Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scheduled international passenger flights were suspended in India on March 23. Even the Unlock 5.0 guidelines did not allow international flights to resume. However, there are a number of countries to which to and fro flights are being operated and Indian citizens can take those flights.
To facilitate the international travel amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, India has announced transport bubbles with several countries.
What is an air bubble?
“Transport Bubbles” or “Air Bridges” are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.
Which countries do we have air bubble arrangements with?
India has so far established air bubbles arrangements with 18 countries including - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Oman, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the UAE, Kenya, Ukraine, Bhutan, the UK, and the US.
Bangladesh is all set to resume flights to India from October 28 under 'air bubble' arrangement, after nearly eight months the communications were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Who is allowed to visit India?
The government has decided to restore all existing visas, except electronic, tourist and medical categories with immediate effect. The decision has been taken almost eight months after their suspension following the coronavirus outbreak.
If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian mission or post concerned.
Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants.
As per the advisory, foreign nationals can visit India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.