One of the most popular international destinations for tourists – especially during the pandemic, where travel to foreign countries has slowed and almost stopped – the Maldives reopened to Indian visitors on July 15.

It had previously suspended entry for South Asian travelers, effective May 13, when the second wave was at its peak. Keep in mind, however, that tourists can only be accommodated in guesthouses on local islands after July 30, 2021.

Now, after almost two months, the restrictions have been relaxed a bit and tourists will be issued a visa upon arrival.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

* In order to be able to visit the island country, you must be able to present a confirmation of your hotel reservation at the airport.

* All tourists – including those who have received both doses of their Covid vaccine – must produce a negative RT-PCR test report, with samples taken at least 48 hours and at most 72 hours before departure.

* Additionally, you will also need to submit an online health declaration form to the Maldives Immigration Portal 24 hours prior to your arrival.

* At present, Indian tourists are not allowed to visit Grand Malé, due to its dense local population.

* They can however distribute their stay between the hotels. But, it is mandatory that the facilities meet government guidelines and have the approvals of the Maldives Ministry of Tourism. In addition, tourists are required to inform the facilities of their intention to spend a few days at another resort.

* While visitors are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival, if they – or someone in their group – show symptoms of Covid, they will need to take an RT-PCR test and self-quarantine in a complex or transit facility until reports arrive. The cost of accommodation may be at their expense.

* Those traveling to the Maldives from India may be tourists, nationals of the Maldives, expatriates and their dependents with a work permit. And those traveling from Maldives to India must be Indian nationals and those with OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card hold Maldivian passport. This category also includes foreigners (including diplomats) holding a valid visa issued by an Indian mission under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

* Remember that after entering India after staying in Maldives, you will need to present another negative RT-PCR test certificate. Be sure to inform the property where you are staying, so that the management can organize this before your departure.

* Wear a mask and wear it in public at all times. Also download the Maldives contact finder app, TraceEkee, before your trip.

Good luck!

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