India relaxes rules on arrival, including mandatory vaccination

Passengers arriving in India on international flights will now face minimal protocols as the government has decided to lift most of the COVID-related restrictions. The decision follows a reduction in the number and severity of COVID, and authorities believe that many protocols, including completing a pre-arrival self-declaration form, are no longer required.

Vaccines and masks are optional

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a new circular detailing the revised rules for international passengers arrival in the country. From November 22, passengers are no longer required to be fully vaccinated, although the government still prefers that they be. In-flight masks have also been downgraded to “preferred” as COVID no longer poses a major threat.


Photo: Getty Images

The detailed rules are as follows:

  • It is advisable for passengers to get a full vaccination before the trip.
  • Announcements about COVID continue in flight and follow preventive measures (wearing masks and maintaining physical distance).
  • Any passenger with symptoms of COVID-19 during or after arrival should be isolated according to standard protocol ie. said passenger must be masked, isolated and separate from other passengers during the flight/journey and then transferred to an isolation ward for further treatment.
  • All travelers should self-monitor their health upon arrival and report to the nearest health facility or call the national helpline number (1075) / state helpline number if they have symptoms of COVID.

Mumbai Airport

Photo: Getty Images

Air Suvidha form not required

A notable omission from the circular is the need to complete a self-declaration form that all arriving passengers must submit before boarding flights.

The Air Suvidha form was a way for international passengers to declare their medical condition online, without which airlines would not allow them to board.

While it was considered essential during the pandemic, passengers have increasingly asked authorities to remove it as the number of COVID cases worldwide has dropped.

Tails of Indian planes in the parking lot at Delhi Airport

Photo: Getty Images

The Air Suvidha portal was launched in 2020 and has been strictly enforced to contain the waves of COVID, including last year’s Omicron outbreak. But lately, many passengers have reported missing their flight or going through last-minute chaos to fill out the form before dormitory their flights to India.

In October, the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India even asked the authorities to scrap the self-declaration form as it was believed to be hampering the country’s tourism sector.

We hope that the revised rules will make life easier for passengers and further increase trade and tourism in the country.

Are you happy that the Indian government has canceled the Air Suvidha uniform? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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