Updated 14 February 2022
Following the discovery of a new Covid strain, India had previously released a list of ‘at-risk’ countries. To combat the spread of the Omicron form of coronavirus, the federal government has now issued amended travel instructions. India will allow quarantine-free passage to fully vaccinated international travellers from 87 countries.
Read on to know everything about the newly published guidelines.
India’s “at-risk” list update
Starting 14 February 2022, the demarcation of India’s ‘at-risk’ list of countries has been done away with. The list was introduced due to the emergence of the COVID-19 variant – Omicron and included a list of 19 affected nations where the virus strain of Omicron had been detected. Travellers arriving from the previous list of at-risk countries no longer need to give samples and await their results upon arrival.
The @MoHFW_INDIA has issued revised guidelines for International Arrivals ✈️
Guidelines to come in effect from 14th February.
Follow these diligently, stay safe & strengthen India's hands in the fight against #COVID19.
Main features include:
📖 https://t.co/J9e8ZJw3qw (1/6)
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) February 10, 2022
Arrivals from specific countries
The Government of India has now released a list of 87 countries that have an agreement based on reciprocity with India to mutually recognize certificates for vaccination. The vaccine certificates (nationally recognized/WHO recognized vaccines) of fully vaccinated individuals from these 82 nations can be uploaded on the Air Suvidha portal before their scheduled travel.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from the following 87 nations will be allowed quarantine-free travel to India:
Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Cambodia, Chile, Columbia, Commonwealth of Dominica, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kingdom of Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Netherlands, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Oman, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The United Kingdom, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
*This is a dynamic list and is subject to change on a regular basis.
India’s travel guidelines for all arrivals
The Aviation Ministry in India only permits a limited number of flights from and to 35 countries that are under an air-bubble agreement with India. The government had had earlier withdrawn the decision to resume international flights from 15 December 2021 due to the spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19.
As of February 2022, India has air bubble agreement with Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, the USA and Uzbekistan.
Before booking flights being operated under the air bubble arrangements, all travellers must confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria for entry into the destination country.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India has updated guidelines for all international arrivals:
- Travellers need to register themselves prior to arrival by submitting a self-declaration form before travelling to India and include 14 days of travel details. The form has to be completed by every person who is flying, including infants and children.
- Travellers shall also submit a declaration proving the authenticity of the report and are liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.
- They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, 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/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.
You can check the latest state-wise quarantine regulations from here.
According to the latest PCR test entry requirements in India, a random sample of 2% of international travellers from all countries will be tested on arrival. Travellers can submit their test samples and then leave the airport. All arrivals must:
- Submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal with details of 14 days travel history and upload a negative RT-PCR test report before the scheduled travel
- This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey.
- Alternatively, travellers can also upload a certificate of completing full primary vaccination doses of COVID-19 vaccination. (Only applicable to fully vaccinated arrivals from countries that have an agreement with India to mutually recognize vaccine certificates).
- Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise.
Children under 5 years of age will be exempted from both pre-and-post-arrival testings.
All travellers who need to undertake testing on arrival, should preferably pre-book the test online here on the Air Suvidha Portal, to facilitate timely testing.
After testing negative at the airport, all travellers will need to self-monitor their health for next 14 days of arrival. Travellers no longer need to undergo a 7-day mandatory quarantine on arrival.
All travellers who are found to be symptomatic after undergoing thermal screening on arrival, will be immediately isolated. Their samples should be further sent for genomic testing at Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratory network.
They shall be managed at isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol. The contacts of such positive case should be kept under home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.
Some of the states in India have also imposed certain restrictions for the ‘at-risk’ countries amidst the new COVID-19 strain, Omicron:
Passengers are required to register themselves on Spandana website. Thermal screening will be conducted for all passengers on arrival. Symptomatic passengers will be immediately isolated and will have to undergo testing.
The authorities have asked the Delhi Police Commissioner and other officials concerned to ensure strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour in public places and functions. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has set up guidelines for arriving international passengers to the state.
Additionally, the hospitals in the national capital have also been asked to ensure full preparedness to handle any emergency situation amidst any rise in cases of the new variant. As per the latest guidelines, passengers arriving in 6 metro cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad can pre-book their COVID-19 test.
Jammu and Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has directed the Deputy Commissioners to enhance the testing rate and contact tracing for positive patients to trace infection trajectories and establish micro-containment zones early.
It will also be keeping up with the Centre’s guidelines for international travellers. According to an official release, it was emphasised that de-boarding from international flights must comply with the Covid-appropriate behaviour (CAB) and set protocols, and a special Covid helpdesk is forthwith established at the Srinagar airport.
Travellers are required to fill Up the ICMR health form on arrival and undergo Covid19 antigen test through RT-PCR method or Rapid Antigen test.
Travellers travelling from countries in the ‘at risk’ category to the state have to undergo an additional on-arrival airport test despite having a Covid test report.
Karnataka Health Minister has also stated that travellers will be allowed outside the airport only after they test negative for the on-arrival test. Furthermore, after testing negative the travellers will have to remain at home and get tested again after on the 8th day. The traveller will be allowed to go out only when they test negative for the second time.
As a precautionary measure, the authorities in Karnataka have also made the Covid test compulsory for all passengers arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra.
Kerala will impose mandatory quarantine and other stringent travel protocols on travellers arriving from the ‘at-risk’ list of countries specified by the Indian Central government. The State has taken steps as per the guidelines issued by the Centre. Kerala will strengthen surveillance at all airports.
Officials have asked everyone to mandatorily use masks and maintain social distance. Those who have not been vaccinated have been advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
According to the central guidelines, all passengers arriving in the country from abroad should undergo an RT-PCR test within 72 hours and upload it in the Air Suvidha portal. The suspected samples of the passengers coming from these countries will further be sent for genetic testing for virus variants.
Tamil Nadu has intensified precautionary measures at all four international airports. The state has additionally appointed four health department officials to personally monitor the situation. COVID-19 testing will be conducted for all symptomatic persons coming from Maharashtra and Kerala. Arrivals in Coimbatore should have the auto E-Pass as well as carry a negative RT-PCR report not earlier than 72 hours from the time of departure.
All arrivals must download and install the Aarogya Setu App. Symptomatic arrivals in Telangana will be isolated at Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Gachibowli, Hyderabad. Whereas, asymptomatic passengers arriving in the state are exempted from quarantine.
Has India recorded any Omicron strain cases?
India has reported 34,113 new COVID-19 cases and 346 deaths as of 14 February 2022. The active count has decreased to 4,78,882, accounting for 1.2 per cent of overall cases. The daily positivity rate saw a marginal rise to 3.19%.