Singapore Eases Vaccinated Travel Lane Testing

Singapore Eases Vaccinated Travel Lane Testing

47

Among countries that initially took a zero-tolerance approach toward coronavirus, Singapore has been leading the way when it comes to reopening. The country launched a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) concept in the fall of 2021, whereby vaccinated travelers from select countries could visit Singapore when taking a dedicated flight, in conjunction with testing.

While the country temporarily added restrictions to this program due to the omicron variant, Singapore is now significantly easing testing and other requirements as part of this arrangement.

Singapore cuts testing & other requirements

As of February 21, 2022, Singapore is making it easier to travel as part of the vaccinated travel lane scheme:

  • You’ll only need to have been in the vaccinated travel lane country for seven days prior to entering Singapore; previously you had to be in that country for a period of 14 days
  • When you arrive in Singapore the only testing requirement will be a self-administered rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival, performed at a Quick Test Centre (QTC) or Combined Test Centre (CTC); previously you needed to get a PCR test on arrival (and quarantine until the results came in), plus you had to perform a self-administered rapid antigen test on days two and seven after arriving in Singapore

This represents a significant easing of restrictions, especially since in December 2021, Singapore greatly ramped up testing requirements, requiring visitors to test daily. Those who visited Singapore for a week would have to get eight tests.

Testing requirements for Singapore are being eased

This makes visiting Singapore more attractive

I was happy when Singapore introduced the vaccinated travel lane concept several months back, since the country was way ahead of other conservative peers when it came to reopening. However, as I said at the time, I wouldn’t have considered a purely leisure trip, because there were simply too many hoops to jump through.

Add in the fact that daily testing started to be required as of late 2021, and that was even more of a deal-breaker.

With these new rules going into effect, I’d absolutely consider a trip to Singapore. A pre-travel testing requirement is pretty standard, and then a single rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival isn’t a huge deal. There’s no longer a significant hassle factor to traveling to Singapore.

That being said, I’m not necessarily rushing to travel to Singapore, as I consider Singapore to be more of a stopover destination, especially given how far it is from the United States.

With more of Southeast Asia starting to open, perhaps a visit to Singapore is on more peoples’ radar, since you can combine it with other destinations in the region. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably want to visit Singapore first, since you still need to take a vaccinated travel lane flight after having been in an approved country for seven days. But after visiting Singapore you could travel to another nearby country that has reopened, like Thailand.

Traveling to Singapore is about to get easier

Bottom line

Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane concept is looking a lot more attractive, as the country has eased some restrictions for visitors. If you’re coming from a vaccinated travel lane country, you just need to get tested before travel and then need a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.

There’s no longer a need to get a PCR test on arrival, or to take additional tests on days two and seven. I think this will make Singapore a more attractive destination for a leisure traveler.

Hopefully next the country eliminates the vaccinated travel lane concept altogether, and no longer requires travelers to take specific flights, as that seems highly arbitrary and inefficient to me.

What do you make of these Singapore vaccinated travel lane changes?

Conversations (47)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Ron H Guest

    Why not just drop the vaccination requirement entirely. Countries are realizing that the vaccinated appear to be more spreaders than non-vaxed, and the false narrative that non-vaxed are the majority hospitalized. Little by little the truth is leaking out!

  2. Peggy b Guest

    When it allows everyone vaccinated or unvaccinated to enter with maybe one PCR test set for cycles of 35. Not 40 so you may test positive for some random left over viruses from months ago. Wil it truly be accessible to people who will desire to travel with your company. Eliminate the vaccine requirement since most vaccinated are now transmitting it to others and this is amongst my circle of personal friends and acquaintances.

  3. David Guest

    I need to travel to Batam, Indonesia. What is my best option? Can I fly jfk - Munich-sin and hop on the farry to Batam? What should I expect.

  4. Bluemoon Guest

    1. VTL flights? Can you hear yourself say it? Viruses can discern which are VTL (which cost more) & which are not? Enough of insulting our intelligence PLEASE.

    2. Its been 2 years. Enough of the milking...go back to normalcy please. Virus will be virus. They can only harm us when our immunity is low. If we catch Omicron or its relatives...just stay home and rest. Your body is just signalling...."I need a break!!"
    ...

    1. VTL flights? Can you hear yourself say it? Viruses can discern which are VTL (which cost more) & which are not? Enough of insulting our intelligence PLEASE.

    2. Its been 2 years. Enough of the milking...go back to normalcy please. Virus will be virus. They can only harm us when our immunity is low. If we catch Omicron or its relatives...just stay home and rest. Your body is just signalling...."I need a break!!"
    To all the crew members who have suffered emotionally & financially...you have my deepest sympathy. You know who caused it....

  5. peter Guest

    its all very confusing many countries changing rules everyday to much for a old guy like me. What is the ruling on tests as of today for transit singapore anyb infomattion would be helpfull

  6. David Diamond

    Considering the large number of VTL countries in Southeast Asia (like Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia), it may very make more sense to travel to one of the aforementioned countries first before going to Singapore, since you'll have a lot more VTL flight options.

  7. Ed Guest

    I recently visited Singapore under the VTL and it was a lovely visit. Painless entry, with testing, but very well organised. A few hours in the hotel room, making use of the fact you can get anything delivered in Singapore in 30 minutes or less - so some sake from sakechan and some Sichuan food. PCR came in in time for a wander around little India for a few snacks and a beer.

    We...

    I recently visited Singapore under the VTL and it was a lovely visit. Painless entry, with testing, but very well organised. A few hours in the hotel room, making use of the fact you can get anything delivered in Singapore in 30 minutes or less - so some sake from sakechan and some Sichuan food. PCR came in in time for a wander around little India for a few snacks and a beer.

    We spent a lovely week with some light tourism and heavy eating. A really good reintroduction to international travel.

  8. KP Guest

    Only limited VTL countries thus far. So still need to isolate for 7 days for most countries including USA, Australia and New Zealand

    1. George Guest

      Umm- are you looking at a press release from 2021? There are VTL's from 24 countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Korea, Turkey, etc, with Hong Kong, Qatar and UAE joining in a week.

      Much harder to find a non-VTL flight to Singapore than a VTL flight now...

  9. CL Guest

    I just did it last month... JFK-ICN-SIN, then Langkawi travel bubble, then back to SIN-JFK. It was seamless in Singapore. Super organized and easy.

    1. Oliver Guest

      Langkawi as a tourist?

  10. Guri S Guest

    Do we still need to use a VTL flight?
    Sq?

  11. AVGeekHNL New Member

    I accept the changes that Singapore is making, its in the right direction. The VTL is very bothersome for me as I used to fly HNL-NRT-SIN. Currently, I have to fly HNL-LAX-SIN which adds to cost as well as travel time. Once they get rid of the VTL flight requirement, I am ready to go.

    1. George Guest

      Why don't you just fly HNL-ICN-SIN instead? Or HNL-HKG-SIN. It's not the VTL that's the problem, it's Japan...

  12. DC Yukon Guest

    We need to see more countries drop PCR test requirements since they can potentially come back positive for anyone who was previously infected in the prior 90 days, even if they only have dead virus in their systems and are no longer contagious. I have an upcoming trip to several African countries that will require 6 (!!!) PCR tests. Which means that, no matter how confident I am that I am protected against severe illness,...

    We need to see more countries drop PCR test requirements since they can potentially come back positive for anyone who was previously infected in the prior 90 days, even if they only have dead virus in their systems and are no longer contagious. I have an upcoming trip to several African countries that will require 6 (!!!) PCR tests. Which means that, no matter how confident I am that I am protected against severe illness, while everyone else is unmasking, I can’t, unless I want to end up quarantined in potentially dubious facilities at high cost for up to 3 months. The usefulness of PCR tests is dubious in the aftermath of highly contagious variants, no matter how mild or potent they may be.

  13. TranceXplant Member

    I'm not sure this will significantly increase tourist traffic. As long as the potential pitfall of testing positive upon arrival still exists - and its trip-ruining quarantine aftermath - why take the risk?

    1. George Guest

      What trip-ruining quarantine aftermath? Firstly, it's an ART test, not a PCR- if you test positive there, you definitely have an active case of Covid. So the rules then are go back to your hotel and isolate until either 72 hours have passed, or you can get a negative result on an ART test. It's kind of what I would do if I tested positive anyway...

    2. TranceXplant Member

      For the typical tourist, quarantine and isolation are functionally the same. Both entail spending a sizable chunk of time staring at the walls of a room instead of being out doing things. Given that the average duration between a first positive and first negative result is roughly a week - longer than the average visit to Singapore - of course it's trip-ruining to have a visit completely obliterated.

      Why would any sensible person choose...

      For the typical tourist, quarantine and isolation are functionally the same. Both entail spending a sizable chunk of time staring at the walls of a room instead of being out doing things. Given that the average duration between a first positive and first negative result is roughly a week - longer than the average visit to Singapore - of course it's trip-ruining to have a visit completely obliterated.

      Why would any sensible person choose that over going somewhere else where such a possibility doesn't exist?

      This isn't 2020. The virus is already in Singapore and thus won't be kept out by testing. Moreover, 90% of the population is vaccinated and roughly 2/3 boosted, which puts the statistical risk of dying from COVID at or below flu - 0.6/100k and 0.1/100k, respectively. So the entire exercise is pointless to begin with.

  14. Singabore Guest

    At this time, transit passengers passing through Singapore arriving from certain countries ie Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK, will be held in a separate transit area until an hour before their onward flight. They will not allowed to access the SQ SilverKris lounge nor duty free shopping while in transit. https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/travel-info/transit-through-singapore/

    These restrictions should change over time especially in view of this updte.

    At this time, transit passengers passing through Singapore arriving from certain countries ie Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK, will be held in a separate transit area until an hour before their onward flight. They will not allowed to access the SQ SilverKris lounge nor duty free shopping while in transit. https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/travel-info/transit-through-singapore/

    These restrictions should change over time especially in view of this updte.

  15. Marv Guest

    If I am flying JFK-FRA-SIN on a single ticket VTL flight, can I then take a flight to BKK on the same arrival day on a separate ticket without a hassle ( test on arrival/sequestering/prohibited transit)? I booked a speculative 1st class award ticket for Nov 2022. Thanks to anyone who can answer.

    1. Chuck Guest

      Ditto that question. I am JFK-FRA-SIN on one ticket and then SIN-MLE, still on SQ but forced to be on a different ticket. Will this be cool? Everything I see says that transit STILL has to be on one ticket, which I clearly am not. Anyone have the definitive answer? I can continue to guess, but there is a lot of very expensive travel attached to this trip, so relying on my guesswork is not the way I want to go.

    2. George Guest

      As far as Singapore goes, I don't think either of you have any issue- arriving on a VTL, not a connecting itinerary, so gotta go through immigration to pick up your bags and go to the other airlines check in counter. There is no test on arrival at Singapore anymore, so just have to do your pre-departure ART, then demonstrate that you are vaccinated (Singapore requires digital proof, including booster), and you are free to...

      As far as Singapore goes, I don't think either of you have any issue- arriving on a VTL, not a connecting itinerary, so gotta go through immigration to pick up your bags and go to the other airlines check in counter. There is no test on arrival at Singapore anymore, so just have to do your pre-departure ART, then demonstrate that you are vaccinated (Singapore requires digital proof, including booster), and you are free to go.

      Yes, there's the minor problem of the test within 24 hours of arrival. But both Thailand and Maldives require a pre-departure PCR test, and I expect it would be too much time between a test in New York, and your flight to Bangkok/Maldives. So you'll need to go to the airport testing center to get a rapid PCR test for your next destination, anyway- leave enough time between flights for that.

      Honestly, I'd probably plan on a 1 day transit instead- go into town, get some good food, stay at a nice hotel and get the cheaper regular PCR test, then take my flight on the next day. Trying to do tight connections during Covid doesn't make much sense anymore...

  16. Brian L. Guest

    Let me know when they drop ALL testing for vaccinated travelers. Until then, I'll pass.

  17. Don Guest

    Medical apartheid! We are bring it back everyone, nice work.

    Plenty of countries dropping all this nonsense, and I'll spend my dollars there.
    I'm not going to any country, or city, that promotes segregation.

  18. Jon Guest

    "...plus you had to perform a self-administered rapid antigen test on days two and seven after arriving in Singapore."

    Previously, you had to perform this self-administered rapid antigen test EVERY day between day 2 and 7, not just on day 2 and 7.

    This, along with the change from PCR testing (at S$125/ea) to rapid antigen testing (at S$15/ea) upon arrival, is a welcomed change.

  19. Dennis Guest

    What's the go when transiting in Singapore? I'll be having a 7hr layover in a few weeks. Coming from a VTL flight and transferring to a non-VTL flight. What can I expect during my time there? Are transiting passengers still put in a "dead" zone with no lounges and restaurants?

    1. AndyC Guest

      i would like to know this as well, i believe i remember seeing a post from loyaltylobby detailing that transit experience and it definitely didn't look fun. i have a trip planned in october so hopefully rules are relaxed by then.

    2. emag Guest

      I'm transitting Singapore with VTL->no-VTL next month so I've been looking into this too. AFAICT, the quarantine/dead zone is only a requirement if you are transiting from Category 4 regions (according to the Singapore SafeTravel website). So I'm flying from MLE, so I think I should have a normal transit experience in SIN.

      In fact, given this rule change and having a 16 hour layover, I may even be able to enter Singapore, which I'm stoked about!

    3. Dennis Guest

      Yeah that would be awesome!

    4. pwirth158 New Member

      I did this in Dec 2021 (VTL to non-VTL), and was able to freely access the air-side terminals.

    5. AndyC Guest

      oh so it basically sounds like if you're arriving into singapore from a VTL country, you won't be in the quarantine/dead zone transit. that's definitely good to know. thanks!

    6. AndyC Guest

      Just found this information detailing Changi airport transit:

      https://www.changiairport.com/en/airport-guide/Covid-19/transiting-through-airport.html#general

    7. TG Guest

      Previously, if you were booked on one ticket - two legs that includes the long layover, you will be separately taken to the transit area regardless of whether its a VTL inbound or not for cat IV countries. This list included UK, Germany, France among others. They actually hold de-planing so the transit pax can go first under supervision prior to releasing the SG bound pax for testing at the airport. Currently no countries are...

      Previously, if you were booked on one ticket - two legs that includes the long layover, you will be separately taken to the transit area regardless of whether its a VTL inbound or not for cat IV countries. This list included UK, Germany, France among others. They actually hold de-planing so the transit pax can go first under supervision prior to releasing the SG bound pax for testing at the airport. Currently no countries are Cat IV so you can roam the airport between flights no problem. From the latest release:

      "Travellers scheduled to transit in Singapore from 21 Feb 2022, 2359h will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test.

      In general, all transit travellers who are scheduled to transit in Singapore before 21 Feb 2022, 2359h must take a COVID-19 test within 2 days before departure for Singapore and obtain a negative test result, except for the following:

      Aged 2 or below in the current calendar year (i.e. born in or after 2020); or
      Travellers who recently recovered from COVID-19 before their departure to Singapore (see section on recovered travellers).
      Illustration of acceptable 2-day timeline: A traveller departing for Singapore on 3 December 2021 should take a pre-departure COVID-19 test no earlier than 1 December 2021.

      Travellers transiting through Singapore will not be subject to further COVID-19 tests upon arrival."

    8. SGP Guest

      Seems to have been scrapped and transits are as per normal pre-covid times as per this article - https://milelion.com/2022/02/18/singapore-scraps-covid-19-test-requirement-for-transit-passengers-through-changi-airport/

    9. Dennis Guest

      Woohoo!! All sounds promising! Thanks everyone for the replies. @emag, I'll be there March 5 so I'll reply to this thread after I'm done there and tell you what it was like.

    10. Ed Guest

      All of Changi is a dead zone right now, most of the lounges, shops, restaurants etc. are closed, and those that are open are limited hours, limited service.

      If I had a 7 hour transit, with the new ART requirement m, I’d do the test and at least go over to the JEWEL or even Bedok market or east coast lagoon food village.

  20. Steve S Guest

    If one stays in Singapore under the VTL scheme and then goes onward to Thailand as you mentioned, would they still have to pay for a hotel on days 1 and 5 for Thailand test and go?
    What about if you go on to Bali, does it bypass their quarantine?

    Such a PITA these things these days.

    1. Jon Guest

      Steve S - yes to your question about Thailand. Day 1 and day 5 must be booked in an SHA+ hotel with PCR testing performed at a hospital and quarantine while awaiting results. This is about a $300 add-on for each of those days, or closer to $400 if you want the rapid PCR test (~4 hour results) rather than the standard test with ~12 hour quarantine before receiving results. Thailand Travel Pass approval requires...

      Steve S - yes to your question about Thailand. Day 1 and day 5 must be booked in an SHA+ hotel with PCR testing performed at a hospital and quarantine while awaiting results. This is about a $300 add-on for each of those days, or closer to $400 if you want the rapid PCR test (~4 hour results) rather than the standard test with ~12 hour quarantine before receiving results. Thailand Travel Pass approval requires a letter from the SHA+ hotel(s) providing the Test & Go services.

      We're going in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping all of this is enough of a PITA to keep most tourists from bothering :).

    2. George Guest

      Steve, neither Thailand nor Indonesia (Bali) care that you are coming from Singapore rather than some other country. All of their inbound quarantine requirements apply, which probably make sense, because Singapore has hit 20,000 cases a day recently

  21. asprino Guest

    Singapore led? How about Australia which opened to everyone without bothersome and ever changing requirements?

    1. Eduardo Guest

      Yes...Singapore led. Australia will only start opening up to everyone on Feb 21 this year, while Singapore had already opened up to about two dozen countries on its VTL's starting in October last year. When Feb 21 comes around, Australia would have progressed ahead of Singapore, but the fact still remains that Singapore led the Asia Pacific in largely reopening its borders.

    2. George Guest

      Australia to me would be in the bottom 10 of the countries that progressively managed covid. They didn't lift their international ban on travel until November, 2021 for any citizens, even their own. Yes, good on them to finally allow international travellers starting the end of this month, but most other countries never stopped them in the first place (yes, with many you had to get a permit, and maybe quarantine- but Australia just stopped)....

      Australia to me would be in the bottom 10 of the countries that progressively managed covid. They didn't lift their international ban on travel until November, 2021 for any citizens, even their own. Yes, good on them to finally allow international travellers starting the end of this month, but most other countries never stopped them in the first place (yes, with many you had to get a permit, and maybe quarantine- but Australia just stopped).

      Still cannot travel to Western Australia, and as far as I read the rules, you still have a list of testing and isolation requirements in NSW - https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/travel-restrictions/international-travel-rules. So, no- lots of bothersome and ever changing requirements...

  22. Michael Schmidt Guest

    Lucky, please also add that vaccinated recovered travelers do not need pre and post departure testing at all. I was just asked to do a pre departure quick test by Swiss last week and could enter the country with VTP.

  23. Sam G Guest

    Also worth mentioning that Singapore is removing the requirement for a pre departure test for transit passengers. This is good for traffic like Aus-UK where testing would not otherwise be required. This was apparently a factor in Qantas retaining all London flights via Darwin

    1. Dennis Guest

      What's the go when transiting in Singapore? I'll be having a 7hr layover in a few weeks. Coming from a VTL flight and transferring to a non-VTL flight. What can I expect during my time there? Are transiting passengers still put in a "dead" zone with no lounges and restaurants?

    2. Dennis Guest

      Sorry looks like I accidentally replied to you with the clunky comments section. Comment meant for the group!

  24. Cedric Guest

    Meanwhile in Switzerland, UK, Denmark, etc...

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ed Guest

I recently visited Singapore under the VTL and it was a lovely visit. Painless entry, with testing, but very well organised. A few hours in the hotel room, making use of the fact you can get anything delivered in Singapore in 30 minutes or less - so some sake from sakechan and some Sichuan food. PCR came in in time for a wander around little India for a few snacks and a beer. We spent a lovely week with some light tourism and heavy eating. A really good reintroduction to international travel.

1
George Guest

What trip-ruining quarantine aftermath? Firstly, it's an ART test, not a PCR- if you test positive there, you definitely have an active case of Covid. So the rules then are go back to your hotel and isolate until either 72 hours have passed, or you can get a negative result on an ART test. It's kind of what I would do if I tested positive anyway...

1
George Guest

Why don't you just fly HNL-ICN-SIN instead? Or HNL-HKG-SIN. It's not the VTL that's the problem, it's Japan...

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published