In a blow to thousands of travelers, Canada has extended its ban on flights from India until August 21. The decision means that the busy travel season before the start of academic terms will be hampered. However, there is still a way to travel from India to Canada for those who wish to fly.
For the third time since the end of April, the Canadian government extended its travel ban from India. The move comes despite some high-level communications aimed at relaxing the ban, with India’s high commissioner to Canada sending a diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry to reconsider its ban last week.
However, Canada maintains that the widespread spread of the Delta variant, which first appeared in India, means direct travel is too risky. The restrictions mean that no direct flight can be operated between Canada and India, and that no COVID-19 test performed in India is valid for entry into Canada.
The move will be a disappointment for thousands of travelers currently stranded in India due to the restrictions. The August extensions also mean Air India and Air Canada will miss the wave of students and parents traveling for the start of the academic year. Considering the tens of thousands of Indian students in Canada, this is a huge blow to airlines in pre-pandemic times. However, for passengers there is some breathing space.
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In addition to the travel ban, the Canadian government has also updated its guidelines on travel via an “indirect route”. Passengers who can test negative from outside India, including at a transit stop, are exempt from travel restrictions. This opens the door to several indirect options for passengers.
Additionally, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks to three months can use their positive test to skip pre-departure testing. However, this positive test must be performed in a laboratory outside of India, which makes it more difficult than the above step.
This is not a new route and many travelers have been using it for months now. However, as more passengers look for ways to reach Canada for whatever reason, stopping in transit 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, Maldives are some of the countries that accept travelers from India without quarantine. However, with travel advice changing almost daily, it’s important to double-check before booking flights and again before departure.
Traveling to Canada is not as easy as it was before April, but there are several options for those arriving before August 21. In better news, Canada has announced that it will reopen its border to all vaccinated travelers around the world on September 7, which hopefully means restrictions on India will also be relaxed.
What do you think of the travel ban imposed on Canada from India? Let us know in the comments!