There’s more simplicity for regional travel to report on this month, with India becoming the latest country to practically drop all COVID-19 entry requirements, by removing vaccination, testing and “silly forms” from its list of pre-departure conditions for travellers and returning residents.
This makes travel significantly more straightforward for those heading on one of over 200 weekly flights from Changi to India each week.
The latest requirements come about following a “sustained declining COVID-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in COVID-19 vaccination coverage both globally as well as in India”, according to the government there.
Since mid-February 2022, passengers arriving in India had to have either:
- a printed negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point; or
- a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that they were fully vaccinated, issued in one of around 140 specified countries.
All arriving travellers were also obliged to complete the Air Suvidha self-declaration form before departure.
With effect from 22nd November 2022 at 0.01am India Standard Time, India has significantly relaxed its entry requirements.
- Proof of vaccination is no longer required for any travellers
- The Air Suvidha self-declaration form has been disbanded
- Pre-departure testing has been scrapped for unvaccinated travellers
Thermal screening on arrival is now the only requirement for arriving international travellers.
Mask-wearing on India flights axed
This axing of most COVID-19 entry rules comes on top of another recent relaxation in India.
Last week the country dropped its in-flight mask mandate, with passengers on domestic and international flights now only recommended to wear a face covering.
As a result, 70% of all Singapore Airlines flights are now mask-optional, as we recently outlined in a dedicated article.
Regional COVID-19 travel relaxations
Other countries in the region that have already removed all COVID-19 entry restrictions, and similarly returned to a fully pre-pandemic travel format, include:
The Maldives is also a pre-COVID experience, with the exception of the requirement for travellers to complete a health declaration within 96 hours (4 days) of arrival. New Zealand retains a similar requirement.
What about Singapore?
Despite widespread regional ditching of all COVID-19 restrictions for travellers, Singapore still clings on to differentiated entry requirements at the time of writing, requiring unvaccinated travellers to have a negative COVID-19 test conducted within two days of departure, in order to travel to the country.
COVID-19 travel insurance with a minimum cover of S$30,000 is also compulsory, and proof of insurance must be shown by these travellers.
Furthermore, all travellers arriving in the Lion City by air are required to complete an electronic health declaration (SGAC) within three days of arrival, including Singapore Citizens and residents.
Good health is fully assured, however, for residents entering via the land border via Malaysia – the form is not required of Singapore Citizens and returning residents in this case!
Travel to India is now practically a pre-COVID experience, whether you’re fully vaccinated or not, adding the country to the list of the simplest options in the region alongside several others that have finally ditched COVID-related entry restrictions.
This includes no more mask-wearing mandate on board flights to and from the country, a benefit now enjoyed by passengers on around 70% of Singapore Airlines routes, as we recently outlined.
India put a stop to scheduled international flights for two years, from 20th March 2020 to 27th March 2022, so it’s great to see the country has now also restored pre-pandemic travel norms.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)