This marks the first time in almost 18 months that Singaporeans have been able to travel to and from an overseas country with no quarantine on either side.
In this article, we’ll do a detailed rundown of the entire VTL process, including pre-requisites, designated flights, and travel insurance.
I’ve also shared my personal travel plan for the VTL, and explained Germany’s current COVID-19 restrictions and positive test protocol.
|✈️ Singapore- Germany VTL|
|VTL Information (ICA)|
|🇸🇬 Singapore- Germany VTL 🇩🇪|
|Before You Go|
Vaccine Travel Lane: Process
|🇸🇬 In a nutshell: Singapore – Germany VTL 🇩🇪|
There is no special process involved when travelling to Germany. You do not need to take a pre-departure test, nor book a special flight.
Instead, the VTL process begins on your return to Singapore. Here’s the detailed steps required for VTL travel.
(1) Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)
A VTP is not required for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents.
Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will need to apply for a VTP between 7 and 30 days before their intended arrival in Singapore.
A successful VTP application will be approved immediately, and there is no fee payable. Each traveler requires a VTP of his/her own, and each VTP is valid for a single entry.
(2) Take a pre-departure PCR test in Germany
Germany does not require vaccinated Singapore residents to take a PCR test before departure to Germany.
However, all VTL travellers must take a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of their flight to Singapore. The test must be taken at an MOH-recognised institution, and antigen rapid tests/self-administered PCR tests are not accepted.
Expect to pay around €69 (~S$110) for a test.
(3) Book a designated VTL flight
While it does not matter what flight you take to Germany (you’ll still want to fly direct though, since transiting in another country will impact your eligibility for VTL travel back to Singapore), VTL travellers can only take designated flights back to Singapore.
I’ll talk about pricing and award space in a separate section below.
(4) Take an on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport
VTL travellers must pre-book their on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport, which can be done via the link below. This will cost S$160 nett per person.
After you’re swabbed, you can leave the airport and proceed directly (via private transportation, taxi or private hire car) to your declared place of accommodation. This must be an individual room with an attached toilet at a residential or non-residential accommodation. If there are non-travelling members of your household, you do not need to have the entire house to yourself- just the individual room with an attached toilet.
Once you receive notification of your negative test result, you can proceed with activities in Singapore as per normal.
(5) Take post-arrival PCR tests on Day 3 and Day 7
During this period, VTL travellers can go about normal life with no restrictions. However, they must take two more PCR tests on Day 3 and 7 after their return, where Day 1 refers to the date of arrival in Singapore. No self-isolation is required after either test.
The following illustration is provided:
“If the traveller clears arrival immigration at 2330 hours (Singapore time) on 1 October 2021 (i.e. Day 1), he/she is required to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests on 3 October 2021 (i.e. Day 3) and 7 October 2021 (i.e. Day 7).
If the traveller clears arrival immigration at 0030 hours (Singapore time) on 2 October 2021 (i.e. Day 1), he/she is required to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests on 4 October 2021 (i.e. Day 3) and 8 October 2021 (i.e. Day 7)”
Travellers must book their appointment at a designated clinic, using a unique link that will be emailed upon arrival in Singapore. Missing this test is grounds to be served with an SHN in a dedicated facility, so don’t play around.
Each test will cost S$94.16 nett per person. I have to say, that’s lower than I expected, given how PCR tests at clinics in Singapore run the gamut from S$135 to S$200 last I checked.
Other points to note
All travellers must be fully vaccinated, defined as 14 days after completing the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty, Moderna or any vaccine on the WHO EUL list. The vaccination must have been administered in Singapore or Germany, which means that those who got their jabs elsewhere will not be eligible at the moment (even if they subsequently got their vaccination recognised in Singapore).
If you have children aged under 12, you can still travel to Germany, but will have to return to Singapore under Category II restrictions, i.e. 7 days SHN at home.
VTL Designated Flights
|SIA Dedicated VTL Page|
The following flights from Germany to Singapore have been designed as VTL-eligible.
Be very careful when choosing your flights! Singapore Airlines is operating other flights between Germany and Singapore which are not VTL-eligible. If you book one of these, you’ll be subject to the prevailing SHN requirement (currently 7 days).
|❌ Non-VTL flights|
|Frankfurt to Singapore: SQ 25 (departs daily)|
Munich to Singapore: SQ327 (departs Tue, Fri, Sun until 30 Oct 2021, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun from 31 Oct 2021)
If the VTL is suspended, Singapore Airlines will offer a refund of your ticket and a waiver of cancellation fees.
For those looking to redeem awards, here’s how much they cost from Singapore to Germany.
|One Way Redemption Cost from Singapore to Germany|
Award space is available, but only at Advantage rates (the Friday 92,000 miles Saver option you see below in the award calendar is for SQ327, which is a non-VTL flight) for now. However, I’ve just learned that if you’re a Solitaire PPS or PPS Club member, you should be able to find Saver awards on the VTL.
First Class awards have recently been added to the Frankfurt route, albeit at Advantage prices.
Cash fares are going at an entirely reasonable S$970 or so, with the prices not quite having spiked the way they did with the Hong Kong ATB.
Short-term visitors from Germany to Singapore will need to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.
While it’s not a requirement, Singapore residents will certainly want to purchase similar coverage for their trip to Germany. The following travel insurance policies currently provide coverage for overseas COVID-19 medical treatment, evacuation and related trip interruptions:
- Allianz Travel Insurance
- Aviva Travel Insurance
- AXA SmartTraveller
- EQ CovidSafe
- NTUC Income Travel Insurance
- Sompo Travel (COVID-19) Insurance
- Singapore Airlines x AIG
Here’s an illustrative example of the type of coverage you can expect.
Per Day | Capped
|S$100 | S$1,000||S$100 | S$2,000|
Per Day | Capped
|S$50 | S$350||S$50 | S$700|
|Emergency Medical Evac.||At cost||At cost|
I’ve written a detailed article on travel insurance policies with COVID-19 coverage, so refer to that for more information.
One important note: even though Germany does not require Singapore residents to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, certain policies like NTUC Income and Sompo and explicitly require it nonetheless. This is in order to prove that you didn’t already have COVID-19 when you departed Singapore (which your policy won’t cover).
Here’s a list of FAQs regarding the VTL. You may also wish to refer to the following official resources:
Must my trip be at least 14 days?
No. Your trip to Germany can be any duration- all that matters is that the past 14 days were spent in some combination of Singapore and Germany.
Do I need to take a pre-departure PCR test before flying to Germany?
Germany does not require Singapore residents to take a PCR test before departing Singapore for Germany. However, your travel insurance provider may require it nonetheless (see travel insurance section above).
Can I travel outside of Germany?
Yes and no.
The VTL requires that you must have remained in Germany (or Singapore) for 14 consecutive days prior to entering Singapore.
In theory, you could fly to Germany and do a road trip to a neighbouring country, provided you return to Germany and stay for 14 days before returning to Singapore. If your trip is shorter than 14 days, that’s out of the question.
And please, let’s not have any talk about “how would they know”. You’ll be required to fill out an arrival card on return to Singapore declaring all the countries you’ve been in the past 14 days. God help you if you lie on that document.
Can the VTL be suspended?
Thankfully they’ve not gone and called this a bubble, but given the last-minute suspensions we saw with the now defunct Singapore – Hong Kong ATB, the question arises as to whether the VTL can likewise “pop”.
The short answer is yes. If the COVID-19 situation gets out of hand in Germany, Singapore may decide to terminate the VTL arrangement. Likewise, if Singapore gets added to the Robert Koch Institute list of high-risk areas, Germany will cease to offer quarantine-free travel to Singapore residents.
Can my unvaccinated child travel on the VTL if I am vaccinated?
No. All travellers under the VTL must be fully vaccinated.
What if I test positive for COVID-19 in Germany?
If your pre-departure PCR test is positive, the health department will be informed by the laboratory and will order you to self-isolate for up to 14 days. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, isolation will take place at the hospital or in a hotel.
For a detailed explanation of the process, refer to the post below.
Can I take a flight back to Singapore with a transit in another country?
No, you must take one of the VTL designated flights if you want to enjoy the SHN waiver.
Do I need to self-isolate after the Day 3 and Day 7 tests?
No. Self-isolation is only required pending the results of the on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at the airport.
The VTL with Germany is the first realistic opportunity we’ve had for SHN-free travel since the pandemic began (since New Zealand and other SHN-free countries are not open to Singapore residents). Here’s to more VTLs opening up in the near future.
I’ve already booked myself on the inaugural flight back from Munich, and will pen some thoughts on that in the day ahead.