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Written by Swathi on August 24, 2020 Share on

Standard Operating Protocols for all International Travellers: Indian Govt

The Indian government had formulated an arrangement of air transport bubble under the Vande Bharat scheme. In its address on Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs put forth a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for all kinds of international travellers on non-scheduled commercial flights. India has managed to establish air travel bubbles with various countries. These include the US, the UK, Germany, UAE, Qatar, France and the Maldives, among others. Here are the pointers that the Centre has come up with regards to the SOP for international travel going forward.

Also read: A handy pre-departure checklist for travel in the COVID era

Standard Operating Protocol- Pointers

Image source: Unsplash
  1. Ever since the pandemic broke out, it has stranded travellers in different countries. In a bid to bring Indians back to India, travel bubbles were arranged by the government with the countries as mentioned above. Further talks are underway to arrange for travel bubbles with 13 other countries. The crew and staff who will be on board the Vande Bharat flights will only be allowed if they have tested negative for COVID-19.
  2. Just like how non-scheduled commercial flights will be allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA), ships will also be allowed by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and Ministry of Shipping (MOS). The SOP to be followed will be issued by them on a regular basis similar to flight operations by the MHA.
  3. Indian citizens stranded abroad will have to register themselves with the Indian missions in the countries they are currently residing in. This is to avail of the services of Vande Bharat flights as prescribed by the Ministry of External Affairs. But the forthcoming SOP states that under air travel bubble arrangements, the registration process will have minor changes.
  4. The process will be simple and these include the collection of details such as name, mobile number, place of residence, age, gender and the results of the RT-PCR (COVID-19) test. Based on the details collected, the MEA will share the ship-wise or flight-wise data to different states and union territories in India.
  5. As per the new Standard Operating Protocol which will come into effect, special preference will be given to compelling cases. This is with regards to the transfer of migrant workers without jobs, travellers with visa about to expire, students, pregnant women or medically disabled people. However, the cost of travel has to be borne by the traveller and this will be laid down by the specific carriers.
  6. For all outbound travellers, the passenger category and eligibility details will be provided by MHA and the MOCA will display the same on their website. The details of passengers which are collected by the MEA for a particular country will be submitted to the Indian mission of that country. This will result in a smoother process of Vande Bharat flights operation.
  7. Outbound travellers will apply to the MOCA or agencies which are affiliated to the MOCA along with details such as departure and arrival. The basis of travel from India will be on non-scheduled commercial flights as per the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA).
  8. For all Indian seafarers and crew, there is no restriction in terms of travelling on non-scheduled commercial flights if they are seeking to serve on the vessels. They can get on board the flights or ships as arranged by members of the MOCA after attaining clearance from the Ministry of Shipping (MOS).
  9. There is a requirement of a valid visa to enter a country and the airline will ensure that they check the same before providing permission. Whatever conditions are imposed by the receiving country have to be adhered to by the traveller as per the new Standard Operating Protocol.
  10. All in all, the details which are collected by the MOCA or MOS will be on the basis of the passenger manifesto or details as per flights operating under the air travel bubble scheme. All the details will be transferred to the respective missions in the destination countries, be it inbound or outbound. On the basis of the details so collected, flights will be arranged.

Also read: Planning to come back to India? Here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind before planning your travel.

Flight on ground
Image source: Unsplash

The air travel bubble scheme is redeeming itself on a regular basis. With the new Standard Operating Protocol in place, there is going to be increased safety and security as well for all passengers. Although the pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, it is through missions like these that people’s hope of travelling still remains intact. If you are craving for a safe mode of travel, you can check out some of the staycation deals offered by Pickyourtrail. Get ready to experience leisure without venturing out of the safe zone.

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