Analysis: Singapore to ease SHN for eight countries including Canada, South Korea and Switzerland

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Fully-vaccinated travellers from 8 countries can soon serve their SHN at home- not the full lifting we were hoping for, but a good start.

From 2359 hours on 20 August 2021 (i.e. 21 August 2021), Singapore will ease quarantine restrictions on fully-vaccinated inbound travellers from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland. 

Singapore is set to ease travel restrictions from 20 August for selected countries | Photo: Changi Airport

To be clear: this doesn’t amount to a complete lifting of SHN requirements. Travellers will still need to serve a 14-day SHN, but can do so at their place of residence instead of a dedicated SHN facility (i.e. a hotel).

However, this strongly suggests that these eight countries will be first in line to enjoy a shortened SHN, and then hopefully no SHN at all from September when Singapore reaches the 80% fully-vaccinated threshold and reopens further. 

Who is eligible for home-based SHN?

The option to serve a 14-day SHN at home will be available from 2359 hours on 20 August 2021 to travellers arriving from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria 
  • Canada 
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland

This is provided they have remained in the above-mentioned countries (plus Brunei, Hong Kong, Macao, Mainland China, New Zealand, and Taiwan) for 21 consecutive days before arrival in Singapore. 

For example, someone who spent the last 21 days in Germany and Hong Kong would be eligible, as would someone who spent the last 21 days in South Korea and Taiwan. Obviously, you’d also be eligible if you travelled from Singapore to any of these countries for a trip of <21 days. 

Other Exceptions
  • Travellers who spent the last 21 days entirely in Brunei, Mainland China (ex. Jiangsu province) and New Zealand are already exempt from SHN
  • Travellers who spent the last 21 days entirely in Hong Kong, Macao and Mainland China (Jiangsu province) can serve a 7-day SHN at their place of residence or self-sourced hotel
  • Travellers who spent the last 21 days entirely in Taiwan can serve a 14-day SHN at their place of residence

Travellers must also be fully-vaccinated, defined as having completed the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comiraty, Moderna, or any other vaccine on the WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (i.e. AstraZeneca, Covishield, Janssen, Sinopharm, Sinovac) at least 14 days prior to arrival.

Singapore citizen and PRs must make an opt-out application via the SafeTravel website at least three days prior to arrival. 

SDF opt-out form

Travellers who are not Singapore citizens or PRs may apply to opt-out as part of their entry application process, from 2359 hours on 20 August 2021 onwards. 

Travellers must occupy their place of residence alone, or only with household members who are also vaccinated, serving SHNs with the same travel history and isolation period. 

For example, a family of four who travels to Austria together can serve their SHN in the same residence. However, a husband and wife team who travel to Germany and Switzerland respectively cannot serve their SHN in the same house. Likewise, the presence of a domestic helper (who did not travel) would also preclude the possibility of a home-based SHN. 

Opt-out travellers will be required to utilise specially designated transport services to and from their place of residence, and bear the associated costs which are estimated at S$200-220 (travel from checkpoint to place of residence, and roundtrip for COVID-19 test before end of SHN). 

More information can be found here.

What about restrictions on the outbound leg? 

While Singapore is easing restrictions on arrival, the same may not apply on the outbound leg

While quarantine restrictions may have been eased on return to Singapore, that’s only half the story. If leisure travel is to resume in earnest, Singapore residents must also be exempt form quarantine on the outbound leg.

As it stands, most of the eight countries still have entry restrictions in one form or another, which means that only Austria, Germany and Switzerland are realistic leisure travel candidates at the moment. 

CountryEntry for Singapore residents
Australia❌ No entry
Austria✅ Entry permitted
Canada❌ No entry (planned opening from 7 Sept)
Germany✅ Entry permitted
Italy🏠 Entry permitted with 5-day quarantine
Norway❌ No entry
South Korea❌ No entry
Switzerland✅ Entry permitted

However, Canada intends to open its borders to fully-vaccinated travellers from 7 September 2021, provided the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable. 

Likewise, Singapore and South Korea have been in talks about an air travel bubble since March, and the latest news is that South Korea is waiving the two-week quarantine for fully-vaccinated Korean nationals, or foreigners entering Korea for business, public interest or family reasons. It stands to reason we may hear some good news on this front too. 

Italy currently imposes a 5-day self-isolation requirement on inbound travelers from Singapore, but exempts residents of Canada, Japan, and the USA. Given that Singapore’s infection rate is significantly below these three countries, it’s highly likely we could get a similar exemption if the discussions happen. 

As it stands, almost 130 countries/territories already accept Singapore residents without quarantine, so depending on our government’s assessment of their risk profile, there could be additional quarantine-free options soon. 

Countries that accept SG without quarantine
  • Afghanistan*
  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Anguilla*
  • Antigua and Barbuda*
  • Armenia
  • Aruba*
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain*
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana*
  • Brazil*
  • British Virgin Islands*
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso*
  • Cape Verde*
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti*
  • Dominica*
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Polynesia*
  • Gabon*
  • Gambia*
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana*
  • Gibraltar*
  • Greece
  • Greenland*
  • Guam*
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea-Bissau*
  • Guyana*
  • Haiti*
  • Honduras
  • Iceland*
  • Iraq*
  • Ireland
  • Ivory Coast*
  • Jamaica*
  • Jersey*
  • Jordan*
  • Kenya*
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon*
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Maldives*
  • Mali*
  • Malta*
  • Mauritania*
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique*
  • Namibia*
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua*
  • Panama*
  • Peru*
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico*
  • Qatar*
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Russia*
  • Rwanda*
  • Saint Barthélemy*
  • Saint Lucia*
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines*
  • San Marino
  • São Tomé and Príncipe*
  • Saudi Arabia*
  • Senegal*
  • Serbia*
  • Seychelles*
  • Sierra Leone*
  • Sint Maarten
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa*
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka*
  • Sudan*
  • Suriname*
  • Swaziland*
  • Sweden*
  • Switzerland
  • Tajikistan*
  • Tanzania*
  • Thailand (via Phuket)*
  • Trinidad and Tobago*
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey*
  • Turks and Caicos Islands*
  • Uganda*
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates*
  • United Kingdom*
  • United States*
  • US Virgin Islands*
  • Uzbekistan*
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela*
  • Zambia*
  • Zimbabwe*
*Requires negative COVID-19 test | Source: Wego

Where do we go from here?

Travel restrictions are likely to further ease in September

As I said at the onset, this isn’t the big lifting of SHN restrictions we were all hoping for.

However, it’s a step in the right direction, and I’m really excited to see what September will bring. With Singapore announcing a significant easing of restrictions from 10 August for fully-vaccinated individuals, and our vaccination rate set to increase from 67% to 80% in September, things are looking up. 

The way I see it, Singapore is creating several tiers of SHN requirements, depending on country. 

 Fully  VaccinatedUnvaccinated 
Low RiskTest on arrival; no SHN14-day SHN at hotel
Medium Risk7-day SHN at home
Medium-High Risk14-day SHN at home
High Risk14-day SHN at hotel

The shift from a 14-day hotel-based SHN to a 14-day home-based SHN would just be the start, and the next two logical thresholds would be 7-day home-based SHN, and then no SHN at all, replaced by a system of testing on arrival. 

From today’s Straits Times:

The Ministry of Transport is also working on plans to open up “vaccinated travel lanes” that would allow people to travel between Singapore and selected countries without having to serve an SHN.

The SHN requirement would be replaced by frequent testing, Mr Ong said.

“Our companies cannot grow if businessmen and managers cannot travel overseas to meet clients and partners. MNCs (multinational corporations) will find it hard to invest here if their people are not able to travel in and out of Singapore,” he added.

“And if this continues, our ability to create jobs, earn a living will be seriously affected.”

Of course, a 14-day home-based SHN is not enough for me to dust off the passport yet. While it reduces the cost of travel by S$2,000 (the price of a two-week stint in an SDF), it’s still a very long period to be isolated. 

Moreover, even though I can work from home, The Milelioness (dentist) can’t, so a two-week SHN is out of the question for her. Even if I were to travel by myself, I wouldn’t be able to SHN at home without requiring her to relocate (no prizes for guessing who’d win that battle). 

So the real landmark for me will be when the SHN requirement is lifted entirely (with a country that accepts us in turn). It won’t happen in August, but I think there’s every reason to be optimistic about September.

Conclusion

Singapore will ease border restrictions for travellers from selected countries, and it’s another baby step towards the complete removal of the SHN requirement. 

I’m personally hopeful that September will see completely quarantine-free travel opening up to places like Canada, Germany and Switzerland, with more countries migrating to a 7-day home-based SHN as well. 

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Stefan

I like the way you summarize new developments and make easy to read tables!

Im just praying the reentry approval requirements for LTPHs also get dropped soon! 🙏🏼

Gi-Wook Jung

South Korea has actually gone one step further by revoking the visa-waiver programme for Singaporean citizens. The problem is not really about entering Korea now (as with many other nationalities due to COVID) but even if Korea eventually opens up its borders to Singaporeans, Singaporeans will have to apply for a Korean B-2 or C-class visa (unless they have other special visa statuses) at their embassy prior to travel.

anon

Same as Japan.. They have removed the visa-waiver requirements. No way in now without a valid excuse (family only). And even that one is scrutinized with a fine tooth comb..

DontBuyMiles

For many Singaporeans Japan Korea HK and Taiwan are favorite holiday destinations. None of us will be using miles for family holidays there for a long time with these visa problems. And with small children who are all unvaccinated the risk is probably too high for travel to US or parts of Europe (except maybe Switzerland). Australia or New Zealand are attractive as zero-COVID-strategy countries but then they don’t want us since our govt is clearly pursuing an ‘endemic-resilient’ strategy. Anyone buying miles should keep in mind that if we can’t redeem holidays for a few years then the possibility… Read more »

Suchet Padhye

Italy has removed the 10 day home quarantine requirements for Vaccinated Singaporeans effective 29th July.
https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto&tab=4

Suchet Padhye

Entry restrictionsThere are no restrictions on entry from these countries, subject to any provisions adopted regionally.

Frederic

Hi Aaron, back to my story some time ago, so I made it to Luxembourg. Few observations. (1) Check-in agents in Singapore strictly follow IATA website, and nothing else. In my case, even though Luxembourg official website could be interpreted differently when it comes to vaccination, IATA says that the certificate must be issued by an EU authority. Had to show a PCR test result because my Singapore vaccination was not good enough. (2) Destination country restrictions seem to be more strictly enforced in Singapore than in the destination country itself. They took a cursory glance at my PCR test… Read more »

Ben

And do remember that many EU countries don’t recognise (yet) Singapore’s vaccination certificate. So, entering Schengen is one thing, but going around is another, because an increasing number of Schengen countries require people to show an EU or EU-compatible certificate to do pretty much anything in their countries. Some EU countries (e.g. Italy, Malta) explicitly do not recognise Singapore’s certificate, others (e.g. France, Portugal, Austria) say clearly that one needs the EU certificate, or get tested every 2 days to enter hotels, restaurants, trains, planes, museums, etc So, if you’re a tourist coming to the EU with your Singapore certificate,… Read more »

Frederic

I will update this flow as long as we proceed with our trip round Europe. It’s pretty hard to figure out in advance what’s going to be the situation because we have this Singapore mindset that the moment you do not comply, enforcement will follow, whereas in some countries they simply trust that you have the right documents and you remain pretty much unchecked all the way (unless you take a plane). Some EU countries recognize Singapore vax like Denmark and Germany (as of a week ago), some don’t, and some EU citizens managed to get their Singapore vax uploaded… Read more »

Ben

I just got my Singapore wax transferred into an EU certificate to avoid the hassle of nonstop tests when I travel across the EU

Suchet Padhye

How did you do that? Just curious.

Ben

You have to be a citizen of that country (in most cases). In my case, I had to fill out an e-form, took 2 weeks, and I got the certificate that I could upload in the official EU Covid app, with a QR code that businesses in the EU can read

Suchet Padhye

I spoke to the Italian Embassy here and they confirmed that Italy will accept SG vaccine certificate for Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines in English language.

Ben

Great – just make sure it doesn’t just cover entry, but also all activities once there … I’m not in Italy right now, so I cannot comment.

TS77

Thanks as always Aaron for the summary, is there any detail which discusses changing planes or do we have to fly direct? For instance to get to Italy will in most cases mean changing planes in another country, is there a maximum time allowed for changing planes?

Suchet Padhye

You have to fly to Italy directly or from any country that Italy has waived quarantine requirements. If you transit (do not specify time of transit) in a country which required quarantine, you will be subject to the restriction that apply to those countries. So you can fly to Paris or Germany and then fly to Italy from there, but if you fly to Turkey and then change a flight to Italy you will be subject to quarantine requirements. This is my understanding.

anon

TBH,

they should let us choose the hotel we want to for self SHN…

Cindy

Based on this, does this regulations apply to children under 12 without vaccination? Will they be allowed to go these countries with the parents too?

Peter

What about kids ? As they are not vaccinated does that means the families have to go to hotel SHN ? And at the same time, travellers from Israel (country with one of the highest vaccination rate in the world) are now back into hotel SHN : “Travellers from Israel are no longer allowed to opt out of SHN at dedicated SHN facilities from 20 Aug, 2359 hours, source https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/sc-pr/shn-and-swab-summary” . Isn’t that completely schizophrenic approach from Singapore gov ? How can anyone seriously plan any kind of trip if people from fully-vaccinated countries are being quarantined in hotels as… Read more »

freedom

In due course, I believe. Singapore has yet opened completely domestically. Doubt that foreigners can come to Singapore freely anytime soon.

As for whether Singapore can survive without free travel, It has survived in the past one and half years.

barely

Singapore has survived in the past one and half years, not without massive subsidy from the treasury, pay cuts, and job losses. It has done so, but i doubt continued subsidy is a sustainable plan for Singapore’s economy.

freedom

Singapore GDP says otherwise. “Singapore’s GDP Grew by 14.3 Per Cent in the. Second Quarter of 2021”. That’s still in COVID period. It is not pre-COVID, but it is not failing economy, either.

As for subsidy, a lot of subsidies are for lockdown, especially recent ones. Once lockdown is gone, subsidy will be gone, too.

Last edited 10 months ago by freedom
barely

Uh, you can’t just cherrypick the data that looks like good numbers. It grew by 14.3% compared to when the city was in lockdown, great.

In absolute numbers, it is 0.9% below pre-pandemic level. Plus, it contracted by 2% compared to Q1.

When you compare to lockdown numbers, every city is doing phenomenally, I doubt there is a single city you can find that the GDP did not grow after opening up some of its economy compared to when they were locked down.

freedom

As I said, it is not pre-covid, but it is certainly not failing economy. Q2 2021 still has half quarter in some kind of lockdown.

Peter

Precisely. And this is after spending 19% of GDP in direct subsidies (and God knows how much indirectly). And this exact narrative is why a lot of us thinks we can still wait, have another fluffy 4-steps reopening plan or another lockdown if “needed”. Lack of urgency. To go back to Aaron’s great post, I do want to share the optimism, but the inconsistencies of recent decisions are making me extremely doubtful. Quarantine requirements must be dropped for all vaccinated travellers, ASAP.

freedom

“ Quarantine requirements must be dropped for all vaccinated travellers, ASAP ” Or what? Singapore will not exist by end of year?

Peter

But what will be different next year?

freedom

With all the international restrictions, Singapore should reach pre-covid level in GDP next year, could be this year. Singapore will survive with or without international reopening, but of course not at its full potential. Singapore will take its sweet time to execute its own strategy to reopen.

Majurahh Singapuraaah

Relax lah.. .Singapore super rich one. Temasek portfolio value grew by 100 billion last year alone. GIC annualized return rose by 2.7%. last year alone. Papa got money!

Singapore

Singapore CAN survive without free unessential travel. It’s business travel that is essential – that has been ongoing for some time. Tourist and family travel is irrelevant to the question of survival. Some would argue that inflows of private fortunes and UHNWI are precisely because of the strict restrictions that have made us a relatively safe haven in the COVID-SEA. Korea and Japan have stopped visa-free entry to stop frivolous travel – not business travel which would be immediately approved for visas. Tourism and related entertainment industries might die but that’s not exactly a whole country dying. The majority of… Read more »

UNHWI Consultant

Uh, I actually specialize in helping family offices and UNHWI relocate to Singapore through a consultancy company. The inflow of private wealth is mostly due to China’s strict control on money movement and its recent market regulations, and crackdowns on the rich. Hong Kong used to be their money haven but we all know what has happened to Hong Kong since, making Singapore the next best choice for them to keep their wealth within Asia. Singapore being safe from Covid helps, but it is not safer than China. In fact, the strict restrictions is often a negative consideration for my… Read more »

TS77

For the EP holders, is there any clarity about how many days out of the country are permitted?

Historically we could apply 60 days in advance for re-entry into Singapore, is this still the case?

Frederic

Hi Aaron, people in a Facebook discussion group have approached ICA about the possibility to combine several countries during the 21-day period, and the answer seems to be no, i.e. you can stay in 1 country only. Do you have any insight?

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