The Ministry of Home Affairs recently posted on its website a notification reminding Police Officers of their powers to take action against foreign nationals entering illegally in India.

Police officers of the Sub-Inspector or higher rank and officers of the Customs Department empowered by the Central Government may arrest, without a warrant, any person who is in India or seeks to enter India without appropriate documents. Those individuals may also be subject to imprisonment of up to 3 months and a fine or both under the Passport (Entry Into India) Act, 1920.

The notification further states that any foreign national who is in India beyond the validity of his/her visa or who has entered the country without a valid visa may be subject to imprisonment of up to 5 years and a fine under the Foreigners Act, 1946.

The notification also asks eligible officers to take “strict action” and ensure “strict compliance” with these provisions. There have been no recent legislative changes, but this notification seeks a strict enforcement of existing regulations.

Authored by Poorvi Chothani, Managing Partner, LawQuest in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie