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Home Ministry: 40,000 foreigners overstayed in India after visa expiry in 2020

The number of foreign nationals residing in the country after the expiry of their visas in 2019 was 54,576, and in 2020 was 40,239. (Mint)Premium
The number of foreign nationals residing in the country after the expiry of their visas in 2019 was 54,576, and in 2020 was 40,239. (Mint)

According to the Home Ministry data, the maximum number of foreigners who visited India during this period were from the United States followed by those from Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Canada, Portugal, and Afghanistan.

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According to statistics by Union Home Ministry, more than 40,000 foreigners overstayed in India after the expiry of their visas in 2020. Despite a long spell of nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic over 32.79 lakh, foreigners had visited the country.

The number of foreign nationals residing in the country after the expiry of their visas in 2019 was 54,576, and in 2020 was 40,239.

In India, after the visa gets expired overstaying in India can lead to a fine, imprisonment of up to five years, and even a ban on entering the country again.

The fine for overstaying is nil in the first 15 days, 10,000 if it is 16 days to 30 days, 20,000 if it is 31 days to 90 days, and 50,000 if it is beyond 90 days.

A total of 32,79,315 foreign nationals visited India between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

According to the data by Home Ministry, the maximum number of foreigners who visited India during this period were from the United States (61,190) followed by those from Bangladesh (37,774), the United Kingdom (33,323), Canada (13,707), Portugal (11,668) and Afghanistan (11,212).

Other than nationals from these countries, a total of 8,438 Germans, 8,353 French citizens, 7,163 from Iraq, and 6,129 from the Republic of Korea also visited India during the said period. Besides, 4,751 Pakistani nationals visited India in 2020.

The coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown was first announced in India from March 25 to April 21 in 2020 and it was extended thrice till May 31, 2020.

The government had announced a gradual reopening of various activities from June 2020, still, many restrictions had continued.

The scheduled international flights from India were suspended for two years from March 25, 2020, to March 27, 2022.

However, during this period international flights were operated only under the "air bubble" arrangements.

There were visa restrictions on foreigners traveling to India however, with the phased unlocking in India, the central government started issuing the visa in a phased manner in May 2020.

In this direction, the Home Ministry issued orders on October 21, 2020, permitting certain categories of foreign nationals to enter India by water routes or by flights including those under the Vande Bharat Mission or 'air bubble' (bilateral air travel arrangements) scheme or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Those who were allowed include Overseas citizens of India (OCI) cardholders and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders holding passports of any country. All foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose (including their dependents on an appropriate category of dependent visa) except those on Tourist Visa were also allowed.

With the inputs from PTI

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