The Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Immigration courted ire as well as criticism in the past couple of days after the former collected visa renewal fees from tourists stranded in Nepal since the enforcement of a national lockdown on March 24.

Embassies of various countries based in Nepal raised questions over the Immigration Department’s intent behind collecting various fines and visa renewal fees from stranded tourists.

The Department had been collecting $3 per day as late fine for visa renewal from tourists. This move was against the Department’s own decision issued on April 8 to excuse visa fees, late fees, and penalties until seven days of lifting the national lockdown.

An earlier notice issued by the Department of Immigration.

Nepal Tourism Board has also expressed its concern over such a move by the Immigration Department stating that it has tarnished Nepal’s image among international tourists.

Following backlash from all sides, Immigration Department was forced to roll back on its decision to collect the fees yesterday.

“In case of visa regelation of foreign nationals with any visa type valid up to 21st March 2020 and departing within 21st June 2020, it will be regulated without any charges (Visa fee, late fee and penalty) at Immigration Office, TIA at the time of their departure,” said the Department in a notice released yesterday.

An official from the Department, on condition of anonymity, said they had collected fees from international tourists at the direction of a ministerial-level decision from the Home Ministry.