Tourists must be fully vaccinated or present a negative test to travel to India © Dmitry Rukhlenko/Shutterstock
Tourists must be fully vaccinated or present a negative test to travel to India © Dmitry Rukhlenko/Shutterstock

India entry rules are relaxed for international arrivals

TripFalcon February 19, 2022

Last Update: 2022-02-18 22:09:04

India has relaxed entry rules for international arrivals this week, removing the requirement for visitors to quarantine upon arrival, and the need for vaccinated visitors to test before departure.

Since February 14, people from up to 82 approved countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, and Thailand) no longer need to take a pre-departure test to visit India, provided they present proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated arrivals must still provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours.

Under the current guidelines, all arrivals must upload their vaccination status to the Air Suvidha portal prior to boarding their flight. 

India also dropped its quarantine rule for all arrivals this week, asking travelers to self-monitor their health for 14 days instead and report any symptoms to officials.

Previously all travelers were required to take a PCR test before departure, and those from at-risk countries, which included the UK, were required to quarantine for at least seven days.

COVID-19 restrictions in India

The lifting of rules comes as two states, Assam and Haryana in the north of the country, lift COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since the pandemic began, putting an end to curfews and limits on gatherings. In Assam, a region famous for its national parks, unvaccinated people are still banned from entering busy indoor places like theaters and malls.

States including MaharashtraWest BengalRajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh have relaxed some restrictions in recent days but are yet to remove all, according to the Times of India. It's likely they could do so soon as India records a nationwide decline in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

Across India, people are generally required to wear masks in public and on public transport in most areas. Several states are issuing fines for non-compliance.

Some domestic travel curbs continue, while some states have additional requirements for international arrivals. Rajasthan, for example, mandates on-arrival testing for arrivals from February 16. And travelers heading to Goa must show proof of a negative test on arrival. Most states require domestic travelers to download the Aarogya Setu mobile application to upload their vaccine or testing status.

How to travel to India

India has suspended inbound and outbound commercial flights until February 28 so getting there is complicated for now if you're an independent traveler. Officials are currently only issuing visas to international arrivals who travel on chartered flights.

National carrier Air India has opened bookings for flights to and from the USA and Canada in anticipation of the ban being lifted. While British Airways, Air India and Virgin Atlantic have also opened bookings to and from the UK, including direct services from London Heathrow to Delhi.

All land borders with BangladeshBhutanMyanmar and Nepal are currently closed for travel.

Source: lonelyplanet