Effective Dec 1, India will require post-arrival Covid-19 test and 7-days home quarantine for select countries

In view of the emergence of a new variant, India has, so far not taken any new steps in terms of closing its borders. However, heightened testing is now a requirement on arrival. The new rules are effective  December 1, 2021, and here are the details.

a person wearing a mask and holding a test tube

India to require on-arrival testing for those arriving from Countries at Risk effective December 1, 2021

India has now mandated that all travellers, irrespective of their Covid-19 vaccination status, arriving in India from countries on the at-risk list, will now need to undergo post-arrival Covid-19 testing on arrival in India.

For reference, India has the following countries on its list of at-risk countries as of November 30, 2021.

  1. Countries in Europe including The United Kingdom
  2. South Africa
  3. Brazil
  4. Botswana
  5. China
  6. Mauritius
  7. New Zealand
  8. Zimbabwe
  9. Singapore
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Israel
  12. Tanzania (Added December 6, 2021)
  13. Ghana (Added December 6, 2021)

For passengers found positive in these tests, they will be isolated and treated as per the clinical management protocol besides their samples also taken for Genome Sequencing. The passengers found negative can depart the airport but have to undergo home quarantine for 7 days, followed by repeat testing on day 8 of their arrival in India, followed by 7 days of self-monitoring.

There is a long list of approved tests to prove you are infected or not, and apart from RT-PCR, rapid PCR tests are also going to be accepted. Remember, they are going to be much more expensive though.

These tests will have to be paid for by the passengers themselves, and they won’t be able to leave the airport or catch a connection till their results don’t come back. Passengers can book and pay for the test before arrival, or they can also pay for them via credit cards or Indian currency once they land.

Random Testing for everyone

Further, the Government of India has also decided that 5% 2% of the travellers arriving from countries that are not in the at-risk category, will also be tested on a random basis at the airport for Covid-19. These 2% passengers will be identified by the airline at random and they will be sent to the testing area on arrival. In this case, the cost of the test will be borne by the passengers themselves.

Transit Passengers

Post-arrival testing can be exempted if a person is travelling from a ‘not at risk’ country and has a transit (without leaving immigration) in an at-risk country before taking the destination flight. However, if the person has travelled to any at-risk country in the last 14 days, they will be asked for post-arrival testing and other additional restrictions.

Here is a flowchart that helps you discover where do you lie in this new scheme of things.

a diagram of a test


Those arriving from Europe, South African nations, Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel and all the other at-risk countries, will be hereon subject to an on-arrival test in India. They won’t be able to leave the airport where they arrive at until their test results come back negative. In case they are discovered to be positive, they will be moved to an isolation facility. Incase they are negative, they will need to make a Day 8 test as well while quarantining at home. Even other passengers not covered by this statute might be randomly tested on arrival in India (2% per flight).

India has yet not banned flights so to say in the country, but has increased the screening at airports for arrival in India. What do you make of this new requirement for arriving in India?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Hi Ajay, could you please share any changes to the scenario at Mumbai Airport? I am flying from US to BOM via connection in CDG and trying to decide whether I should be driving to Gujarat as final destination or just take a connecting flight there. Thank you for your help.

  2. There will be a rush of tourists in India LOL !!!
    I am so happy that I cancelled all my reservations in India for Christmas and New Year and made instead a one month reservation in Mexico with NO “health” requirements AT ALL.
    I am full of compassion for my beloved India.

  3. So a tourist will have to isolate alone in a hotel room for 8 days and not be allowed out nor have visitors ? Am I reading this right ?

  4. Hi Ajay, Any idea how much transit time fpr a connecting flight at Delhi has to be planned for such post arrival tests?

    • @AK, I’d say given the initial confusion at the airport, maybe 6-8 hours is a good idea for now. The other piece of advice I can offer you is to book your connection on the same ticket as the international ticket, so that the airline can give you a free reschedule incase your report has not come back by then.

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