Last updated on August 2, 2021
The second-most populous country in the world, India is an adventure for all visitors. From busy, adrenaline-pumping streets and world-renowned festivals of light and color to spiritual landmarks and serene, snow-capped mountains, there's excitement and enlightenment waiting for all who make the journey. As of May 2021, travel to India for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not allowed. However, some additional categories of travelers such as business travelers or individuals moving to India are permitted.
Is travel insurance mandatory for India?
Wondering about India travel insurance requirements? Travel insurance for India is not mandatory in order to enter the country. However, due to remote areas and to increased risks throughout the country, it's a smart move to purchase travel health insurance for India.
With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to find the best travel insurance for India. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool in order to find the best coverage for India. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.
COVID-19 in India
As of June 2021, India is closed to tourists and many countries, including the United States have put a travel ban on visitors from India. This means that people departing from India can not enter the country at this time.
Some additional categories of travelers to India such as business travelers or individuals moving to India are permitted. As of February 22, all travelers to India must upload a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha Portal, as well as a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the journey. They must also declare via the portal that they will quarantine at home for 14 days on arrival. Follow India's national and regional news alerts to keep up with the COVID situation in India as well as the travel restrictions and requirements.
If you're planning on visiting the country, consider Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance so that you may recoup some of your costs if you need to cancel, postpone or cut short your original travel plans for any reason, including COVID-19-related concerns.
When traveling, here are some precautions to take:
Before you travel:
- Get tested with a viral test 1 to 3 days before your trip
- If you were exposed to COVID-19, are sick, or test positive for the disease, do not travel
- Follow all entry requirements for India and be sure you have all required documentation
- Wear a mask
- Practice social distancing protocols
- Wash your hands often
- Be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around her
After you travel:
- Get tested 3 to 5 days after you return to your home country
- Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days
- If you don't get tested, it's best to self-quarantine for at least 10 days
Traveling from the United States:
- If you have a return flight to the U.S., you must get a viral test in India no more than 3 days before your flight, and the test results have to be negative
- Keep your test results on hand in case you're asked for them
- Follow all United States guidelines and airline protocols
Health & Safety Tips
India is regarded as generally safe for tourists, but safety levels can be hard to predict by destination. It's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and cautious in big crowds. Never leave your personal belongings unattended and keep your money and credit cards secure with a money belt or neck wallet. Female travelers, especially if alone, should be alert at all times, as assault and harassment against women is one of the most common crimes in India.
Scams are also a common crime. Don't allow taxi drivers to take you to a different hotel or overcharge you, watch out for counterfeit tickets for trains or attractions, and avoid making big purchases like gemstones or electronics, as scams tied to expensive items occur regularly.
Though popular tourist destinations are generally considered safe for residents and visitors, some parts of India require increased caution due to unrest and terrorist activity. The India-Pakistani border should be avoided by travelers unless absolutely necessary. It is always advised to get travel insurance to assist in the event of civil unrest or terrorist activity.
Lastly, stomach-related illnesses are common for travelers to India. Transition slowly to eating rich or spicy foods and avoid drinking tap water or consuming anything that could be made with tap water such as ice or ice cream. Wash or sanitize your hands regularly, especially before eating, and pack some over the counter medicines to help with stomach issues in case you do become ill.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for India: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
Visas and Documentation
If you're a citizen or permanent resident of India, Bhutan or Nepal, you do not need a visa or passport to enter India. Additionally, non-residents of India who possess an Overseas Citizen of India registration or Persons of Indian Origin Card do not require a visa. Citizens of Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates can apply for a 60-day visa upon arrival at certain airports.
Citizens of 160 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the United States, must have a visa to enter India. If traveling to India for personal reasons for 30 days or less, most travelers can apply for an eTourist Visa easily online. Visa costs can range from $0 up to more than $100. Travelers must always have a valid passport to enter the country.