Countries around the world are offering Visa extensions amid the coronavirus outbreak. As resolutions of a lot of people with a voracious appetite for travel to visit picturesque destinations came to an abrupt halt, the countries they visited are now relaxing Visa rules.
Countries such as India, Britain, Russia and Indonesia have come to the rescue of stranded foreign travellers on their lands by extending their stay permits and visas in order to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
As the nation went on lock down from March 25, 2020, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Union Ministry stated that all foreigners stranded in India will be allowed to extend their e-visa. The Foreigners Regional Registration Office notified all foreigners to apply for visa extensions online for which the fee will not be charged.
This directive by the Indian government comes as a boon for all those who are unable to leave the country.
On March 12, the government had suspended all tourist visas till April 15. Although, diplomatic visas, employment and projects were exempted from the suspension.
The United Kingdom on March 20 announced that it would issue an extension for all visas of foreign nationals including Indian students. The visas will be extended until May 31, 2020.
The extension will be applicable to all those whose visas expired after January 24, 2020, and those under self-isolation. The Home Office stated that the deadline is May 31 and may be extended if the situation remains dire.
An immigration team has been set up to tackle the visa extension issues and make the process as smooth as possible. The government has intimated that everyone with an expired visa should send in an email to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk and an extension will be given on their visa.
Indonesia’s Directorate General of Immigration announced a new policy that will automatically extend stay permits for all foreign nationals who landed in the country after February 5, 2020. It was further added that all eligible foreigners will not be subject to any kind of fine.
The emergency stay permit will automatically be registered on the official system and no one will be required to step out of their accommodations.
Travel restrictions imposed by Indonesia has all visa waiver programs suspended alongside prohibition on travelers coming in from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and China.
In what is being termed as a boon for foreign nationals in Russia, they will now be able to extend their visas without staring at a penalty. The extension will be possible as soon as foreigners contact the nearest police headquarters. People with expired visas will also be eligible for a temporary extension.
According to the Russian Ministry, the country will also take into consideration applications for foreigners’ work permits. Labor migrants will also be allowed to renew their paperwork without leaving Russia.
Countries part of the Schengen region have also stepped in to help the stranded foreign nationals. All those expired with a expired visa will be able to extend their stay provided they follow a few guidelines.
Everyone eligible for an extension will need to define the right reason for the extension, gather required documents, apply for the visa and paying a fee(if required). They also need to attend an interview(if needed) and then wait for an approval.
Visa extension can be done with the help of Immigration Authorities of the country in which you are physically located. It is also necessary to be present in the country until the visa is extended.
The Schengen zone includes countries like Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
Curated by Ruchit Rastogi