NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday decided to extend the visas of all foreigners who have been stranded in India due to the nationwide lockdown. The visas which have expired from February 1 “would be extended on gratis basis on submission of online application,” the centre announced.
Such extensions would be granted for a period up to 30 days from the date of lifting the prohibition on international air travel of passengers from India without levy of over stay penalty, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Punya Salila Srivastava said in a briefing.
“Exit to such foreign nationals, if so requested by them, will also be granted on the same lines,” the MHA’s order stated.In a separate order, the MHA announced that all existing visas granted to foreigners – except those belonging to diplomatic, official, UN international organisations, employment and project categories – shall remain suspended till prohibition on international air travel of passengers from and to India is lifted by the government.
The MHA said it has kept in abeyance multiple-entry life-long visas given to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders till international travel remains suspended. However, the OCI card holders who are already in India can stay in the country for “any length of time”, it said.
Any foreign national holding an OCI card who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons during the period may contact the nearest Indian mission, it said.
The Bureau of Immigration and MEA are requested to convey the instructions to all authorities concerned and also to disseminate this information for general public and foreigners, the order further stated.