Last updated: 3/29/2022
*** Effective November 8, 2021, all non-immigrant, non-U.S. citizen air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.
*** Effective December 6, 2021, all international air passengers boarding a flight to the United States who are 2 years or older, including U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test administered within no more than one (1) calendar day before their flight (regardless of vaccination status).
Exemptions will be considered on an extremely limited basis. Please visit the CDC webpages for more information about exemptions and the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions in India. Case numbers and test positivity are decreasing in many regions of India. The Government of India is closely monitoring the overall trends largely caused by the Omicron variant and updating travel guidelines accordingly. Travelers are advised to check COVID-19 trends and travel/testing guidelines at their destination, which may change with little advance notice.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently lists a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for travel to India and the Department of State has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory advising increased caution. The Department of State Level 2 Travel Advisory encourages U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism. Please note that these advisories may be updated with changing conditions and should be checked regularly. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have limited ability to provide assistance in some areas. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
U.S. citizens who must travel to India are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot before travel and should take additional personal health safety measures to protect themselves, including practicing social or physical distancing, cleaning hands with soap/hand sanitizer, wearing well-fitted masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation. Entry into some public places (e.g. malls) require proof of vaccination. The CDC recommends that U.S. citizens get flu shots to better protect themselves from a major flu outbreak and reduce the need to access the local health system at this time. Finally, U.S. citizens should continue to obey measures introduced by Indian officials designed to mitigate COVID-19 outbreaks in their areas.
Services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores and malls are generally open throughout India. Indian states and union territories make independent decisions regarding COVID-19 countermeasures, including whether schools can operate with in-person instruction. Many schools and universities have resumed in-person classes. For specific information about classes, please check with your educational institution. Social gathering venues (such as bars and restaurants) may be operating with limited capacity or reduced hours, and retail shops may have in place limited hours and/or limits on the number of patrons allowed inside. Some local areas are imposing additional restrictions to include limits on the number of people permitted at social gatherings such as weddings, mandatory random PCR testing, and providing proof of negative test results, COVID-19 vaccination, and/or quarantines if entering from overseas locations or certain Indian states.
Face masks are almost universally required to be worn in public, especially in urban areas, indoors, and on public transportation. These regulations are being strictly enforced, and U.S. citizens should be aware that failure to adhere to mask-wearing norms reflects poorly on foreign residents and is likely to result in a fine.
- Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in India? Yes, tests are available throughout India in both private and government facilities.
- If so, are test results reliably available within one day of travel? Yes, labs in major cities within India are generally able to provide results within one day. Travelers need to schedule tests with sufficient advance notice and should be aware that testing is generally not possible on Sundays as most labs are closed. 24/7 PCR testing services with results available in a few hours are available in most international airports in India.
- U.S. citizens should contact their doctor in India to request assistance scheduling a COVID-19 test prior to travel. Citizens who do not have a doctor can locate a testing facility near them by going to the Indian Council for Medical Research website or by calling the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s tollfree COVID-19 helpline number by dialing 1075. Testing at government hospitals throughout India is free to the public. Costs for testing at a private facility or in a private residence are set by state governments and range from Rs 400 to Rs 2,250 per person for PCR tests. Rapid tests with results available within a few hours cost an average of Rs 5,000.
- Travelers can expect to receive results via phone or email.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information:
- Has the government of India approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use? Yes.
- Are vaccines available in India for U.S. citizens to receive? Yes, all individuals age 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible individuals seeking the vaccine must register on the Co-Win portal (www.cowin.gov.in/home) and submit identification. Acceptable forms of ID include Aadhaar card, driving license, voter ID, PAN card, passport, job card, or pension document. Individuals will receive an SMS message with details on the date, venue, and time of vaccination.
- Which vaccines are available in India? Three vaccines approved by the Government of India are currently being administered in India – Covishield (AstraZeneca), Covaxin, Corbevax, and Sputnik.
- Covishield and Covaxin have received WHO Emergency Use Listing and are considered eligible vaccines for entry into the United States.
- Based on reports of vaccine shortages in some parts of the country, and a recommended interval of 12-16 weeks between doses of Covishield (the most commonly available vaccine) and Covaxin, the time to get fully vaccinated in India could be delayed.
- Government of India announcements regarding vaccination are available at mygov.in/covid-19/ and at mohfw.gov.in.
- Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination is available on the CDC website
- Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.
- The U.S. government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.
Entry and Exit Requirements
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter India? Yes.
- Travel to India for tourism and other short-term purposes resumed fully for individuals holding tourist or e-tourist visas. Valid visas, which were previously suspended due to COVID-19 precautions, have been fully reinstated and are valid for travel until their printed expiration dates.
- Additional categories of travelers including certain business travelers, as well as individuals moving to India as residents, are permitted.
- For complete information on travel restrictions and any possible exceptions, please consult the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding their Guidelines for International Arrivals, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The U.S. embassy strongly urges any U.S. citizen considering travel to India to carefully review the information available from the Government of India. Please note these regulations are subject to change with little notice. The U.S. embassy’s ability to intervene on behalf of travelers denied entry into India is extremely limited, and travelers denied entry at Indian ports of entry will likely be immediately reboarded and returned on flights back to the United States.
- Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes, if an individual age 5 or older is not fully vaccinated from a country with reciprocal vaccine recognition. The United States has reciprocal vaccination recognition with India. As of February 14, 2022, all international travelers age 5 and older arriving in India, must upload either a negative RT-PCR report taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey or a certificate of completion of full primary series COVID-19 vaccination to the Air Suvidha portal. Additional testing on entry/quarantine may apply based on random testing upon arrival.
- All international passengers must visit newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/allairports and submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours prior to departure for India.
- Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes.
- All travelers will undergo thermal screening upon arrival. Symptomatic travelers will be isolated and re-tested.
- Two percent (2%) of all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will be selected for testing on arrival. Travelers selected for testing on arrival will be permitted to depart the airport following collection of the test sample and do not have to wait for results.
- All travelers are required to self-monitor for 14 days after arrival.
- Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter India? Yes.
- The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs extended regular visas and e-visas of foreign nationals stranded in India because of COVID-19 until September 30, 2021 without penalty. Travelers were not fined an overstay penalty upon departure if done by that date. Citizens who did not depart by September 30, 2021 are now subject to fines and other penalties. Contact the Foreign Resident Registration Office (FRRO) well before any planned departure to pay related fines and obtain appropriate exit permission (https://indianfrro.gov.in/eservices/home.jsp).
- Is a curfew in place? Yes, in some states and localities.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes, some states require either proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a current negative test result and/or testing on arrival if entering from other Indian states. Additional quarantine may be required dependent on state of origin.
- Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes, any traveler who tests positive upon arrival or while in the country will be required to isolate for seven (7) days. All other travelers will be required to self-monitor their health for 14 days post arrival.
- Some states require testing on arrival and/or quarantine for all individuals arriving from outside their borders.
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes, within India. A reduced number of international flight options are available. Airlines may have strict policies regarding who can book / board these flights based on Indian government restrictions. However, as of March 27, regularly scheduled commercial passenger service resumed and airlines are expected to gradually adjust their flights. Please check flight availability with airlines or with travel agents/sites. If your first choice of travel dates is not available, please continue to search for availability. In general, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates may not assist you with booking commercially available flights. States may have additional testing and/or quarantine requirements.
- Is public transportation operating? Yes, though hours of operation vary throughout India depending on regional COVID-19 measures. Please follow local media for measures in your area and verify with official Government of India sources.
Fines for Non-Compliance
- Individuals in public spaces without a mask may be fined per instance of non-compliance. The amount differs by region (e.g., currently Rs 500 per instance in New Delhi).
- Individuals who break quarantine may be fined and/or detained. The severity of the punishment for non-compliance will depend upon the state government policies and level of danger the lack of quarantine posed to the public.
- U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai are open for visa and citizens services. For information on visas, click here, and for U.S. citizens click here.
- U.S. citizens and visa applicants who are granted appointments at U.S. Embassy New Delhi or any U.S. consulate in India must wear masks upon entering the premises and are prohibited from entering these facilities if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to anyone known to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.
Below are sources of local COVID-19 information in English. U.S. citizens should closely monitor trusted local news sources and local authorities’ communications for updates and information. This list is not exhaustive:
- Indian Ministry of Home Affairs
- Indian Bureau of Immigration
- Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Press Information Bureau
The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has a 24/7 hotline at +91-11-2397-8046 with English-speaking operators or can be reached at email@example.com.
The Indian Medical Association also has a 24/7 hotline for individuals to speak with a doctor at +91 99996-72238 or +91 99996-72239.