Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Indian Government Issues New SOPs for International Travel

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued Standard Operating Protocols (SOP) for international travel on non-scheduled commercial flights under the Vande Bharat Scheme and Air Transport Bubble arrangements. As per the SOPs, anyone who wishes to travel to India will first have to register themselves with the Indian missions in the country they are currently in, and hand in necessary details as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The SOP is a part of the guidelines laid down by the home ministry to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection. The move is aimed at keeping a check on the movement of international passengers in a calibrated manner, says the statement from the ministry. However, such registration will not be required for people coming to India on flights operating under air bubble arrangements.

As per the guidelines, flyers with compelling cases like people in distress, including workers who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with the expiry of visas, persons with medical emergencies, pregnant women, elderly persons or those required to return to India due to death of family members and students, will have the priority.

The External Affairs Ministry will prepare a flight database of all such travellers, based on the registrations made including details such as name, age, gender, mobile phone number, place of residence, place of final destination; and information on RT-PCR test taken and its result. These will then be shared by MEA with the respective state or union territory in advance.

To fly on an outbound flight, eligible persons will be permitted by the home ministry after he/she applies to civil aviation ministry or an agency designated under this ministry, along with necessary details. Before such tickets are confirmed, the airline concerned will have to ensure that the destination country allows entry of such a person with a valid visa.
25/08/20 Outlook Traveller
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