Delhi Airport
Delhi Airport Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: If you are planning to travel to India anytime soon or for the upcoming festival season, you may be wondering about the COVID-19 guidelines that you still need to follow. Do you need to take a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test? Do you need to fill out the Air Suvidha form?

Here is all you need to know.

The last update on COVID-19 guidelines issued by India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) was on March 31. According to the guidelines, passengers are still required to fill out the Air Suvidha Self Declaration form, whether they are fully vaccinated or non-vaccinated.

However, according to the circular, fully vaccinated UAE passengers arriving in India will no longer need to undergo a pre-departure PCR test.

Fully vaccinated passengers must upload their vaccine certificate issued by a government authority on the Air Suvidha travel portal. Unvaccinated individuals will need to present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure.

So, if you are a UAE resident planning spend the festival season with your friends and family back home in India, here is a quick refresher on the latest COVID-19 travel guidelines.

1. Before you travel

As per the guidelines issued by MohFW, international travellers must go through the following steps before planning to travel:

A. Complete Air Suvidha Self Declaration form, which includes details of the last 14 days of travel, your COVID-19 related health details and personal details. The form can be found here:

1. a.) For vaccinated travellers:

A vaccination certificate with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine needs to be uploaded.

b.) For non-vaccinated travellers:

Upload a negative COVID-19 PCR report - the test be conducted within 72 hrs prior to undertaking the journey)

Passengers also need to ensure that the information they submit to the authorities, regarding their health and travel history, is accurate and also give an undertaking that they will abide by the decision of the appropriate government authority regarding any post-arrival requirement to undergo home or institutional quarantine or self-health monitoring.

Children under the age of 5 are exempt from pre- and post-arrival testing

Steps for Air Suvidha Portal

Besides uploading your vaccination certificate or negative PCR test, passengers must also fill out other details, including the following:

• Full Name
• Date of Birth
• Gender
• Flight Number (Arriving in India)
• Seat Number
• PNR Number (Passenger Name Record) – after purchasing your ticket, you receive details of your flight via SMS or email. Your PNR number or booking reference is a six character alphanumeric code, and is mentioned on your e-ticket.
• Nationality
• Passport Number
• Passport copy
• Date of arrival
• Country of Departure
• If you are taking a connecting domestic flight, fill in the Domestic Connecting Flight Number.

COIVD-19 health details:

• Upload Vaccination Certificate
• Choose the location of final vaccination dose, ex: United Arab Emirates
• Date of final dose of vaccination

For unvaccinated passengers:
• Upload RT-PCR Negative Certificate
• Date of RT-PCR Test Taken

Location Details

• City of Departure
• First Airport of Entry ex: Delhi Airport
• First Airport of Entry State/Union Territories
• Final Destination - House Number
• Final Destination Street/Village
• Final Destination Tehsil (local unit of administrative division)
• Final Destination State/Union Territories
• Final Destination District/City
• Final Destination Pincode (enter the pincode of your residential area)

Contact details:

• India Mobile Number (this is mandatory and passengers must give a valid and working phone number in India. It is a punishable offence to provide an incorrect number).
• Alternate India Contact Number
• Email

Personal health information

• In the Air Suvidha form, you will have to select if you are experiencing symptoms of cough, fever or respiratory disease.
• If you have co-morbidities, you must also select that.

Details of the Countries visited in last 14 days

If you have visited a country or countries in the last 14 days, select them.
Then choose the number of passengers that are travelling.

Next agree to the terms and conditions, you will then receive the Self declaration form with all your details on your registered email.

*It is important to note that when uploading documents such as passport copy, PCR test or vaccination certificate on the Air Suvidha Portal, the file size has to be reduced. According to Air Suvidha Portal – iOS or Android users must use a PDF compressor mobile application to do this.

2. Before boarding

Before you board, you will be asked to present your self-ddeclaration form. Airlines will only board passengers who have the self-declaration form from the Air Suvidha portal, and have uploaded a negative PCR test or vaccination certificate.

Airlines have been advised to inform travellers of the dos and don’ts to follow, related to COVID-19 precautions, and to ensure that only asymptomatic patients are allowed to board.

All passengers shall be advised to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices. Aarogya Setu is India’s official COVID-19 contract-tracing application.

On arrival

• Airports will conduct thermal screening of all passengers and those found to be symptomatic will be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per the health protocol. If they test positive, their contacts will be identified and managed, as per protocol.

• A subsection of passengers (two per cent of total passengers in the flight) will undergo random post arrival testing at the airport. Passengers will only be allowed to leave after they submit their PCR tests samples.

• If they are found to be tested positive, they will be treated and isolated as per the protocol.

All travellers will self-monitor their health for next 14 days of arrival. If travellers do develop COVID-19 symptoms during self-health monitoring, they will have to immediately self-isolate and report to the nearest health facility or call the National helpline number (1075) or their State’s helpline number.