Russian and Ukrainian tourists stranded in Kerala seek waiver of $100 visa extension fee – The New Indian Express

Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Russian and Ukrainian tourists stuck in Kovalam have approached their respective embassies in New Delhi to convince the Indian government to waive the $100 fee to extend their visas. A majority of them are due to apply for a visa extension in the coming days. They hope that their grievances will be treated favorably by the Indian authorities.

The stranded tourists want to return to their respective countries as soon as possible. Some of the Russians were happy to get new credit cards approved, which helped them withdraw cash. On Tuesday, tense moments reigned at a resort town of Eves Beach, Kovalam, when during the broadcast of a television interview, a few Ukrainians shouted anti-Russian slogans. This was obviously not well received by Russian tourists there.

Riju Krishnan, station manager, told TNIE that it is unfortunate that tourists are venting their frustration against each other, which is happening because of the war. “Fortunately, some of them managed to get new credit cards approved. They had approached their embassies to obtain the waiver of visa extension fees from the Indian government. During the pandemic, stranded tourists did not have to pay for visa extension. Therefore, those stuck here are now hoping for such a favorable decision,” Riju Krishnan said.

Tourists from Russia and Ukraine said it is cruel for the Regional Aliens Registration Office to charge $100 when they are already in dire straits due to the war. To this, Aravind Menon, Regional Aliens Registration Officer, Thiruvananthapuram, told TNIE that he had taken up the matter with his superiors at the Immigration Bureau of the Union Home Ministry.

“The central government had waived visa renewal fees for all stranded foreigners during the pandemic. A political decision on such a waiver in the case of Russians and Ukrainians here must be taken by the central government,” Aravind Menon said.

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