India Reopens Its Borders For Tourists

On October 15, 2021, India will reopen its borders to travellers coming through chartered flights. Regular flights to India will be allowed from November.

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The Union Home Ministry of India has announced the reopening of the country for tourists after long 18 months of lockdown that significantly affected the Indian tourism sector.

India will grant tourist visas for all travelers entering the country via chartered flights. The borders will be reopened on October 15, 2021. In turn, regular flights to India will be allowed one month later, from November 15, 2021. 

Foreign tourists will be able to apply for an Indian visa for the first time since a strict COVID lockdown was imposed in India in March 2020. 

Covid-19 situation in India

India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, was severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic this year. In May 2021, the country recorded about 4,000 daily deaths. The increase in COVID-19 cases was probably caused by the emerging of new variants of the virus as well as the governmental decisions to relax bans on organizing sports events and celebrations of religious festivals. 

Currently, the number of cases remains on the level of about 20,000 new cases per day, while the number of covid-related deaths recorded recently is not exceeding  200-300.

Over 19% of the Indian population have been fully vaccinated, while the total number of vaccination doses registered is 943 mln. Most Indian citizens have received AstraZeneca, while others have been vaccinated with COVAXIN, manufactured by an Indian company. 

According to the CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), India is currently a country with a moderate COVID-19 level. The CDC advises all travelers to receive the full dose of vaccination before going to India.

Tourist visas to India

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, all visas issued to foreign travelers were suspended in 2020. Some other travel-related restrictions were also introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Over time, travelers were allowed to obtain all kinds of visas to India, except tourist visas. After suggestions from a few state governments and tourism sector representatives, the Indian government finally decided to reissue tourist visas while allowing foreigners to travel to India for tourism purposes.

An electronic tourist visa to India is a multiple-entry visa covering all kinds of tourism-related activities, including holidays, visiting relatives, and friends. e-Visa is issued for 1 year, and during this period, a tourist can make up to a 90-day stay in India in total.

Current Indian entry restrictions

Visitors to India will not be allowed to the country without showing a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, whether vaccinated or not. Moreover, the test cannot be taken earlier than 72 hours before the planned trip. 

All travelers must also submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours prior to the departure flight to enter India. 

A 10-day quarantine will be mandatory for travelers coming to India from the UK, even if they are fully vaccinated. This regulation was imposed as a response to the similar restrictions imposed by the UK government on Indian citizens  traveling to the UK.

Katarzyna Żyła

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