Indians can fly with valid visa to UK, US, Canada, UAE under air bubble agreement

Indian flyers holding any valid visa under the ‘Air Bubbles’ agreement can travel to the UK, the US, Canada and UAE, as per the Director-General of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India. Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Puri had confirmed that more air bubbles with other countries are in the pipeline. Meanwhile, India has not allowed entry of all type of visa holders into the country except for those holding essential visa approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

What are air transport bubbles?

Transport bubbles 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. India has created air travel arrangements with countries like the US, France, Germany, the UK, Canada, the UAE and Maldives.

The Home Ministry guidelines state, however, that all such travel shall be “entirely at the risk of the person seeking to travel, bearing in mind the existing restrictions on International travel”.

Who can travel abroad from India?

Citizens of the respective countries and foreign nationals who want to transit through these countries, and Indian nationals can travel subject to certain conditions. For the countries with which India has air transport arrangements, Indian nationals holding a valid visa with validity of at least one month — other than visa for tourism purpose — are allowed to travel. The UAE, in fact, has also allowed tourists to travel into its borders. This means that visa holders of various categories such as student visa, business visa, work visa will be allowed to travel outside from India. The US Embassy in India resumed processing of student visas from Monday (August 17) on a limited basis, which could help students who want to join the fall semester.

Who can travel into India from abroad?

In addition to Indian nationals being allowed to travel on inbound flights operated either by Indian carriers or foreign carriers, certain categories of foreign nationals are also allowed to travel to India. Government has now allowed all OCI cardholders to arrive into India.

For other foreign nationals, the categories allowed to enter India include foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa (other than on B-3 visa for sports); foreign healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories (subject to a letter of invitation from a recognised and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited university in India); and foreign engineering, managerial, design or other specialists travelling to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India (these include all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units as well as financial sector companies, both banking and non-banking financial sector firms).

Which airlines are operating flights to/from India?

National carrier Air India is flying from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Amritsar and Thiruvananthapuram to destinations like London, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Paris, Newark, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC. Foreign  airlines include United, Air France, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic.


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