The UGC uses the term International Students to refer to (a) Foreign students, ie those students who hold passports issued by foreign countries including people of Indian origin who have acquired the nationality of foreign countries, and (b) Non Resident Indian (NRI) students, ie those NRI students who have passed the qualifying examinations from schools or colleges in foreign countries and schools or colleges situated in foreign countries even if affiliated to the Boards of Secondary Education or Universities located in India.
However, it does not use it to refer to those NRI students studying in schools or colleges situated in India and affiliated to the Boards of Secondary Education or Universities located in foreign countries, or those qualifying examinations from Boards or Universities located in foreign countries as external students and dependants of NRIs studying in India. (http://www.ugc.ac.in/new_initiatives/policydecisions.html).
The International Students Centre, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat (India) subscribes to the meaning of the term International Students as UGC does and holds it as final and binding unless it is changed by the UGC.
What UGC Guidelines say about Admission of International Students
The UGC Guidelines on Admission of International Students clearly require the universities in India to ask International Students applying for admission to various courses offered by them to supply the following documents to begin with:
All the international students requesting for admission to full-time courses require a student visa valid for the prescribed duration of the course and endorsed to the university or institution concerned, but those desirous of joining a research programme require a research visa valid for the prescribed duration of the course and endorsed to the university or institution concerned. The UGC directive is not to accept any other endorsement.
The guidelines exempt NRI students from this provision and they do not, therefore, require a visa. The guidelines lay down that students following full-time courses in some other institution do not require a separate visa for joining part-time courses provided that their current visa is valid for the entire duration of the course.
The guidelines specify that international students do not require a No Objection Certificate any longer for joining professional courses as the Government of India has withdrawn this requirement vide its letter No. F.No.33-17/2002-U.4 dated 20th August 2004.
Prior Security Clearance:
All international students desiring to undertake any research work or join a PhD or MPhil programme must obtain prior security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the approval of Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and this must be on the research visa endorsed to the university or institution concerned.