MIAMI – With an easing of visa requirements, India is allowing foreign nationals to return to the country while restoring many previously issued visas.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, India swiftly moved to suspend all of its visas with the only route into the country coming in the form of Vande Bharat flights for citizens. Now, all visas have been restored excluding tourist, medical, and e-Visas enabling many but not all to visit the subcontinent.
Relaxing visa rules does not in any way imply an easing of quarantine requirements with everyone entering India required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, with a RT-PCR test 96 hours before the flight allowing passengers to compete the quarantine at home.
However, a policy of accepting flights from countries with travel bubble with India means that passengers from countries including the US, the UK, France, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, and Nigeria among others will be able to easily reach India but those outside the bubbles will need to take long connecting flights.
With the opening of visas a large number of people will be able to return to India for the first time since the pandemic, coinciding well with new Virgin Atlantic (VS) and Air India (AI) routes while reuniting businesses and families.
Air India Boeing 787 at BOM Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation