed to help you prepare for your visit and acquaint you with the bureaucratic requirements we assist you with after you arrive. We provide continuing support to ensure that your experience is positive and productive.

Prepare for your visit:

A visa is required to enter India. It must be obtained from an embassy or consulate in your country of residence or citizenship BEFORE your trip. In most countries, you’ll need to apply for your visa through an outside agency that has been contracted by the Indian embassy in your country to manage consular services. Your passport must be more than 6 months from expiration and have at least one blank page.

It is critical that you work closely with our office throughout the process. A recent problem is that applications are not being processed as the requested type (for example research versus employment). Be sure that you receive the correct visa or you will likely need to return to your home country to restart this process, causing a 1-3 month delay. Our office will assist you in obtaining the correct visa type: tourist, student, research, employment or family members. Be sure to communicate regularly with us about the progress of this vital process. Expect 2 weeks-6 months for processing. Contact Rashi (rashi@instem.res.in)

Once you receive your visa, read is carefully, sometimes there are provisions such as requirements to leave the country in 90 days. If you ignore this provision, you go home and begin again.

Health Considerations


Consult a travel health care specialist at least two months prior to departure. You will likely require a series of vaccinations well in advance of leaving for India. Ensure that you are up-to-date on common vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella. Additional suggestions are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. India was declared polio-free in 2013.

Mosquito-borne illnesses

The most prominent diseases are malaria and dengue fever; neither are very common. Japanese encephalitis is not in Bengaluru, only in the northern parts of India. The best prevention is to avoid bites and use repellents and netting, whether or not you choose to take antimalarials. The most popular insect repellent in India is marketed under the brand name of Odomos and available at pharmacies/chemists. Alternatively, bring your preferred brand from home. Ceiling fans and air conditioners also help keep mosquitoes at bay, and you may want to sleep under a mosquito net.


Carry all prescription medicines (along with a list of their generic names) in your hand luggage. Pharmacies, also called chemists, are everywhere. In our area, they usually understand English. Antibiotics are available without prescription.

Travel to Bangalore

Be sure to carry your passport, pen for filling out arrival forms (immigration & customs), medications (including stomach remedies), NCBS reception phone number (+91 80 2366 6001), immunization records, as well as your usual items.

Arrival at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru/Bangalore (BLR)

Immigration and customs forms might be passed out on the planes. You may have slept through this, so ask. Otherwise, they will be passed out when entering the terminal. Pause at a desk to fill out the forms and then join the line.

Clear Immigration

At passport control, an agent will take your immigration form. He/she will leave the Customs form in the passport at the page stamp. Leave it right there. Hold your passport in your hand when you are done. After passport control, you show your passport to a checker who will look at your stamp you just received at the Immigration desk. Now you can put the passport away, but keep the Customs card accessible for later.

Proceed to the line to have your bags x-rayed and go through a metal detector. This is nothing like TSA in the US; they are looking for weapons/contraband. Everyone sets off the metal detector but they don't seem to care. DO NOT take off your shoes, belt, etc. DO NOT take out your laptop and liquids.

Clear Customs

An escalator goes downstairs to baggage claim. Carts are free. Then go through the green (nothing to declare) line and give the bottom part of the card to the officer. At this point, you may be required to x-ray your bags again, but this rarely happens. Then go through the almost-empty hall and outside, ignoring the few people who will ask if you need a ride.

If you experience any problems, contact the NCBS Reception Desk:

- from a mobile phone 080 2366 6001

- from a landline, drop the first 0, and dial 80-2366-6001

Walk out through the security doors and look for your driver holding a paper with NCBS, usually your name is included.

Confirm with your driver where you will be dropped. If you have trouble with language have driver call reception and they will act as your translator.

Your host will arrange campus housing for you.  Be sure that you confirm with your host the name of the guest house since we have several on or near campus.

Post Arrival Information:

Please come to the International Students and Scholars Services office, located in the admin block on the 3rd floor. We will develop a strategy to generate and/or obtain the dizzying number of documents required for your stay.Please be aware that the majority of your time for the first couple of weeks will be consumed with these requirements. 

First, you will obtain a campus ID card that enables your access to the campus, labs, library and gym/pool.

Then we will direct you our reception desk that will dispatch you for your passport photos. (These are much more affordable here than in the US) Getting 10-20 to begin is suggested.

Passport photos are required for most official transactions as you will learn when you click on our other links.  Depending on your length of stay/visa type, 10-20 might be needed.  Our reception desk will be able to assist you by dispatching a car to the local vendor.  (They are much cheaper here than in the U.S.)

The Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO)

(photo required)

If you are visiting India on a Student Visa (S), Research Visa (R), or Employment Visa (E), you are required to register within the first 14 days upon your arrival to India at the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO). The Establishment Office/K.M. Basavaraj will assist you with this process. Be sure to visit us when you arrive at NCBS/inStem/C-CAMP with your passport and visa (soft or hard copy). We’re located on the 3rd floor, Administration Block.

Plan to spend your entire day at the FRRO. Mr. Basavaraj will meet you there to assist with any unanticipated questions that often arise. Be sure to double-check the check-list the day before your appointment. We suggest that you make and carry a copy of your application as well as your passport.


PAN Card (Photo Required)

The permanent account number (PAN) is the identifier of Indian income tax payers. It serves as an important proof of identification in many situations. This number is almost mandatory for completing most financial transactions, such as opening a bank account and receiving taxable salary.


Bank Account
(photo required)

Expats will need a foreigner registration number, passport, visa and proof of address (ISSS will provide or if you have a bill with your address).

Debit cards are routinely issued along with bank accounts and you can apply for a credit card. NCBS has an association with the State Bank of India and Central Bank of India.

Other possibilities include HDFC Bank, Barclays, Citibank, Deutshce Bank, ICICI Bank, and Royal Bank of Scotland. ATMs are located just outside our gate. Currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), with 1, 2 and 5 rupee coins and10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

Helpful link-How to open a bank account:


Mobile Phone
(photos required)

If you own an unlocked GSM phone, then purchase a SIM card.

Copies and originals of passport, proof of residence (can be provided by our office), visa as well as 2 passport photos are required.     


General Information

Emergencies dial 6666 on campus

Campus Map

Campus Security

There are guards posted at intervals as well as at every entrance gate so our campus is very secure. Exercise caution when venturing out, get suggestions from your colleagues.

Your campus ID card is required for entry or you must declare your host and receive a visitor pass..  Exercise caution when venturing out, especially in the dark. Discuss your travel plans with your colleagues

Medical Centre

Located on campus Mon-Sat 9:30-4:30 as a walk in clinic. There is an ambulance on campus 24/7.  Two nearby hospitals are Columbia Asia and Baptist.

Telephone exchanges

First there is a difference whether you are calling from a landline (dial 80) or from a mobile (dial 080). When dialing from a campus phone and calling off-campus, dial 0 to get out of campus phone system.

The campus has two phone providers so all extensions can be reached by either dialing 2366 or 6717 before the 4 digit extension when you are calling from off campus

For example Reception from an off-campus landline:

80 2366 6001 or 80 6717 6001

To call Reception from a mobile phone:

080 2366 6001 or 080 6717 6001

on campus, dial 6001

Most campus phones extensions begin with 6XXX. However, some begin 5XXX. When the extension begins with 5XXX, then use prefix 6718 or 2308, while dialing from landlines in Bangalore.

From aboard, dial +91 (India country code) then 80(Bangalore city code)

Campus Directory Link

“NCBS” is used generically as well as specifically for all institutes at the BioCluster: NCBS/inStem/C-CAMP

Reception is the centre of the campus. They can solve almost all (non-science related) problems, and fluent in English and local languages.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions.

Contact Us

Office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) Contact Info:

Phone:+91 80 6717 6001