Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted tourism numbers immensely, data from the Union Home Ministry reveals that over 32.79 Lakh foreigners had visited the country. 40,239 among them have overstayed their welcome past the expiry of their visa.
Foreigners Who Made Visits During The Pandemic
A total of 32,79,315 foreigners visited the country between April to December in the year 2020. This also happens to be around the time when the nationwide lockdown was extended from April to May, but scheduled international flights were coming back into the scene after being suspended for over two years.
International travels were received with utmost care under the "air bubble" arrangements and a phased manner of issuing the visas. Only certain categories of foreign nationals were permitted under the Vande Bharat Mission, a scheme arranged for bilateral air travel arrangements. The majority of those who entered the country include Overseas citizens of India (OCI) cardholders and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders holding passports of any country.
As reported by The Mint, the number of foreigners who overstayed past the expiry of their visa in the year 2020 was 40,239, as compared to the 54,576 foreign nationals who overstayed in 2019. The majority of the travellers who entered the country include those from the United States (61,190), Bangladesh (37,774), the United Kingdom (33,323), Canada (13,707), and Portugal (11,668) and Afghanistan (11,212). Apart from them, there was an influx of tourists from Germany, France, Iraq, Pakistan and Republic of Korea as well.
Consequences of Overstaying The Visa Period
As per the regulations, those who overstay in the country after the expiration of their visa would be given a buffer time of 15 days. After this period, they would be fined accordingly,
16 to 30 days- ₹10,000
31 to 90 days- ₹20,000
Beyond 90 days- ₹50,000
Apart from the fines, the individual could also be awarded a prison time of up to five years and a ban from entering the country again.
Also Read: Tourism Sector Suffers Massive Blow Due To COVID-Induced Travel Restrictions