New Rules for International Travel From 22 Feb: What Has Changed?

The SOPs will be valid from 22 February till further orders and supersede all guidelines issued since 2 August 2020.

3 min read
Former Air India Executive Director and aviation expert Jitender Bhargava explains what would it be like to travel by air post lockdown. 

The Union Health Ministry issued fresh guidelines for international travellers coming to India, amid concerns over the different variants of COVID-19, including those found in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

The SOPs will be valid from 22 February till further orders and supersede all guidelines issued on the subject since 2 August 2020, the government said.

Here’s what has changed for international travel.


What do I need to carry to travel to India?

You must submit a self-declaration form, along with a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, on the online Air Suvidha Portal ( before the scheduled travel. The test should be conducted within 72-hours of boarding the flight. An undertaking on the Portal or to the Ministry of Aviation must be submitted through the airlines that upon arrival, after which you must follow quarantine rules at home for 14 days or as warranted.

Only in the case of a death in the family, one can travel to India without a COVID-19 test. For this, you must apply on the Suvidha Portal 72-hours before your flight.

What do I need to do before I board my flight?

You need to download the Aarogya Setu application on their mobile phone. Note that only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening. Social distancing protocols must be followed, as well as wearing of masks and maintaining hand and environment hygiene.

What happens once I land?

You must undergo a thermal screening and will need to show the self declaration form to health officials once again. If you are found to be symptomatic, you will be isolated and taken to a medical facility. If asymptomatic, you can leave the airport, but must monitor your health for 14 days. You will be given a list of numbers to call in case you develop symptoms later.

If you have applied for an exemption from taking the test, your samples will be collected on priority upon landing, after which you can exit the airport. You will need to monitor your health for the next 14 days.

What happens if I am travelling by sea or land?

You will undergo the same procedure listed above, however, the facility for online registration is still not available for this route. You will have to submit a self-declaration form upon landing.

Do these rules apply to all countries?

It applies to all countries except travellers coming from the UK, Europe and Middle East.

What if I am travelling to India from the UK, Europe or Middle East?

For travellers coming/transiting from the UK, Europe and the Middle East, same protocols as above must be followed, except for clauses on testing, quarantining and isolation.

All travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originated in the UK, Europe and the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports. Entry made in the self-declaration form (SDF) regarding telephone numbers and address would be confirmed. Arrangements for the same will be made available at airport.

What documents do I need to submit as a traveller from Europe, the Middle East or the UK?

You have to submit an SDF for COVID on the online Air Suvidha Portal and declare your travel history (of the past 14 days).

When booking your flight for a transit stop or connecting flight, keep in mind that you need a minimum of 6-8 hours to finish testing protocols. You have to carry RT-PCR Test report and upload it on the portal within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

Algorithm: SOP for International Arrivals

The Ministry of Civil Aviation also tweeted an algorithm illustrating the standard operating procedure for international arrvials.

New Rules for International Travel From 22 Feb: What Has Changed?
(Photo: MoCA_GoI/Twitter)

(Read the remainder of the guidelines here.)

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