International Travel Update: Government announces new rules for passengers arriving in India!

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) announced the updated guidelines for international passengers arriving in India in view of the rising cases of mutant strain of COVID-19 in the country.

As per the MoCA, these guidelines will supersede all the rules issued on the subject since August 2, 2020. This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) shall be valid w.e.f. from 23:59 hrs on February 22, 2021.

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Main points of the SOP are as following:

For all international travellers except travellers coming through flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East

1. Planning for Travel 

>All travellers should (a) submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal ( before the scheduled travel (b) upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hrs prior to the journey. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.

>They should also give an undertaking on the portal or otherwise to Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. 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 quarantine/ self-monitoring of their health for 14 days, or as warranted.

>Arrival in India without negative report shall be allowed only for those traveling to India in the exigency of death in the family.

>If they wish to seek such exemption under the above case, then they shall apply to the online portal ( at least 72 hours before boarding. The decision taken by the government as communicated on the online portal will be final.

2. Before Boarding

>Dos and Don’ts shall be provided along with tickets to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned.

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

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

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

>Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports.

>During boarding all possible measures to ensure physical distancing are to be ensured.

3. During Travel

>Suitable announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports and in flights and during transit.

>While on board the flight, required precautions such as wearing masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, etc. are to be observed by airline staff, crew and all passengers.

4. On Arrival

>Deboarding should be done ensuring physical distancing.

>Thermal screening would be carried out in respect of 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.

>The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility as per health protocol. 

For all international travellers coming/transiting through flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East 

All the clauses as mentioned above shall be applicable to such travellers coming/transiting from flights originating in United Kingdom, Europe, and Middle East except for clauses on testing, quarantine and isolation as specified below:

All international travellers coming/transiting from flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East as described in the scope above should submit Self-Declaration Form (SDF) for COVID-19 on the online Air Suvidha portal ( before the scheduled travel and will be required to declare their travel history (of past 14 days).

>While filling SDF, apart from providing all other information required in the SDF, passengers need to select:

a. Whether they plan to disembark at the arrival airport or take further flights to reach their final destination in India.
b. Based on this selection, the receipt of SDF (dispatched online to the transiting travellers) will display “T” (Transit) in easily readable and bigger font than other text.
c. The passengers will need to display this receipt to State authority / Government officials at the airport for segregation.

>Keeping in mind the testing requirements for passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa, who have to take connecting flights, airlines should keep the passengers informed about the need for transit time of a minimum 6-8 hours at the entry airport (in India) while booking the tickets for connecting flights.

>All the passengers arriving from the United Kingdom, Europe and Middle East shall be carrying a negative RT-PCR Test report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. The same also shall be uploaded on the online portal (

>Airlines should identify the international travellers arriving from/transiting through the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa (during the past 14 days) and segregate them in-flight or while disembarking to facilitate the authorities to follow the due protocol in respect of these travellers.

>The immigration officers of these identified airports shall also ensure identification of travellers (from their passports) who originated or transited from the UK, Brazil and South Africa (during the past 14 days).

>All the travellers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe or Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at Page 4 of 5 the Indian airports concerned (port of entry). Entry made in the SDF regarding telephone number and address would be reconfirmed.

Travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa taking connecting flights from the arrival international airport (‘T” in their SDF): 

>Give samples at the designated area and exit the airport only after confirmation of a negative test report which may take 6-8 hours.

>Those transit travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa who are found negative on testing at the airport will be allowed to take their connecting flights and advised home quarantine for 7 days. State/district surveillance will follow up with them regularly. These travellers will undergo COVID-19 test after 7 days. Those who test negative will be released from quarantine but will continue to self-monitor their health.

Guidelines for all travellers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa exiting at the arrival airport: 

>All travellers will give their samples in the designated area and exit the airport. The State Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) will follow up with them. The concerned State authorities/airport operators will collect and convey the test report to the traveller.

>Those who test negative will remain in home quarantine for 7 days and regularly followed up by the concerned State/District IDSP. Travellers will undergo another COVID-19 test after 7 days. If they test negative, they will be released from quarantine and will continue to self-monitor their health for another 7 days. 

See the complete SOP here:

For complete updates related to COVID rules and guidelines, refer to this page

The Civil Aviation Regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had earlier extended the suspension of all international flight operations in the country till 28 February, 2021.

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