India Reopens to International Travelers for First Time in 18 Months

For the first time since March 2020, India is allowing foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country.

Visitors at historical Hawa Mahal on the occasion of World Tourism Day in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Photo: Vishal Bhatnagar/Getty Images

You may be able to make that winter visit to the Taj Mahal this year after all. India, once an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, is once again ready to begin welcoming international tourists.

Beginning this week, vaccinated visitors on commercial flights are allowed to reenter the country for the first time since March 2020, according to the U.S. Embassy. Travelers will be required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight. Vaccinated travelers from countries with agreements for mutual vaccines like the U.S., U.K., and many European nation will be able to enter without need for a negative test.

Prior to this week's announcement, India had been slowly reopening visa processing for business, diplomatic, and student travel in recent months as COVID cases have been on the decline.

India has administered more than 1 billion vaccine doses and nearly 370 million residents are fully vaccinated, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization. About 26% of India's population is fully vaccinated.

India has reported over 34,000,000 cases and over 460,000 deaths related to COVID-19, according to the WHO.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control currently assigns a moderate Level 2 risk rating for travel to India. It recommends only vaccinated travelers make the journey to India and continues to recommend unvaccinated U.S. travelers refrain from leisure travel.

Meanwhile, the United States has eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from India. Vaccinated travelers from India will need to show proof of a vaccine along with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to flying to back to the U.S.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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