India, a subcontinent of South Asia, is the motherland of history. It has the most ancient civilisation in the world and many official languages.
India has emerged from a devastating 2021 as a result of the COVID pandemic; the global centre of a new wave of the virus that brought the country’s health system to near collapse. The Delta variant, which has now swept the globe, started here.
However, like other countries, the Coronavirus pandemic took a toll on India’s tourism. Being one of the world’s bucket-list travel stops, India was no exception. Many countries closed their borders, suspending scheduled flights and imposing a strict lockdown. Travelling to and from the country stopped, and a lockdown enforced for more than half a year.
But, since October 2021, India began opening its borders. Chartered flights started landing in India, but still, no tourists could visit India right away.
As of November 2021, India already lifted the travel ban. Fully vaccinated visitors from 99 countries, including the United Kingdom, can now have a holiday in India. In addition to having an India visa, follow the following stringent Ministry of Health guidelines.
Here’s what you should know and expect if India is your bucket-list tourist destination.
The Indian Visa
The Indian visa is an electronic document that you can apply for through the official website https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/.
All British and Irish travellers to India must have a valid visa when entering the country.
The Indian government restored almost all the earlier suspended visas. However, tourist visas issued before October 2021 and any other e-visa given before March 30th, 2021, weren’t reinstated.
From October 15th, 2021, the Indian government offers new e-tourist visas for group tourism. The state issued new individual e-tourism visas effective from November 15th, 2021.
Note the following in regards to this context;
- For group tourism, all foreign tourists will enter India using the e-tourist visa on a chartered flight from October 15th, 2021.
- Individual tourism will enter the country on an e-tourist visa from November 15th. You can use Air Bubble Scheme or Vande Bharat Mission to enter. Alternatively, use any commercial flight certified by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Ensure that flights originating from your country have resumed operations. Some operators are not fully back in operation.
- Any foreign visitor shall not enter India via land routes using the e-tourist visa.
- As of October 2021, the validity terms of the India e-visa changed. The current validity is 120 days from the date of approval. You can only travel to India once within this period for 30 days.
Who Can Visit India?
The Indian government encourages all to come from any country in the world. In fact, the government plans to issue about half a million tourist visas by March 2022.
A foreign national with a valid visa is not enough to guarantee you access to India. With the ongoing pandemic, you need to have these additional requirements.
With regards to the Ministry of health protocols;
- Travellers visiting India must have received the Covid-19 jab. They must also test negative for Covid in 72 hours of their journey.
- All travellers arriving at the airport must go through screening. Any person showing signs and symptoms of the virus must visit a medical facility.
- Persons above five years to upload a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha Portal. Also, they must upload a negative PCR test taken within three days of starting the journey. You must also confirm that you will stick by any Covid-19 protocols put by the state.
- All passengers who have been fully vaccinated don’t have to quarantine if they originate from a country perceived as ‘risk-free.
- If you travel from a high-risk nation, you must do another PCR test in India. You need to book the test in advance on the Air Suvidha Portal. You shall not leave the airport until you get a negative Covid-19 test.
- Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated persons must submit a Covid-19 test sample at the airport. You must quarantine for a week. On the eighth day, you must retest, and if negative, continue monitoring their health for seven days.
- If you test positive on arrival, you’ll go to a government isolation centre. People in three rows next to you must isolate, irrespective of their test results.
- As of December 31st, there were 11 risk countries. They are;
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- Israel, United Kingdom, and Europe
- Some countries have mutual agreements with India to accept vaccination Certificates. They include the United Kingdom, the United States, and many other European nations. Travellers from the mentioned countries must not take the PCR test at the airport. However, they need to keep track of their health for two weeks.
- Wearing masks is mandatory while using public transport
- You must observe social distancing while in India. Some states may fine you for failing to follow such guidelines.
- Each of the 28 Indian states has the permission to create rules for international arrivals. So, rules and regulations may vary from airport to airport within India.
All these guidelines should not hinder you from enjoying what the land of diversity has to offer. These measures are here to help you stay healthy. Plan a trip today and see the beautiful side of the South Asian country.