Travel Restrictions to India – Updates for April 23rd, 2021

India is now facing outbound travel restrictions, having opened air bubbles since the first COVID-19 wave and now being red-listed by several countries as the second wave approaches. As the number of Coronavirus cases in India has surpassed 2 lakh every day, several countries have expressed concerns about travelling to and from India. The United Kingdom recently added India to its travel blacklist.

Following this, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised people to stay away from India.

New Zealand banned all Indian travelers from entering the country earlier this month (including their residents). Hong Kong, too, took action and placed a 14-day ban on all passenger flights from India.

India had previously reported over 100 cases of the latest Coronavirus strains. Since the transmission rate of mutated strains is very high, countries like the United Kingdom and Hong Kong have been placed on high alert. Not to mention, the regular increase in active COVID-19 cases is a concern not only for India, but also for other countries if travel restrictions are not enforced.

US Travel Restrictions to India

Regular international flights have been suspended to India, but Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights and “air transport bubbles” from various countries around the world are still operating — but only those who meet the visa requirements are permitted to board these flights.

All visitors are subjected to a screening process. Anyone who exhibits signs will be taken to a hospital. Except for returning Indian nationals, land borders are locked.

Beginning February 22, all travelers must submit a self-declaration form to the Air Suvidha Portal, as well as a negative PCR test was taken within 72 hours of the trip. They must also announce on the platform that they will quarantine for 14 days at home when they arrive.

People should avoid traveling to India, according to the CDC’s travel website, since they are at risk of contracting and transmitting Coronavirus (mutated variants) even if they are completely vaccinated. People would need to get completely vaccinated before traveling, as well as wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines, according to the CDC.

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UK Travel Restrictions to India

On arrival in India, travelers arriving from the United Kingdom or the Middle East must fill out the same form (self-declaration form to the Air Suvidha Portal), declaring their travel history for the previous 14 days and any connecting flights, as well as providing a negative PCR exam.

They will be separated during the flight or when disembarking, and must pay for a second PCR test when they arrive. They must remain at the airport until their results are received.

Passengers from these countries who test negative in transit will board their connecting flights, but they must quarantine at home for seven days and take a test at the end.

Travel Restrictions to India by Other Countries

In March 2020, India halted international flight operations as Covid-19 spread around the world after breaking out in Wuhan, China, at least four years prior. India sent out special flight missions to carry stranded people from all over the world home. For the majority of 2020, daily international flight operations were effectively halted.

India is currently subject to travel restrictions by New Zealand, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These limitations are not the same as they were previously.

Following the discovery of 23 Covid-19 cases among passengers travelling from outside New Zealand earlier this month, the country placed a ban on all travel from India. The Indian version of SARS-CoV-2 was found in 17 of them. As a result, India was subjected to a travel ban.

Hong Kong designated India, the Philippines, and Pakistan as “high-risk” countries for the spread of Covid-19 and placed a 14-day travel ban on them. Those who spend more than two hours in India and the other two nations, also during transit, are barred from visiting Hong Kong for 14 days.

Pakistan put India on a Category-C list of countries on Monday, prohibiting travel to and from India due to an increase in Covid-19 incidents. On the occasion of Baishakhi, more than 800 pilgrims from India travelled to Pakistan last week.

India has been added to the United Kingdom’s “red list” of countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Boris Johnson’s April visit to India for summit-level bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was canceled. Due to a travel restriction order issued by the United Kingdom, only British citizens are permitted to travel from India to the United Kingdom. Others are unable to travel to the UK from India.

On Monday, the United States issued an alert to its people planning a trip to India. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised Americans to stay away from India.

“If you must fly to India, get fully vaccinated before going,” the CDC advised, noting that even fully vaccinated travellers could be at risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 variants in India.

This came a day after the United States announced that its people could stop travelling to approximately 80% of the planet.

Several countries have said that despite boarding the flight with a “negative” certificate, travellers from India were found positive for Covid-19 on arrival. Around one-third of the passengers who arrived in Canada between March 3 and 19 and tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival were from Delhi, according to a recent study.

Last year, Hong Kong authorities filed a similar lawsuit, alleging that Indian flight operators brought Covid-19 positive passengers to the capital.

Who can travel to India?

Tourists are not allowed at this time. Only Indian citizens, those relocating to India as permanent residents, and those from certain countries who apply for visas other than tourist visas are permitted to enter.

Only ambassadors and those specified in a government memorandum are allowed to travel from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Other visa holders from the European Union, Africa, and South America, on the other hand, are permitted to fly as long as they are not on a tourist visa.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.

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