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I am an Indian national (passport issued by Indian government) residing in Norway with a residence permit issued by Norwegian government. I want to travel to India to visit my family as it has been 2 years. I was looking at air bubbles between India and certain countries and I am not sure whether I can transit through Sri Lanka.

It says:

  1. Sri Lanka

India has created an air bubble arrangement with Sri Lanka. Indian and Sri Lankan carriers are now permitted to operate flights between India and Sri Lanka and carry the following categories of persons on such flights:

A. From India to Sri Lanka:

a. Following categories of Indian nationals. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter Sri Lanka before issue of ticket / boarding pass to the Indian passenger.

i. Indian businessmen on a Business visa.

ii. Indian healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Sri Lanka health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories.

iii. Indian engineering, managerial, design or other specialists travelling to Sri Lanka on behalf of Indian business entities located in Sri Lanka.

iv. Indian technical specialists and engineers travelling for installation, repair and maintenance of Indian-origin machinery and equipment facilities in Sri Lanka, on the invitation of a registered Sri Lankan business entity.

v. Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka on leisure / pleasure purposes.

b. Nationals / residents of Sri Lanka.

B. From Sri Lanka to India:

i. Indian nationals and nationals of Nepal or Bhutan;

ii. All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and Person of Indian Origin cardholders holding passports of any country;

iii. Nationals / residents of Sri Lanka (including diplomats) and foreigners (including diplomats) intending to visit India for any purpose (including their dependents on appropriate category of dependent visa) except those on Tourist Visa.

Does this mean I can transit through Sri Lanka if I am traveling from Norway to India but I cannot transit through Sri Lanka when I am returning from India to Norway?

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  • 1
    Any particular reason to choose Sri Lanka? Middle east seems much more convenient and has more flight options.
    – RedBaron
    Nov 12 '21 at 15:19
  • 2
    @RedBaron perhaps because on that air bubble page, the entries for Middle East states all stipulate that travelers can be "Indian nationals stranded in [x]", while the entry for Sri Lanka omits that "stranded" clause. Nov 12 '21 at 16:01
  • @RedBaron I was looking at it as it was one of the cheapest flights to Chennai
    – inorw
    Nov 22 '21 at 14:18
  • @Wetenschaap I booked my flight now through Frankfurt, it does have the stranded clause. Does that mean anything if I reside in Schengen area and want to return back?
    – inorw
    Nov 22 '21 at 14:19
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Your question includes a lengthy quote of the Indian "bubble route" rules promulgated by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation. Because the Indian government is the primary source for Indian civil aviation rules, you have accomplished good research.

After the long quote from the Indian rules, you ask:

Does this mean I can transit through Sri Lanka if I am traveling from Norway to India but I cannot transit through Sri Lanka when I am returning from India to Norway?

For the trip you describe in your question, the answer is "Yes." That's exactly what the quoted text means.

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  • But "Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka for pleasure" are explicitly allowed, so if they book the return flight with a one-day stopover in Colombo, they're good to go? Nov 13 '21 at 23:33
  • @lambshaanxy As the Magic 8-Ball says: "Reply hazy, try again." A stop in Sri Lanka as the OP returns to India (Norway > Sri Lanka > India) seems clearly allowed by Section B.i of the Rules. The legality of the second stop in Sri Lanka is less clear: it's arguably allowed by Section A.a.v as "Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka on leisure / pleasure purposes;" the argument against would be that the real purpose of the second flight to Sri Lanka is return to Norway, and stopping in Sri Lanka is merely a pretext. Perhaps the OP is risk-tolerant. I think different routing would be better. Nov 14 '21 at 1:37
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Thanks for your clarification, I booked it through Frankfurt.
    – inorw
    Nov 22 '21 at 14:20

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