In view of the coronavirus pandemic, international passenger flights continue to remain grounded in India since mid-March.
However, the Aviation Board of India has allowed repatriation flights and international charter flights.
With global countries gradually lifting air travel restrictions, the Indian Aviation Regulator has also formed bilateral air bubbles with various countries to allow the operation of international flights.
However, traveling under an air bubble arrangement is allowed only with a set of guidelines and restrictions.
What are Air Transport Bubbles?
Air Bubbles are temporary arrangements between two countries in a bid to resume commercial passenger flights when regular international flights are suspended due to the pandemic. Under this arrangement, carriers of two countries can operate flights but with a set of rules and regulations. Air bubble arrangement is reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.
Which countries can you travel to?
So far, India has established air bubble arrangements with 18 countries. They are as follows:
The Indian Government has decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for Indian and foreign nationals who wish to enter or leave India. Under this graded relaxation, the government has restored all existing visas, except electronic, tourism, and medical visas.
Indian nationals holding a valid visa with at least one month of validity can travel to the countries with which India has made air bubble arrangements. However, they are supposed to follow the different restrictions and testing procedures upon their arrival at the destination country. Many countries direct international passengers to undergo self-isolation upon their arrival for seven days.
“However, all such travel shall be entirely at the risk of the person seeking to travel, bearing in mind the existing restrictions on international travel,” states the Home Ministry.
Who will be allowed into India?
According to the Union Health Ministry, all international passengers from the countries under the air bubble arrangement will be allowed into India if they hold a valid visa. The approved visa categories include business, conferences, employment, studies, research, and medical.
All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders and all other foreign nationals can visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa.
The passengers should submit a self-declaration form on the portal newdelhiairport at least 72 hours before the scheduled travel. They should also agree that they will undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days, i.e., seven days institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by seven days home quarantine with self-monitoring of health.
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