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India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives. (AP)
India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives. (AP)

Flying abroad from India? Who all can travel and which countries

  • India has not allowed entry of all type of visa holders into the country
  • The air bubbles arrangement between the two countries helps airlines to operate international flights with certain restrictions

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23. However, the aviation regulator has permitted special repatriation flights and international charter flights. Since July, India has also formed bilateral air bubbles with countries like the US, the UAE, France and Germany under which airlines of both the countries are allowed to operate international flights with certain restrictions.

What is an air bubble?

An air bubble is a bilateral arrangement with a set of regulations and restrictions in which the carriers of the two countries can operate international flights. The air bubbles arrangement between the two countries helps airlines to operate international flights with certain restrictions.

India is negotiating air bubbles with 13 more countries

India is in talks with as many as 13 countries for resumption of international flights under bilateral air bubbles, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. "These countries include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea & Thailand," Puri said on a social media post on Twitter.

India has so far established air bubbles with 7 countries

India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with the US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and the Maldives.

Traveling into India: Who is allowed?

Apart from Indian nationals, some foreign nationals are also allowed to travel to India. India has not allowed entry of all type of visa holders into the country except for those holding essential visa approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders from the US, UK, German and France, with whom India has signed 'air bubble' arrangements, will be allowed to visit the country, the Home Ministry had said. Other foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes.

Travelling out of India

Indian flyers holding any kind of valid visa under the 'Air Bubbles' agreement can travel to the UK, the US, Canada and UAE, the Director-General of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India said. According to a home ministry notification, Indian citizens have also been allowed to travel to Germany and France on any type of visa.

Requirements for international travel

Earlier in August, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued some guidelines for international passengers arriving in India. As per the Union health ministry, passengers arriving from abroad have to undergo seven days of institutional quarantine followed by seven days of home quarantine. Post August 8, if an international passenger has a COVID-negative certificate from a test done 96 hours prior to the journey, he or she can avoid the seven-day institutional quarantine in India.

Covid-19 testing facility for international passengers

The Delhi airport is likely to have a Covid-19 testing facility for international passengers who if tested negative will get exemption from the seven-day mandatory institutional quarantine, news agency PTI had reported. As per the Union health ministry, passengers arriving from abroad have to undergo seven days of institutional quarantine followed by seven days of home quarantine. If the test result is negative, the passenger will not be required to undergo institutional quarantine.





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