Centre Extends Consular Services To Foreign Nationals Stranded In India

The Ministry of Home Affairs, on May 5, issued a circular to provide consular services to foreign nationals for a period of 30 days from the date of the lifting of the prohibition on international travel. This is done in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions imposed. The DGCA had earlier announced all flights domestic or international shall cease to fly until the lockdown is lifted. Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the lockdown till May 17.

After considering the matter, the MHA decided to extend the period. The period of providing the following consular services by the Office of Foreigners Regional Registration Officers/ Foreigners Registration Officers. To the said foreign nationals, presently stranded in India.

In the memorandum issued on May 5, the Government stated that regular visas or e-visas of foreign nationals which have expired or would be expiring during the period from 01.02.2020 till the date on which prohibition on air travel is lifted would be extended on ‘GRATIS’ basis on submission of an online application by foreigners stranded. The extension of visa would be granted for up to 30 days. This is from the date of lifting the prohibition without levy of overstay penalty. The exit of foreign nationals, if requested by them, will also be granted on the same lines.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also suspended all existing visas granted to foreigners except those belonging to diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment and project categories. The suspension shall be in place until the prohibition on international air travel is lifted.

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