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Vaccines for travel to India: Mandatory and recommended

by Pilar Dujan | August 31, 2023
Get the vaccines for travel to India to visit Rishikesh

It's important to take care of your health when traveling internationally, especially if you're going to far away countries with different cultures and sanitary conditions. In this case, you'll learn everything about the mandatory and recommended vaccines for travel to India, as well as other requirements of entry.

What do you need to travel to India?

You will need to follow certain travel requirements to India to be granted entry:  

  • Having an approved India eVisa
  • Presenting a recent photograph of the applicant.
  • Having a valid passport.
  • Complying with the required vaccines for travel to India.
  • Travel insurance: although it’s not mandatory, it’s extremely recommended.

India is a vast and densely populated country. Health conditions are subpar compared to other developed countries and there’s no public healthcare system: that’s the reason why having travel insurance is recommended.

Another common travel requisite is complying with vaccination requirements, especially in countries with poor sanitary conditions like India. Here you will discover the vaccines for travel to India that you will have to get before your flight. 

Are there any mandatory vaccines for travel to India?

One of the vaccines required for travel to India is the vaccine against yellow fever. This is mandatory for anyone traveling from an endemic country

That’s the case for the following nations of Africa and the Americas:

Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago (Trinidad only), Venezuela.

If you come from or have recently visited one of those countries, you will need to present a vaccination certificate for yellow fever. If not, you will be detained in isolation

Jaipur, the Pink City, India

What vaccines are recommended for travel to India?

The vaccines recommended for travel to India, according to the CDC, are:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio
  • Shingles
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Typhoid

Even though it’s not one of the vaccines needed for travel to India, another of the vaccines required for travel to India could be the one against Japanese Encephalitis, but it’s only recommended in the following cases:

  • If you plan to live in an area with Japanese Encephalitis
  • If you plan to spend a month or more in an area with Japanese Encephalitis
  • If you travel frequently to areas with the disease 
  • If you plan to visit rural areas, to hike or to go camping. Also recommended if you will be sleeping without bed nets, screens or air conditioning (it’s transmitted by mosquito bites). 

Vaccines for travel to India to see the Jal Mahal

Other health tips for traveling to India

The most important thing to keep in mind if you travel to India is to be protected at all times against mosquito bites. As mentioned before, it’s the way in which Japanese encephalitis is transmitted, but it’s not the only disease.

Malaria is a huge problem in India, as well as dengue fever and yellow fever. To avoid getting bit, carry insect repellent with you and reapply it throughout the day, especially in the jungle, near rivers or in rural areas. 

Mosquitos are most active in the early mornings and at sunset, so try to avoid being outside at those times, or at least without insect repellent. Packing fresh but covering clothes (like pants and long-sleeved shirts) is another way to protect your skin against not only mosquitos, but the sun as well.

To protect your stomach against Delhi Belly, a very common problem for tourists, you should wash your hands regularly, only drink bottled water (with no ice) and avoid street carts. 

How to get a visa for India

If you travel to India for tourism reasons, you could be eligible to apply for the India visa

If not, then you will have to apply in person at your nearest Indian Embassy or consulate. 

The following countries are exempt from having to apply for a visa for India and they can travel only with their passport. They are:

Argentina, Cook Island, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Island, Mauritius, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Island, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay and Vanuatu.