India on Monday announced that it was scrapping the Covid-19 self-declaration forms through its Air Suvidha portal. This came as a relief to frequent travellers.
Anand BSN, a businessman based in South India, often travels to Dubai. There were times when he had forgotten to apply for Air Suvidha and had reached his destination. “Air Suvidha is not mandatory to travel to other countries, and it slipped away a couple of times. I had to fill out the form at the arrival of Indian Airports to apply for one,” said Anand.
“I remembered only when I noticed the queue just before arriving at the immigration,” added Raja.
Previously, it was mandatory for international passengers arriving in India to fill an Air Suvidha form. Following revised guidelines for international arrivals issued by India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Civil Aviation Ministry issued a notice making the registration no longer necessary.
The circular said, “The present guidelines are being revised in light of sustained declining Covid-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in Covid-19 vaccination coverage both globally as well as in India.”
As per the document, passengers planning travel “should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination against Covid-19 in the country.”
Another passenger Emaad Hassan, who recently traveled to India after a gap of three years, said that he did not know about filling out the forms. As he was at the boarding gate of Dubai Airport terminal 1, “A fellow passenger told me about it, and I had to apply for it quickly,” said Hassan.
“I will be going next month as well for a family gathering, and it will be a relief for travellers arriving in India,” added Hassan.
Many travellers also mentioned that lining up in a queue before immigration resulted in delays. “International flights arriving at busy airports like Chennai, Bangalore, and Mumbai recorded long queues to submit the Air Suvidha form, which resulted in nearly one to two hours of delay,” said Syed Saad, a businessman in Dubai.
“Now, as the submission of forms is being scrapped, time will be saved and ease the exit from the airport,” added Saad.
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