A Complete Breakdown Of International Travel From India At Present
With countries like the UK and the USA putting a ban to travel to and from India, here are some questions answered with regards to the whole international travel from India situation. What is allowed, what is not and what are the routes, is all explained down below.
As the second wave of COVID-19 hits India, the cases have reached an all-time high, forcing various state governments to announce weekend and night lockdowns. Few states like Delhi and Maharashtra have gone a step ahead to announce a stricter lockdown.
Amidst all this chaos, India’s aviation industry, is yet again battered by the pandemic and has taken yet another hit. As per data shared by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the average daily footfall of domestic passengers has fallen below 2 Lakh passengers for the first time since the flights were re-opened on May 25th.
While domestic flights are still being quite operational, its the international flights that have a hovering sense of fear, for another closure. India announced to stop all scheduled international commercial flights in March last year and since then, regular operations have not started. While India did undertake the world’s largest repatriation drive under Mission Vande Bharat, simultaneously, the government also announced bilateral pacts with various countries to ease international travelling.
This, however, doesn’t stand true anymore. Many countries, including the UK and Hong Kong, have announced a ban on flights from India. On the other hand, countries like the US has issued a travel advisory to all passengers flying in and out of India.
Here's a lowdown on all the countries to where you can take an international flight right now and also the countries announcing restrictions.
What is An Air Bubble?
An air bubble is a temporary arrangement between two countries to restart commercial flight services at a time when regular international flights are suspended due to COVID-19. Under the arrangement, airlines from both countries are allowed to operate, unlike Mission Vande Bharat where only Indian air carriers were allowed to operate flights.
Which Countries Can You Fly To Under The Air Bubble Pact?
India had initially established travel bubbles with countries like the United States, Germany and France in 2020. Since then, India has formed agreements with 27 nations in total. Here’s the list:
Is A Tourist Visa Applicable & Which Countries Are Allowing Indians To Fly?
Yes, certain countries are now allowing passengers from India with a Tourist Visa. Here’s the list:
However, the majority of countries are still allowing only stranded Indian citizens, OCI card holders & diplomats. If the country has not allowed tourist visa, Indian nationals cannot fly to these countries.
Which Countries Have Restricted Flights From India?
Ever since the second wave has created an upsurge in positive cases across the nation, many countries have placed a ban on Indians travelling there. Here's a list:
Hong Kong: While India doesn’t have an air bubble agreement with Hong Kong, many flights were operated as part of Mission Vande Bharat to repatriate stranded Indians. However, Hong Kong has suspended all flights connecting it with India till May 3.
United Kingdom: While earlier India announced a ban on flights from the UK due to a mutant COVID-19 strain, now UK has announced a ban on flights from India due to the rising cases and also the fact that 7 Indians have been found with the mutant COVID-19 strain. UK has put India on the red list. Following the same, Air India has suspended all flights to/from the UK till April 30, 2021.
What's The Latest Travel Advisory From The US?
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has formulated a slew of guidelines and recommendations for people travelling to India from the United States. The CDC recommended people to avoid travelling to India in the current situation where even fully vaccinated individuals are at risk of catching the virus.
They've also said that if at all one has to travel to India, they should first get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and upon reaching India, should follow covid safety protocols like washing hands, maintaining 6 feet distance, and wearing marks at all cost to ensure they do not contract the virus.
Who Can Travel From India To The US?
1. US citizens, permanent residents, and foreign nationals holding valid US visas
2. Any Indian national holding any type of valid US visa. It is for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the USA with the particular visa category before the issue of ticket/ boarding pass to the Indian passenger
3. Seamen of foreign nationalities; Seamen holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping
Hope this helps you know a bit more about the international air routes and current international travel scenario, if you're in India or wanting to fly in to India.
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