Even as the pandemic rages on, there is a glimmer of hope: vaccinated travel lanes have been established between Singapore and 11 other countries so far. Family vacay, here we come!
It’s almost two years since Covid-19 put a halt on all of our travel plans, which is obviously a bummer. Sure, there are plenty of fun things to do, both indoors and outdoors here in Singapore, but nothing beats being out of the country and adding stamps to our passports…
So here’s some positive news for everyone: Singapore has established quarantine-free travel lanes with several countries! Yes, there won’t be a need for you to isolate yourself upon your return, but there are other caveats. But what about the children, can they travel too? Here’s all you need to know about this new initiative…
All about the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (and quarantine-free family holidays!)
1. Where can we travel to from Singapore?
Currently, Singapore has vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with Brunei Darussalam and Germany. VTLs have been established with eight other countries – Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the United States – which will commence on 19 October. The arrangement with South Korea will take off on 15 November. That makes a total of 11 countries that you can choose from for your Christmas vacay!
2. No quarantine needed!
Yes, you read that right! Under the VTL scheme, travellers may enter Singapore without serving quarantine. However, there are other things that you’ll have to do.
- Travellers must be fully vaccinated and show proof of their vaccination status. You can get your digital vaccination certificate from Notarise.
- Mandatory PCR tests are to be done prior to departure and upon arrival in Singapore. You may be subjected to additional tests too, depending on the country and trip duration. Here’s an extensive list of pre-departure test providers you can book. On-arrival tests can be booked here.
- You must remain in the VTL-approved country for the past 14 days. You’ll be required to quarantine if you travel outside of those countries. Do take note of this!
3. Which vaccines are recognised?
All countries under the VTL recognise the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you’ve received either of those, you’re safe. If you’re inoculated with Sinovac or Sinopharm, you can only travel to the Netherlands, Spain, and South Korea for now.
4. What’s the Vaccinated Travel pass for?
The VTL pass is a requirement for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders. This should be applied between seven and 30 days prior to entry into Singapore. Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated are not required to apply for the pass. Children under 12 need not apply too.
5. Speaking of children, will my kids be able to travel?
Good news, parents! Children age 12 and below are permitted to travel to countries under the vaccinated travel lanes scheme as long as they’re accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the child’s age will be based on the calendar year, e.g. anyone born in or after 2009 is considered under 12. Kids between three and 12 years old have to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival PCR tests in Singapore. Do check with the country that you’re travelling to to make sure they allow children to enter.
6. Which airlines can I book?
So here’s the thing: for travelling out of Singapore, you can take any flight carrier. However, you can only enter Singapore via designated VTL flights. These include Singapore Air and Scoot, as well as the above-mentioned countries’ carriers such as KLM and Air France. This ruling will take effect from 19 October. By the way, if you’re looking to save some coins and go for transit flights, be sure that it’s with another VTL-approved country. Otherwise, it’s quarantine timeout for you!
7. Is travel insurance necessary?
Definitely – it’s better to be safe than sorry, given our current climate. Look for a policy that includes Covid-19 coverage. It should cover contingencies such as quarantine allowance and medical expenses. South Korea, for example, requires travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 34 million KRW (around 40,000 SGD) for Covid-19 related matters prior to entry.
8. Should I bring masks along for my trip?
Of course! Even though certain countries have relaxed their mask mandates – places like Canada, Italy, Denmark, and Spain don’t require you to wear masks outdoors – you’ll still need them when indoors and on public transport. So pack those surgical, N95, and/or KN95 into your luggage. Leave your fancy fabric masks at home!
Another thing to note: you’ll need to wear a mask throughout your flight. Yes, that includes when you’re sleeping!
9. What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?
If that were to happen prior to departure, you’ll be denied boarding the aircraft. The situation depends if your test is done overseas. You’ll be required to self-isolate until you test negative. You might not be allowed to leave until 14 days from the date of the positive result too.
10. Anything else I should be aware of while overseas?
Continue to do what you’ve always been doing in Singapore – sanitise or wash your hands regularly, take note of restrictions and monitor the situation while in the country, and follow the advice of the authorities. Apparently, the restrictions in South Korea differ depending on the time, so that’s something you should be aware of!
Can I still travel to countries that are not part of the VTL scheme?
Those intending to travel are advised to avoid high-risk countries such as Myanmar, Nepal, and India. Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for the latest advisory on your travel destination. And yes, PCR tests and quarantine are a must when you return to Singapore.
More vaccinated travel lane arrangements to come?
Singapore’s determined to progressively reopen its borders, and we’re definitely here for that! The government is actively looking into establishing VTLs with other countries. Psst, we hear they’re working towards arranging something with Australia (it was supposed to take off in July, remember?)! Hopefully, more travel destinations will be added to the vaccinated travel lanes scheme. Fancy a weekend getaway in Bangkok? Or perhaps a short break in Bali?
We can’t wait! We’ve definitely missed packing our bags, taking off on aeroplanes, and being tourists with the kids in tow! Or maybe travel sans the kids even!
Are you looking forward to travelling again? Which country will you be visiting? Let us know!