New Covid Testing Requirements For India Trip

Although travel is opening up in several smaller pockets, rules are constantly changing. What applies to one flight route doesn’t apply to another. For those who are planning a trip to India know that regular scheduled flights are still not operating until April 30, 2021. Air bubble arrangements between India and certain countries allow for travel between them.

To clear the ambiguity and have a defined set of requirements, we have made a comprehensive list that will help travelers to India.

What Are The Latest Travel Guidelines For India?

Everything you need before boarding and after arrival in India

Covid Testing Requirements For India Flight

  • Flights only accept a RT-PCR test result. Other test results are not acceptable for boarding these flights.
  • An alternative test result that is also acceptable is called – SARS-CoV-2 Assay (RNA Detection Test by RT-qPCR)
  • Test results NOT accepted by flights to India have the following stated: SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 Not Detected
  • Test should be taken only 72 hours or at a shorter duration before boarding the flight
  • The test result should have the name and date of birth of the traveler along with the name & official logo of the doctor and official testing center.
  • If all the above requirements are met, no further testing or quarantine is required in New Delhi or any of the major international airports in India.
  • Not following pandemic protocols like wearing a mask at all times outdoors and social distancing can lead to fines of over Rs. 2000/- in certain cities like New Delhi, etc.

What You Will Need At Indian Airport On Arrival

  1. Valid Passport & OCI card
  2. Covid report showing a negative test result – both paper copy as well as soft copy to upload to the Air Suvidha app
  3. Approved emergency visa – visa-on-arrival is not available during the pandemic
  4. Previously downloaded Air Suvidha App (do not rely on airport internet/Wi-Fi connections to download the app after arriving in India)
  5. Upload the self-reporting form on airsuvidha/

OCI And Visa Requirements For India Travel

New Covid Testing Requirements For India Trip

Carrying a valid and up-to date passport and OCI card or emergency visa is mandatory for India travel. However, unlike earlier, people of Indian origin having an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards are not required to carry their old, expired passports when travel to India. This flexibility is extended until December 31, 2021 after which the passport number of a renewed US passport should match that in the OCI card. 

Emergency Travel To India – How To Plan, What To Expect On Arrival

Complete Guide To Avoid Last Minute Hassles

Travelers may apply for a re-issuance of OCI card if they have a new passport at any time. The turn-around processing time for an OCI card is 6-8 weeks.

Related Article: When Do You Need A New OCI Card?

US citizens without OCI card: Travel to India is still available only for urgent purposes and other short-term purposes like tourism is still not permitted. Although, travelers partaking in certain business travelers, or individuals moving to India as residents, are permitted to travel.

An additional exception has been made for foreign nationals who have a valid visa to India for medical treatment, conferences, employment, business, research, and educational purposes.

Important Tips For India Travel

  • Get yourself tested even if you have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Which Flights Are Operating To & From India During The Pandemic?

Here’s A Complete List For You To Plan Your Next Trip

  • Expect to undergo thermal testing at New Delhi International Airport
  • Plan for connecting flights. Cater for an additional 6-8 hours at New Delhi for transiting travelers. 
  • Travelers transiting through the gulf countries like Dubai or Abu Dhabi may be asked to submit their past 14-day travel history
  • Tickets already bought on Emirates and Qatar airways is still valid. Future air routes for these airlines between India and the USA are doubtful and buying tickets should be avoided.
  • Air India and United Airlines are part of the official air bubble arrangement between India and USA. India has air bubble travel agreements with 18 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Bangladesh, Germany, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Canada among others. Ensure your air tickets only transit through these chosen countries.