My Visa in India Has Expired, Will They Send Me To Jail?

17 August 2016 - 6:43, by , in Visa, Visa Updates, No comments

We receive a lot of calls from business travellers, expats living in India and even tourist and they constantly ask me what are the consequences of overstaying their visa, they are looking for answers to resolve a overstay and their fears are if there is a Fine? A Penalty? Jail Term?

Being jailed in a foreign country is the nightmare of every traveller. Many countries take their visas seriously and do not like when visitors fail to follow their laws by overstaying their welcome. The news has shared many stories about foreigners who have gone to jail for not making sure their paperwork is up to date or not having valid document. So, how bad can it be when you overstay your visa in India?

Consequences of Overstaying Your Visa

Under the Foreigners Act of 1946, people who stay in India illegally can face criminal prosecution. Those prosecuted under this law can not only face a fine and deportation, but they could be forced to spend up to five years in jail before being deported.

The Case of Avineshwar Paldan Diwari

One case in point is a man named Avineshwar Paldan Diwari. He learned the hard way that there are serious consequences for not renewing a visa. In 2014, Mister Diwari entered India on a 3 month visa but stayed for three years. When he was caught by the Indian Naval attachment, he was fined 1,000 Rupees by the Pune Magistrate and was placed in Puzhal Central Prison near Chennai to serve a year sentence.

How Will The Government Find Out?

From your arrival into the country at the immigration counter, to the registration at the FRRO everything is tracked by the Ministry of Home affairs on a daily basis, they review every day people who’s visa has expired and are still in-country, this information is then passed on to all immigration points to ensure that they do not leave the country without a police verification.

All hotels have to submit a C form to their local police department mentioning who is staying with them and this data is collected on a daily basis.

Jail time happens only under extreme circumstances, mostly there is a fine and penalty and charges for an additional visa fees, the challenge is that it can be time consuming (7 to 10 days) and that can cost in terms of hotels, day to day expenses and rebooking one’s airline ticket.

If you are in such a situation its best that you approach the local FRRO, if you have apprehension then contact a service provide who will have your back and assist you with the process so that you don’t feel alone and vulnerable.

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