India Issues New Guidelines For International Arrivals, Makes Negative RT-PCR Report Mandatory

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The Govt. of India on Wednesday issued revised guidelines for all international passengers arriving in India, the new guidelines will come into effect from October 25.

As per the latest revised guidelines, passengers mandatorily required RT-PCR report showing samples tested as negative to board an international flight to India.

“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,” said ministry of health and family welfare in a notification.

It is worth mentioning that all scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, special flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat mission since May.

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Apart from the Vande Bharat Mission India has bilateral air bubble agreements with around 28 countries, which include — Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, Uzbekistan, and the US.

Guidelines For International Arrivals

A.1. Planning for Travel

1. All travelers 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 hours prior to undertaking the journey.
  • Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

2. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to ministry of civil aviation, through 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 or self-health monitoring, as warranted.

3. Continuing with the earlier approach, travelers from certain specified Countries (based on the epidemiological situation of Covid-19 in those countries) are identified for additional follow-up. These include the need for additional measures as detailed in para (xv) below. The listing of such specified Countries is a dynamic exercise based on the evolving situation of Covid-19 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 the website of the ministry of external affairs and Air Suvidha Portal.

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4. There are countries that have an agreement with India on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally recognized or WHO recognized vaccines. Similarly, there are countries that presently do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt Indian citizens fully vaccinated with nationally recognized or WHO recognized vaccines. On the basis of reciprocity, the travelers 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 the websites of the ministry of health and family welfare (mohfw.gov.in) and the link of the same will be available at the 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. The travelers from category A countries shall upload their fully vaccinated certificate on the Air Suvidha portal.

A.2. Before Boarding

5. Do’s and Don’ts shall be provided along with tickets to the travelers by the airlines/agencies concerned.

6. Airlines to allow boarding by only those passengers who have filled in the self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal, uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.

7. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board after the thermal screening.

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8. All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

A.3. During Travel

9. In-flight announcement about Covid-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports and in flights and during transit.

10. During in-flight crew shall ensure that Covid-appropriate behavior is followed at all times.

11. If any passenger reports symptoms of Covid-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.

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A.4. On Arrival

12. De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.

13. Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.

14. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.

15. Travellers from specified countries at risk [as mentioned in para (iii) above] will follow the protocol as detailed below:

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  • If traveler is coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines (Category A):
    • If fully vaccinated: They shall be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival.
    • If partially/not vaccinated: The travelers need to undertake the following measures:
      • Submission of sample for post-arrival Covid-19 test at the point of arrival after which they will be allowed to leave the airport,
      • Home quarantine for 7 days,
      • Re-test on the 8th day of arrival in India and if negative, further self-monitor of their health for next 7 days.
  • If traveler is coming from a country excluding those covered under Category A, they would be required to undergo the measures as mentioned in para a (ii) above, irrespective of their Covid-19 vaccination status.

16. Travelers from countries excluding those countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post-arrival. This is applicable to travelers from all countries including countries with which reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO approved Covid-19 vaccines also exist.

17. Travelers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring, if develop signs and symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 or test positive for Covid-19 on re-testing, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call National helpline number (1075) or the state helpline number.

International travelers arriving at seaports/land ports

18. International travelers arriving through seaports or land ports will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently.

19. Such travelers shall submit the self-declaration form to the concerned authorities of the government of India at seaports/land ports on arrival.

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The Union health ministry earlier this month issued travel guidelines and said based on the evolving scenario, the revised guidelines stood withdrawn and the earlier advisories on international passenger arrival issued on February 17 would be applicable to all travelers arriving in India from the United Kingdom.

India imposed a new rule that British nationals arriving in India, irrespective of their vaccination status, will have to undergo 10 days of mandatory quarantine from October 4 as part of the reciprocal actions initiated by the Centre following the Covid-19 vaccine certification row between the two countries.


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Also Read: Singapore Reopens For Fully Vaccinated Travelers From 8 Countries

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