Are Interstate Travel Allowed In India

David Lawrence
• Monday, 28 December, 2020
• 7 min read

From today, India will enter “Unlock 3.0”, which is the third phase of easing lockdown restrictions in the country. The central government has already released guidelines for Unlock 3.0, and they offer fewer travelling restrictions than ever.

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(Source: www.hindustantimes.com)


As per these new guidelines, the night curfew in the country has ended and even interstate travel is freely permitted. In line with this, several states in the country have decided to continue strict lockdown till 31 August and have imposed travel restrictions.

Tamil Nadu government has decided to impose a lockdown in the state till 31 August. Maharashtra, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, ha decided to extend statewide lockdown till 31 August.

The flights were suspended from December 23, 2020, due to fears over the UK’s new strain of coronavirus that is highly transmissible. India’s civil aviation officials are discussing the resumption of international flights in the new year after vaccination programs begin.

China has suspended the entry of non-Chinese travelers from India with valid visas or resident permits citing coronavirus concerns. Tanzania, Netherlands, and Rwanda have agreed to air bubble arrangements with India under the Vance Bharat Mission Phase 7.

As of October 21, India has travel bubble arrangements with the US, the UK, Germany, France, the UAE, Maldives, Canada, Japan, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Iraq, Oman, Bhutan, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Ukraine. India is in talks with Italy, Kazakhstan, and others for similar transport air bubble arrangements, as per civil aviation authorities.

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(Source: www.timesnownews.com)

On October 8, 2021, India’s civil aviation authority said the future of international flights will depend on the availability of a vaccine, hinting at the extension of air travel bubble arrangements into March-April next year. Low-cost carrier Spices announces its new flight operations connecting Delhi and Mumbai with London, starting December 4, which will come under the India -UK air bubble agreement.

New standard operating protocol announced August 22, 2021 for non-scheduled commercial flights under the repatriation scheme, Vance Bharat Mission, and Air Transport Bubble Agreements. Commercial international flights have been suspended in India since March 25 this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DMCA) modified its order to extend the suspension on international flights till January 31, 2021. The DMCA also clarified that international flights to and from the United Kingdom will stay suspended till January 7 (due to the new infectious strain of SARS-Cov-2 first detected in the UK).

The Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Singh Canal explained: “In a curfew, more than 5 people cannot assemble outside during the specified hours. Taxis, cars and auto-rickshaws will also run just like before.” The Hindustan Times reports : “All travelers arriving at Mumbai airport from European countries and the Middle East would be placed under institutional quarantine.

India’s Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Rival Gangly Was and South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choir Jong-un “exchanged views on cooperation in the context of COVID-19, including facilitating essential air travel between the two countries”, according to a press release from the MEA on December 23, 2020. More than 40 countries have put in place similar travel bans fearing the spread of the deadly new strain, especially during the festive season and given the impending vaccine roll-out.

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(Source: www.newsheads.in)

On Tuesday, December 15, officials from the civil aviation ministry met with representatives from international airlines seeking resumption of normal air travel. The airlines’ representatives asserted that India should first open up connectivity to major hubs in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Yet, multiple factors will determine whether India allows the resumption of normal air travel, including whether those countries will accept Indian passengers as well. Passengers flying from India to France, Netherlands, Germany, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai can now take further connecting flights to reach South America and Africa.

Previously, the air bubble arrangement allowed Indians to travel to the EU if they were flying to France, Germany. Also, it has been reported that passengers between India and Ukraine can travel to and from any of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS countries), except Russia.

(Besides Russia, CIS countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.) The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DMCA) amended its circular dated June 26, 2021 in a notification titled Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19” to state that scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India will be restricted till 23:59 hrs December 31, 2020. International all-cargo flights and specifically approved flights will not be affected.

India has now formalized air bubble arrangements with a total of 22 countries, having recently signed agreements with Ethiopia, Tanzania, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Oman in addition to earlier agreements done with countries like the USA, Canada, Japan, France, and Germany, among others. India has established a separate bilateral air bubble arrangement with Ethiopia for operation of special international passenger flights between the two countries, the Civil Aviation Ministry announced today.

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(Source: www.hindustantimes.com)

According to reporting in The Hindu : “On Tuesday , health authorities in Hubei province said 23 passengers on an October 30 Air India flight from New Delhi to Wuhan tested positive, of whom 19 were asymptomatic. Four symptomatic patients, including a couple travelling with a six-year-old, are being treated in hospital.” China has also suspended all flights from India citing the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Chinese Embassy/Consulates in India will not stamp the Health Declaration Forms for the holders of the above-mentioned categories of visa or residence permits,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. This order will apply to all foreign nationals in India holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.

Foreigners with emergency or humanitarian needs to visit China, can submit visa application to the Chinese Embassy/ Consulates in India. “ The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday also barred entry to non-Chinese visitors from several other countries, including the UK, Belgium, and the Philippines.

India has agreed to air bubble arrangements with Tanzania, Netherlands, and Rwanda under the Vance Bharat Mission Phase 7. This brings the number of countries holding bilateral air bubble pacts with India to 21: Afghanistan, Bhutan, US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Netherlands, Canada, Iraq, Kenya, Oman, and Ukraine.

The suspension of scheduled international passenger flights has been extended till November 30, 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday in a circular. The categories of visas through which people can now enter India includes for business, conferences, employment, studies, research, and medical purposes.

lockdown list covid country extended prohibited remain across services guidelines permitted interstate unless issued according rail centre road air travel
(Source: www.hindustantimes.com)

On October 21, India’s civil aviation ministry announced a resolution had been reached in the stalemate with Germany. India and Germany are still in talks to resume their currently suspended air bubble agreement, which was triggered when Lufthansa carried sixth freedom passengers (passengers flying from one country to another, to board a connecting flight to a third country; many Indians use international carriers like Lufthansa or Emirates to travel to the US or Canada).

This is why the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DMCA) cancelled Lufthansa’s flights between India and Germany from September 30 to October 20. Meanwhile, Germany has reportedly withdrawn its order that resulted in the halt of Air India flights to Frankfurt till October 14.

India’s civil aviation minister Harder Pure said: “The issue is not about allowing foreign carriers in or not. But I think the time has come for the message to go out loud and clear that it will not be done at the expense of the Indian carriers.” He also said, “Under the regulated (air bubble) arrangements, we are not insisting on total parity.

Even near parity will do.” Answering a question on whether the air travel bubble arrangements would continue till March-April, on October 8, India’s union civil aviation minister Harder Singh Pure said, “It is difficult to say as there is no country which has completely opened its borders for all. India is planning to operate two Vance Bharat flights between Delhi and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on October 23 and 30 to facilitate the travel of Indians stranded in the country due to restrictions imposed to combat the pandemic.

The air bubble arrangement allows Indian nationals holding any type of valid visa to travel to Japan. Thus, before issuing the tickets or boarding pass, airlines must ensure that there is no travel restriction in place affecting Indian nationals with a particular visa category to enter Japan.

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(Source: www.herzindagi.com)

Phase 6 of the Vance Bharat Mission will begin September 1 and is currently scheduled till October 24 as per the civil aviation ministry. Passengers on air travel bubble routes will no longer need to register with the Indian embassy portal, according to the Home Secretary A.K.

India has established air transport bubble agreements with US, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar, and Maldives. India’s Vance Bharat Mission (IBM), which began May 6 to repatriate stranded Indians abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic is in its fifth phase, till September 1.

Passengers traveling to Hong Kong need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test administered within 72 hours of the scheduled time of departure. The civil aviation minister HS Pure said on Tuesday that India is negotiating with 13 more countries to establish air bubbles / exclusive bilateral travel arrangements.

These include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Air travel bubbles have also been proposed with India’s neighboring countries: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.

According to the civil aviation ministry, India’s air travel arrangements are in place with US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, UAE, Qatar, and Maldives. Home quarantine for the full 14 days is permitted only for compelling reasons, such as pregnancy, death in family, serious illness, and parent(s) with children of the age of 10 years or below.

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(Source: www.enidhi.net)

Travelers may seek exemption from institutional quarantine by submitting a negative RT-PCR test report on arrival. This is because despite multiple lockdowns and a gradual economic reopening (Unlock phase 3), India’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

According to a statement by the Indian Director-General of Civil Aviation, Harder Singh Pure, “an air bubble is a travel corridor between two countries that will fly their aircraft in a regulated environment.” This travel arrangement allows passengers of Indian and non-Indian nationalities to embark on both legs of their India flights.

However, the ability of passengers to fly to and from India will still depend on how they navigate existing travel restrictions put in place by foreign jurisdictions in their respective destinations. While quarantine norms and testing criteria stand, passengers must meet India’s home ministry guidelines.

The reasons for travel allowed to India include repatriation, healthcare, business, manufacturing, expertise in engineering/managerial/design and some other areas, subject to specific conditions being satisfied.

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