National News

Registration Made Mandatory For Foreign Nationals

All foreigners having a visa for stay in India for 180 days or more will have to get themselves registered with the concerned registration officer within a period of 14 days from the date of their first arrival in the country. Though, a decision to this effect was taken by the Government of India (GOI) some time back, there was some confusion about its applicability in the travel trade.

Clarifying the earlier Government decision, the office of Director General Civil Aviation has issued a letter to the travel associations urging travel agents and tour operators to see that travellers visiting the country, using their services are informed about this clause. It may be recalled that some time back Gol, waived the requirement or registration of foreigners coming to India except for nationals of Pakistan and Afghanistan, for whom separate rules of registration were made applicable . however, the order failed to clarify that registration waiver was not available for all foreigners having visa for stay in India for over 180 days. This lead to confusion as overseas, visits, even for longer duration, remained unregistered with the concerned authorities leading to penal action being initiated against few visitors.

As per the government order, non-registration with the registration officer within the stipulated period or overstay in India beyond the period of visa will entail a penal fee of US$ 30 (or equivalent amount in Indian rupees) from the concerned foreign national. The order further states that panel fees will be charged without prejudice to any other action that the authorities may decide to take against the offender under the provisions of the Foreigners Act.

The government has framed separate registration rules for nationals of Pakistan and Afghanistan citing security reasons. Though, the guidelines for the nationals of these two countries has changed frequently in the past few years, from 1999 registration was made mandatory for them irrespective of their stay in India.

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