All the prominent governments of the world are updating the covid rules keeping in mind the mutations being found around the globe. With the variants of Covid 19 emerging and finding occurrences in India, the Centre has refreshed its international arrival guidelines to curb the virus’s spread, focusing on those arriving into the country from Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

What are the new COVID rules for international airports?

These new COVID Operating Procedures are applicable for all incoming international travellers from South Africa, UK or Brazil transiting through flights originating from the Middle East, Europe and the UK. The categorisation for these particular locations has been done because of no direct flights between India, and South Africa and Brazil. Almost all the passengers arriving from the given countries come through transiting flights from Europe or the Middle East.

Ministry Health of Family & Welfare, in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has reviewed the situation concerning the point of entry actions required to minimise the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2 and came up with a new set of COVID rules. 

This document addresses all the actions taken in two parts:

  •  Standard Operating Procedures for all traveller coming from international destinations to India 
  • Additional procedures are only for those coming from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.

 The Ministry of Civil Aviation will decide the entry Airports for flight services based on the Bilateral/ Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flights.

New Guidelines for all international travellers except travellers coming through flights originating from the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East

 1. Planning for Travel 

  • a) All travellers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel. They also have to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should be conducted within 72 hours before undertaking the journey. 
  • b) The travellers have to undertake the portal through concerned airlines before they are allowed to undertake the journey. They would also abide by the appropriate government authority’s decision to undergo home quarantine or self-monitoring for a period of 2 weeks. 
  •  Suppose you are arriving in India without a negative report. In that case, the reason for any person who is allowed should be that for those travelling to India in the necessity of death in the family.
  •  c) Travellers have to apply on the online portal at least 72 hours before boarding. The government gives the decision, as communicated on the online portal, will be final.

2. Before boarding

  •  a) All the COVID guidelines shall be provided and a ticket to the travellers by the airlines/agencies concerned. 
  • b) Airlines will allow boarding only to those passengers who have completed the Self Declaration Form on the portal of Air Suvidha and uploaded the negative COVID RT-PCR test report. 
  • c) When boarding the flight, only asymptomatic travellers will board after the thermal screening process. 
  • d) All passengers are advised to keep the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.
  • e) During boarding, all possible measures have to be taken to ensure physical distancing.

3. During travel

  •  a) Announcement about COVID-19, which includes the following preventive measures and will make at airports and in flights and during transit.
  •  b) While taking the flight, required precautions such as wearing masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc., are to be strictly observed by airline staff, crew and all passengers.

4. On arrival

  •  a) Deboarding will be done by ensuring physical distancing.
  •  b) The passengers have to undergo thermal screening by the health officials present at the Airport. The passengers will have to show the self-declaration form to the airport health staff. 
  • c) The passengers found with any COVID symptoms during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to the medical facility as per health protocol.
  •  d) The passengers exempted for pre-arrival COVID RT-PCR testing will show the same to the respective State counters. 
  • e) The other passengers who have uploaded COVID RT-PCR negative certificates on the Air Suvidha portal will be allowed to take transit flights or leave the Airport. They also have to undertake self-monitoring of their health for 14 days. 
  • f) This will also allow the passengers to list the National and State level surveillance officers and the respective call centre. 
Guidelines for all international travellers are coming through flights from these countries: United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East.

 All the guidelines as above (part A) shall apply to the travellers coming from flights originating from Europe, the Middle East and the UK except for guidelines on testing, quarantine and isolation as given below:

 All international travelers coming from flights originating from Europe, the UK, and the Middle East have to submit their SDF. The form will submit or upload on the online Air Suvidha portal before the travel schedule. In addition to this, they should also show their travel history of the past 14 days.

1. While filling Self – Declaration form, besides providing all other information that is needed in the Self- Declaration Form, passengers need to select the following given below: 

  • a. Whether they are planning to leave at the arrival airport or will take any further flights to reach the there desired destination in the country.
  •  b. based on this selection, the receipt of the Self Declaration Form, which is dispatched online to the transiting travellers, will display “T”, which means transit in bigger and readable font size, and it will be bigger than the other text in the form.
  •  c. The passengers will need to show this receipt to State authority / Government officials at the Airport for segregation and as per COVID rules.

2. The testing requirements for passengers from South Africa, the UK and Brazil have to board the connecting flights. Airlines should keep their passengers updated about the transit time that is a minimum of 6-8 hours at the entry airport in India during the booking of tickets for connecting flights.

 3. All the passengers are arriving from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East have to carry the negative RT-PCR Test report for which test should conduct within 72 hours before undertaking the journey. 

 4. Airlines allowed boarding only those who have filled in the SDF on the Air Suvidha portal and uploaded the negative RT-PCR test report. 

 5. The concerned airlines shall ensure that before check-in, the traveller has to explain this SOP.

6. Airlines should look for the international travellers arriving from or transiting through Brazil, South Africa and the UK during the past 14 days and segregate them in-flight or disembarking to facilitate the authorities’ following the due protocol respect of these travellers.

7. In-flight, the announcements must also explain relevant information to the passengers. Relevant information shall prominently display in the waiting area and arrival area in the Airport.

 8. The immigration officers of these given airports shall also ensure the identification of travellers from their passports who originated or transited from the given countries during the past 14 days.

 9. People travelling and arriving from or transiting through flights originating in the United Kingdom, Europe, or the Middle East have to mandatorily subject the self-paid molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports.

 10. The airport authority shall ensure the smooth running and efficient working for testing at the airports to ensure seamless sampling, testing, and waiting for arrangements to avoid crowding and inconvenience once passengers arrive at the entry airport, Airport.  

11. Airports can provide passengers with options to make the confirmatory molecular test online through the respective website (Air Suvidha portal).

12. Sample collection cum waiting for the passengers’ lounge should follow all the government’s social distancing guidelines.

13. The States/UTs Government should set up helpdesks at airports concerned to facilitate the SOP implementation.

14. Travelers from South Africa, Brazil and the UK should:

  •  a. The travellers have to give a sample at the Airport’s exit and designated area.
  • b. people coming from the given countries who have negative test report are advised to quarantine themselves at their home for seven days and regularly followed up by the concerned State/District IDSP.
  • c. All those who are tested positive shall undergo the procedure as given in Clause.
covid and travel

15. All travellers from Brazil, UK and South Africa at the arrival airport:

  •  a. Will submit their sample in the designated area and only then exit the Airport. They will follow up with the state (IDSP) Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. 
  • b. The concerned State authorities or the airport operators will collect and covey the test reports to the travellers. 
  • c. If any of the passengers are tested negative, they will remain in home quarantine for seven days and get regular follow up by the concerned State/District IDSP. These travellers will test up after seven days, and if tested negative, they will be released from quarantine. But will continue to monitor their health for a further seven days. 
  • d. All those who are tested positive shall undergo the procedure as detailed in Clause.

16. All the travellers from the Middle East and Europe, excluding those in flights coming from South Africa, UK and Brazil who have to take connecting flights to their final domestic destination and exit as well:

  •  a. Shall submit samples at the designated area and only then exit the Airport.
  •  b. The concerned State authorities/airport operators will collect and convey the test report to the traveller. 
  • c. In case the test report is negative, they will advise to self-monitor their health for 14 days.
  • d. In case the test report is positive, they will undergo treatment as per standard health protocol.

 17. Travelers from South Africa, UK, and Brazil testing positive shall isolate themselves in a separate isolation unit coordinated at the institutional isolation centre, under the observation of the respective State Health Authorities. 

 18. The State-wise passenger manifest of the flights originating from Europe and the Middle East that landing at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai airports in India f shall be conveyed by the Bureau of Immigration to the State Government/Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP)

19. All the contact travellers are arriving from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil who tests positive shall be sent to institutional quarantine in separate quarantine centres and tested on the 7th day.

20. Information regarding any passenger covered within this SOP scope and the passenger moving to another state will notify the concerned State Health Authority immediately. In case the passenger is not traceable during any duration while being followed up, should be immediately notified to the Central Surveillance Unit of IDSP by the District Surveillance Officer.

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About the Author

Sakshi Gautam


I am a freelance content writer working in the field for the past five years. I specialize in blog posts, articles, and websites contents for e-commerce, education, immigration, travel and food platforms. For a platform to grow, I believe that it needs quality contents and uniqueness that stands out from competitors.

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