India became the latest country this week to start the process of welcoming back tourists. After two long years, the South Asian nation has now reopened for international commercial flights and tourists can apply for a visa or an e-visa to visit for non-essential reasons.
The Indian government also announced this week that it would be lifting the travel restrictions that have been in place since March of 2020, in order to revive its heavy-hit tourism industry.
Here’s what we know so far about India’s tourism reopening.
India’s Ongoing Flight Ban Removed On March 27th
As of March 27, 2022, India’s ongoing ban on international flights has been removed and the country is now welcoming international commercial flights carrying passengers for non-essential and tourism-based travel. This is the last step that was needed for India to begin fully reopening for international tourism.
Over the past two years, flights in India were operating under an air travel bubble model. With this system, flights carrying travelers from a number of destinations were banned from crossing the country’s borders.
Following the removal of this week’s flight ban, major flight routes between Dubai and the destinations of New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru have been given the go-ahead.
According to an official for India’s Director General of Civil Aviation, over 60 international airlines serving travelers from 41 countries across the globe will resume weekly flight services to major destinations throughout India. There are also plans to ramp up flights on Virgin Atlantic between London and New Delhi by June 2022.
More International Flights Means Shift To Full Reopening Of International Tourism To India
Officials in India started easing travel entry requirements in early 2022. In February of this year, the country dropped the mandatory quarantine and testing on arrival for fully vaccinated travelers.
Despite the easing of some entry restrictions, there was still an international flight ban in place which meant that tourist numbers remained very low throughout the country.
Updated Entry Requirements For Travelers To India
Under the new guidance, vaccinated as well as unvaccinated travelers from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and more can travel to India for non-essential reasons.
Here are the current entry requirements for all travelers to India:
- All passengers aged 5 and over must fill out the official self-declaration health form at the Air Suvidha portal at least 72 hours before departure.
- Unvaccinated travelers can enter quarantine-free if they have a negative Covid PCR test result taken no later than 72 hours from travel.
- Fully vaccinated travelers (a full course of a two-dose or one-dose vaccine) are exempt from pre-departure testing requirements
- Testing requirements don’t apply to travelers under the age of 5
- All international travelers to India might be subject to a random Covid test upon arrival, but this will be a rare occurrence.
India’s E-Visa Program Also Restored
Now, tourists with a visa or an e-visa can travel to India for non-essential purposes.
On top of the easing of entry restrictions and the removal of the flight ban, the Indian government has restored its 5-year tourist e-visa program which they suspended in March 2020.
India will restart its ten-year visa program for US tourists and they will also allow Japanese tourists to apply for a ten-year tourist visa. You can learn more about India’s travel visa program here.
CDC Travel Advisory For India
In its weekly travel update on Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its health advisory for India from High (Level 3) to Low (Level 1).
You can find out more information about the rules and guidelines for India’s reopening on their official tourism website.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com