Singapore has announced some major updates to its border restriction measures, which are great news for would-be travellers.
From 7 October 2021:
- The maximum SHN duration will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days
- The travel history assessment period will be shortened from 21 days to 14 days
- ICA’s “no return to Singapore if positive COVID-19 test in past 21 days” gets reduced to 14 days
- Additional countries will be upgraded to Category II and III
There’s a lot to dive into here, so let’s get started.
SHN duration reduced from 14 days to 10 days
Currently, travellers entering from Category III or IV countries must serve a 14-day SHN.
From 7 October 2021, the SHN duration will be cut to 10 days. As before, fully-vaccinated travellers from Category III can serve their SHN at home, while all others must serve their SHN in a hotel.
|💉 SHN Measures by Category and Vaccination Status|
|VTL||No SHN||Not allowed|
|Category I||No SHN|
|Category II||7-day SHN |
|Category III||10-day SHN |
|10-day SHN |
|Category IV||10-day SHN |
The cost of a 10-day SHN in a hotel will be S$1,450.
Travel history assessment period shortened to 14 days
When determining which border restrictions apply, the authorities currently look at an individual’s 21-day travel history, applying the rules of the highest category country.
From 7 October 2021, the travel history assessment period will be shortened to 14 days. Travel history still includes any transits en route to Singapore, and time spent in Singapore prior to travel.
For avoidance of doubt, this also applies to the VTL scheme. Travellers who have resided in Singapore and/or Germany for the past 14 days will be eligible to travel to Singapore on the VTL, avoiding an SHN on return.
In fact, with this latest set of changes it may actually make more sense for fully-vaccinated individuals from Category III and IV countries to fly to Germany (where they’re exempt from quarantine), stay there for 14 days and then travel back to Singapore on the VTL. I think most people would trade 14 days of unrestricted movement and freedom for a 10 day SHN.
|Update: Of course, this would only work if you were vaccinated in Singapore or Germany, as that’s the requirement of VTL travel at the moment. However, I fully expect Singapore to recognise the EUDCC soon, which will open this option to more people. Stay tuned.|
ICA’s 21-day rule is now a 14-day rule
If you’ve been reading my Germany VTL reports, you’ll know that one major hurdle to travel is the ICA’s so-called 21-day rule.
The rule used to state that any traveller (regardless of nationality) who tests positive for COVID-19 in the past 21 days may not travel to Singapore. This means that if you get a positive pre-departure test result, you’re stuck in that country for 21 more days.
From 7 October 2021, this will become a 14-day rule to align with the shortened travel history assessment period. As per the ICA’s website:
Travellers should not travel to Singapore if they:
This effectively reduces the “penalty” for a positive COVID-19 test by 7 days. I doubt that will be much comfort to Singapore residents looking to go to Germany for a vacation, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction.
Additional countries upgraded to Cat. II and III
From 7 October 2021, new countries will be added to Cat. II and III. The updated list reads:
|I||Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan|
|II||Australia, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic (new), Denmark (new), France (new), Finland (new), Germany, Italy (new), Japan (new), Luxembourg (new), Malta (new), Netherlands (new), New Zealand, Poland, Portugal (new), South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain (new), Sweden (new)|
|III||Austria, Bahrain (new), Bhutan (new), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (new), Egypt, Fiji (new), Greece (new), Iceland (new), Ireland (new), Latvia, Liechtenstein (new), Maldives (new), Norway, Slovakia (new), Switzerland, Turkey, UK (new), USA (new)|
|IV||All other countries/territories|
The addition of the UK and USA to Category III is a major development, insofar as it allows travellers to serve their SHN at home. From what I hear, these two countries constituted the vast majority of SHN guests, so this may lead to the freeing up of quite a bit of hotel capacity.
Here’s a summary of the updated border restrictions by category:
|🛂Singapore Border Restrictions by Category|
|Cat. I||Cat. II||Cat. III||Cat. IV||VTL|
|Application required||ATP||Details on ICA website||VTP|
|Pre-departure PCR test||✖||✔|
|On-arrival PCR test||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
(home or hotel)
|ART during SHN||N/A||✖||✔|
Day 3, 7
Day 3, 7
|Post-SHN PCR test||N/A||✔|
|No SHN. PCR test on Day 3, 7|
This is quite possibly the biggest development since Singapore closed its borders in March 2020. 10 days is still a long time to be stuck at home/in a hotel room, but it’s sure as heck better than 14 days.
Likewise, the shortening of the travel history assessment period to 14 days makes it feasible for travellers from Category III and IV to “SHN overseas” in a sense, travelling to Germany and hunkering down for two weeks before coming to Singapore. Provided they’re fully vaccinated, they’ll be able to live life pretty much normally there. And for those looking to travel on the VTL, the worst-case scenario is now being stranded overseas for an additional 14 days, instead of 21.
I’ll be digesting the impact of these latest updates and publishing a few articles over the next few days, so stay tuned.