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Written by Savi, 187 Comments

Travelling to India during the Covid pandemic is not easy. We researched a lot about exemption from Institutional Quarantine on landing in India, Covid tests with guaranteed turnaround time etc. in London, and the flying experience from London to Delhi in 2020 before planning our trip. But we only found half-baked information and no clear facts! So we thought we would share our experience of flying from London, UK to Delhi, India right now.

London heathrow airport in Covid
Oh how we missed these sights 🙂

 

Step 1  – Getting a covid test in UK

First things first, according to instructions for overseas visitors flying to India from UK, you must get an RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to boarding your flight. Each test ranges from £150-£300 depending on where you get it done from. We suggest researching before choosing a practice so you are sure you’ll get results in time.

We got our tests done at Top Health Clinic at Tottenham Court Road for our trip in October 2020. We paid £165 per Covid test (exorbitant I know but that is the standard rate!) A nurse takes swabs from the back of your throat as well as from your nose. Try not to sneeze 🙂 Their service was good but we would suggest you to research and visit a practice or clinic most convenient to you. We arranged for our test to be conducted 94 hours prior to our flight and we were promised the results within 48 hours (although we got the reports within 30 hours). For our trip in March 2021, we got our tests done from JSBiomedical who charged £150 per person but they came home to collect the sample and the results were delivered within 12 hours.

 

Step 2 – Fill Self Declaration Form online

All travelers bound for India must complete a Self-Declaration form on Air Suvidha website/app within 72 hours before their flight departure. Airlines will not let you board without this completed form. You also have to upload your negative RT-PCR test report along with the Self Declaration Form.

 

Step 3 Airport and flights during Covid pandemic

Travel is seamless these days as flights aren’t very crowded and airports have much fewer passengers than usual. So that is a comfortable process – we saw many elderly people and families with kids on our flight. All precautions are taken by airport and flight staff – including use of complete PPE kit by flight crew. Our temperatures were checked before we were allowed on to the aircraft.

A snack box, mask, sanitizer, and hot meal were all provided to us on the flight. However this varies from airline to airline, so we would recommend carrying your own masks, sanitizer, headphones, and snacks too.

We also carried wet wipes to wipe our seats as an extra precaution. All in all our flight was quite comfortable and event-free.

Personal protection kit provided to flying passengers during covid
The new normal 🙂
Pre-packed snack boxes, masks, visor, and hand sanitiser on flight
Pre-packed snack boxes, masks, visor, and hand sanitiser
We were lucky our flight wasn’t full – physical distancing easily maintained 🙂

Update March 2021 – Airlines have now started serving regular meals

Step 4 arrival in Delhi, India

Upon arrival in Delhi you will be asked for the Self Declaration form and negative RT PCR test report. At the Delhi Airport, you are also supposed to take an RT-PCR test (if you are travelling from UK). You can book this in advance (which we suggest doing) or pay for it on the spot. The process is streamlined and clear instructions are provided once you exit the aircraft.

This RT-PCR test done upon arrival is compulsory for all passengers. Following this you can exit the airport if you reside in Delhi NCR. However, if you are in transit and connecting to another flight within India, you must wait for your test results (usually around 6 hours) – for this reason, please ensure that you leave ample time between the 2 flights.. Most of the immigration counters were empty, so we were out of the airport within 30 minutes.

separate queue for pre-approved and exempted passengers at delhi airport
Segregated sections for those with pre-approved exemption certificates
New Delhi airport exemption from quarantine on arrival
Regular checks upon leaving the aircraft

That’s it. You can then exit and head to your destination in Delhi or outside Delhi. Upon arrival at your residence/hotel, you are to quarantine for 7 days. During this period, you will get phone calls from officers confirming you are quarantining. At the end of this seven day period, an officer will come to your residence to collect a swab sample for another RT-PCR test. This service is free of charge and provided to all passengers travelling from UK to India during the pandemic. If your result is negative, you are then free to go about your daily life. Even in that case, please ensure you follow all rules and take necessary precautions.

So to sum up, all passengers travelling from UK to India have to take 1 RT-PCR test before leaving UK, fill the Air Suvidha form and book your test for Indira Gandhi International Airport, take 1 RT-PCR test upon arrival in Delhi, quarantine for 7 days, and take one final RT-PCR test provided by the Govt of India before you are free to go about your life.

Hope you have all the information you need about Travelling internationally to India during the pandemic.

If you have any questions about travelling to India during the pandemic, RT-PCR testing, and/or exemption from institutional quarantine, please leave them below and we will try and answer them at the earliest.

*All this information is true as of April 2021

187 thoughts on “International Travel To India During the pandemic

  1. Hi, can you please let me know.where did you do a test in Delhi just to be sure after the PCR done in London? Did you isolate till then?

    1. Hey Kavita – You can get a test done at IGI Airport upon landing. But we got it done at home from Lals Path Lab. In addition to that, we also practiced self quarantine, just to be ultra careful – both of the community and our parents too 🙂

      1. My name is danish i book my test on 5 dec and I’ll got my test results on Tuesday and my flight is on 9 so my PCR TEST report is valid

        1. They count hours from the time of the test to the departure time of your flight. If the hours exceed 72/96 (depending on current rules), then that test is considered invalid

      2. I’m coming from London, I’ll be arriving at Mumbai airport . My stay in India is less than 14 days, do I still need to quarantine? Or do I still need to undergo PCR test?

      3. Hi, I’m traveling from London. When I tried to fill the Exemption form, a pop up came up saying that passengers from UK should only fill self declaration form. Is that so? I have to take a connection flight from Delhi to Kerala too. Please help me out.

        1. Hi poornima, I’m sailing in the same boat. Om due to travel tomorrow and then have a connecting flight to chandigarh. I did get my PCR test yesterday and its negative. Can you share your experience at IGI and what all you recommend to reach home as quickly as possible. Thanks.

      4. Dear Savi
        Thank you so much for such a detailed description, it is very hard to find details about flying these days. Me and my husband will be traveling to India from London next week. I have few questions too, I hope you will answer them soon. So here it goes:
        1. Is only PCR test (72 hours before) enough for flying or do I need to undergo any other tests that I am not aware of?
        2. Do we have to have the test again once landing in India even we have the negative PCR?
        3. And what about arogya setu app (don’t remember the exact name or spelling)- what we have to do on app exactly.

        I sincerely appreciate you taking the time.
        Regards

        1. Hi there – There has only been one change after the writing of this article – If you are carrying a negative RT PCR report, then all you need to do is just deposit another sample via a quick swab upon landing in Delhi . You don’t need to wait for result and can carry on to your home

          The Aarogya Setu app is essential as it helps the govt keep track of whoever has landed and is quarantining. You will be asked to download it at the airport if you don’t have it on your phone already

          1. Hi Savi, I am traveling on the 29th, so we do not need to wait for the result at the airport? Im traveling from UK to Delhi to Chennai. And Air India told me today that i have to wait until my result at the airport lounge. Please let me know if you have a confirmed information about the protocol. Thank you

          2. Hi Chetna – yes this is right. According to a recent change for passengers flying from UK to India, you have to wait at the lounge for test results before taking your connecting flight onwards to Chennai 💜💜

          3. The Aarogya Setu app doesn’t work on any phone number other than Indian, I’m told. I tried with my UK phone – no luck. Have any of you managed on non-Indian SIM card phones?

          4. Hi Savi I was just wondering if you could explain me something as simple as covid test 72 hrs window time.For example if my flight takes off at 11am Monday from London could I get swabbed on Friday(3 days before) anytime after 11 am or later.👍

      5. I have a domestic connection from delhi after arrival, Should I need to get the PCR test again at the airport even when we got test report from home?

        1. Yes Sandeep – you will need to get your RT-PCR test done again upon arrival in Delhi, before your onward flight

    2. Hello..Iam travelling with 34 month old baby from US to India .I have filled self declaration form with all valid document under category “parent accompany below 10 year old .but application rejected saying please upload valid supporting documents. Can I fill it again ? I also have negative rt-pcr test. Please reply
      Thanks

    3. I tested positive on 13/3/21 and as per advise from US health dept I was under home quarantine.
      Now can I board a flight on 25/3 without a covid test and subject myself to testing at Delhi airport.

  2. Hi, Thank you for the article. It was helpful. Could you please let me know about cabin baggage allowance in Air India? Were you allowed to carry a handbag /laptop bag in addition to the 8kg cabin bag?
    Also hope the bag drop and security did not takw much time in Heathrow.

    1. Hi Smitha – bag drop was super simple. And yes, a laptop bag/handbag is allowed in addition to the cabin bag. As there were not too many passengers on our flight from London to Delhi coz of the pandemic, they were not particular about weighing the bags etc. Hope this helps 🙂

  3. What if you are not from Delhi and you have to travel to another city.
    Is it possible?
    I tried to find the exact answer but couldn’t

    1. Hi Sophia – you can carry on your travel to another city as long as you have a negative RT-PCR test and then practice home quarantine upon getting to your final destination 🙂

      1. Can I fly to india from london Heathrow if I do not get the results in london on time and receive the results in Delhi airport? I do not mond waiting?9

  4. Thank you so much for sharing much detailed information 😊. It really did help a lot. Lots of love to you guys ❤️. Have a wonderful time with your parents 💫

  5. Thank you so much. This is really helpful. My sister in law is planning to come from UK and I can’t wait to meet her. So I literally checked your profile every single day to check whether you have posted about the UK – Delhi travel. I want her to travel smooth and come to us ASAP. Thanks a ton again.

    1. Hey Pranita – so happy to hear this. Have the best time with your SIL – don’t worry she won’t have any trouble getting to you. Stay safe and have a Happy Diwali

  6. Hi, thank you so much for this article. We are set to travel next month from London to New Delhi, but have connected flight to our city. We have night stay in airport hotel and flight next morning. We spoke to few people on airlines and hotel, they all said we will be able to travel further with out any complications. Would you know anything about it? Thanks. Any help is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Shivani – yes that’s right. You should be able to travel onwards and take your connecting flights as long as you have a negative RT-PCR report on you. We saw many passengers who were on our flight do this without any issues at all 🙂

  7. Hi. This is such a relief. We were supposed to fly from london to Ahemdabad via Delhi on 19th nov but then UK announced all ban on interns travel so we prepone our tickets on 5th. We got our PCR test here in Canary Wharf for £95. Does that mean we need to fill both exemption and self declaration form? Thank you.

    1. Hey Shweta – Yes you have to fill both those forms – the exemption form and the self-declaration form. Have a safe flight home. Don’t worry at all – it’s a seamless process 🙂
      PS Where in Canary Wharf did you get your tests done from? We are totally going there next time – we paid £165 😉

    2. Hi Shweta ,

      I am also travelling to Delhi from London . Would you mind sharing where in Canary Wharf you got the PCR test done ?

      Thanks
      Shivani

    3. Hi Shweta,
      Could you please let us know from where did you get your PCR test done in Canary Wharf. We are planning to travel next month and looking for private clinics to get ourselves tested for COVID-19 and get the fit to fly certificate.
      Thanks

  8. Thank you for this detailed post with all the links as well as it turns out to be quite handy. I just have one query, what if after reaching Delhi we need to travel to different state the same day. Is it possible to get ourselves quarantined in our home town and not in Delhi.
    Would be very helpful if you have any idea on this.
    Thank you again 😊😘

    1. Hey Priya – yes, yes. You can travel onwards to your home state with a negative RT-PCR test the same day itself. You do not need to quarantine in Delhi – you can home quarantine upon reaching your house 🙂

  9. Hey,
    Thank you for the detailed explanation.
    I have one question regarding people coming from abroad to Delhi and then travelling to other cities.
    How does that work?
    Do you still get a stamp on your hand?

    If you have any information regarding this, it would help me a lot.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes Abhishek you get a stamp on your arm and you can take a connecting flight from Delhi airport onto your final destination with it, provided your have negative RT-PCR reports with you 🙂

    2. Hi,
      Thanks for the update. I am travelling from UK to Bangalore next week with my daughter who is 2 years old. Do you have any idea if covid test is required for children.

  10. Hey guys
    So glad to knw your travel wasn’t that bad
    So i will be travelling from brazil to india by british airways And my flight is via london
    The website at heathrow isn’t giving me clear instructions and i need to check if there is any rule of quarintine in london for connecting flights too
    I will be getting the approvals and covid tests before arriving same as u guys but a bit confused on whats the take for passengers who hve a hault in london and have a trasit visa to take another flight
    Mh while idea is to not get stuck at london as i really want to fly home now
    I would be really grateful if u can answer that
    Also last question can we skip the institutional quarintine if we get our tests done in India and the result is negative
    U guys have a brilliant time with your parents and stay safe !

    1. Hey Nivi,

      While we won’t be able to comment on this from our personal experience, but our understanding is that if you have a through ticket and your connecting flight from London departs on the same day as you arrive in London from Brazil, you should be fine. But please do check this with British Airways as the situation in London/UK keeps changing daily. You can also refer to the FAQs here: https://www.heathrow.com/customer-support/faq/coronavirus-covid-19

      As for the last question, yes, you can skip institutional quarantine if you get a test done at the Indian airport you arrive at and if the test result is negative.

      Have a safe trip back home 🙂

      1. Thank you for your lovely blog looks like it’s definitely helping others. I am travelling with my family with kids of under 10 age and got exemption approval email from airsuvidha as well. Just wondering if we still need to carry RT-PCR report to Delhi Airport.

        1. Hi Nikhil – If you have an exemption approval mail from Air Suvidha, then you don’t need anything else. Just take a print out of it and carry it with you to the airport.

  11. Hey I haven’t yet got my test result..though I have filed the air suvidha form..with results awaited..my flight is day after..hopefully should get the results by tomorrow day end..should I fill the form again

    1. Hey Vishal – you might get a rejection from Air Suvidha if you don’t submit the RT-PCR report with it. But don’t worry – just apply for exemption again once you have the test results and you will receive it in a few hours. Have a safe flight home 🙂

  12. Hi thanx for summing your experience . Just a quick check does Home quarantine is mandatory even if the Covid report comes negative (taking covid test again after reaching India )

    1. Hi Neha – yes that is correct! Home quarantine is mandatory even if the Covid report comes negative – there are no checks but would suggest doing it just to be responsible 🙂

  13. Thanks a lot for your detailed blog about your experience. It really helped me. I have to plan an urgent trip to India because my father is undergoing some health issues. And now I am a bit relaxed about it. But I do not have enough time to get the PCR test done here in the UK. You mentioned earlier that RT-PCR tests are being done at IGI, but you did not prefer it because of the long queues. Was it unbearably long? Or if I book the slot now can I avoid the queue? Also, how can I pay for the test? Do they accept card payment?

    1. Hi Manish – yes it is possible to pay by card to get an RT-PCR Test done at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. The queue was about 2-3 hours long (+ 6 hour wait time to get results of the RT-PCR results) at the time we landed.

      I hope your dad feels better soon – don’t worry the journey is seamless and you will be with him soon.

      1. Thanks a lot Savi for your reply. Sorry to bug you again 🙁

        Do I still fill out the exemption form? Or Do I need to do it once I get my RT-PCR done at the IGI airport?

        Cheers
        Manish

  14. Hi there

    This was really helpful. Thanks for sharing.
    But just a quick question, what are the rules if I have to travel from UK to Delhi and then to Rajasthan.
    Do I still need to quarantine myself at delhi for 14days and then go to Rajasthan via flight?

    Look forward to hear from you.

    Thanks xx

    1. Hi Shweta – no that is incorrect. You need a negative RTPCR test report and proof of domestic connecting flight. Then you can travel straight to Rajasthan and quarantine there itself.

  15. My parents are flying from London to New Delhi on 25th November. They have a connecting flight from New Delhi to Varanasi. As you have mentioned , the 14 days quarantine has to be done in Delhi NCR only or they will be allowed to catch the connecting flight to Varanasi where they can quarantine?

    1. Hi Pritesh – they do not need to home quarantine in Delhi – they can quarantine in Varanasi. However they will need a negative RTPCR report in order to be able to travel from Delhi to Varanasi. Hope this helps

  16. I’m planning visit to UK in Dec 2020, as it is my first international trip I’m bit nervous.
    So I just wanted to know is it safe to travel and is there any change in process at the airports.

    1. Hey Renuka – as the pandemic situation is quickly changing every month it is hard to say how things will be in December. Large parts of UK are currently under lockdown and if that continues till December, your flight provider might cancel flights themselves. However I hope things get better and you ARE able to take your trip <3

      1. Hey Guys! Thanks for the deailed post. This really helped. I am Travelling to Delhi from US in the next few days and from research my understanding was that we need a covid test done within 96hours of our flight departure. I had booked the test slot accordingly. In the section 1 of this post I see you mentioned 96hours before the arrival in Delhi. Can you please confirm? If thats the case, I might have to reschedule my covid test.

        Also, the test I booked just states PCR (dosent mention RT – PCR). I tried finding more deatils but of no help. Will this work for exemption?

  17. This was very helpful. Although I was wondering, dod you then have to do a mandatory home quarantine as well? Also, what if I wish to then travel interstate (outaide Delhi), does quarantine rules apply then as well? Did you guys have any such experiences?

    1. Hey Divyam – yes that’s right. Home quarantine for 14 days upon landing, even if you Covid RTPCR tests are negative.

      If you wish to travel interstate via domestic flight. then you can get a an RTPCR test done upon landing at IGI airport itself and then take your onward domestic flight within India

        1. Hi Guys, I am planning to travel from UK to Mumbai and if I don’t get the COVID test done in UK, would I be allowed to board the flight from Heathrow airport ? And then upon arrival in Mumbai, can I get the RT PCR done and go home (in mumbai) upon negative rest result ?

          1. Hi Krishna – yes without a Covid test you can technically board a flight from Heathrow. However a number of airlines are asking for a negative RT-PCR report, so it’s better to check with your airline to avoid disappointment on the day

        1. Hi Savi, your post is really helpful for all the Indians hoping to travel back in Nov/Dec.
          Just wanted to check if you think these procedures are going to remain the same with the upcoming lockdown starting in UK tomorrow.
          I am planning to fly from Heathrow to Delhi on 4th Dec’20.

          Thanks in advance, and have a happy Diwali with your family !!

          1. Hi Bhumika – yes so far the procedures to fly from UK to Delhi is the same in this current lockdown. However things change so quickly these days, so do keep an eye on an upcoming changes 🙂

          2. Hi, we are planning to travel to india with 2 year old baby. Do we need to get COVID test for the baby as well..
            thanks in advance for your response.

  18. Hi Savi & Vid,
    This is so helpful. Thank you so much. 😊
    I understand London is in air bubble pact with India so direct flights were available and hence the above steps apply. However would have any idea whether the above steps apply for countries which are not in the air bubble pact with India?
    I live in the Netherlands and what I understand is that I need to travel to Germany or France to get a flight for India. But then not sure if the same rules will apply for me considering my test will be done in NL but my flight to India will be from Germany.
    None of the sites are giving clear information so thought of checking with you both.
    Thanks anyway
    Lots of love to you both 🥰
    Sunetra

    1. Hey Sunetra,

      Not quite sure on the transit requirements in Germany. Our understanding is if you buy a through ticket from NL to India (even with a stopover in Germany), if your RT-PCR test is done within 96 hours of your first departure flight from NL, that test result will be acceptable when you land in India. However, you must check with the airline you are flying with regarding the transit conditions in Germany.

      Have a safe flight back home

  19. Wow that’s great Information Savi and Vid.Thank you.
    Is the procedure same across India or its not for New Delhi airport?
    If we are travelling to Maldives for 2-3 days is the procedure same?

    1. Hey Kavitha – this procedure is the same for major airports such as Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai etc. The rules for flying from India to Maldives during the pandemic might vary- you have to carry a negative RT-PCR report but it is best to check with your resort for any additional paperwork you might require

  20. Hey guys!

    Thanks for this! Iwas curious – is this the same protocol for other cities in India? mainly Chennai.

    Also what was the experience for the return journey? Is it largely the same.

    Sab

    1. Hey there – the rules for flying into Chennai are the same. You need a negative RT-PCR test taken 96 hours before flying or you can get tested upon landing at the airport.
      Hope this helps

  21. Are you citizen/PR holder or UK or India? How did you get the exemption of travelling to India in the first place? When are you planning to go back and what are the terms of UK when you return back? My partner is in Australia on work visa basis and he can come for our wedding but can’t go back since borders are closed 😭 please answer each question I’ve asked.

    1. Hi Shaily – right now the UK has 14 days of home quarantine upon flying back. However Australian borders are much stricter at the moment, so you are right in assuming flying from India to Australia is not exactly a possibility right now unless one is an Australian citizen

  22. Hi Guys,

    Thank you so much for this, easy and simplified stuff. However, I wanted to ask do you know any restrictions while heading back from India to Dublin ( transit via UK). I’m planning to travel from Dublin to Mumbai, however I’ve heard that British Airlines are not letting you board unless you’re UK citizen or on diplomat visa. Does it still holds true?

    1. Hey Praveen – I don’t believe this is true. However things keep changing (for eg UK has announced a second lockdown now), so it is best to check with the airline before your scheduled date of departure

  23. Hey tha ms for the article. My question is slightly different and related to getting a visa to travel to Delhi in these times. Say if a foreign passport holder wishes to visit India will they get Visa easily?

  24. Hi
    Many thanks for your post. I am traveling to Delhi next week, was the queue for the testing at airport too long? Any idea what was the turn around time?

    1. Hey yes the queue was around 3 hours long when we landed. The turnaround time is 6 hours long – you can wait in the lounge when you wait for the result 🙂

      1. Hey, I am planning to visit Maldives for 3 days from Bangalore. I will for sure carry -ve RT – PCR test report for entry in Maldives. I agree in order to exempt from quarantine I need to get test done in Maldives but it is way too expensive. Bangalore airport also doesn’t have on arrival covid test option. We don’t want to do institutional quarantine, I checked rules online and it is written that home quarantine is required which we are fine. Any idea about this?

        1. Hey Sanjana – perhaps you could request your hotel in Maldives to include it in the cost price of the room? If not, I would still suggest getting it done in Maldives itself as a number of airlines are requesting a negative report before you board the flight out of Maldives.

          1. Thank you so much for your response.
            My airline is goair both ways, I tried calling them but call is not going through. I am not sure if GoAir airlines need -ve report. Do you have any idea if GoAir airlines needs -ve report to board the flight?

            Thank you so much.

          2. Hi Sanjana,

            When we flew, we were not asked to produce the test result before boarding (this is because there is a testing facility at Delhi airport now so those who don’t have a test result before boarding can opt for getting tested at Delhi airport if they want to avoid 7 day institutional quarantine.

            That said, it would still be a good idea to check with GoAir as these rules are changing on a daily basis.

  25. Planning to go to Maldives for my honeymoon. Very unsure due to the uncertainty. Cant get tested in maldives as if positive will have to quarantine there which will cost us a bomb. Delhi Airport is taking 12hours for tests

    What do you suggest? Should I just postpone intl travel and go on a peaceful domestic honeymoon?

    1. Hi there – yes you should definitely postpone your visit to Maldives if you don’t want to get tested there. This is because even though it is not compulsory, most airlines are asking for a negative RT-PCR report when you board the flight from Maldives to India. So if you don’t have a Covid negative report, you might be stopped from boarding the flight

  26. Hi…. Thankyou for sharing the information. I wanted to ask you if we show the NHS mail in pdf form at the Delhi airport will that be acceptable.

    1. Hi Rucha – no. You need to submit that NHS email for your exemption certificate. Once you get approval, just print the exemption certificate and carry it with yourself to Delhi. At the Delhi Airport, staff only sees the exemption certificate. No other documents are accepted

      1. Thanks for your reply. Just to confirm that the 96 hrs prior NHS Covid 19 test is acceptable at Delhi airport and I won’t need to take another test on my landing.

          1. If we take test on arrival how does air suvidha works? Do i still fill in before arrival? Or need to submit at airport after results?

          2. You do not have to fill an Air Suvidha exemption form if you plan to get tested on arrival at IGI Airport

  27. I’m planning to go for a marriage with my family (2 adults, 2 kids) from London to Delhi NCR on 21st November. I’ve read during this lockdown in England from 5th Nov to 2nd Dec, you are not allowed to travel oversees except for work, education or other legally permitted reason. Is it true? Can I travel to India on 21st Nov?
    Secondly, I don’t think I have time to get RT-PCR test done here. Can I get it directly at IGI Airport for all of us? How much does it cost per person? Do I require a exemption certificate after that?
    Thirdly, Can I take a taxi directly to Faridabad which comes in Delhi NCR and home quarantine there?

    Thanks a lot and apologies for long query.

    1. Yes you can travel to India indeed. You can get it done at IGI Airport and there is no exemption certificate needed in that case
      After you get your test result, you can exit the airport and take a taxi to Faridabad as per usual

  28. Hi thanks for your detail write up. It was really useful. I have few queries there are kit based test in UK currently where you can take the test yourself and send the sample for rt pcr test virgin Atlantic offers this test and its way cheaper .

    Do you have a clue if this is accepted only difference here is that instead of a nurse it’s up to you to take the sample.

    Another query that I have is that the time has been reduced to 76 hours now. I have a confusion regarding the form to be filled before 76 hours and test to be done within 76 hours clause.

    What exactly does this mean? Should I fill the form and add test is awaiting 76 hours before the flight.
    And then perform test within 76 hour and submit report when test results are available? Like in two separate steps?

    Cheers

    1. Hi Aseem
      I believe that is now changed to 72 hours
      The test needs to be taken 72 hours or less before the time of departure of your flight. Once you get your report, you can fill the exemption form

      Also there is no difference if you opt for the self-testing kit instead of going to a doctor/pharmacy as long as the report clearly states it is an RT-PCR test.

      1. Hey
        I had a question
        If I have the negative report plus the exemption form approved from the concern authority.
        Ex- If I hv flight from Canada to Delhi and hv flight the very next day to Delhi to Mumbai and then Mumbai to goa ( for travel purpose)
        Will I be able to take the flights or need to quarantine for 14 days in Delhi first ?
        All the flights hv a gap of 1 day

        1. Hi Jasveen – Technically you could take them as your international travel history is not checked at domestic departures (however this keeps changing with changing laws), but would suggest either quarantining or getting a test done upon arrival in Delhi because that is the responsible thing to do 🙂

  29. Hi thank you so much for a great post. My mother is an Indian passport holder. She is travelling to Delhi tomm. I just got her PCR (about 28 hours before departure). The test was done 48 hours before. I submitted the exemption certificate but she hasn’t been approved etc . Do you know if she will still have to stand in line (she is old) or is the PCR report enough. Also do you know if the exemption certificate is for international citizens or also Indian passport holders. Thank you so much

    1. Hey Sonali,

      She should receive her approval for exemption certificate soon (if she hasn’t already). The exemption certificate is for everyone irrespective of nationality.

      In case she doesn’t receive approval in time, just ask her to carry the acknowledgement that you must have received when you applied for exemption in addition to the RT-PCR test negative result.

      🙂

      1. Thank you for your lovely blog looks like it’s definitely helping others. I am travelling with my family with kids of under 10 age and got exemption approval email from airsuvidha as well. Just wondering if we still need to carry RT-PCR report to come out of Delhi Airport.

        1. Hi Nikhil – If you have an exemption approval mail from Air Suvidha, then you don’t need anything else. Just take a print out of it and carry it with you to the airport.

  30. Anyone trird boarding Emirates without out covid test from the Uk. Im thinking of getting it done on arrival in India as it appears to be very cheap. I might get NHS and try if it works. Worth taking risk

    1. We flew Air India and were not asked to produce a print out of the RT-PCR report, even though we were carrying it. However we have heard Emirates is insisting upon it.
      Please do share your experience too as it will help others

  31. Hi,Can you tel me?what are the procedure for those who are waiting for covid test result and have not be able to obtain it while arrived at Delhi and need 1 more days to get the result?

    Thank You

    1. Hi Raushan – If you take the RT-PCR Test at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi upon arrival, then the Covid test result takes approx 6 hours to come. For that time, you have to wait at the airport lounge and you can’t exit the airport

  32. Hi Savi,

    Thanks for the detailed post. Definetly information is just all over the place and its hard to find one source of truth. As per the guidelines (at the time writing this comment) the amount of hours for the test has changed from 96 to 72 🙁 https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/05112020Guidelinesforinternationalarrivals.pdf .

    Anyways the bit I have question is PCR test done in UK is it the as the RT-PCR tests required ? We have a connecting flight in delhi and was thinking of get it done at boots (£120 at this time). Was not too sure if its the same requried ” RT-PCR” for the exemption.

    Thanks

    1. Hey there – The tests done in UK vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. Please make sure the report clearly states it is an RT-PCR test in order for it to be valid 🙂

  33. Hello Team,

    well I am indian Citizen from delhi, well i am in london these days, and i am planning to go back in january 2021 back to delhi, do i have to do the corona text as well before the flight taking from London to delhi ?

    please revert me respected team or email me .

    1. Hi Jaspal – yes you need to take the RT-PCR Test in UK or upon arrival at Delhi IGI Airport before you can exit the airport according to current rules

  34. Hi, thank you for such a helpful post. I am flying to mumbai with my husband and my son who is under 2 years old. I have read that we can apply for exemption because we are trabelling with a child under 10 years and need to apply 72 hours before the flight. Does this mean we can apply even a week before the flight just to be safe if its declined my husband and i can get pcr test done in UK?

    1. Hi Usha – You are right, you can apply for exemption on Air Suvidha website and once you get approval, just print that email out and carry it with you to the airport
      PS We have heard that kids will stay exempt from the test but their guardians/parents will have to take the RT-PCR test in the future, so do make sure you check rules just a week before flying as well 🙂

  35. I will be flying from London To Delhi on coming Sunday. I am thinking to get my RT-PCR test done at Delhi airport. Do you have any recommendations on the place where I should get myself tested?

    1. Hi Ajay – you don’t have an option about where to get tested upon landing at IGI Airport. There is only 1 testing centre at IGI Airport where you will be tested and you will have to wait at the lounge for 6-8 hours till you get the results. Upon getting the results, you can exit the airport and go onto your final destination in Delhi

  36. THanks Savi, this intiative of yours is helping a lot of people.
    Is the testing in IGI available 24 hours? From reading the posts, it looks like an 8 hour wait and wanted to make sure it is 24 hours open before planning transit time. Also, what is the availability of lounges and place to rest in airport, before and after the result comes, assuming it is negative.
    Also in case the test is positive, what is the protocol? Do I have to go to a medical facility or Institutional isolation?

    1. hi there – yes the wait time is around 8 hours but there is plenty of lounge space to wait in the meanwhile.
      If the result is positive, you have to go to a medical facility on advice of the airport staff

  37. My recent experience with london to Hyderabad
    – emirates asked for covid evidence. Had to explain or arrival testing is possible for Hyd. They checked some correspondence to ensure hyd is not on mandatory covid testing. If your state is on mandatory list you want be allowed to board inless you present rt pcr test (nhs wont give this reference)
    – i had nhs covid test but dont want to end up in another conversation with Emirates but rather share with hyd officials
    – applied for exemption on air suvidha. No one cared about that. Still shows pending
    – ended up doing multiple paper works as they dont really care about self reporting form submitted on portal
    – temperature checked and released from first station
    – second station was to filter passengers with covid testing. Feels like no one ended up in covid testing on arrival
    – covid testing at airport was around rs4000
    – third station was doctor check of covid test. Shared nhs and he was after pcr reference. Pulled out some random reference on google that nhs preferred method is rt pcr. Noted some other passengers from usa where they had same issue. Probably it depends on doctor on duty as he is having the authority to approve home quarantine. He accepted and signed in my case. He wasn’t happy though but accepted when explained nhs is govt therefore highly reliant.
    – fourth station was reconfirming doctors approval and stamping home quarantine exemption on your hand. Reminded that 14days home quarantine is required. Stamp was terrible and disappeared by the time i left airport. With constant use of sanitizer ink stamps wont make any sense as it will disappear is few seconds.
    – no one asked about setu app
    – there was notice at airport that passports will be retained until home quarantine is completed. This procedure was not in implemented.
    – they still had reference of 96hrs covid test. And doctor was also after 96hrs. Better to stick to 72 as noted by central govt.
    – fifth station was after immigration where they checked your hand again for stamp and askes for local contact
    – sixth station after customs where they asked for contact details again!

    Emirates asked for address and contact details in London and again in Dubai.

    Hope this helps. Feels like process is very random and depends on every aiport.

  38. Hi Savi,

    very informative article.
    I want to go to Mumbai from Ireland for 5-6 days and then return. I will do the covid test before departure as you said.
    As I am planning to stay for a short duration, can I avoid home quarantine?
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Mukesh – unfortunately there is no way around home quarantine at the moment. However we have heart people get a test after arriving at their home as well so they can get out of home quarantine restrictions

  39. Hi Savi, I am flying to Delhi from London on Tuesday with two young boys (1 yr and 6 yr) and my wife. We got the PCR test done today and hoping to get the results before we fly on Tuesday. To be safe, I have also filled in exemption forms under travelling with kids category. My question is about the test – I booked a PCR test through Green Light Pharmacy (paid £ 149 test) but not sure if this PCR test would qualify as RT-PCR Test? I thought there is only a PCR Test which comes with Fit to Fly certificate. Is RT-PCR test a different one? Did your test result specifically mentioned RT-PCR or just PCR ? Appreciate your response.

    1. hey Yuvjit – yes that test should suffice and successfully get you the exemption certificate so you can fly from London to Delhi 🙂

  40. Hey ! Such a helpful article ! I was wondering if the exemption certificate on my phone would suffice ? Do I need to print it out ?

    1. You will need a print out – according to new rules, you will also have to take an RTPCR test upon arrival at the Delhi airport

  41. Hi Savi, thanks for all the detailed information.

    I’m due to fly out on 31st Jan 2021 from London to Delhi. This recent suspension extension has kind of messed up my plan of getting the test done upon arrival. The new dates on some sites states upto 15th Jan and some sites mentions tests needed from both sides until 30th Jan 2021. It’s really confusing.

    Would be grateful if you could share any further information.

    Thanks
    Nas

    1. Hey there – yes there is much confusion at the moment- however according to our sources in the aviation industry, we are pretty certain you will need to get tests before leaving UK and upon arrival in India as well

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        I’m just waiting for further comms from Indian government. What’s the best site would you recommend for keeping an eye out for the changes etc?

        Thanks
        Nas

    2. Travel Date: 13 Jan 2021
      Total Time to reach room after landing: 10 hours
      Final Destination: Delhi
      Experience: Tiresome and frustrating
      Below is the stepwise procedure to come back to India from UK in the worst of restrictions so far:

      1. Book ticket
      2. Fill out Passenger Information and Self Declaration for shared by airlines
      3. Take a print, sign and mail them to the destination airport ( these are also checked at the Departure airport while checking in) before 24 hrs of departure.

      If you’re travelling to Delhi – del.arrival@ba.com
      – If you’re travelling to Mumbai – bom.arrival@ba.com
      – If you’re travelling to Bangalore – blr.arrival@ba.com
      – If you’re travelling to Hyderabad – hyd.arrival@ba.com
      – If you’re travelling to Chennai – maa.arrival@ba.com

      4. Get the RT- PCR test done at your expense. I recommend the drive In ones at the airports which are charged at £80. If you don’t own a car, the cheapest would be Boots for £120 which fills up fast so better book in advance for the closest store.
      5. Fill the air suvidha form and obtain a receipt on mail ( will be needed at the time of check in and in India) – DONT skip this one

      6. Get this test result printed ( it usually comes between 24-36 hours).
      7. Get an online Rt-PCR test booked and paid beforehand if you are landing in Delhi( this will save you from standing in one of the several queues). If not, you can also use your forex card/ cash/indian debit and credit cards for payment on the spot – ₹3400 (800 for the test and 2600 lounge charges)
      8. On “D-Day”: Carry all these 4 docs ( self declaration, passenger information, air suvidha receipt, test result) to the check in counter.
      9. Check in and security should be smooth
      10. While boarding: wear your mask at all times
      11. After boarding: Flight should be smooth and usual. When using the loo, I would recommend that your sanitise everything as there was a COVID positive case in our flight.
      12. After deplaning in Delhi: keep the passport, boarding pass and air suvidha receipt handy for the first queue( else you will be held up for a long time)
      14. You will also be given a form asking for your passenger details( which is huge). Carry your own pen. Try to get this filled asap as the queue is ever increasing here with less seating facilities. You will be given priority here if you have young children or are pregnant.
      15. Along with this form, wait in a queue,where you will get a photocopy of your passport and a portion of your filled form. Here after, your passport will be submitted.
      16. If you have booked and online test, skip the payment line and go straight to a counter where you will get a seat number. If not, wait in the payment queue and buy the test and lounge facilities on the spot
      17. You can now settle in your seat and have the breakfast served with coffee. The breakfast is huge so you needn’t carry your own meals.
      18. When your number is announced, you have to queue up for the test.
      19. The test is a little harsh as compared to the gentle tests done in UK. 2 swabs will be taken, one from you throat and one from your nose
      20. You are free to rest on your seat until the results are out. They found a positive case in our flight. The person was requested to cover themselves with a white top to bottom suite which they provided and escorted to a hospital.
      21. The test result can be checked on your phone if you have given your correct number in the above form.
      22. If you have a connecting flight already booked, please inform the authorities asap when you are waiting for test results. You will be given some preference. But make sure the gap is atleast 5-6 hours after you land. If you inform the authorities late, your request will not be considered.
      23. While you are waiting, you can refer the attached list of hotels for your 7 days mandatory quarantine. This is applicable even if your tests are negative.
      24. If you have any medical issues, and cannot stay at the hotel, they will give you an option to quarantine at a hospital
      25. There is also a free government facility at Tera Pant Bhawan,Main Chhatarpur Rd, Dr Ambedkar Colony, Chhatarpur, New Delhi, Delhi 110030. I have visited this place before for a wedding and it was a decent place with separate rooms. I am not sure how the facility would be in COVID.
      26. The list of hotels is: Hyatt Andaz, Roseatte, IBIS, JW Marriott, Pride Plaza and some more in aerocity area. If you have a specific choice, it’s best to call them and book 2-3 days in advance. There were only 3 options available at the last moment when we were leaving. Don’t pay before hand as the government tariff and website tariff is different.
      27. After sending the transfer passengers, the local ones will be called out. You will have to keep a lot of patience here as there is a lot of confusion and chaos amongst the staff.
      28. When your name is announced, you will be made to stand in a group of 12-14 people with your hand luggage and escorted to a waiting area where you can choose a hotel if not yet done. What your choose here is final and they don’t entertain any changes.
      29. After standing for a long time, the next destination is the immigration. You will be escorted by airport police at all times and there will be several moments of frustration specially if you are travelling with elder people or kids as the process is time consuming and mostly queuing from one counter to the other
      30. After immigration, you will proceed towards the baggage collection where they will be already taken off the belt for you.
      31. After this you are finally ready to be sent to your hotel with police escorts at all times. A DCT bus will be waiting for you at the exit.( please don’t expect a clean and shining bus as this is one of the local busses)
      32. The passports are with the police staff which escort you till the hotel. Here, they are handed over to the hotel manager who keeps them in a safe for the next 7 days.
      33. After arriving at the hotel, all bags are sanitized. You have to pay upfront or get a pre authorisation on your credit card before getting a room. Government charges are:
      Single occupancy: 4100+ 12% taxes
      Double: 4800 + 12% taxes
      Triple: 5800 + 12% taxes
      This includes Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner ( not extra services like laundry and tea coffee)
      33. We chose Hyatt and had to wait atleast an hour to get all formalities done before we could come to our room

      The overall experience was a patience test as the rules and processes are chaotic and the airport authorities are also confused in most cases. Please bear this in mind before you start your travel. As far as possible, travel with less hand luggage as the long queues will drain out your energy. Rest assured, as of today, you have to undergo a 7 days institutional quarantine. Please feel free to post any questions. I will try to answer them base on my experience.I really don’t want anyone to go through this process unaware and help as much as I can.

      1. Thanks for leaving this here. I’m sure this update will help those travelling after new Covid & lockdown rules were announced!

      2. Thanks Pooka this was really helpful, when you were in hotel I am assuming you were restricted only to your room right and could not go around in hotel?

        Your review has put me off already as we were hoping to see family in these tough times , may be best to wait until this settle down!

      3. I’ve another question. From Delhi I will need to go to daramsala..providing it opens to tourists, or Manipur. If my test is positive from China can I just go ahead? I may travel to Manipur on connecting flight. Not sure yet as it will be may…

  42. I am due for travel to India on 11th Jan.
    I have read several articles on the getting tests done here and in Delhi.
    But it does not mention travel certificate anymore, the articles only say “Negative RT-PCR” and another RT-PCR Test on arrival at IGI Delhi.
    Do you know if the NHS test will work in this case? Or should I get tested in a private clinic? I am travelling with my parents, and hence the private one is heavy on pocket for the 3 of us.
    Also, I saw in one of your above comments about the long queues at IGI for the tests. Does it take more that 4-6 hours and does the process look safe?

  43. Hey Savi,
    You’re doing an amazing job replying to everyone in this time of confusion and manic period! 🙂

    I have question..
    I’m travelling with my husband and my two kids (6 months and 4 year old) to Chennai on 8th jan on BA. 1) Do the kids needs a covid test?

    2) Us parents have booked a private test for £160 each.. it comes with a fit to fly certificate. But it says PCR test not RT-PCR.. would that cause a problem?
    I thought they were the same. BA website says PCR not RT-PCR.

    Thanks for your time :))

  44. Hi,
    Your article was really helpful.
    My parents have to travel from Toronto to Delhi. We are looking for RT-PCR test, but here, pharmacies provided PCR test only for Covid. Will it be valid at Delhi airport?

  45. Hello,

    i will be travelling from London to Mumbai next week .
    Is RT PCR test required for a child of age 3.5 years before the travel as same as for Adults?
    Also there is a RT PCR test required post arrival. Can you please share the link where i can book the test in advance.

    Thanks , PK

  46. Also i have and additonal question,
    Some on e commented to carry the 4 documents, ( self declaration, passenger information, air suvidha receipt, test result). i know the self declaration form and the test result. what about passenger information and Air subidha receipt. where to get them ?
    Also my final destination is not mumbai and i have a connecting flight after 6 hours. is RT PCT test is still required to be done at the Mumbai Airpost?

  47. Hi All,

    Does anyone know if the children of 5 years are required to take RTPCR test to fly India.?

    The govt guidelines is saying ‘all passenger are required…’ It doesn’t distinguish between children and adult.

    The UK guidelines are clearly saying that the children under 10 are not required RTPCR to arrive in UK.

    Sharing any experience would be valuable

  48. what is the procedure if we dont have a PCR report but we have exemption in one of the catagories Would we be allowed to board a connecting flight to some other destination in India? If we dont choose to take PCR test at the Delhi Airport, will airport authorities ask us to quarantine even though we have exemption approval?

  49. Hi . I am flying out of London to Bangalore airport on Thursday the 28th of jan . I am travelling with a toddler . She is 4 . Wondering if I need to get a covid test done for her . I have gotten mine . So where I happen to read that children under the age of 11 didn’t need one .
    Would love to know ASAP
    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Priyanka – so far kids do not need RT -PCR tests. However things are changing everyday for travellers coming in from UK due to the situation in UK

  50. Hi,
    I intend to travel with 3 yr child from UK to Ahmedabad via Delhi and confused for testing required for kids. As per Air India contact center, any one below 5 year do not require RT-PCR test from UK. Though, AIR Suvidha form do ask for RT-PCR test report irrespective of Adult/child.

    Can anyone please confirm based on experience –
    1. is RT-PCR test required for under 5 yr kid before departing UK? If not, what can we upload in AIR SUViDHA form?
    2. is RT-PCR test required for under 5 yr kid at Delhi Airport to get connecting flight?

    Regards,

  51. Hi

    I’m travelling from the UK to India on the 25th of Feb, 2021. I can get a PCR done test here in the UK. Will a PCR test be accepted at Delhi Airport? Or do I specifically need an RT-PCR test?

    RT-PCR tests don’t seem to be available in most parts of the UK, whereas PCR tests are

    Any information on this would be very helpful.

    Best,
    Ira

  52. Hi ,

    If you are a US citizens and have booked British Airways to mumbai. Will only be transit in London.
    Do I still have to quarantine in mumbai.
    Cannot I not show them my negative pcr test and go home.
    It’s very difficult to get time off and my mum is not doing too good.

    1. Hey Puja – I believe you can show the negative PCR test, take another one at the airport, and then head home the same day 🙂

  53. Hello, please help me with my flight worries.
    I travel 19th February from London UK to Ahmedabad but i have to stop in Delhi for connection flight. I will get PCR test done in London 72 hours before flying but can i have my india PCR test done in Arriving in Ahmedabad or does it have to be Delhi even though this is only connecting flight? I am
    worried that i will miss my connecting flight if i do my PCR test in Delhi?

    Thank you for your help

  54. Hi,
    As I should be flying next monday, I have to do my PCR on saturday.
    do you think Air Suvidha will be working on sunday and reply to me on time for my monday flight?
    Thanks

  55. Hi thanks for this. It’s a bit confusing. I’ll be travelling under medical visa and really can’t afford to spend two weeks in quarentine. I wonder if exemption I’d possible?

    If I had to quarentine in Delhi is this monitored? Or do you need to provide proof?

    I’ll be arriving from China and my report will be in Chinese, I don’t know how to deal with this also. Any suggestions regarding these issues?

  56. Travelling now brings more risks than fun IMO. Even when u had Vaccines, there are always new type decease that can harm your or your family. Thanks for the post, but I think travelling abroad is scary even with protection.

  57. Hi, firstly thank you for giving such a good information.
    I am travelling to Hyderabad from UK with 4 yr old and 11 months old. Should the kids get PCR test as well.
    Thought not required but air suvidha portal asks for pcr report to be uploaded for each and every passenger.

    Quite confusing

    Could you kindly reply on this

    Thank you
    Anil.

    1. Hi Anil – None of the kids we saw in the flight had to undergo tests. However I am unable to comment further on this as we were not travelling with kids, but I hope someone else here in the comment section can help 🙂

  58. i would be travelling from Canada to India soon just wanna know one thing , is RT-PCR test report mandatory for boarding a flight to India nowadays or i can still board the flight and get my test done at arrival in Delhi airport ? also I appreciate you for sharing such valuable info during these hard times

    1. Hey there – it is essential to have RT-PCR test report . While this might not be a written rule, many airlines are refusing boarding without print out of a negative test, so it is better to get one done before leaving Canada and flying to India during the pandemic 🙂

      1. If someone have to travel Domestic from Delhi IGIurgently, how soon the test report are given if plans to get tested at Airport itself?

        Thanks

  59. hi
    i will be travelling to India with my RT-PCR test report from UK my flight is london heathrow mumbai arriving at 12.00 midnight than after i will be travelling from Mumbai to Goa domestic the flight is at 5.00 am is this enough time for the arrival test i have to do before boarding the domestic flight, can i book a slot and prefered time for the test in advance this site seems to be very informative please reply
    many thanks in advance

  60. Hi,

    Is negative RT PCR test required for kids below 10 years also for travelling from London to New Delhi ?
    Flying by Vistara airline

    Thanks Nikhil

  61. Really useful information
    And thank you for sharing it all with such clarity.
    I do have a question though.
    I am landing in Delhi from London next week starting April 18 and staying in Delhi. I have booked a hotel of my own choice. Would I be able to go there straight from the airport after landing or do I have to stay at a hotel of the government choice for the first seven days of my stay in Delhi?

  62. Hi Savi,
    there is much debate on if air india accepts NHS RT PCR test results or are they denying it.
    do you know anything on this.

  63. Hi,

    Do kids below 6 years also need to do RT PCR test? Do you have any idea?

    Also, is PCR and RT PCR are same? From UK, GOI says they need RT PCR but many companies are doing PCR Fit to fly? Will that be considered? Do you know anything? I’m planning to travel on 22/07/21

    Thanks in advance.

  64. Hi
    Thanks for an informative blog. I am travelling to Bengaluru form LHR and will be going to Chennai for quarantine. I wanted to take a taxi to do this. Is it possible to travel by road to another state or do I need to take a domestic flight
    Thanks
    Ann

  65. Landing at Bangalore from UK on August 22
    Will proceed to Chennai by road
    1 can do rt-pcr test if needed at Bangalore airport
    Do we need to wait for results

  66. Hi thank you for your detailed write up
    Saw you travelled in 2020 – have you traveled again by any chance from London to Delhi ? Do you know if there are any changes / or any latest updates
    Would you know if any consideration for people carrying a NHS vaccination certificate (both doses received)
    Thanks again

    1. Hello

      Yes we travelled again in April 2021 and the rules at that time were that we could quarantine at home and they will send someone to test us again on the 7th day and if that test is negative, we could go out. There is also a test at the airport now (which we recommend you pre-book). The rules are the same as of 16th August 2021. Don’t think the vaccination certificate is going to be needed.

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