India Opening for Vaccinated Travellers Flying on Regular Flights
On Nov. 15th, 2021, India officially restored entry for all vaccinated international visitors coming to the country on regular commercial flights. One month earlier (Oct. 15th), the Indian authorities allowed all vaccinated tourists flying on charter flights to enter India.
Restoring the commercial flights to India was largely due to the recent relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the dropping number of cases, and the increasing vaccination rate. The ban on entering India has been in force since March 2020. The lockdown imposed in the country was one of the strictest around the globe. After 20 months, tourists can fly to India again, but they still must meet certain restrictions.
Current entry rules for travelers to India
Starting from Nov. 15th, 2021, all travelers arriving in India must:
- be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
- follow coronavirus-related protocols
- be tested negatively against the virus within 72 hours before the departure (some particular arrivals will be subject to post-arrival testing)
- have a valid tourist visa to India
- fill out and upload the self-declaration form (together with the test result) on the platform newdelhiairport.in.
Arrivals from countries having mutual recognition agreements with India for the COVID-19 vaccination certificates, including the UK, US, some European countries, are exempt from testing upon arrival requirement.
COVID-19 in India
Over the last month, the coronavirus infections reported continued to be about 10,000 cases per day. India has noted over 35 million COVID-19 confirmed cases while being the second country in the world (giving way only to the US) that the pandemic has the hardest hit.
38% of the entire Indian population have been fully vaccinated, while nearly 79% of adults have been vaccinated with at least one dose. The country has been implementing vaccination campaigns aiming at encouraging the inhabitants to get vaccines.
Visas to India
India has recorded a significant decrease in the number of tourists visiting the country in 2020 (less than 3 million tourists), while in 2019, Indians earned around $30 billion from the tourism sector only. The number of tourists has dropped by more than 75% since that time.
The Indian government is now going to offer a free tourist visa for the first 500,000 international visitors. It aims to encourage tourists to visit India and boost the tourism sector in the country that the ongoing lockdown has hardly struck.
The interest recorded among Malaysian applicants has been up to 150% higher throughout the last three weeks than before.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all visas to India were suspended. Recently, along with the reopening of the Indian borders, the authorities have restored the issuance of tourist visas.
India also offers the electronic tourist visa, which is issued as a permit allowing numerous entries to the country to all eligible applicants. eVisa holders can visit India many times for tourism-related purposes and stay up to 3 months in total, while the visa remains valid for 1 year from the date of its issuance.