Hello from Mumbai! This weekend I flew back to Mumbai from Goa, which is one of the places you’ll need to have a Covid test from if you’re coming into Maharashtra.

It seems like some people aren’t aware of the new requirement, so I thought it was worth posting a reminder about the rules, and giving my experience of the drill at the airport.

Mumbai airport from above

Negative Covid test now required when entering Maharashtra from Goa, Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan

I just spent a relaxing and enjoyable week or so in Goa, where I was able to check out some great accommodation options, including a heritage Airbnb property, plus some luxury hotels.

I also managed to get a good feel of Goa, including the local cuisine…

Fish thali at Kokni Kanteen in Panjim

The beautiful beaches...

Miramar beach

Exploring the area by bike...

On my way from Anjuna to Candolim
Beautiful scenes between Anjuna and Candolim

And, above all, getting lost among the locals.

Relaxing in Panjim, Goa

Before I knew it, my trip was soon over and I was heading back to Mumbai. This was my first arrival experience since the Maharashtra government announced that a negative Covid test was mandatory for all passengers coming in from from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa.

Chatrapati Shivaji International airport has also created facilities for incoming passengers who do not have a test report. In this article, I have shared the things you need to keep in mind when flying to Mumbai, while these restrictions are still there.

What are the new regulations?

Back on November 23, the Maharashtra government made a negative Covid test result mandatory for passengers flying in from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa.

You are required to take an RT-PCR test, for which the samples should be collected not more than 72 hours before the time of your arrival in Maharashtra. Here are the rules for air travellers:

There are different regulations in place if you are arriving by train or road. If you're travelling by train, then the test should be carried out within 96 hours of your arrival in Maharashtra.

On December 10, I enquired with Vistara about the requirements for the test as I was due to fly on the 13th. They informed me about the 72 hour period, so I chose to get the test done on the following day (December 11).

I used Manipal Hospital in Goa, where they conduct tests between 10am and 1pm, as is the case with many other places. I advise you to still confirm the timings wherever you decide to get it done.

I received the result the following evening - and was happy to find it was negative! Unfortunately, they don’t share reports with you online, so I had to go down there and collect a physical copy.

Testing facility at Manipal hospital in Goa

Arriving at Mumbai airport

There were special arrangements in place to ensure the queues didn't get too big on arrival. First up, business class passengers were invited to get off the plane, followed by premium economy (where I was seated) and, finally, economy.

Once you've stepped off the plane, you'll find there's a check just before you enter the baggage claim area where passengers are asked to show their negative Covid test.

While standing in the queue, I noticed one of the passengers show a soft copy of the report on his phone to the official. So if you are carrying a soft copy, you should be fine (though I wouldn't want to take this chance).

The official who dealt with me was pretty thorough, as she checked to make sure my test wasn't more than 72 hours old. After that, she was satisfied and I was cleared to make my way to the baggage claim.

Checking at Mumbai airport on arrival

What happens if you arrive without a test report?

If you do not have a test report, you can use the testing facilities at Mumbai airport and you will be required to have yourself tested at your own cost.

The cost for the airport test is INR 1,400 (USD 19), which is much less than the INR 3,500 (USD 47) I paid in Goa for the same test. The airport staff member informed me that it takes 24 hours to get the result, and the passenger will be allowed to go to their home, hotel, or wherever they are staying.

I had a couple of passengers before me who didn’t have test reports and were querying the need to take a test. Some of the complaints included:

  • "I don’t have any symptoms, why do I need to take a test?"
  • "But I was in Goa for only three days!"

As you'd expect, they were told: “Even if you were there for just one hour, you’d still be required to take the test!”

Although I didn't go through the experience of taking the test at Mumbai airport, I was pretty satisfied with the interactions I had with the staff, though I have noticed that there are some reports on social media about a lack of social distancing while waiting for the test.

Others have complained that their test results never arrived:

Summing up

If you're travelling into Maharashtra from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa, remember that you'll need to either produce a negative Covid test on arrival, or take a test at the airport when you land (when coming by plane).

You will have to make the expenditure at the airport on arrival (INR 1,400 at Mumbai airport), which you anyways would have had to do if you took the test elsewhere. In fact, I feel the price for testing at the airport has been set much lower than what you will find in other places.

I found the staff at Mumbai airport polite and helpful, so if you are having difficulties understanding these procedures, rest assured that you will receive proper guidance on arrival.

I'm tempted to get the test done on arrival on my next trip, simply because it's so much cheaper.

Have you experienced the Covid testing facility at Mumbai airport? What are your thoughts?