INDIA: Owing to the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre, on Tuesday, issued an order that suspends all existing visas granted to foreign nationals, barring a few categories, till international air travel to and from India doesn’t restart.

“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 order by the Home Ministry stated.

MHA issued another order extending the visas of foreigners stranded in India due to lockdown on ‘gratis’ basis. The extension is allowed for a period of 30 days beyond opening of international travel in the country.

In the other order the Centre said,”The regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of foreign nationals whose visas have expired post-midnight February 1 or would expire during the ban on international air travel from India would be extended on ‘GRATIS’ basis just on submission of an online application.”

“Such extensions would be for a period up to 30 days from the date of lifting of prohibition on international air travel without any overstay penalty. Exit to such foreign nationals, if so requested by them, will also be granted on the same lines, it further added.

In its third order, the Home Ministry said that the right of multiple-entry on lifelong visa for Overseas Citizens of India(OCI) too will continue to be temporarily suspended till the prohibition on international air travel to and from India.

However, in case of persons holding OCI cards who are already in India, the card remains valid for their stay in India for any length of time.

“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 further stated.