Nepal reinstates Covid-19 entry rule

SINGAPORE, 13 January 2023: Nepal has reinstated travel restrictions that require travellers entering Nepal by air or land to submit a certificate showing they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or a negative pre-arrival Covid-19 test result if they are not fully vaccinated.

In a statement posted on its website earlier this week, Nepal Airlines informed passengers they need to present an international vaccination certificate with a barcode or a negate Covid -19 PCR test to board flights to Nepal.

Travellers unable to provide a vaccination certificate must present a negative Covid-19 test report taken within 72 hours of the flight departure to Nepal. The country’s visa-on-arrival service is operating normally.

The Covid-19 entry rule does not apply to children below five years.

The mandatory rule originates from a requirement outlined by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal on 23 December 2022.

Nepal’s tourism-related websites linked to the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism and Nepal Tourism Board make no mention of the ruling leaving it up to the national airline and foreign embassies to get the word out.

Times of India broke the news three days ago, quoting the airline’s website notice and noting that it is now mandatory for international passengers arriving in Nepal to present proof of a Covid-19 international vaccination certificate or Covid-19 PCR negative report.

Nepal locked down travel in March 2020 but gradually reopened on 10 March 2022. It subsequently abolished all pre-arrival testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers to boost the tourism industry.

The Nepal Tourism Board earlier this month noted that India had re-emerged as Nepal’s top inbound tourist market in 2022.

Nepal is responding to rising Covid-19 cases in several countries in Asia, such as China, South Korea, and Japan. Civil aviation authorities said it was a precautionary measure.

But tourism executives see it as a setback. They argue that demanding non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers provide a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test result will deter recovery.