Last updated: 1/19/2022
*** 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 rising in most regions of India. The Government of India is closely monitoring the overall trends and 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 2 Travel Health Notice for travel to India and the Department of State has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory advising increased caution. Level 2 encourages U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution throughout the country due to possible risks to their safety and security. 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. 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, and medical supply stores are still generally open throughout India, but restrictions on shopping malls have been imposed in some regions with increasing cases. Indian states and union territories make independent decisions regarding COVID-19 countermeasures, including whether schools can operate with in-person instruction. After having resumed regular in-person classes last summer, schools and universities in some states have paused in-person classes indefinitely. 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 lockdowns, night/weekend curfews, 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 15 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, 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/.
- 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 on November 15 for individuals holding tourist or e-tourist visas issued on or after October 6, 2021. Tourist visas issued before October 2021 will not be honored and travelers attempting to enter India using one of these visas are likely to be detained and returned to their point of origin.
- 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, 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 nationality or country of embarkment/transit.
- All international passengers must visit newdelhiairport.in/airsuvidha/allairports and submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours prior to departure for India. Travelers who are fully vaccinated and wish to partake of quarantine relaxations must also upload a copy of their vaccine certificate to the Air Suvidha Portal.
- 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 and their vaccination status.
- All travelers, regardless of point of origin, will undergo thermal screening upon arrival. Symptomatic travelers will be isolated and re-tested.
- Travelers coming from or transiting through locations listed as “Countries At-Risk” will be retested upon arrival and not permitted to depart the airport or proceed to connecting flights until a negative test result is returned. Travelers may opt to use the Rapid test (average cost 3500 INR, varying by State) and can expect to wait 1-2 hours after landing to depart the airport. Travelers opting to use a PCR test will be charged 500 INR and can expect to wait 4 hours or more after landing to depart the airport. Travelers with negative tests will be required to home quarantine for seven (7) days, retest on the eighth day, upload test results to the Air Suvidha portal, and continue to self-monitor for an additional seven (7) days. Travelers who test positive will be held in stringent isolation.
- The list of “Countries At-Risk” is updated regularly. Travelers should confirm the status of the country they are traveling from/transiting through prior to travel.
- Two percent (2%) of travelers from all other countries, regardless of vaccination status, will be selected for testing on arrival in the same manner as travelers from “Countries At-Risk”. Additionally, all travelers from other countries will be required to home quarantine for seven (7) days, retest on the eighth day, upload test results to the Air Suvidha portal, and continue to self-monitor for an additional seven (7) days if negative.
- 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, all travelers regardless of vaccination status will be required to complete either isolated quarantine or home quarantine. Travelers who test negative upon arrival from “Countries At-Risk” and all travelers from “non-At-Risk” countries will be required to home quarantine for seven (7) days, test again on the eight day, and upload the results to Air Suvidha portal. Any traveler who tests positive upon arrival in India or receives a positive test result for the test taken on the eighth day will be required to complete isolated quarantine.
- 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. 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 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.
- U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai are open for 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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.