COVID-19 Information

Last updated:   02/22/21

*** Effective January 26, all incoming airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide results of a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days before travel. Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care 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 in India have been generally decreasing since mid-September 2020, but some regions in India have been experiencing recent upswings.  Media reports indicate that healthcare capacity is currently sufficient to address healthcare needs both in terms of available critical care bed space and numbers of trained medical personnel.

The CDC travel health alert to India currently stands at Level 2.  U.S. citizens who presently travel to India are strongly urged to 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.

Normal services are available throughout the country, including grocery stores, schools/universities, and religious services. Most schools have moved to an online or hybrid system. For specific information about classes, please check with your educational institution. Most retail shops and restaurants are open, though they may have reduced hours and limits on the number of patrons allowed inside. Public gatherings are restricted in size. Contact tracing and temperature scans are widely practiced, and most restaurants will require patrons to provide their name and a mobile number in order to enter the establishment.  Local areas may have additional restrictions.

Face masks are almost universally worn in public, especially in urban areas, indoors, and on public transportation. U.S. citizens should be aware that failure to adhere to mask-wearing norms reflects poorly on foreign residents and may result in a fine.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Are PCR and/or antigen tests available for U.S. citizens in India? Yes, tests are widely available throughout India in both private and government facilities.
  • If so, are test results reliably available within 72 hours? Yes, results are generally available in that timeframe. While in some cities results make take 24-48 hours when done by a private lab, there have been no reports of travel delays due to unavailable test results.  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.
  • S. citizens should contact their doctor in India to request assistance scheduling a COVID 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 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 2250 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 two locally produced vaccines for use in India.  The Government of India has been administering vaccinations to healthcare and frontline workers since January 16, 2021.  Vaccinations for the general public are not yet available.  Once open to the public, individuals will have to register on the Co-Win app and submit identification.  Acceptable forms of ID include Aadhaar, 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.
  • 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.

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. citizens 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 must upload a negative RT-PCR report to the Air Suvidha portal taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey.
  • All international passengers must visit 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, 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 foreign nationals stranded in India because of COVID-19 restrictions may extend their regular visas and e-visas after completing an online application.  Travelers with approved extensions should not be fined an overstay penalty upon departure.  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.
  • 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 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 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 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.  States may have additional testing and/or quarantine requirements.
  • Is public transportation operating? Yes.

Fines for Non-Compliance

  • Individuals in public spaces without a mask maybe fined per instance of non-compliance. The amount differs by region (currently Rs 2000 per instance in New Delhi).
  • Individuals who break quarantine maybe 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

  • S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai have resumed some routine services. For information on visas, click here, and for U.S. citizens click here.
  • 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: