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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: If you are planning to travel to India, a new set of guidelines for passengers has been announced by the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) for international passengers arriving in the country.

The new guidelines, announced on November 30, will supersede the earlier set of guidelines that had been announced on November 11 and November 28, following concerns related to the latest COVID-19 variant.

“The existing guidelines have been revised in view of reporting of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.529; named Omicron) which has been now classified as Variant of Concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” the guidelines read.

These guidelines will come into effect from December 1, 2021 and include special quarantine and genome testing requriements for passengers arriving in India from certain countries.

Here is all you need to know about the rules to follow.

Before your flight

1. All travellers should:

a. Submit self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal – – before the scheduled travel, including last 14 days travel details.

b. Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

c. Each passenger should also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

2. They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey that they would abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority to undergo home/institutional quarantine/ self-health monitoring, as warranted.

3. Continuing with the earlier approach, travellers from certain specified Countries (based on epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in those countries) are identified for additional follow up. These include need for additional measures as detailed in para (15) below. The listing of such specified countries is a dynamic exercise based on evolving situation of COVID-19 across the world and will be made available on the websites of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

List of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing

(List updated on November 30, 2021)

  1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom
  2. South Africa
  3. Brazil
  4. Botswana
  5. China
  6. Mauritius
  7. New Zealand
  8. Zimbabwe
  9. Singapore
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Israel

Before boarding

4. Passengers originating or transiting from at-risk countries shall be informed by the airlines that they will undergo post-arrival testing, and will need to quarantine if they test negative, or follow stringent isolation protocols if they test positive etc. as mentioned in para (15).

5. Do’s and Don’ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned.

6. Airlines need to allow boarding to only those passengers who have filled in the Self Declaration Form on the Air Suvidha portal, uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report.

7. At the time of boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.

8. All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices.

During travel

9. In-flight announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports, in-flight and during transit.

10. During in-flight crew shall ensure that COVID appropriate behaviour is followed at all times.

11. If any passenger reports symptoms of COVID-19 during flight, he/she shall be isolated as per protocol.

On arrival

12. De-boarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.

13. Thermal screening would be carried out for all the passengers by the health officials present at the airport. The self-declaration form filled online shall be shown to the airport health staff.

14. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol. If tested positive, their contacts shall be identified and managed as per laid down protocol.

15. Travellers from specified Countries at risk [as mentioned in para (3) above] will follow the protocol as detailed below:

  • - Submission of sample for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival (self-paid). Such travellers will be required to wait for their test results at the arrival airport before leaving or taking a connecting flight.
  • - If they test negative they will follow home quarantine for seven days. A re-test will be done on Day 8 of arrival in India and if negative, further self-monitoring of their health is required for the next seven days.
  • - However, if such travellers test positive, their samples should be sent for genomic testing at one of the labs in the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratory network.
  • - They shall be managed at separate isolation facility and treated as per laid down standard protocol including contact tracing mentioned in para (14).
  • - The contacts of such positive case should be kept under institutional quarantine or at home quarantine monitored strictly by the concerned State Government as per laid down protocol.
Guidelines for international arrivals in India - December 30
Guidelines for international arrivals in India - December 30 Image Credit:

16. Travellers from countries excluding those countries at risk, will be allowed to leave the airport and shall self-monitor their health for 14 days’ post arrival. A sub-section (two per cent of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.

  • a. The two per cent of such travellers in each flight shall be identified by the concerned airlines (preferably from different countries).
  • b. Such travellers shall be escorted by the concerned airlines/Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to testing areas on arrival.
  • c. The cost of testing of such travellers shall be borne by the travellers identified for random testing themselves.
  • d. Laboratories shall prioritise testing of samples from such travellers.
  • e. If such travellers test positive, they shall be managed as per laid down standard protocol and samples would be sent for further genomic testing.

17. If travellers under home quarantine or self-health monitoring, develop signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 on re-testing, they will immediately self-isolate and report to their nearest health facility or call the National helpline number – 1075 or the State Helpline Number.

Children exempted from PCR testing

The guidelines also provide exemptions from the PCR testing requirements to children:

Children under five years of age are exempted from both pre- and post-arrival testing. However, if found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival or during home quarantine period, they shall undergo testing and treated as per laid down protocol.