Canada extending India flight restrictions until September

Shelby Thevenot
Published: August 10, 2021

The Canadian government is adding another month of restrictions on flights to and from India.

As part of an ongoing public health measure, the ban on direct flights between Canada and India will continue until September 21, 2021, according to a Transport Canada media release. All direct commercial and private passenger flights are suspended. Only cargo operations, medical transfers, or military flights are allowed to go directly between the two countries.

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In order to come to Canada from India amid these restrictions, travellers will need to take an indirect route. Regardless of immigration status, travellers from India will need a pre-arrival test from a third country, taken within 72 hours of their final departure to Canada. This can be any country other than India, which may have its own coronavirus-related measures to follow.

Canada originally banned direct flights to and from India in April. At the time, it was due to a high proportion of India travellers testing positive for COVID-19. The government also imposed a on Pakistan flights, but that restriction was eased in June.

Flight ban comes as schools and border opens

The ban could create a hurdle for international students from India, as many schools across Canada plan to start in-person classes this fall. Although international students going to COVID-19-ready institutions are exempt from travel restrictions, the ban could mean extra travel planning and budgeting for students and parents. Indian students make up a large percentage of international students in Canada. In recent years, about 30 per cent of international students in Canada come from India.

Fully vaccinated tourists from India, along with the rest of the world, are scheduled to be allowed into Canada starting September 7. This new measures will apply to those who are fully vaccinated with Astra Zeneca/COVISHIELD, or any other Canada-approved vaccine. At this time, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is not approved in Canada, which means travellers who have received this vaccine will be considered "unvaccinated" and will not be allowed into Canada for non-essential reasons. Exempt travellers with this vaccine will still be allowed in, but will have to self-isolate at home. They will also have to provide COVID-19 tests on arrival and on day eight of their quarantine.

Vaccinated travellers will still have to abide by the India flight ban restrictions, but may not have to quarantine nor post-arrival testing requirements. Regardless of their country of departure, all fully vaccinated travellers still need to have a pre-arrival COVID-19 test and quarantine plan before coming to Canada.

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