In a big move on Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that the visa of foreign nationals stranded in India due to the lockdown would be extended till April 30. Incidentally, this development comes even as the Centre has not formally announced the extension of the lockdown. This shall be applicable to those foreigners whose visa has expired or would be expiring from February 1 to April 30. According to the Ministry, the foreigners had been already granted consular services till April 30. To ensure the free extension of visa, the stranded foreign national shall have to make an online application.
#IndiaFightsCOVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 13, 2020
In order to remove confusion in public, it is informed that MHA, on 28.03.2020, had granted of Consular Services to Foreign Nationals, presently residing in India due to travel restrictions reg. #COVID19, till 30.04.2020.
The Centre has taken proactive steps to ensure the welfare of the stranded nationals from other countries. On April 2, the MHA issued the third addendum to the lockdown guidelines granting exemption to the transit arrangements of certain categories of people. First, the MEA and Centre agreed to examine the request of foreign governments for the evacuation of their nationals from India on a case to case basis. In the scenario that such a request is accepted, a Standard Operating Procedure was laid down for the movement of such foreign nationals.
The first aspect of the protocol to be followed in case of evacuating a foreign national is that the chartered flight will have to be arranged by the respective foreign government in consultation with the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Moreover, only asymptomatic foreign nationals shall be allowed to leave the country. The local transportation arrangements from the place of stay to the point of embarkation would be the responsibility of the local Embassy of the respective foreign government. However, the transit pass for the vehicle in which the foreigner is travelling will be issued by the state government or the Union Territory where he is staying. Since then, several countries such as the UK have evacuated their nationals from India.