Singapore Launching “Vaccinated Travel Lane”

Singapore Launching “Vaccinated Travel Lane”

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Singapore has largely remained closed during the pandemic, in order to keep case numbers low. As the country sees widespread vaccination (more than 75% of the population is fully vaccinated), it’s changing course. In June it was revealed that Singapore would “live with coronavirus,” and that included opening up to vaccinated travelers. We’re now seeing the first global example of that.

Singapore launches “vaccinated travel lane” with Germany

As of September 8, 2021, Singapore is launching a “vaccinated travel lane” (VTL) with Germany, allowing quarantine-free travel between both countries for vaccinated travelers.

There are quite a few eligibility requirements involved here:

  • You must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus, with a Pfizer, Moderna, or other World Health Organization approved vaccine
  • You must be fully vaccinated in Germany or Singapore, so vaccinations outside of those countries don’t qualify
  • You must have stayed in Germany and/or Singapore for 21 consecutive days leading up to your departure
  • If traveling from Germany to Singapore, you must take a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of departure, as well as two post-arrival PCR tests in Singapore on days three and seven
  • If traveling from Germany to Singapore, you must apply for a vaccination travel pass (VTP) seven to 30 days before your intended date of entry
  • You must fly on a dedicated VTL flight between the two countries

It’s interesting that Germany is being chosen as the first western country to have this kind of arrangement with Singapore. While Germany has had relatively few coronavirus cases in the past couple of months, cases are rising there (like most places), so I can’t help but wonder if this might be in jeopardy if that trend continues in the next few weeks.

Vaccinated travel lane passengers will have to take specific flights

This is a step in the right direction

It’s exciting to see Singapore finally opening to vaccinated travelers, as this shows a clear shift from the country’s zero-coronavirus approach, to a more risk-based approach to returning to normal (in contrast to Australia and New Zealand). Most of us won’t be eligible for this, even if we spend 21 days in Germany, since you’d have to actually be vaccinated in Germany or Singapore to qualify.

Even if I were eligible, personally I couldn’t see myself taking advantage of an arrangement like this, at least for the time being:

  • The requirement to get tested three times is mildly inconvenient, at a minimum; while I see where Singapore is coming from, it’s a hassle to have to get tested that often, especially when you have your choice of destinations
  • Singapore has always been more of a stopover city that I love, rather than a final destination, so until more of Asia opens up, I couldn’t see myself flying halfway around the world just to spend time in one city
  • The requirement to take a specific flight is limiting, especially for those of us who are into maximizing miles & points

So yeah, this is definitely a good start, and it shows that Singapore is ready to cautiously reopen, unlike other countries that had a zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy. That being said, things will likely need to be eased up significantly before most of us return to Singapore.

Hopefully Singapore entry requirements ease up more soon

Bottom line

Singapore has launched its “vaccinated travel lane” concept with Germany, whereby fully vaccinated Germans can travel to Singapore quarantine-free. However, this requires taking a dedicated flight, getting tested three times, and there are strict requirements around where you’ve been in the past three weeks, and where you got vaccinated.

What do you make of Singapore’s new vaccinated travel lane concept?

Conversations (28)
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  1. Indie

    It's actually 4 tests - one 72hr pre departure test in Germany, another on arrival and then day 3 and 7.

  2. Eskimo

    Another idea in the right direction but stupid execution from Singapore.

    So what makes Emperor Lee's dynasty think that Germany is better than the failed Hong Kong bubble?

  3. asprino

    Three tests in Singapore (on arrival, day 3 and day 7) - so 4 tests, not 3, for travel from Germany to Singapore

  4. steph

    Been living in Singapore since 2017 and officially stuck on the island since March 2020. For everyone calling it a "stopover city" or a city you can see in 2-3 days... you are correct. Now imagine spending the past 500+ days here. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful place to live but 80% of the appeal is easy access to the rest of APAC. And the prospect of a vaccination travel lane to Brunei isn't exactly the vacation anyone here wants.

  5. Morgan

    Speaking of Australia and New Zealand are you going to write about how Qantas is making the jab compulsory for its workers

  6. philelltt

    A test in Singapore costs from $120 to $150 Singapore dollars. To participate in this scheme, you have to use an approved testing agency. It isn't clear yet what the charge will be. The scheme allows entry from Germany and Brunei. (There's another new scheme for Hong Kong and Macao) The cost for testing could equal the airfare to Brunei/Hong Kong/Macao . It hasn't been spelt out yet if the designated flights will only have...

    A test in Singapore costs from $120 to $150 Singapore dollars. To participate in this scheme, you have to use an approved testing agency. It isn't clear yet what the charge will be. The scheme allows entry from Germany and Brunei. (There's another new scheme for Hong Kong and Macao) The cost for testing could equal the airfare to Brunei/Hong Kong/Macao . It hasn't been spelt out yet if the designated flights will only have passengers using this scheme, or a mix of passengers. That could affect the airfare. There is a requirement for medical insurance. That is for hospitalisation and treatment . It doesn't cover cost of quarantine if you test positive at any stage. If you do test positive, the result has to be notified to the Ministry of Health.

    A new, new scheme was announced today
    From 11.59pm on Friday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will issue "tamper-proof" vaccination stickers to newly arrived travellers who have been fully inoculated with a vaccine under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency use list.

    I guess I'm not the only one who notices that these entry schemes (no matter which country) take ages to formulate, and by the time things are ready, the situation has changed a lot. A few of the travel blog websites have held up Singapore as a good example for opening up to travel, but admit they don't want to go there for a stay themselves. So... ummm... yeah. Full marks for trying though.

  7. Joe

    It's progress. Shame they won't let anyone who has been vaccinated spend 21 days in Germany before flying to Singapore. I would probably do this if it meant I could finally spend time there for business reasons.

    Given that you're not going to get your passport stamped travelling around Schengen once you're in Germany, this is basically a route into anywhere in Europe for Singaporeans. I suppose most of them won't lie about where they've...

    It's progress. Shame they won't let anyone who has been vaccinated spend 21 days in Germany before flying to Singapore. I would probably do this if it meant I could finally spend time there for business reasons.

    Given that you're not going to get your passport stamped travelling around Schengen once you're in Germany, this is basically a route into anywhere in Europe for Singaporeans. I suppose most of them won't lie about where they've been for the 21 days prior to going back to Singapore....

  8. Alan

    Given the recent exponential rise in countries like Iceland and Israel I fail to understand why vaccination makes any difference with respect to entry requirements.

  9. AYL

    sounds promising for people in the US but since almost no nearby countries are open to quarantine-free travel and the fact that Singapore alone doesn't warrant more than 3 days, an Asia trip seems sadly unlikely for now

  10. Robert

    I guess Singapore won't have many visitors from Germany. Only desperate ones. It is a move in a good direction somehow but far from acceptable one. And most of the visitors stay in Singapore for a couple of days only. So a bit pointless, really

  11. Ray

    I understand and respect the need for testing requirements, but with many nations imposing different rules, I’ve pretty much given up planning my own travel. For my last trip to Italy I used a travel concierge, and I might well have to stick to the routine going forward.

    For the sake of convenience, major hotel brands might find it beneficial to partner with clinics & health institutions where you can get tested at a designated...

    I understand and respect the need for testing requirements, but with many nations imposing different rules, I’ve pretty much given up planning my own travel. For my last trip to Italy I used a travel concierge, and I might well have to stick to the routine going forward.

    For the sake of convenience, major hotel brands might find it beneficial to partner with clinics & health institutions where you can get tested at a designated spot in the hotel. That’d go a long way in simplifying matters for travellers

  12. Rene

    Unless there are many Singaporeans who have a reason to stay 21 days in Germany, this is going to be useful only for Germans to visit Singapore. I have not known many Singaporeans who (can) take three weeks leave…

    1. TG

      Not quite. The 21 days is "and/or" in Singapore so a shorter trip can be done.

  13. Pete

    Requiring 3 tests on top of vaccination would seem to me excessive and not along the lines of “living with the coronavirus”.

  14. magice

    I want to point out a "loop hole" for the 3 tests requirement: if you are in Singapore less than a week, you only need to test twice ;).

  15. AlanD

    Funnily I find myself drawn to destinations with more stringent requirements. Not only does it make it a little safer, it means none of the anti-mask/anti-vaxxer crowd is going to be there and there will be fewer local restrictions. It also makes me feel more confident that the destination is less likely to suddenly lockdown and start excluding travelers at short notice or expelling them (Martinique this week).

    I will acknowledge that it is a...

    Funnily I find myself drawn to destinations with more stringent requirements. Not only does it make it a little safer, it means none of the anti-mask/anti-vaxxer crowd is going to be there and there will be fewer local restrictions. It also makes me feel more confident that the destination is less likely to suddenly lockdown and start excluding travelers at short notice or expelling them (Martinique this week).

    I will acknowledge that it is a hassle and there’s a risk of false positives, but I’m noticing that the costs of testing are often being offset by lower flight prices to those destinations due to less demand.

  16. Jan

    This travel bubble pops within 7 days of implementation.

  17. Maxell

    Sounds like too much work. 3 covid tests, vaccination must be administered in either of those countries plus all the other hoops one has to jump through.
    Meh..

    1. Never In Doubt

      It’s too much work for a lot of discretionary travel, but not too much work for business or essential travel, which is exactly the objective.

  18. Sam G

    What is nice about this arrangement is it'll allow lots of European expats in Singapore to finally have an option to leave and meet up with their friends/family in Germany if they're willing to travel over too. My European friends there haven't seen their families since Xmas 2019 !

    I agree that Germany seems an odd choice though since it's a case of when not if there will be a wave of cases especially...

    What is nice about this arrangement is it'll allow lots of European expats in Singapore to finally have an option to leave and meet up with their friends/family in Germany if they're willing to travel over too. My European friends there haven't seen their families since Xmas 2019 !

    I agree that Germany seems an odd choice though since it's a case of when not if there will be a wave of cases especially as we head towards winter, but hopefully Singapore will hold their nerve and expand this arrangement if it proves successful

  19. VT-CIE

    Ben, I think you should include Germany in the post title as it may confuse readers otherwise, who may think that other countries are also involved.

    1. Never In Doubt

      But that would reduce the clicks. You’ve got to think like a blogger!

  20. Miamiorbust

    This is just an extension of what Singapore has been doing through the pandemic for business travelers. For people with a checkbook and legitimate business reasons to meet with a government-linked enterprise, the country was never closed. Lots of restrictions, for sure. But business travel did happen quite frequently with pretty tight oversight on movement. This actually sounds much easier and more transparent. Really don’t understand people’s issues with testing. It is not that difficult...

    This is just an extension of what Singapore has been doing through the pandemic for business travelers. For people with a checkbook and legitimate business reasons to meet with a government-linked enterprise, the country was never closed. Lots of restrictions, for sure. But business travel did happen quite frequently with pretty tight oversight on movement. This actually sounds much easier and more transparent. Really don’t understand people’s issues with testing. It is not that difficult at this point to make logistics of testing work. Everyone that believes your vaccine stamp is a return to 2019 is delusional. You will need both vaccination and testing for access to many countries, especially in asia. Hopefully that will keep many of the ugliest American / EU tourists away.

    1. LH4116

      The issue is the cost and the turnaround time. If there’s a way to make tests completely free and guarantee results within a short time then I’m all for it.

    2. snic

      I have lots of issues with testing. Tests are expensive, it's nerve wracking to wait around for results that might be delayed (causing you to miss your flight), and the more tests you take, the more likely you are to end up with a false positive, which will both cause your trip to be canceled and probably also cause you to quarantine for no reason.

    3. Miamiorbust

      You both make fair points. Against the backdrop of total cost of international travel, I have never considered incremental cost for testing as meaningful but it is definitely an extra cost. No denying that. Even if it was free we’d likely paying for it through higher prices. I’ve traveled quite a bit in past 18 months (10+ countries for a variety or reasons). US expectations are so far apart from where people in other parts...

      You both make fair points. Against the backdrop of total cost of international travel, I have never considered incremental cost for testing as meaningful but it is definitely an extra cost. No denying that. Even if it was free we’d likely paying for it through higher prices. I’ve traveled quite a bit in past 18 months (10+ countries for a variety or reasons). US expectations are so far apart from where people in other parts of world are in terms of tracking/limiting movement. I just except it as part of process in the same spirit as getting visas in advance. Both visas and testing have limited practical usefulness but are rules of road in much of the world. Abbott home test eliminates nearly all stress of returning to US.

  21. CF_Frost

    This seems largely targeted at business travelers since Singapore is not much of a leisure destination IMO.

    1. Eskimo

      But the government spend millions to promote tourism in Crazy Rich Asians so you can go there to quit smoking without using chewing gum because you are stuck in prison from some recreational drugs you took months ago but still have traces in your body. If you're lucky they will extend your prison sentence everytime you dropped your soap in the shower for Outrages on Decency.

      The real crazy rich Asians can be found in...

      But the government spend millions to promote tourism in Crazy Rich Asians so you can go there to quit smoking without using chewing gum because you are stuck in prison from some recreational drugs you took months ago but still have traces in your body. If you're lucky they will extend your prison sentence everytime you dropped your soap in the shower for Outrages on Decency.

      The real crazy rich Asians can be found in Mainland China or the Middle East (Not that West or Central Asia shares much in common with East Asia other than arbitrary drawings of ignorant Western Scholars, but that's another topic for another day) .

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TG

Not quite. The 21 days is "and/or" in Singapore so a shorter trip can be done.

Eskimo

But the government spend millions to promote tourism in Crazy Rich Asians so you can go there to quit smoking without using chewing gum because you are stuck in prison from some recreational drugs you took months ago but still have traces in your body. If you're lucky they will extend your prison sentence everytime you dropped your soap in the shower for Outrages on Decency. The real crazy rich Asians can be found in Mainland China or the Middle East (Not that West or Central Asia shares much in common with East Asia other than arbitrary drawings of ignorant Western Scholars, but that's another topic for another day) .

Indie

It's actually 4 tests - one 72hr pre departure test in Germany, another on arrival and then day 3 and 7.

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