RT-PCR Test is Now Mandatory for Travellers To India From Middle East


The Indian government has issued new guidelines for passengers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in the UK, Europe, or the Middle East, which will come into force from February 23. The new guideline is put in place as new UK, Brazil, and South African mutant variants were reported in India.

All the passengers arriving from the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East should carry a negative RT-PCR Test report for which test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. The same also shall be uploaded on the online portal.

The guidelines state all the travelers arriving from/transiting through flights originating in United Kingdom, Europe or the Middle East shall be mandatorily subjected to self-paid confirmatory molecular tests on arrival at the Indian airports concerned (port of entry). The entry made in the SDF regarding the telephone number and address would be reconfirmed.

Airports were urged to provide options to the passengers to do online booking of the confirmatory molecular test through the respective website (Air Suvidha portal) or other appropriate platforms as well as to do the offline booking. As far as possible digital payment facilities to be ensured.

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

“To reduce the risk of importation of mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2, SOP for International Passengers arriving in India have been updated in supersession of all guidelines on the subject since 2 Aug 2020. The new SOP will be in effect on 23:59 hrs on 22nd Feb,21,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India, tweeted.

All international travelers coming/transiting from flights originating from United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East should submit the Self-Declaration Form (SDF) for COVID on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel and will be required to declare their travel history (of past 14 days).

i. While filling SDF, apart from providing all other information required in the SDF, passengers need to select:
a. Whether they plan to disembark at the arrival airport or take further flights to reach their final destination in India.
b. Based on this selection, the receipt of SDF (dispatched online to the transiting travelers)will display “T” (Transit) in easily readable and bigger font than other text.
c. The passengers will need to display this receipt to State authority / Government officials at the airport for segregation.

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Related: How To Do RT-PCR Test in Qatar for Travel to India

Image Source: Freepik

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