Big relief has come for foreign nationals stranded in India amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as the Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Friday the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such individuals will be considered valid till August 31, 2021. This will be on a gratis basis without any overstay penalty. The foreign nationals stranded in India will not be required to submit an application to the FRRO/FRO concerned for the extension of their visas, according to MHA press release.
"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," read the MHA release.
The Centre had announced a complete ban on all commercial passenger flight activity back in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic had initially hit India. While domestic passenger flights have resumed since then, international passenger flights have not. Due non-availability of normal commercial flight operations a number of foreign nationals who came to India prior to March 2020 on valid Indian visas have remained stranded in India.
The MHA has tried to make life easier for these individuals who are stranded in India. Knowing the difficulties being faced by such foreign nationals in getting their visas extended in India due to the lockdown, the MHA had issued an order on June 6, 2020.
The order noted the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals expiring post June 30, 2020, will remain to be valid without charge till 30 days after the resumption of normal international flight operations. However, such foreign nationals have been applying for an extension of their visas or stay stipulation period on a monthly basis.
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