NEW DELHI: The visas of foreign nationals, stranded in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been extended by the government till August 31 on gratis basis or free of charge.
The Union Home Ministry said that due to the non-availability of normal commercial flight operations on account of the pandemic since March 2020, a number of foreign nationals who came to India prior to that date on valid Indian visas got stranded in the country.
Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by such foreign nationals in getting their visas extended due to the lockdown, the Home Ministry had issued an order on June 29, 2020, conveying that the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals expiring post June 30, 2020, shall be deemed to be valid until 30 more days from the date of resumption of normal international flight operations, on gratis basis.
However, such foreign nationals have been applying for extension of their visas or stay stipulation period on a monthly basis, the Home Ministry said in a statement.
The matter has now been reconsidered by the ministry in the light of non-resumption of normal commercial flight operations, and it has accordingly been decided that the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals stranded in India will be considered as deemed to be valid till August 31, 2021 on gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty, the statement said.
These foreign nationals will not be required to submit any application to the FRRO or FRO concerned for extension of their visas.
Such foreign nationals may apply for an exit permission to the FRRO or FRO concerned before exiting the country, which would be granted on gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty, the statement said.