In this article we are sharing an article of Raam Chaware who from Newark (USA) to Mumbai on 10th May 2020 and quarantined in Pune, and has shared his experience and a complete guide when travelling to India over Vande Bharath mission with a flight which will to Delhi from Madrid by Air India is scheduled for 1st of June, this article might come to help all Indians living in Spain throughout the process, and Raam has specifically advised not follow rumours and avoid speaking with an agent as the Embassy of India are the sole coordinator for this mission, we also thank Raam to let us publish his article in Catalunyaar.
Please read the complete article to get answers to all of your questions.
Before thinking of travel
1. Check if you are an Indian passport holder. Currently, the travel is strictly allowed
only for Indian passport holders. Maybe in the future, the Indian Government will start
foreign and OCI cardholders.
2. Check your body temperature. If you are above 99.0 F, you may lose your chance to
3. You have a genuine reason to travel back to India. If you don’t have a genuine
the reason, please leave the spot for others who are needy.
4. You are okay to be quarantined for 14 days in India on self expense.
5. Check the evacuation flight schedule at Air India website –
Rumors & Facts
● Rumour – You can be home quarantined
● Fact – You are not allowed to be home quarantined
● Rumour – You’ll be quarantined at a government detention centre
● Fact – There is nothing like a government detention center. You’ll be kept at some
designated hotel on your own expense.
● Rumour – You’ll have to undergo COVID-19 test at the airport
● Fact – There will be only thermal tests at the airport. Further thermal tests will be
taken at the hotel. If you are beyond the permitted limit of temperature then you’ll be
treated in isolation.
1. 1 – 3 days for Embassy calls and Air India to book the ticket. In many cases, an
embassy’s call may take weeks depending on your origin and number of requests.
2. 5 – 6 hrs before boarding the flight
3. Flight duration depends on your origin and destination. For me, EWR to BOM – 14 hrs
4. 5 – 6 hrs after you land to your destination and start your journey to your quarantine
5. From the airport to your quarantine location it depends on your own preferences. For
me, Mumbai to Pune – 3 hrs
6. Get into your room – 1 hr
Suggestions for Elders/babies
1. Do you really want to travel in this situation? If you can hold for another 4-5 months
then I would suggest avoiding travelling at this time. If you really want to travel now,
then I recommend the below instructions.
2. Do not carry heavy check-in bags. If you carry, you should be okay to handle them on
yourself throughout your journey. Airport luggage trolleys would be available at the
airport only, but not for further journey.
3. You need to manage to wear a face mask all the time. I understand it’s difficult for
elders/babies to keep a mask on all the time but you definitely don’t want to take a
4. Try to opt for the quarantine hotel at the nearest facility from the airport. If you belong
to another State/District than the airport location then try not to travel for a long time
in this summertime. To decide your quarantine city, you need to read Point# 8 below
Steps to book the flight for India from USA (Process would be similar from India to Spain)
“Beware of fake calls. For every call/email, you should check the authentication. Nowadays there are so many
fake embassies and Air India calls/emails”
1. Fill and submit below form
Not – every country has its own link. Please check with the respective Indian
embassy. (We will update once we receive this link)
2. Wait for the call from the Embassy.
3. The Embassy will decide to whom to select for the repatriation flight based on
urgency. The Embassy will call individuals to ask if they are ready to board the flight
as per schedule.
4. In some cases, I have observed that the Embassy will call the individuals on the
same day as flight departure. So, if you have registered and you really want to travel
then you should be in ready-to-go condition.
5. Upon your confirmation, the Embassy will forward your information to Air India
officials for flight booking.
6. You’ll receive an email from an authorized Air India official about flight booking.
7. The email contains details regarding the air India account number to transfer the
flight fare. Wire transfer is the slow process of booking. I recommend using a Credit
Card for paying the airfare.
8. Airfare will be costly. For Newark, to Mumbai, I have paid $1361.40 (Price will be different in case of Madrid to Delhi)
9. Air India will issue an air ticket on the same day or later. But at times, they will not
even respond to your calls/emails because of the rush. You don’t need to panic even
if you don’t have an air ticket. You can directly reach the airport 5-6 hrs prior to
departure and contact the Embassy officials. They will issue you a ticket right away
as long as you have received a call from the Embassy (step 2).
8. Make sure you fill the state-specific form as well to help decide the State Government
about your quarantine facility well in advance.
For Maharashtra people, below is the link –
Note – for other States, please check the CMO website or twitter handle for the link.
9. If you fail to submit this form, the Police authorities will decide your quarantine
location based on your passport address.
What you should do if your final destination is away from the airport location
1. Check with the embassy if they are arranging any connecting domestic flights.
2. If there is no connecting flight to your own city, then you can decide to be
quarantined in the city where you are landing. But you may need to fill the state form
as mentioned in point# 8 above and update the city as an airport city.
3. If you don’t wish to be quarantined in the airport city then you can choose to travel to
your own state/district by the transport facility provided by local police authorities.
This may be tiresome as the temperature in India is crossing 36 degree Celsius.
4. If you have genuine health-related issues, then you may speak to the airport police
authorities and check with them if they allow you to change as per your comfort.
There is no guarantee that they will accept your request as this process is strictly
managed by the Commissioner’s office.
What to carry for your travel and quarantine period
1. Make sure you are packing 2 check-in bags as per the limits (23kgs each). Excess
weight in these 2 bags is chargeable.
2. No extra check-in bag is allowed strictly.
3. Carry-on (8 kgs), laptop bag (5 kgs) and 1 personal item are also checked for
weights. Make sure you don’t carry extra weight to avoid last moment chaos.
4. TV or big size items are not allowed.
4. Carry your own food for the flight duration. The airline is allowing passengers to eat
their own food in flight. I recommend not to eat in-flight packed food.
5. Carry your own water bottle.
6. If you have kids, make sure you pack their food as well.
7. Carry some extra food, like dry fruits, biscuits, haldiram packs, chips, chocolates, etc.
if you want to eat during 14 days of quarantine.
8. Make sure you have sufficient face masks, hand gloves and sanitizers to use
throughout your journey and quarantine period. The airline will provide these items
for 1-time use.
An important suggestion for a face mask – if your face mask is ear hanging type then
you may need to reconsider buying another type of mask which can be ear hang
free. For me, it was a hell of a lot of pain to keep an ear hanging mask on for ~30 hrs.
9. The airline won’t provide a blanket in flight, so make sure you are properly covered
and carry a jacket if you want to use it during flight.
10. Carry essential stuff like daily usage clothes, personal lotions, etc. which is sufficient
for 14 days of quarantine.
11. Don’t forget to carry the US to India socket converter to charge your phone, laptop,
portable charger, etc.
12. Carry a pen. You need to fill many forms until you reach your home.
13. Make sure you carry sufficient amounts of Indian currency.
14. Make sure your Indian cards and working and/or you have
GooglePay/PayTM/PhonePe working on your mobile phone.
15. Make sure you are carrying an active Indian phone number, to use for the
AarogyaSeva app after reaching your destination. This is mandatory for all travelers.
16.If you don’t have any active Indian SIM card, don’t worry, there will be a counter for
new SIM card purchase. Jio and Airtel are the options. It will cost you around Rs. 300
per SIM and they accept either cash or PhonePe.
Things to remember before boarding the flight
1. All stores at the airport will be closed, both USA and India.
2. There won’t be anything you can buy at the airport, food, drinks, electronics, foreign
3. You can buy Indian SIM card when you land Indian airport at the AarogyaSetu
4. There will be a few drinking water taps available.
1. Wear a face mask and hand gloves all the time.
2. Reach to the airport a 5-6 hrs period to the departure time.
3. There will be a big queue with maintaining social distance throughout.
4. Airport officials will hand over an undertaking form, you need to fill it and be in the
queue for thermal tests.
5. The allowable temperature is below 99.0 F.
6. If you are within the allowable limits, you can proceed to the bags check-in counter.
7. You may need to fill another undertaking form before bag check.
8. After bag check-in, and security check-in, you can remain in the waiting halls. I
recommend eating your food before boarding the flight when you have minimum
people around you.
9. There won’t be any social distancing inside the flight. So, it will be risky to remove the
face mask anytime.
10. Try to use the washroom as minimum as possible.
11. You need to fill a form (2 copies) of the self-health declaration. Forms will be provided
to you on your seats or you can get it from airport authorities after offboarding the
Reaching your destination
1. After offboarding the flight, you will be grouped in a batch of ~20 for thermal testing.
You need to hand over the self-health declaration form and do the thermal test.
2. After the test, you’ll be directed towards the AarogyaSeva counter where you need to
download the app and enter your registered Indian phone number. This is a
mandatory procedure before immigration.
3. Once you have installed the app and registered the number, you’ll be instructed to be
in the immigration queue.
4. After immigration, you’ll be walking towards your baggage area. After the bag picks
up and passes through customs, you will be reaching towards the travel desk.
5. Depending on your home address you have entered in a State registration form,
you’ll be grouped together with the people belonging to the same State/districts.
6. The State Police officials will hand over to you a Commissioner permit letter to allow
you to travel to the respective districts and will assign you a vehicle along with the
7. There will be a long wait to begin your journey to your own districts.
8. This transportation is self-paid and they only accept cash. So you have to make sure
you are carrying enough cash (or you can withdraw from ATMs). The Transportation
amount depends on the distance between your airport and your district. For Mumbai
to Pune – Rs. 1170, For Mumbai to Nagpur – Rs. 8000.
9. The vehicle will be non-AC, so choose your quarantine destination wisely.
Considering the current summer weather, it will be difficult to travel for a long time.
10. Please note that you may face difficulties while putting your luggage in the bus/cab if
you are an elderly person. Even if people are willing to help, no one will touch your
11. If you are local (e.g. Mumbai), you will be provided with the list of quarantine hotels
and you need to choose. There is a range of hotels for Mumbai people.
12. Unfortunately, there will not be multiple options for hotels for other people.
14 days Quarantine
1. 14 days of quarantine is compulsory for everyone.
2. As you reach your quarantine hotel, hotel officials will give you the instructions to
3. Hotel rates depend on the type of facility they are providing. For a 3-star hotel, for a
single room, you may need to pay Rs. 35000 for a 14 nights stay which includes 3
meals a day and taxes. For a family room, you may need to pay ~45000. Family
room includes a husband, wife and kids.
4. Hotel facilities are pretty decent. Cannot complain. I have been quarantined in Hotel
Ginger, Wakad (Pune). This is a 3 star hotel and has all facilities, Wi-Fi, AC, TV,
Fridge, Hot water, unlimited drinking water bottles, coffee maker. Breakfast, lunch
and dinner, 2 times tea.
5. You can pay using your Indian cards or online net banking.
6. If you are not able to pay using any of the means mentioned above, then you can ask
your relatives/friends to either stop by at your hotel or provide card information over
the call and ask hotel officials to complete the payment.
7. Once you step into the room, you are not allowed to step out for 14 days.
8. After 1-2 days, there will be a Doctor’s visit to your room only for your health checkup
and sample collection. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 then the officials will shift
you to the concerned treatment places.
9. You don’t need to pay for these tests.
10. There will be another Doctor’s visit as you approach the end of the quarantine period.
If you don’t show any symptoms, you’ll be allowed to travel to your home/hometown.
If you want to travel within or outside of the Maharashtra state after your 14 days of
1. Fill the below registration form to get a pass
Note – for other states, please check the state government website.
I wish you a safe and pleasant journey! Don’t panic!
If you need further help, you may WhatsApp me at +91-7021798349. I urge you to read the
above information and only contact me if your question is not answered in my article.