A 74-year-old American national, who has been staying in Kerala for the past few months, has approached the state High Court seeking to convert his tourist visa into a business visa, enabling him to stay here longer.
Johnny Paul Pierce has been staying in Kochi for the past five months. "There's chaos in the US due to the coronavirus and the government is not taking care like the Indian government is. I want to stay here," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
The guidelines of the Indian government permit continuous stay for only 180 days for foreigners on tourist visas. Pierce's 180 days will expire on August 24.
"I'm making a petition to allow me to stay for another 180 days in Kerala and get a business visa to start a travel company here," he said. "I wish my family could also come here. I am very impressed with what is happening here. People in the US don't care about the coronavirus."
Pierce said his stay in Kerala has been a "soul-soothing" experience.
"I am here from US, and I want to live here, I love Kerala. Kerala is an absolutely beautiful place. This is my fifth trip,” he said.
Pierce's petition is listed for hearing in the High Court on July 14.