Press Trust of india

COVID-19: all visas, OCI cards for foreign nationals outside India remain suspended

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Washington: All visas for foreign nationals and the OCI card visa free travel for Indian-origin people, who are not in the country, remain suspended till the restrictions on international travel to and from India remain in place, the Indian embassy here said on Wednesday.

However, for all foreign nationals inside the country whose visas have expired and cannot travel out of India due to the international travel restrictions, can apply for their visa extension without any additional fee, it said in a statement.

Visa free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders who are not in India presently, will continue to remain in abeyance till prohibition on international air travel of passengers from/to India is lifted. The OCI card of a traveller presently in India shall remain valid, the embassy said.

The OCI is an immigration status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely. The OCI was introduced in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, particularly in developed countries.

All existing visas issued to nationals of any country who have not yet entered India, will remain suspended till prohibition on international air travel of passengers from/to India is lifted. Exceptions include Visa issued to diplomats, official passport holders, those in UN/international organisations, and those on Employment and Project visas, it said.

According to the Indian embassy, regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of all foreign nationals whose visas have expired or would be expiring during the period from 1 February, 2020 (midnight) till the date on which prohibition on international air travel of passengers from India is lifted, would be extended on GRATIS basis on submission of online application with the FRRO/FRO.

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

India has suspended domestic and international passenger flights till May 17 as part of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

From March 24, India is under a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus that has claimed 1,783 lives while the number of cases have gone up to 52,952 as of Thursday.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 35,902 while 15,266 people have recovered.

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