India Travel Restrictions – Can I travel to India (Covid-19)?

Wondering what the latest India travel restrictions are and can you travel from overseas to India during Covid-19? The answer is… it depends. For a breakdown of the current travel ban India has, read this guide for international travellers to India.

This post may contain compensated affiliate links. More info in our disclosure here.

Travel Restrictions to India – What you Need to Know

As the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, India shut its borders to international arrivals and put in place an India travel ban and suspended all international flights to India. International flights out of India were also stopped.

At the time of writing (April 2021), India is currently experiencing a second wave of the virus, especially in its large cities.

At the current time, international flights to India have still not resumed, with the exception of those operating under air-bubble agreements with a number of countries. However, these air-bubble arrangements include international flights to a large number of countries, and many people are still entering India, so, the question is – can you travel to India now?

Remember: As well as the advice below, you’ll also need to check if you’re allowed to leave your own country and if you’ll be able to return from India.

Want to stay up to date on travelling internationally to India? Join our Facebook Community for travellers to India here.

Important Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is designed to help inform you and is taken from official sources, however since information can change at short notice please always first consult with official sources – such as your government travel advice bureau or Indian embassy before making your travel plans. Soul Travel India is not a visa agency and is not permitted to provide advice as pertains visas.

Travel to India Restrictions – What Are They?

Currently, travel to India for the purposes of tourism is not allowed, and all tourism and general visit (e)visas are suspended until further notice.

In March 2020 all scheduled international flights were cancelled, and as of the latest information this ban remains in place until at least 31st July 2021. So far, flight restrictions to India (and out) are being reviewed and renewed on a monthly rolling basis, which has so far meant that this international flight ban is being extended month by month.

However, certain types of visas for essential travel to India are still available, and some international flights (also known as vande Bharat flights) are still operating under air bubble arrangements with certain countries.

You can find a list of countries operating air bubble flights to and from India here, with information about who is allowed to travel on them.

Generally speaking, only Indian nationals, Overseas Citizens of India (OCI’s) and their dependents are able to travel on air bubble flights to India.

Grounded planes at Mumbai Airport

What Indian Visas are Currently Valid for Travel to India?

The India entry restrictions which were put in place in March 2020 and last updated in June 2020, saw many types of visas indefinitely suspended until further notice.

As of July 2021, the following applies:

  • All tourism visas (e-visa and regular visa) are suspended
  • All other types of e-visa, except tourism are reinstated, including e-business visa and e-medical visa
  • All other regular (paper) visa applications are open

For the latest updates, please see India Bureau of Immigration visa website here.

However, given that regular international flights are still suspended, you will need to check your eligibility to travel as – say – a foreign national wishing to travel to India on Business.

If you want to apply for a visa for India, due to the changing nature of the current situation, I recommend using a trusted agency such as I Visa. Use this link to get a 5% discount.

Arriving in India

On arrival in India, you are expected to quarantine. According to which state (and airport) you fly into, there are varying requirements, mostly including a mandatory institutional (hotel) quarantine, at the traveller’s own expense for 14 days.

Flights will also expect a negative Covid-19 test to be submitted 72 hours before your flight to India, and a further test on arrival at your own expense.

Please check with the Indian Bureau of Immigration website and your airline for up to date quarantine rules for your state if travelling to India.

When Will I be Able to Travel to India?

If you’re hoping to travel to India as a tourist or general visitor, unfortunately there is no sign of when the current Indian travel restrictions will end. The current international flight ban for non-Indian passengers will not lift until 30th April at the very earliest, and judging on past behaviour, there is every likelihood that the Indian government will continue to extend the ban until the Covid-19 situation in India – and globally improves.

Travelling to India now is not encouraged for anybody, thanks to the current second wave of the corona virus in India – please check your local government’s India travel advisory to stay up to date with the situation if you are planning a trip.

So if you’re wondering will you be able to travel to India in 2021 – like us – sorry, but at the moment it’s not looking good, and there’s no sign of travel restrictions in India lifting in the short term. If you would like to stay in touch with the latest developments and start planning your trip for the future, please sign up to our India travel newsletter using the form below.

And until then, we can only dream of India. And if that’s not enough, why not check out some of the India virtual tours on offer here, or just start planning your future dream trip to India.

Founder of Soul Travel India, Ellie fell in love with the sub-continent on her first trip there, and together with her other half Ravi, a Mumbai-ker, she helps others plan their dream trips to India. When not "working", she can usually be found riding around on Indian railways, chai in hand. Ellie is also the founder of Soul Travel Blog and her work on sustainable tourism has been published by leading brands such as Lonely Planet.