Last Updated on Dec 18th, 2023 by Heena Ganotra, 522 comments
The entry of international passengers depends a great deal on the strict policies laid out by the Government of India (GOI). However, the government has shared an official statement announcing, “In view of increasing vaccination coverage across the globe and the changing nature of the pandemic, the existing guidelines for international arrivals in India have been reviewed”.
Post the guidelines issued on 7 January 2022 (effective from 11 January 2022), a new set of guidelines were released on 10 February 2022 (effective from 14 February 2022). The revised guidelines state that the mandatory 72-hour report of RT-PCR is no longer required if the travelers can show their full Vaccination Certificate.
The Union Health Minister tweeted,”Besides uploading negative RT-PCR report (taken 72 hrs prior to journey), option to upload a certificate of completing full primary vaccination schedule of COVID-19 vaccination provided from countries on a reciprocal basis. 14 days Self-Monitoring post-arrival as against 7 days Home Quarantine as was mandated earlier. Need for undertaking RT-PCR test on 8th day and uploading the same on Air Suvidha portal is dispensed with.”
The @MoHFW_INDIA has issued revised guidelines for International Arrivals ✈️— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) February 10, 2022
Guidelines to come in effect from 14th February.
Follow these diligently, stay safe & strengthen India’s hands in the fight against #COVID19.
Main features include:
? mohfw[dot]gov[dot]in (1/6)
In simpler terms, for people from specific countries with which India has vaccination agreements (list given below), vaccinate certificates would suffice. RT-PCR would no longer be needed in such cases. Further, the concept of “At-Risk countries” has been done away with. 7-day home quarantine and RT-PCR on the 8th day after arrival is no longer needed too.
While this was in a nutshell, let’s discuss in detail what these new guidelines for India travel are –
For India International travel, you can take air bubble flights which is an extension of Vande Bharat Mission. If you’re confused regarding what routes you can take, the eligibility criteria that varies with each airline, and the transit points you can make use of, here’s everything about Air Bubble India-USA flights for your reference. For now, let’s understand the guidelines for India travel.
Suggested Read: Self Declaration Form On Air Suvidha Mandatory For India Travel
Because we have been receiving a lot of queries on this, nasal swab tests are part of RT-PCR tests and are valid for India International travel. Apart from the RT-PCR Test (Report comes in 6 to 8 hours), Rapid PCR Test (Report comes within 60 to 90 minutes) can also be taken. These are RT-PCR tests with a difference in the price and report turn-around time. However, please note that Antigen Tests, saliva swab tests, and throat swab tests aren’t valid and the same would restrict your boarding.
A sub-section (2% of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival. The 2% of these travelers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries).
The earlier protocols no longer stand valid i.e. no home quarantine for 7 days and no undertaking/ uploading of RT-PCR test on the 8th day of arrival in India.
|Commonwealth of Dominica
|St. Kitts and Nevis
|Antigua & Barbuda
|Kingdom of Morocco
|State of Palestine
|The United Kingdom
|Trinidad & Tobago
|United States of America
International passengers entering India through sea/land ports have to undergo the same protocol as above, except “online registration” isn’t available for these passengers. These travelers will have to submit the self-declaration form on arrival to the concerned authorities (Government of India officials) at the sea/land port.
No. The starting amount for getting tested at the Delhi Airport is INR 5,000 ($71) which includes both the RT-PCR test and the facility of spending time at the international lounge till the reports arrive. While the facility is offered in collaboration with Premium Plaza, the testing service is done with Genestrings Diagnostic Centre (a Delhi-based laboratory). The amount charged at the Mumbai Airport starts from INR 600 ($7.97).
Yes. For Delhi arrivals, a slot can be booked on official website. In fact, passengers must book a slot an hour before the time of arrival and approximately 4-6 hours before the departure time of the connecting domestic flight. For Mumbai arrivals, passengers can make an online booking on the IMCR-approved Suburban Diagnostics laboratory website
Amid the news of the new COVID variant Omicron, on-arrival testing is mandatory for passengers arriving from At-Risk countries. Along with this, 2% of random passengers will also be tested.
Thus, the facility of getting tested for RT-PCR is available at Terminal-3 of the Delhi airport that offers a walk-in option.
As stated in a tweet shared on 5 Dec 2021 –
Reviewed RT-PCR testing facilities for passengers coming from at-risk countries at the IGI airport, New Delhi.— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) December 5, 2021
35 rapid RT-PCR testing machines are functional within the Terminal -3.
With this, passengers screening & testing time can be reduced to even 30 minutes. pic.twitter.com/1yd5CkI6gL
While the RT-PCR Test costs INR 500 and takes 6 to 8 hours in delivering the report, the Rapid PCR Test costs INR 3500 and takes 60 to 90 minutes of time. Rapid Antigen Test, however, takes 10-15 minutes and takes place at T-3 Departure forecourt area.
State representatives will keep the passports of the passengers at the Sample Collection Counter until the test results are out.
After being tested at the allocated time, passengers need to wait at the lounge.
The test report is mailed and physically given within as little as 1-2 hours of taking the test.
(It is, therefore, advised that all international passengers must book their connecting flights with a gap of 1 to 2 hours.)
Those who come out negative will be stamped ‘RT-PCR negative’ and ‘home Quarantined till [specified date]’ on the hand by the State Representative. Passports shall also be returned so passengers can take their ongoing domestic flights.
Those who come out positive will be taken to an institution by the authorities.
Mumbai International Airport has a dedicated COVID-19 testing facility at Terminal 2 Level 4, Ground Transportation Lobby, next to Niranta Lounge.
Passengers can either book a slot online on the website of Suburban Diagnostics Laboratory or register at the helpdesk at the arrival terminal. Express Test is also available at Mumbai Airport which gives results in 13 minutes and costs around INR 4500 ($64). Besides the express COVID-19 test, flyers also have the option to opt for the regular RT-PCR test. The regular test result takes around 8 hours for arriving passengers, which are then sent via email. For this test, flyers are required to show valid ID proof, and this test costs INR 600 ($7.97). If you are traveling with family or in a group, you can book a single slot for the testing of all. A rapid RT-PCR test, on the other hand, costs Rs 3,900 ($51.77) per person and delivers the result in 1-2 hours. The earlier price was 4,500 ($59.74) per person and has recently been changed.
State representatives will keep the passports of the passengers at the Sample Collection Counter until the test results are out. After being tested at the allocated time, passengers need to wait at the lounge. Hotels can be booked too, but for that, approval from the state authorities is required.
The test report is mailed and physically given within 13 minutes/1-2 hours/8 hours of taking the test.
(It is, therefore, advised that all international passengers must book their connecting flights with a gap of 1-2 hours since 2% of travelers, on a random basis, will have to undergo the COVID test on arrival, as stated above.)
Those who come out negative will be stamped ‘RT-PCR negative’. Passports shall also be returned so passengers can take their ongoing domestic flights.
Those who come out positive will be taken to an institution by the authorities.
In December 2020, Bangalore International Airport and Auriga Research Pvt Ltd opened a round-the-clock COVID-19 testing facility. Located near the Arrivals Area, the center features a sample collection kiosk, a waiting lounge, and a dedicated laboratory outside the terminal. The center offers tests for arriving international passengers unable to get a test prior to boarding their flight. The service is also available to departing passengers needing a negative RT-PCR result at their destination.
Costs range between Rs 800 (US$11) for a regular RT-PCR test and Rs 4,500 ($64) for the Abbott ID NOW™ rapid PCR test. A Rs 400 collection charge may also apply. While the results for the standard PerkinElmer High Throughput test are available in 6-24 hours, the Abbott test delivers a result within 30 minutes.
Q: If I fill the exemption form, do I still need to fill the Self-Declaration form?
Ans: Self Declaration form is mandatory to be filled with details of Passport and Covid 19 Negative RT-PCR Test report. “International Arriving Passengers can only apply for exemption, in case of ‘Death in a Family for Immediate Family member as defined by GoI (Child, Parents, Spouse, Grandparents, Siblings).” That will give them exemption from RTPCR Test.
Q: What if I present a fake COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test?
Ans: If the report isn’t proved to be authentic, the Indian government can prosecute you
Q: What details are required to fill the Self Declaration and Exemption forms?
Ans: Personal details, scanned copy of the passport with photo and details (first page), email address, and Covid 19 RT-PCR test report are required to fill the self-declaration form. However, to fill the exemption form, a Death Certificate/Doctor’s Note is mandatory.
Q: What is the reporting time at the airport?
Ans: Report at least 4 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure. Also, please note that check-in closes 60 minutes before the departure time.
Q: Is web check-in mandatory?
Ans: Web check-in is not mandatory for USA to India flights but recommended. Even though check-in starts 24-48 hours before the departure, kindly go ahead with web check-in only after receiving the negative test report.
Q: Is there anything else I should keep in mind apart from the above-mentioned details?
Ans: Yes, downloading of the Arogya Setu App on mobile devices is compulsory. This must be kept in mind.
Q: What if I have any more doubts?
Ans: Connect with MyTicketsToIndia by giving us a call at 1-585-948-0222 and we’ll love to solve any queries that you might have regarding the COVID-19 RT-PCR test for traveling to India or otherwise.
In case you want to book flights to India from the USA, we are a leading air-ticketing portal that specializes in booking USA-IND flights. We’ll offer you fair airfares so your journey is made easier and more convenient.
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A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness like herpes. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)