India extends international flights ban until December 31

On Nov. 26, 2020, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India tweeted a circular that extends the nation’s international travel ban through Dec. 31, 2020.

This is an update of the circular that was announced on June 26, 2020. The air travel ban is a blanket ban for international flights, but there are some exceptions. While the international ban on flights will remain in place, flights to and from a variety of different travel bubbles will be allowed to continue subject to some restrictions.

While the updated international travel ban for flights has been extended through the end of the year, it could be further extended into next year. People who plan to travel internationally will need to check the government’s updates before making plans. International flights for air cargo will not be affected, and flights that have been approved on a case-by-case basis by the DGCA are also exempted from the ban.

The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has reciprocal agreements with 22 travel bubble countries to allow international flights, including the United States and the United Kingdom. While the travel bubble agreements mean that international flights between India and the identified countries are allowed, there may be quarantine restrictions in place that are separate from the ability to take a flight into a travel bubble nation. Most of the countries that have travel bubble agreements with India require that travelers undergo periods of quarantine or isolation after they arrive before they can move freely about in their destination countries.

For example, the U.K. has a travel bubble agreement with India. However, India is not on the U.K.’s list of approved travel corridor countries. This means that a traveler can take an Air India flight to the U.K. However, after arrival in the U.K., an Indian traveler will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine before he or she can move throughout the nation.

As of Dec. 15, 2020, the quarantine requirement in the U.K. will be reduced to five days as long as the quarantined traveler is able to provide a negative coronavirus test on the fifth day of quarantine in the U.K.

India also has strict requirements for international travelers who fly into the country. To gain entry, international travelers must possess an Overseas Citizen of India card or be accompanied by a close relative who holds one. International travel to India as a tourist is currently not allowed.