As third-wave ebbs, India revises guidelines for foreign visitors


The ministry of health and family welfare of the government of India has issued revised guidelines for international travelers to the country by air, sea, or land. The guidelines come into force Feb 14.

Under the guidelines, all travelers will have to submit complete and factual information in a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal ( before travel, including last 14 days’ travel details, and upload a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR report, with the test conducted not more than 72 hours before starting the journey, or a certificate of having completed the full primary Covid-19 vaccination schedule.

Each passenger will also have to submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if the report is found to be forged.

Passengers will have to give an undertaking on the portal or to the civil aviation ministry through the airline that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority on any post-arrival requirement to undergo home/institutional quarantine/self-health monitoring.

Airlines and ticketing agencies will have to provide a list of do’s and don’ts along with the ticket. Airlines can only allow those passengers who have filled in all details in the self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report or Covid-19 vaccination certificate to board the flight.

At the time of boarding, only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed after thermal screening. All passengers will be advised to download the government’s Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

Announcements about Covid-19 and precautionary measures will have to be made at airports, in flights and during transit. The crew on board will be responsible for ensuring that Covid-appropriate behavior is followed at all times.

If any passenger reports symptoms of Covid-19 during the flight, he or she will have to be isolated as per protocol.

Proper in-flight announcements will have to be made by the airlines regarding testing requirements on landing and those who will need to undergo such tests, to avoid congestion at the airport.

On arrival, passengers will have to alight while ensuring physical distancing. Thermal screening of all passengers will be carried out by health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled out online would need to be shown to the airport health staff at this point.

Passengers found to be symptomatic during screening will be isolated and taken to a medical facility as per the health protocol. If they test positive, their contacts will be identified and managed. Passengers who were seated in the same row and up to three rows in front and behind, along with identified cabin crew, will be considered close contacts of such cases.

A sub-section (2% of the total passengers on a flight) will have to undergo random testing on arrival. They will submit their samples and shall be allowed to leave the airport.

If such travelers test positive, the samples should be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network and the passengers concerned treated/isolated as per standard protocol.

All travelers will have to monitor their health for the next 14 days and if symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 show up, immediately isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call the national helpline number (1075) or state helpline number.

International travelers arriving at sea and land ports will have to undergo the same protocol, except that facility for online registration is not available for such passengers currently. They will have to submit a declaration on arrival.

Children under the age of five are exempted from both pre-and post-arrival testing. However, if they show symptoms on arrival or during the self-monitoring period, they will have to undergo testing and get treated as per the protocol.

Travelers from countries that provide quarantine-free entry to Indians will be allowed relaxation under the certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination. The list of such countries is available on the website of the health and family welfare ministry ( and the link is also available at the website of the external affairs ministry and the Air Suvidha portal.