Govt revises travel guidelines for passengers arriving in India

The government has reviewed the exiting travel guidelines for international passengers arriving in India in the light of increasing vaccination coverage across the globe and the changing nature of the pandemic.

The existing guidelines, issued on 17 February 2021, and  subsequent changes made in these based on the risk assessment has now undergone further review as the situation demands. "In view of increasing vaccination coverage across the globe and the changing nature of the pandemic, the existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been reviewed," the government stated in a release.
Accordingly, the Standard Operating Procedure for `Category A’ list of countries with which Government of India has agreement for mutual recognition vaccination certificate for individuals fully vaccinated with nationally recognised or WHO recognised SARS-CoV 2 vaccine stands revised with effect from 25 October 2021, till further orders, the health ministry stated.
  • All travellers should submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal (www.newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel;
  • Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey;
  • Should also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise; and 
  • Should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to ministry of civil aviation, through concerned airlines, before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.
Continuing with the earlier approach, travellers from certain specified countries (based on epidemiological situation in those countries) are identified for additional follow-up. These include need for additional measures as detailed below. The listing of such specified countries is a dynamic exercise based on evolving situation of SARS-CoV 2 across the world and will be made available on the websites of the ministry of health and family welfare, (mohfw.gov.in) and the link of the same will be available at website of the ministry of external affairs and Air Suvidha Portal.
There are countries which have agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. Similarly, there are countries which at present do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with nationally recognised or WHO recognised vaccines. On the basis of reciprocity,  travellers from all such countries which provide quarantine-free entry to Indians are allowed certain relaxations on arrival (Category A Countries). 
The listing of such countries is available on websites of the ministry of health and family welfare (mohfw.gov.in) and the link of the same will be available at website of the ministry of external affairs and Air Suvidha portal. This is also a dynamic list and will be updated from time to time. 
Travellers from Category A countries may upload their fully vaccinated* certificate on the Air Suvidha portal. In its directions to airlines and airports, the ministry said:
  • Airlines should allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in the self declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report;
  • At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening; 
  • All passengers should be advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices;
  • In-flight announcement about SARS-CoV 2, including precautionary measures to be followed, should be made at airports and in flights and during transit;
  • During in-flight crew shall ensure that pandemic appropriate behaviour is followed at all times’;
  • If any passenger reports symptoms of SARS-CoV 2 during flight, he/she should be isolated as per protocol;
  • Deboarding should be done ensuring physical distancing;
  • Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport;
  • Passengers found to be symptomatic during screening should be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts should be identified and managed as per laid down protocol
The list of countries based on which arrival guidelines are to be followed include:
1. The United Kingdom
2. France
3. Germany 
4. Nepal
5. Belarus
6. Lebanon
7. Armenia
8. Ukraine
9. Belgium
10. Hungary
11. Serbia
The list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing (countries at-risk) include:
1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom
2. South Africa
3. razil
4. Bangladesh
5. Botswana
6. China
7. Mauritius
8. New Zealand
9. Zimbabwe.