India releases new SOPs for international travel


India releases new SOPs for international travel

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for international travel on non-scheduled commercial flights under the Air Transport Bubble arrangement and the Vande Bharat Scheme. As per the protocol, anyone wishing to travel to India will first need to register themselves with the Indian missions in the country that they are currently stranded or residing in, along with all the required details as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Reportedly, the SOP has been issued to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection, and is aimed to keep a check on the movement of international passengers in a calibrated manner.

However, those coming to India on flights under air-bubble arrangements will not be required to register themselves with the Indian missions.

India releases new SOPs for international travel

As of now, India has managed to create bilateral ‘air bubbles’ or air travel arrangements with the following countries—the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Maldives. Apart from these, India is also negotiating with 13 more countries for similar kind of arrangement.

Reportedly, the SOP outlines that priority will be given to certain cases in distress, such as those short-term visa holders who are nearing the expiry of their vias, workers who have been laid off, pregnant women, elderly persons, those persons with medical emergency, or those required to return to India due to death of family members and students.

For all inbound travellers, the External Affairs Ministry will prepare a flight/ship wise database that will include all the required details, such as name, age, gender, place of residence, mobile phone number, their final destination, and information on their RT-PCR test taken and its result. Then, the same will be shared by MEA in advance with the respective state or union territory.

Source Article

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