India travel restrictions to lift starting Oct. 15 for some tourists


After more than a year of restricting travel, India is getting ready to welcome back international tourists.

The country, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, is set to begin granting fresh tourist visas to foreigners traveling by chartered flights on Oct. 15. Tourists may enter through non-chartered flights with a tourist visa starting Nov. 15. 

India suspended all existing visas in March 2020. Travel through other visas – such as business and student visas – resumed earlier this year, but the country held off on resuming tourism. That changes later this month, according to a statement from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. 

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“All due protocols and norms relating to COVID-19 … shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations,” the ministry said in a Thursday statement.

India faced a massive surge of COVID-19 earlier this year, hitting a new record of 414,188 new daily cases in May, but case counts have since dipped. As of Friday, there have been 21,257 cases reported in the past day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says India has a “moderate level of COVID-19,” and suggests travelers get fully vaccinated before entering.  

What are the entry requirements?

Travelers to India must present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival regardless of vaccination status, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before the trip and can be uploaded to the Air Suvidha portal.

India also requires travelers to submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours before departure through the same online portal.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz





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