The government on Monday extended on gratis basis the regular visa and e-visa of foreign nationals who are stranded in India due to COVID-19 till April 30, the Home Ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry said all those foreigners whose regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation expired or would be expiring during February 1 (midnight) to April 30 (midnight), would be “extended till April 30 (midnight) on gratis basis, after making an online application by the foreigners”.
The foreign nationals are stranded in the country due to the 21-day lockdown announced on March 24 to curb the spread of the disease.
To remove any kind of confusion, the home ministry had on March 28 granted consular services on gratis basis to the foreign nationals, presently staying in India due to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19 outbreak, till April 30.
Earlier, the government had extended the regular and e-visa of those foreigners who are currently in India and unable to leave the country due to the outbreak of coronavirus, till April 15.
The decision to extend the visa exemption till April 30 was apparently taken because of the near-certain extension of the ongoing lockdown till April 30.
It is also an indication that international flights, cancelled since March 25, will not resume before April 30.
Thousands of foreign nationals are stuck in the country since the imposition of the travel restrictions and are unable to exit the country during the validity of their visa.
The ministry has also provided essential consular services through the office of Foreigners Regional Registration Officers and Foreigners Registration Officers to foreign nationals, presently in India.
The exit of such foreign nationals, if so requested by them during this period, will be granted without levy of overstay penalty, the ministry had said earlier.