New Delhi | Jagran New Desk: In a major relief to the foreign nationals stranded in India during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, India on Friday extended the visas of such stranded foreign individuals till August 31. The visas of such individuals will now stand valid until August 31 in the wake of the non-availability of international flights.

The Ministry of Home Affairs while acknowledging on Friday that a number of foreign nationals who came to India before March 2020 on valid visas had got stranded due to imposition of travel restrictions, extended the regular as well as e-visas of such individuals till August 31, 2021.

"These foreign nationals will not be required to submit any application to the FRRO/FRO concerned for extension of their visas," the statement further added.

No overstay penalty

Foreign nationals can hence apply for exit permission to the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) before exiting the country, without having to pay any overstay penalty.

Many foreign nationals extending their visas since June 2020 on a monthly basis

The MHA statement said that due to the non-availability of normal commercial flight operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, a number of foreign nationals who came to India prior to March 2020 on valid Indian visas had got stranded in India.

"Keeping in view the difficulties being faced by such foreign nationals in getting their visas extended in India due to the lockdown, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an order on 29 June 2020 conveying that the Indian Visa or stay stipulation period of such foreign nationals expiring post 30 June 2020 shall be deemed to be valid until 30 more days from the date of resumption of normal international flight operations, on a gratis basis. However, such foreign nationals have been applying for extension of their visas or stay stipulation period on a monthly basis," MHA statement added.

India had suspended international flight operations on March 23 last year. Ever since air connectivity has been established via air bubble agreements with over 30 countries.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma