In a huge blow to thousands of travelers, Canada has extended its flight ban from India until 21st August. The decision means that the busy travel season before the beginning of college terms will be hampered. However, there remains a way to travel from India to Canada for those who wish to fly.
For the third time since late April, the Canadian government has extended its travel ban from India. The decision comes despite some high-level communication to ease the ban, with the Indian High Commissioner to Canada sending a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reconsider its ban last week.
However, Canada maintains that the extensive spread of the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, means direct travel is too high risk. The restrictions mean that no direct flights can operate between Canada and India, and no COVID-19 tests taken in India are valid for entry into Canada.
The decision will be a disappointment to thousands of travelers currently stuck in India due to the restrictions. The August extensions also mean that Air India and Air Canada will miss out on the flurry of students and parents traveling for the start of the college year. Considering the tens of thousands of Indian students in Canada, this is a huge bump for airlines in pre-pandemic times. However, for passengers, there is some reprieve.
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In addition to the travel ban, the Canadian government has also updated its guidance on travel via an “indirect route.” Passengers who can bring a negative test from outside India, including at a transit stop, are exempt from the travel restrictions. This opens the door to several indirect options for passengers.
Additionally, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks to three months can use their positive test to skip pre-departure testing. However, this positive test must be done in a lab outside India, making it more challenging than the step above.
This is not a new route and many travelers have been using the route for months now. However, as more passengers look for ways to reach Canada for any reason, making a transit stop is a relatively easy way to meet the requirements.
For Indians, the number of countries currently allowing entry remains extremely limited. Spain, Switzerland, Egypt, Mexico, the Maldives are some of the countries accepting travelers from India without quarantine. However, with travel guidance changing on a near-daily basis, it’s important to recheck before booking any flights and again before departure.
Traveling to Canada is not as simple as it was before April, but several options exist for those who must reach before August 21st. In some better news, Canada has announced that it will reopen its border to all vaccinated travelers globally on September 7th, hopefully meaning restrictions on India will be eased then too.
What do you think about Canada’s continuing travel ban from India? Let us know in the comments!