As the pandemic rages on with the introduction of a new variant, there's still a glimmer of hope: Singapore has established vaccinated travel lanes with several countries. Family vacay, here we come!
It’s been 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!)
Where can we travel to from Singapore?
Currently, Singapore has vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with Brunei Darussalam, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, and Indonesia. If that wasn’t enough, there are even more VTL schemes in the pipeline! VTL with Thailand will start on 14 December, while arrangements with Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Turkey will commence on 16 December.
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 test or professionally administered ART is to be done within two days before departure. More tests await when you return to Singapore: on-arrival PCR test, post-arrival supervised ARTs on days three and seven, AND self-administered ARTs on the second, fourth, and sixth days. Phew! Here’s an extensive list of pre-departure test providers you can book. You can book the on-arrival test here.
- Depending on the country and trip duration, you may be subjected to additional tests.
- 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!
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, South Korea, Switzerland, and Malaysia for now.
What’s the Vaccinated Travel Pass for?
The VTL pass is a requirement for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders. They should apply for the pass between seven and 30 days before entering Singapore. Fully vaccinated returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents, as well as children age 12 and below, are not required to apply.
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 a fully vaccinated adult accompanies them. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, the child’s age is based on the calendar year. For example, kids born in or after 2009 are considered under 12. Kids between three and 12 years old have to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival tests in Singapore. Do check with the country you’re travelling to make sure they allow children to enter.
Which airlines can I book?
So here’s the thing: you can take any flight carrier for travelling out of Singapore. However, you can only enter Singapore via designated VTL flights. These include Singapore Air and Scoot and the above-mentioned countries’ carriers such as KLM and Air France. 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!
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 before entry.
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!
What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?
If that were to happen before departure, you’d be denied boarding the aircraft. The situation differs when 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.
Can I still travel to countries not part of the VTL scheme?
Travellers are advised to avoid high-risk countries like 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.
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.
More vaccinated travel lane arrangements to come
Singapore’s determined to reopen its borders progressively, and we’re here for that! The government is actively looking into establishing VTLs with other countries. Hopefully, Singapore will add more travel destinations to the vaccinated travel lanes scheme. We all deserve a short break in Bali right about now… 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!