India Reopens Borders, Allows International Travel For Certain Visa Holders

Posted on October 23, 2020
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India reopens borders

After enforcing strict border closures since February 2020, the government of India has announced that it will be reopening its borders and resume international travel effective immediately. This comes as a respite for all Indian nationals who were stranded outside the country since travel was curtailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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While the reopening is graded and most foreign nationals may now enter India, some visa categories like tourist, medical and electronic visas holders are still not permitted to resume travel into India. 

Related Article: List of all the US Airports operating flights to India

Who Can Enter India Now?

  • Indian citizens/nationals who were stranded due to the pandemic and would like to return home
  • Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders
  • Foreign nationals wanting to visit India by air or sea through valid ports of entry including seaports immigration check posts and authorized airports.
  • Foreign nationals who have a valid visa to India for medical treatment, conferences, employment, business, research, and educational purposes.

Which Flights Are Operating To & From India?

Regular flights are still not operative. 

Repatriation flights operated under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ and ‘Air Bubbles’ as well as private, chartered nonscheduled commercial flights continue to be part this travel relaxations. India has these air bubble agreements with 18 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Bangladesh, Germany, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Canada among others.

Many airlines are still booking or at least currently showing the airfare for one way tickets only.

  • Air India
  • British Air
  • Lufthansa
  • United Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • IndoGo
  • SpiceJet

Please note: Domestic flights in India resumed on May 25, 2020 and OCI/PIO holders may book flights for local travel within India.

In addition to the above repatriation flights and flights under the air bubble, foreign nationals may enter via sea through ships. This was previously paused.

Flying to India?

This is what you need before boarding a flight to India

Requirements For Flying To India

India Visa Status

  • Anyone with an expired visa can apply to renew the visa.
  • All foreigner nationals traveling to India on business, for symposiums & conferences, education, or research can now apply for the respective visas.
  • In the U.S., CKGS, Indian government’s partner has declined the contract going forward. All applications are being forwarded to the local Indian Mission or post for processing until VFS takes over in November 2020.
  • To know how long it will take for your visa application to be processed, and who to contact to follow up on your application, read: CKGS Stops Issuing Indian Passports & Visas
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