Current COVID travel protocol to follow if you are visiting Chennai

COVID-19: TRAVEL PROTOCOL

chennai airport
The state government has amped up the screening protocols for all travellers. Pic: Chennai Airport/Twitter

Updated on December 6, 2021

In April 2021, in the backdrop of the alarming COVID scenario across the country, as well as rising numbers within the state, the Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Department had introduced a number of rules to be followed for travel to Chennai and the state. Responding to various questions from our readers, we had compiled a list of the travel protocols in place then. This article replaces our older curation with details of the current travel protocol in place, as on December 6 2021.

As 2021 progressed and the pandemic situation eased, the rules for travel had begun to be eased and over the last few months, it seemed that travel was slowly becoming as seamless as in pre-COVID times. Till the emergence of the Omicron variant once again began to ring the alarm bells. Currently as the country has started to report an increasing number of cases of the new, highly transmissible variant, the state has introduced a number of preventive measures to help mitigate a fresh wave.


Read more: Mitigating the third COVID wave: Five communication strategies to follow


Who needs an e-pass?

An auto e-pass is mandatory for all international and domestic travellers from other states and union territories.  Inter-district travellers need not apply for an e-pass.
An e-pass can be applied for here.

A screenshot of the website that grants auto e-pass.

Should inter-district travellers in Tamil Nadu get tested or quarantined?

No, the state government has not devised any protocols for inter-district travellers in Tamil Nadu.

Domestic arrivals

  • Thermal screening is mandatory at all entry points to the state.
  • Travellers arriving from all states and UTs other than Kerala need not be in possession of a negative RT-PCR test. 
  • Travellers arriving from Kerala must hold a valid final vaccination certificate or a COVID negative RT-PCR test taken no later than 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • All travellers must self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days and visit the nearest health facility if any symptoms are present. 
  • Only symptomatic travellers will be subject to institutional quarantine at the discretion of health officials.

Read more: COVID numbers are down today, but can we beat it for good?


International arrivals

‘At risk’ countries have been defined as countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong & Israel. 

All international travellers, except travellers from at risk countries, shall be required to undertake the following:

  • Registration for auto-generated e-pass is mandatory. Application can be made here.
  • All travellers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal including travel details of the past 14 days. 
  • All travellers should upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Infants and children under 5 years of age are exempt from pre-departure COVID RT-PCR test.
  • All travellers should be in possession of a physical or digital copy of their self health declaration form acknowledgement submitted on the Air Suvidha Portal and negative RT-PCR report.
  • Thermal screening on arrival is mandatory. 
  • A random sampling of travellers arriving from countries not deemed at risk will be subject to RT-PCR test with cost borne by them.
  • The travellers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to a medical facility and treated as per standard treatment protocol. 
  • Others must self-monitor their health for 14 days 
  • All such travellers shall inform the State/National call centres in case they develop symptoms at any time during the quarantine or self-monitoring of their health.

For international arrivals from from at risk countries:

  • Registration for auto-generated e-pass is mandatory. Application can be made here.
  • All travellers should submit a self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal including travel details of the past 14 days. 
  • All travellers should upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. This test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey. Infants and children under 5 years of age are exempt from pre-departure COVID RT-PCR test.
  • All travellers should be in possession of a physical or digital copy of their self health declaration form acknowledgement submitted on the Air Suvidha Portal and negative RT-PCR report.
  • All travellers must undergo a post-arrival COVID-19 test with cost borne by them. They must wait for a negative test result before leaving the airport or departing for a connecting flight. Infants and children under 5 years of age are exempt from post arrival COVID-19 tests. 
  • Travellers can pre-book their post-arrival COVID test at Chennai International Airport here. A regular RT-PCR test with a turnaround time between 5-6 hours will cost Rs 700. A rapid test with a turnaround time of 1 hour will cost Rs 3400.
  • If the traveller is found positive they will undergo institutional quarantine and treatment as per standard treatment protocols. The sample will be sent for genomic testing.
  • If the test is negative, travellers are required to be in home quarantine for 7 days, after which they must undertake a re-test. 
  • If found negative on the re-test, travellers are required to self-monitor for symptoms for the next 7 days.

Also read:

About Aruna Natarajan 179 Articles
Aruna is an Associate Editor at Citizen Matters. She has a BA in Economics and a PG Diploma in Journalism. She has also worked in a think-tank on waste management policy and with a non-profit in sport for development. She writes on civic issues, governance, waste, commute and urban policy. She tweets at @aruna_n29.

32 Comments

  1. Hi I would like to know of any passenger travelling from Bangalore by train or bus needs to be tested i.e. RT PCR ?
    Would appreciate if I can get some clarity on it. Thanks

    • It is safer to do the test before u leave to avoid unwanted harassment on arrival. Bangalore is exempted as of now. I just came back to Chennai yesterday.

    • Hi nimmi please contact the health and family welfare Department… Feel free to contact me for any clarifications
      +919148527519

  2. Travellers from Karnataka, AP & UT of Pondicherry, are exempted from carrying RT-PCR test report. This has been clearly mentioned in the article.

  3. Hello Sir
    25th april is my daughters wedding at chennai
    We will be travelling from hyderabad.
    Will we need to take a epass or test done compulsary.

    • Hello Naveen,

      We are in the same situation as you. Would you be willing to let me know if you needed to take one e-pass for your whole family or one for each individual member?

      Thanks and Regards,
      Ashish

  4. Hi there, I’m travelling from Mumbai for a short 12 hour return trip. Do I need an RT PCR test?

  5. What if the passenger is vaccinated? Do we still need self isolation ? And an extra PCR test in airport ?

  6. There is an engagement function planned in my family and guests are travelling from Bihar, Delhi, Bhopal and Kolkatta. Is RT PCR test required?

    • Hi iam travelling to Chennai on 3rd of May morning and coming back to Bhubaneswar Odisha on the same day .what I have to do before leave .Is there any test or anything I have to do .

  7. Travelling from Ghaziabad, U.P to Chennai. I will take flight from New Delhi which is the nearest airport. I will take return flight from Chennai within 3 days. I have taken Vaccination both the dose also. Should Home quarantine will be applicable for me or not?

  8. Sir, madam Iand’+3 person are traveling by car from Bangalore to chennai , just for a day is it necessary to take a e-pass

  9. I am traveling to Chennai from Bangalore for an conference of one day.

    What is the procedure

  10. TRAVELING FROM AHMEDABAD, GUJRAT TO CHENNAI. Is RT PCR test required? Will there be RT-PCR testing at the airport ?

  11. Myself my daughter and my son are travelling by AI on 17th April from Mumbai international airport to Chennai international airport. Is it mandatory to do a PC RcT test ? Or just a epass registration is enough. Neither the airline or any forum is giving us the right answers.

  12. Hi
    My in-laws would be coming to Chennai on 30th April from Kerala and would be leaving on the 1st May. Do they need to be be in under quarantine for 7 days? Or they can be exempted.

  13. I had both 2 covidshield. Is there any recast ruction to travel by car from Chennai to B’lore?

  14. Hey, I’m going back to my home from Chennai by train.So do I need to have RT-PCR test done before travelling by train?

  15. I have an exam on April 24th at Coimbatore. What all things I need to be followed before arriving from Kerala to Coimbatore via train. Is it mandatory for RT PCR result?

  16. THERE IS AN MARRIAGE ENGAGEMENT FUNCTION IN CHENNAI. I’M TRAVELLING FROM PUNE TO CHENNAI FOR ABOUT ONE WEEK. IS RT-PCR TEST REQUIRED:

  17. Hi.., I’m Gujarat to chennai coming on 26th April 2021. Request you to pls confirm covid test certificate require.

  18. Hi,
    We are planning to drive from Mumbai to Chennai this weekend in our own car. Do we need to take a covid test?

  19. Am planning to come to india last week of April-2021 from UAE via chennai airport my current address is kallakurichi, tamilnadu. Whereas my passport containing previous permanet address of the the same district such as ulundurper- kallakurichi i have to take e-pass from the portal

  20. Hi, I’m travelling from Kerala to Chennai on 03-May-2021. Is RT-PCR test needed?

  21. hi my brother and his worker has to come to Chennai from Hyderabad on 10th of may what is the procedure

  22. I’m also going Ranchi from Chennai on 18th May…so they require any covid test report or not..?

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