After being marooned on a small island of no more than 730 sq km with 5.7 million others for 19 months, it’s no wonder many Singaporeans are itching to travel again. With the recent announcements of several more countries that have a Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) arrangement with Singapore, the prospect of traveling again seems bright.
VTLs are attractive as this initiative allows quarantine-free travel for those who are vaccinated, but travellers will have to take Covid-19 tests in lieu of quarantine to ensure they are not infected with the virus before entering some countries.
Initially, VTLs are opened to Brunei and Germany. Since then, the VTL scheme was expanded to nine more countries including places such as South Korea, Canada, France and Denmark.
That’s not all. Singapore will look into similar travel arrangements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and “many other countries” in the region next.
With a growing number of countries on the VTL scheme, the questions is: Will you be travelling soon, or will the worry about the pandemic hold you back?
Judging by the initial reaction on the ground, it would appear that Singaporeans are raring to travel again, the pandemic notwithstanding. The news about additional countries on the VTL scheme opened the floodgates of pent-up demand and led to a frenzy of travellers looking to book flights. SIA’s website crashed briefly and its shared jumped by as much 9% at one point.
Of course, travelling in the “new normal” is not the same pre-Covid times. For one thing, as the name of the VTL scheme implies, travellers have to be fully vaccinated. Further, as far as Singapore is concerned, travellers will have to take 2 PCR tests (pre-departure test at destination country and on arrival test in Singapore).
Let's dive in to the respective countries' entry requirements:
UK: Singapore travellers into the UK are exempted from pre-departure COVID-19 test (PDT) requirements. After arrival, a day 2 test remain in force. From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace their day 2 test with a much cheaper lateral flow test.
Denmark: Fully vaccinated travellers or those who have previously been tested positive for COVID-19 are not required to take a pre-departure PCR test or on-arrival test.
Spain: Travellers from Singapore are among those who are given exemption for pre-departure and on arrival Covid-19 test.
Netherlands: Travellers from Singapore are currently not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test pre-departure or on arrival.
Italy: Travellers must present a negative PCR or ART test result within 72 hours prior to arriving.
France: All fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore who are fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, may enter the country without the need to produce a negative pre-departure PCR test.
Germany: Travellers must produce proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test result has to be in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish. The test must also have been carried out within 72 hours prior to arrival in Germany. Alternatively, a negative antigen rapid test result in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish is also accepted.
Canada: All travellers must take a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of your flight to Canada.
USA: Travellers must present a negative ART test result no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in the USA.
Brunei: A negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to departure as well as an on-arrival test are needed. A quarantine period of between 2 and up to 14 days is also necessary.
South Korea: A negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival in South Korea is needed. An on arrival test is also needed, as well as a day 6 or 7 test if the travellers are staying for more than 8 days.
In all instances, Singapore requires all inbound travellers to take a pre-departure (within 48 hours) and an on-arrival PCR test. In addition, passengers must travel on designated VTL flights to qualify for quarantine-free travel under this scheme. A number of countries also require travellers to fill up a passenger locator form.
As the pandemic situation around the globe remains unstable, entry requirements may change quickly. Therefore, it is good to check with the respective embassies or high commissions prior to booking the flight. In addition, some have suggested that flight bookings be made through travel agents for a hassle-free travel experience.
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