Friday, 20 Mar, 7.41 pm Deccan Herald

COVID-19: Government extends visas of stranded foreigners for free

Anirban Bhaumik,

The Government has extended the visas of all the foreigners, who arrived in India before travel restrictions were imposed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic resulting in many airlines suspending international operations.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a communiqué to the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) stating that all foreigners, who had arrived in India on regular visas and e-visas, would be eligible for an extension of validity of the travel documents free of cost if they could not leave the country due to restrictions imposed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of all foreign nationals, which have expired or will be expiring during the period from 13.3.2020 (midnight) to 15.4.2020 (midnight) would be extended till midnight of 15.4.2020 on 'GRATIS' basis after receiving an online application from the foreigner,' the MHA stated in its communiqué issued to the BoI with instructions to forward it to the Foreigner Registration Offices, Foreigner Regional Registration Offices and the Immigration Check Posts.

The foreigners, who got stranded in India, would not have to pay any fee for an extension of visa validity or any overstay penalty for staying in the country beyond the validity period of the travel documents issued to them.

'Exit of such foreign nationals, if so requested by them during this period, will be granted without levy of overstay penalty,' the MHA stated.

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