The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday extended till April 30 the regular visa, e-visa of foreigners stranded in India due to the nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, PTI reported. The Centre had earlier extended the visas of foreigners till April 15.
The decision to extend the visa exemption till April 30 was apparently taken in view of the probable 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.
“Regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation, of such foreign nationals who have been stranded in India because of spread of COVID-19 in many parts of the world, and due to consequent travel restrictions imposed by Indian authorities and whose visas have 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 online application by the foreigner,” a home ministry statement said.
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 till April 30.
On March 31, the first flight evacuating foreign nationals had taken off from the Kolkata airport. Later, three special flights evacuated about 20,000 British nationals. Till April 10, the Centre has evacuated 20,473 foreign internationals.
To facilitate the smooth stay of stranded foreigners in the country, the Ministry of Tourism had also launched a portal to disseminate information about services that can be availed by them in any part of the country.
On April 2, the government had issued new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) allowing these foreigners to leave the country — in chartered aircraft arranged by their respective nations — after they test negative for COVID-19 infection.
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.
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