India on Monday, November 15, resumed quarantine-free entry for foreign travellers from 99 countries, which have agreed to a mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates with it, almost 20 months after restrictions were imposed due to COVID-19. Travellers from these 99 countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and Russia, which have been listed under "Category A", have to submit a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal (newdelhiairport.in) before the scheduled travel. They also have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, according to the revised Guidelines for International Arrivals released by the Union health ministry on November 11.
The RT-PCR test should be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Each passenger shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise, according to the guidelines.
There are countries that have agreements with India on a mutual recognition of vaccination certificates of nationally-recognised or World Health Organization-recognised vaccines. Similarly, there are countries that do not have such an agreement with India, but they exempt the Indian citizens who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with nationally-recognised or WHO-recognised vaccines, the guidelines stated.
On the basis of reciprocity, the travellers from all such countries that provide quarantine-free entry to Indians ("Category A" countries) are allowed certain relaxations on arrival, the guidelines read.
Some of the countries currently considered to be "at risk" by India, which means the travellers from where would need to follow additional measures on arrival including testing, are the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Singapore.
"As India opened its doors to fully-vaccinated international tourists from all over the world beginning Monday, India tourism Mumbai accorded a warm welcome to the first set of international tourists who landed at Mumbai International Airport by Air France flight AF218," the Union Ministry of Tourism said in a tweet.
According to the guidelines, if fully-vaccinated travellers are coming from a country with which India has reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, they shall be allowed to leave the airport and need not undergo home quarantine.
They shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival.
If partially or not vaccinated, the travellers need to undertake measures, including submission of samples for post-arrival COVID-19 test at the point of arrival, after which they will be allowed to leave the airport, home quarantined for seven days, a re-test would be conducted on the eighth day of arrival and if the results are negative, they have to further self-monitor their health for seven days.
"Fifteen days must have elapsed since completion of COVID-19 vaccination schedule," the guidelines said.
Travellers from countries excluding those "at risk" will be allowed to leave the airport and they shall self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival. This is applicable to travellers from all countries, including those with which reciprocal arrangements for mutual acceptance of WHO-approved vaccines exist.