Foreigners stranded in India due to COVID get visa extension

Government says the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals will be considered valid till August 31 on a ‘gratis basis’

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India has extended till August 31 the validity of visa for foreign nationals stranded in the country due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A number of foreign nationals who came prior to March 2020 on valid visas got stranded due to non-availability of commercial flights on account of the pandemic. On Friday the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals will be considered valid till August 31 on a “gratis basis”, without levy of any overstay penalty.

“Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by such foreign nationals in getting their visas extended in India due to the lockdown, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an order on 29.06.2020 conveying that the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals expiring post 30.06.2020 shall be deemed to be valid until 30 more days from the date of resumption of normal international flight operations, on gratis basis,” the ministry said.

The MHA said such nationals have been applying for an extension of their visas or stay stipulation period on a monthly basis, adding that they won’t be required to submit an application to the concerned foreigners regional registration officer for extension.

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“Such foreign nationals may apply for an exit permission to the FRRO/FRO concerned before exiting the country, which would be granted on gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty,” it added.

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