UAE-India travel: everything you need to know

 Wednesday, January 12, 2022 

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As the world continues to try to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, India has revised its travel guidelines for anyone flying into the country from overseas.

From Tuesday, all travellers on international flights to India have to undergo a mandatory seven-day home quarantine period on arrival.

Following the quarantine, passengers must take a follow-up PCR test and obtain a negative result to be able to end the home isolation period.

If you’re planning to travel to India in the near future, here’s everything you need to know before you go.




How long do I need to quarantine for?

All international travellers flying to India must now quarantine at home for seven days.

On day eight, travellers will take a PCR test and upload the results of the test to the Air Suvidha portal.

If the results are negative, quarantine ends, but passengers must continue to monitor their symptoms for the next seven days.



Do the new rules apply to vaccinated passengers?


The new rules apply to all arriving passengers, regardless of vaccination status.


Do children need to quarantine on arrival in India?

Yes, children must also quarantine at home for a week if arriving in India on an international flight.


Do I need a negative PCR test to take a flight?


You must have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before you can fly to India. Travellers also have to upload the results to the Air Suvidha portal before flying.

Children below 5 are exempt from testing rules both pre and post arrival, but those aged 5 and above must be tested.

Any children who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during their trip will have to take a PCR test, regardless of age.


What do I need to do before flying to India?


There are a few documents that need to be submitted by passengers travelling to India.

Firstly, there’s a self-declaration form which can be submitted online via the Air Suvidha portal, this needs to be filled in before travel and must include details of any countries visited in the previous 14 days.

There’s also a fairly serious declaration to be completed for each passenger, certifying that the COVID-19 negative certificate submitted is authentic, and agreeing to criminal charges if it turns out otherwise.

Travellers also need to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile devices for COVID-19 track and trace purposes in India.


Will I be tested for COVID-19 on arrival in India?


Travellers coming from countries designated “at-risk” by authorities will need to undergo further PCR testing for COVID-19 on arrival in India.

At present, countries on the list include the UK, Europe, China, Brazil and several African nations. The UAE is not on the current list.

Updates will be made to the list based on the prevalent epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in each destination.


Travellers who need an on-arrival test are encouraged to pre-book an appointment to speed things up on arrival, and will also need to fund the cost of their test.

All other travellers may be subject to further testing on arrival, with authorities saying 2 per cent of all arriving passengers will be randomly selected for a PCR test at the airport. There will also be thermal screening by health officials in airports across the country.


Which countries are on India’s ‘at-risk’ list for travel?


The most recent list is available on the website of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

All countries in Europe, including the UK

South Africa

Brazil

Botswana

China

Ghana

Mauritius

New Zealand

Zimbabwe

Tanzania

Hong Kong

Israel

Congo

Ethiopia

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Nigeria

Tunisia

Zambia





What happens if I test positive while in India?



If you get a positive PCR test result, then you’ll have to go to an isolation facility where a doctor will assess you and advise on the follow-up process.

Close contacts of a positive case will be contacted, including co-passengers and anyone in the home or hotel where the person with COVID-19 has been isolating.

Fellow passengers who were seated three rows in front and three rows behind anyone who tests positive will also be considered close contacts.

If you’re isolating at home or in a hotel and develop symptoms that could be COVID-19, then you must report to the nearest health facility or call the national helpline number for subsequent advice.



Until when are the new rules in place?


No end date has been set for the new home quarantine rules with official documents stating that the rules are in place until “further orders”.

It’s probable that the new measures will remain in place while COVID-19 case numbers remain high. India recorded 45,845 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, alongside 37 new deaths.

The country has recorded more than 35 million total cases since the onset of the global pandemic, according to data by Johns Hokpins University.


Anything else I need to know?


Different states in India may also have their own rules for COVID-19 management, so travellers should check the rules in place for the destination they are travelling to.





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