COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Last updated:  07/20/21

* Effective May 4, the entry into the United States of certain nonimmigrant travelers who have been physically present in India is suspended by Presidential Proclamation.  U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and immigrants are not subject to the proclamation.  The suspension of entry also does not apply to non-U.S. citizen spouses, unmarried children or siblings under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, or to parents or legal guardians of unmarried U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents under the age of 21.Students with valid F-1 or M-1 visas intending to begin or continue academic studies beginning August 1, 2021 or later may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start of their studies.  More information is available at travel.state.gov.

**Effective January 26, all incoming airline passengers to the United States aged two years and older must provide results of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.

Country-Specific Information

The U.S. embassy and consulates continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions in India.  Case numbers continue to decrease in most regions of India.  However there continue to be local hotspots, and some patients recovering from COVID-19 or persons with diabetes or compromised immune systems have become infected with mucormycosis, also known in media reports as “Black Fungus”, a serious infection that carries an extremely high mortality rate.  Availability of medicines to treat mucormycosisis limited.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice and the Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory advising against all travel to India. Level 3 encourages U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to the country due to serious risks of safety and security. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

U.S. citizens who must travel to India are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated before travel and continue to take personal health safety measures to protect themselves, including practicing social or physical distancing, cleaning hands with soap/hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.  The CDC strongly 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, and medical supply stores are generally open throughout India.  Indian states and union territories make independent decisions on when schools can reopen.  Some colleges reopened in June and July, while others according to press reports remain online only.  For specific information about classes, please check with your educational institution.  Social gathering venues (such as bars and restaurants) are largely reopened but 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.  Many parts of India are not allowing large gatherings.  Local areas may have additional restrictions to include lockdowns, night curfews, mandatory random PCR testing, and providing proof of negative test results and/or quarantines if entering from 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.

COVID-19 Testing

  • 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 72 hours? Yes, 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 although certain airports have launched 24- hour testing services with results available in a few hours.
  • 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 toll free 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.
  • 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, the Government of India has approved three vaccines that are available for use in India – Covishield (AstraZeneca), Covaxin, and Sputnik (Moderna is also approved, but is not yet available on the Indian market).  As of May 1, the Government of India extended eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to all individuals age 18 and older.  Eligible individuals seeking the vaccine must register on the Co-Win portal (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.
  • There have been reports of vaccine shortages across the country, which could delay the ability to obtain a vaccination.
  • The United States does not require a COVID-19 vaccination for entry into 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.
  • Government of India announcements regarding vaccination are available at in/covid-19/.
  • Information from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter India? Yes, depending on the purpose of travel.
    • Travel to India for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted.
    • However, some 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 Home Affairs or 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, as of February 22, 2021, all international travelers arriving in India, regardless of vaccination status, must upload a negative RT-PCR report to the Air Suvidha portal taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey.  Additional testing on entry/quarantine may apply depending on country of embarkment/transit.
  • All international passengers must visit in/airsuvidha/allairportsand 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, the type of screening depends upon where the traveler is coming from and/or transiting through.
    • Travelers coming from or transiting through the UK, Europe, Brazil, South Africa, or the Middle East must submit to and pay for a confirmatory molecular test upon arrival. All other international travelers must submit to thermal (fever) screening upon arrival.  Passengers who are symptomatic or screened positive for fever or virus will be taken to designated isolation facilities for further evaluation and testing.
    • The information on these passengers will be shared with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare staff for further follow-up.
    • See the chart below for further details
 

Travelers Coming From/Transiting Through UK, Brazil, & South Africa Travelers Coming From/Transiting Through Europe and Middle East All Other International Travelers
Prior to Travel

•Traveler must submit self-declaration form on Air Suvidha portal

•Upload a negative COVID RT-PCR report of test taken no more than 72 hours before start of travel

•Declare past 14-day travel history

•Traveler must submit self-declaration form on Air Suvidha portal

•Upload a negative COVID RT-PCR report of test taken no more than 72 hours before start of travel

•Declare past 14-day travel history

•Traveler must submit self-declaration form on Air Suvidha portal

•Upload a negative COVID RT-PCR report of test taken no more than 72 hours before start of travel

Upon Arrival

•Submit to and pay for a confirmatory molecular COVID test

•Present copy of self-declaration form

•Submit to and pay for a confirmatory molecular COVID test

•Present copy of self-declaration form

•Submit to thermal screening

•Present copy of self-declaration form

With Negative Results at Airport

•Can continue travel and must home quarantine for 7 days

•Release from home quarantine dependent upon results of test after the 7 days are complete

•Can continue travel and must self-monitor for 14 days*

*Passengers seated near someone coming from the UK, Brazil, or South Africa who tests positive for COVID will be placed in institutional quarantine for at least 7 days.

•Can continue travel and must self-monitor for 14 days*

*Passengers seated near someone coming from the UK, Brazil, or South Africa who tests positive for COVID will be placed in institutional quarantine for at least 7 days.

With Positive Results at Airport

•Will be sent to an isolation unit in an institutional facility for quarantine and sample will be genetically tested

•If COVID genetics show a variant, the traveler will remain in the isolation unit

•If COVID genetics show current virus, the traveler may be released for home quarantine or remain in institutional quarantine on a case-by-case basis

•Will be sent to institutional quarantine for additional screening and may remain there or be granted home quarantine on a case-by-case basis •Will be sent to institutional quarantine for additional screening and may remain there or be granted home quarantine on a case-by-case basis

 

  • The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs stated that regular visas and e-visas of foreign nationals stranded in India because of COVID-19 restrictions have been extended until August 31 without penalty. Travelers should not be fined an overstay penalty upon departure if done by August 31.  Contact the Foreign Resident Registration Office (FRRO) well before any planned departure to obtain appropriate exit permission (https://indianfrro.gov.in/eservices/home.jsp).

Movement Restrictions

  • Is a curfew in place? Yes, in some states and localities.
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? Yes, some states require a current negative test result if entering from other Indian states or for travelers to quarantine for 14 days.

Quarantine Information

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? Yes, U.S. citizens traveling from or transiting through the UK, Brazil, and South Africa will have to quarantine at least seven (7) days even if they test negative upon arrival. Any U.S. citizen who tests positive for COVID-19 upon arrival or who presents with a fever during thermal screening will be subject to quarantine.  (See the chart above.)
    • Additionally, U.S. citizens who test negative for COVID-19 but were seated in the same row as, three rows before, or three rows behind a traveler arriving from the UK, South Africa, or Brazil who tests positive for COVID-19 upon arrival will also be placed in institutional quarantine for at least seven (7) days pending additional testing.
    • Some states require quarantine for all individuals arriving from outside their borders with no exemptions. During the 14-day quarantine period, travelers are not permitted to use any form of public transportation or appear in any public location.

Transportation Options

  • 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. 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 (currently Rs 2,000 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.

Consular Operations

  • U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai are open for limited routine visa and citizens services at this time. We continue to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. 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.

Local Resources:

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:

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 ncov2019@gmail.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.

Other links: