The government on Thursday extended till September 30 visas of all foreign nationals stuck in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the decision was taken because a number of foreigners who came to India on various types of visas prior to March 2020 got stranded in the country in the absence of flights to their destinations due to the pandemic.
"The central government had facilitated the stay of such foreign nationals within India by giving the deemed extension of their regular visa or e-visa or stay stipulation period on gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty.
"This facility which is presently available till August 31, 2021, has now been extended by the central government till September 30, 2021. Such foreign nationals will not be required to submit an application to the FRRO/FRO concerned for extension of their visas till September 30, 2021," the spokesperson said.
Before exiting the country, they may apply online for exit permission on the e-FRRO portal which would be granted by the authorities on a gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty.
The spokesperson said that if someone wanted a visa extension beyond September 30, they may apply on the online e-FRRO platform on a payment basis, which would be considered by the authorities, subject to the eligibility as per the extant guidelines.
The spokesperson made it clear that Afghan nationals, already in India on any category of visa, will be granted an extension of visas under guidelines issued separately for Afghan nationals.