India issued 200 emergency e-visas to Afghan nationals, Rajya Sabha said

India issued 200 emergency e-visas to Afghan nationals, Rajya Sabha said

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, India has issued 200 emergency electronic visas to citizens of that country, the government told parliament on Wednesday.

“In view of the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, the Government of India has started an ‘e-Emergency X-Misc visa‘for a period of 6 months for Afghan citizens. … Since 11/24/2021, 200 e-Emergency X-Misc visas have been issued, ”said Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai in a written response in Rajya Sabha.

“Furthermore, the stay visa is granted to Afghan citizens who remain in India taking into account the current situation in that country. Currently 4,557 Afghan nationals stay in India on a stay visa after the extension of their visas, ”he added.

The stay visa / residence permit is granted for one year at a time by the authorities depending on the case, after the approval of the Ministry of the Interior.

The ministry had been asked questions related to Afghan refugees living in India.

“India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. All foreign citizens (including asylum seekers) are governed by the provisions contained in the Aliens Act 1946, the Alien Registration Act of 1939, the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the rules and orders issued. down there. The data of foreigners who enter the country without valid travel documents surreptitiously and clandestinely, claiming to be refugees or asylum seekers are not kept centrally, ”said the minister.

In the wake of a humanitarian crisis that unfolded in Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, with thousands of people struggling to leave the country after the inauguration, India in August introduced a category of emergency electronic visa for Afghan citizens the “fast track” their applications. These visas are valid for six months and are issued only after security clearance, the sources said.

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In a statement issued at the time, the Ministry of the Interior (MHA) had said that after a review of the provisions “in view of the current situation in Afghanistan”, a “new category of electronic visa called e-Emergency Visa X has been created. -Misc “. initiated for Afghan citizens.

“India already provides X-Misc category (X-Misc) visas to foreigners whose purpose of entry does not match any prescribed category. In the case of Afghanistan, the electronic visa facility was not extended to nationals of that country until then. However, since our mission is now closed in Afghanistan, people were allowed to obtain visas online, ”said an MHA official.

The MHA policy document on X-Misc visas states that “they can only be granted with a single entry and for the specific duration taking into account the purpose of the visit.”

“If the visa is granted for a period of stay greater than 180 days, the foreigner must register with the corresponding FRRO / FRO within 14 days after arrival. This visa will not be extendable or convertible to any other type of visa ”, he says.

In the past, India has granted long-term visas to Afghan nationals facing persecution at home, including a large number who fled after the first Taliban takeover and during the two decades of conflict that followed.

In these cases, the authorities grant the stay visa / residence permit for one year at a time, as the case may be, after approval by the MHA. These permits are location specific with the movement of beneficiaries restricted to the state / UT where they are allowed to stay. Any relaxation in this standard requires prior permission.

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These visas are not granted to economic immigrants and are subject to police reports every year in the place where the Afghan citizen can stay.

In particular, Afghanistan is included in the Prior Reference Category (PRC) of countries for granting visas, which means that Afghan citizens must be authorized by the MHA for any visit. Others in this category include nationals of Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistani origin, and stateless persons.

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