VTL: Singapore adds 8 more countries (including France, USA & UK); removes Day 3 & 7 tests

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Singapore will expand the VTL scheme, adding 8 countries, easing testing requirements and expanding vaccination certification recognition.

Singapore has expanded the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme to eight more countries in Europe and North America. These join Brunei, Germany and the previously-announced South Korea in offering two-way quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated individuals.

🌎New VTL Countries
(From 19 Oct 2021)
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Singapore will also be easing VTL testing requirements on return to Singapore with the removal of the Day 3 & 7 PCR tests, while expanding proof of vaccination to include the European Union Digital Covid Certificate, SMART Health Card and Common Trust Network.

In related news, the UK and USA will be upgraded to Category II countries, effective 13 October 2021.

These are the biggest developments since the VTL scheme was announced back in August, so let’s dive right in. 

✈️ Summary: VTL Scheme
For travel from Singapore
  • Canada, Italy, South Korea, USA: Take pre-departure test 72h before flight
  • South Korea only: Remained in Singapore/South Korea for past 14 consecutive days, take designated VTL flight, PCR test on arrival and on Day 6 or 7
For travel to Singapore
  • Remained in Singapore and/or any VTL country for the past 14 consecutive days
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage (short-term visitors only)
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine in the WHO EUL
  • Take pre-departure PCR test 48h before flight
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Apply for VTP (short-term visitors and Singapore pass holders only)
  • Take PCR test on arrival 

8 new countries added to VTL

Fully vaccinated Singapore residents can soon enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel to France

From 19 October 2021, the VTL scheme will receive a significant expansion with eight more countries added to the list. This brings the total VTL strength to 11:

🌎 List of VTL Countries
Existing VTL
  • Brunei
  • Germany
From 19 Oct 2021
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
From 15 Nov 2021
  • South Korea

With the exception of Brunei, all VTL countries accept fully vaccinated Singapore residents without quarantine; Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the UK don’t even require a negative COVID-19 test result for entry. 

🌎 Entry Req. for Fully Vaccinated Singaporeans
CountryEntry Permitted?PDT*
BruneiN/A
CanadaPCR (72h)
DenmarkN/A
FranceN/A
GermanyN/A
ItalyPCR/ART (72h)
NetherlandsN/A
South KoreaPCR (72h)
SpainN/A
United KingdomN/A
(On arrival test must be done by Day 2)
United StatesPCR/ART (72h)
*PDT= Pre-departure test

Entry Restrictions by Country

This means that Singaporeans will soon be able to visit and return from a total of 10 countries completely quarantine-free. While VTL travel isn’t completely frictionless, it’s certainly better than anything we had 12 months ago. 

Applications for Vaccinated Travel Passes (required for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders) will open on 12 October 2021. 

Designated VTL flights

SIA operates twice a week VTL flights from Munich to Singapore

Travellers from Singapore may take whatever flight they please to the VTL country (although non-stop flights are always preferable, since transit in a third country may affect your eligibility for quarantine-free travel). However, transit flights in another VTL country are fine- for example, you would need to transit in the USA to reach Canada.

🇰🇷 Exception: South Korea
South Korea has only opened its borders to Singapore so far. In this case, you must take a non-stop flight from Singapore to South Korea

Rather, the VTL concept applies to flights back to Singapore. To avoid an SHN on arrival, travellers must take designated VTL flights where all passengers are fully vaccinated and traveling to Singapore as their final destination (i.e. no transit passengers). 

For avoidance of doubt, passengers travelling on a non-VTL flight will be subject to prevailing SHN rules based on their 14-day travel history, as summarised below:

🛂Singapore Border Restrictions by Category
(From 19 October 2021)
 Cat. I Cat. II Cat. IIICat. IVVTL
Short-term visitors
Application requiredATPDetails on ICA websiteVTP
Pre-departure PCR test
48h

48h

48h

48h
On-arrival PCR test
SHN
7D
(home or hotel)

10D
(home or hotel)*

10D
(hotel)
ART during SHNN/A
D3, 7

D3, 7
N/A
Post-SHN PCR testN/A
D7

D10

D10
N/A
*Must be fully vaccinated to do SHN at home
CategoryCountries/Territories
(From 13 October 2021)
I
Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan
IIAustralia, Austria (new), Bahrain (new), Belgium (new), Bhutan (new), Brunei, Bulgaria (new), Canada, Croatia (new), Cyprus (new), Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt (new), Fiji (new), Finland, France, Germany, Greece (new), Iceland (new), Ireland (new), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein (new), Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway (new), Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia (new), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (new), Turkey (new), UK (new), USA (new), Vatican City (new)
IIIEstonia (new), Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Slovenia (new)
IVAll other countries/territories
VTLCurrent: Germany, Brunei
From 19 Oct: Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA
From 15 Nov: South Korea

Here’s the details of Singapore Airlines’ VTL flights. 

Denmark, Italy, Spain

France

Netherlands

UK

USA

New: Seattle and San Francisco added as VTL route:

The full list of VTL carriers can be found here.

Day 3 & 7 PCR test removed

VTL travellers currently have to undergo four PCR tests on the return leg to Singapore:

  • Within 48 hours of flight to Singapore
  • On arrival in Singapore
  • On Day 3 in Singapore
  • On Day 7 in Singapore

From 19 October 2021, Singapore will ease the testing regime for VTL travellers by eliminating the Day 3 & 7 tests. Arriving travellers will simply undergo a PCR test on arrival at Changi Airport, and self-isolate until the results are out. 

This effectively reduces the total testing costs by S$188 (Raffles Medical offers a rate of S$94 per PCR test for VTL travellers).

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
(For travel to Singapore)
LocationRemarksPrice
Overseas48h before departure
Varies
🇸🇬 SingaporeOn arrival at ChangiS$160

Do note that certain countries may require a pre-departure test for travellers from Singapore, as highlighted earlier. Also, certain travel insurance policies (most notably Sompo) may require travellers to take a pre-departure PCR test, even if the country they’re travelling to does not require it. 

If you’re thinking about South Korea in particular, travellers from Singapore must undergo an additional three COVID-19 tests:

  • 72 hours before departing Singapore
  • On arrival in South Korea
  • On day 6/7 in South Korea

At least the removal of the day 3 & 7 tests in Singapore brings the total test regime down to five (imagine doing seven!); not ideal but hey, that’s the cost of quarantine-free travel.

EUDCC now accepted for travel

The EUDCC will be accepted for VTL travel

Under the VTL, passengers must have been fully vaccinated in their VTL country of departure or Singapore. 

This posed problems for Singapore residents who had been vaccinated elsewhere; even though they could get their TraceTogether vaccination status updated by submitting a serology test, their vaccination certificate would still be issued by a third country. 

The good news is that from 19 October 2021, Singapore will accept the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) for VTL travel. 

From what I know, it’s possible for non-EU visitors to convert their vaccination certificates into an EUDCC in:

  • France: Non-EU visitors can apply to convert their vaccination certificate into a Health Pass (i.e. EUDCC) before arrival
  • Germany: Non-EU visitors can visit a pharmacy (apotheke) and get their certificate converted into an EUDCC (YMMV; not all will accept non-EU certificates)
Pharmacy providing vaccination certificate digitisation

At the moment, France’s online system presents the most straightforward way of getting an EUDCC, but it stands to reason that other European countries will soon provide a similar service. 

The way I see it, this has the potential to open up VTL travel to those who were vaccinated outside of VTL countries, since they can convert their third country certificate into an EUDCC and use that for the return leg to Singapore.

An EUDCC that a Milelion reader received in Germany, after converting his Singapore vaccination certificate

Do note that all vaccination certificates will need to be digitally certifiable (i.e with a QR code for verification). The CovPass or Yellow Card (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis) will not be accepted for travel to Singapore.

For travellers vaccinated in Canada or the USA, only vaccination certificates issued in the SMART Health Card (SHC) format, by issuers in Canada or the USA on the Common Trust Network will be accepted.

VTL: An alternative to SHN?

Spending two weeks in Amsterdam can be a substitute for a 10-day SHN in Singapore

Even if you’re not residing in a VTL country right now, the VTL could very well prove useful if you want to travel to Singapore but don’t fancy the idea of quarantine. 

OriginVTL country
(Stay 14 days)

VTL flight
Singapore 
(no SHN)

The basic idea involves flying from your point of origin to a VTL country, staying there 14 days, then proceeding onwards to Singapore on a VTL flight. This of course assumes that the VTL country accepts travellers from your point of origin without quarantine (Germany, for instance, waives quarantine for all fully vaccinated individuals). 

While you’ll almost certainly incur some incremental costs compared to a 10-day SHN in Singapore (S$1,450), I’m sure there are people willing to pay for 14 days of relative freedom, versus 10 days of staring at the walls. 

With more VTL countries, would-be travellers to Singapore now have additional staging points to hang out for two weeks before heading onwards to Singapore. 

🇰🇷 Exception: South Korea
South Korea has not reopened its borders to countries other than Singapore, so third country travellers would not be able to fly over to stay before heading to Singapore.

Remember: you will need to present a recognised vaccination certificate to board your VTL flight to Singapore, so be sure to explore the conversion process before booking anything.

Conclusion

After a successful trial with Germany (and to a much smaller extent Brunei), the VTL is set to take-off on a much larger scale. This is great news for travel-starved Singaporeans, although it must be said that VTL travel won’t be for everyone:

  • Even with the elimination of Day 3 & 7 tests, the cost of the overall testing regime may not be affordable for some
  • If you test positive overseas, you cannot return to Singapore for at least 14 days
  • Some HR departments in both the private and public sector have issued hard/soft bans on non-essential overseas travel

I’ll definitely be looking to review some of these new arrangements, and provide some colour on what post-COVID life and restrictions look like in each of these countries. 

Which VTL country is first on your travel list?

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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chk

Yay 🎉
Now can explore Europe since can go from VTL to VTL countries like UK and France.

A.W

There are no direct flights between Canada and Singapore. I’m curious to see how the VTL flights are selected since there will definitely be transit stops required.

HKG

we could transit in cat I countries too right (e.g. via HKG)? No need for VTL specific flights?

chk

If must travel only on designated VTL flights, might not be able to transit HK or Tokyo, etc to go Canada. I guess Canada would be via US like SQ to LAX? Guess got to wait for more details

lobangKing

If transit in HK, does VTL or Cat 1 criteria apply? I guess can transit in Seoul too

A.W

Seoul may work, only from Nov 15 onwards.

ithh

Can’t rule out return of SIN-YVR sector.

A.W

That would be perfect for me (living in YVR) but too late for my upcoming trip to visit family.

HKG

This is very possible, since SQ was listed as the only carrier on ICA’s VTL carrier list for Canada.

Bent

Stay tuned!

ithh

UK here I come. SQ will have a daily VTL flight from London which gives flexibility for travel dates.

Doug

Hey, it might be good to highlight the definition of fully vaccinated for the purposes of entering those countries. Some only allow EMA approved vaccines to enter restriction free, some allow WHO approved vaccines for entry, but not for daily communal activities etc.

SyoKimchi

Korea

Michael

If you test positive overseas, you cannot return to Singapore for at least 14 days
^This is the biggest problem. Virus shedding can take weeks and you can still test positive for COVID even though you have fully recovered and show no symptoms. Imagine being stuck overseas for months just because you keep getting COVID positive on PDTs.

Bent

It’s a risk one gotta take if you want quarantine free travel. Else just stay home.

Desmond

For children, infant who are not vaccinated, can they travel through this arrangement?

Bent

No

JCH

If I’m going to South Korea for 7 days, can I take 1 PCR test on Day 6 and also count that as the pre-departure PCR test 48h before flight to Sg? P.S: Thanks for summarizing all the info in your article! So much easier to understand than CNA/ST/Mothership! Keep up the good work 🙂

Bent

Definitely sounds possible. 7-8 day trip to Korea would mean being able to utilize the day 6/7 PCR as a PDT

vtl

as expected, the SQ website is crashing

Denise T

Im aiming for spain and denmark!

Frederic

Hi Aaron, note that the lists of non-VTL countries have been updated as well.

ZYX

Finally! SQ stock will ↗ on Monday

Ian End

Not if they can’t get their website back up it won’t…

They clearly didn’t build it on elastically scalable AWS cloud infra! Probably running on a couple of old HP DL380s in someone’s bomb shelter.

Ian End

This is obviously great news, but still requiring entry approvals for vaccinated pass holders is looking more and more like Singapore’s form of Apartheid. There is simply no health or immigration justification for it any longer, and is a stain on Singapore’s international standing.

Greg

Trust me every time they do this it is noticed by the expat community. This is harming Singapore’s reputation more than they realise. I would be very sceptical about taking a position there again after how they treated us during covid.

Glenn

Where did you find the list of VTL flights to the US?

Pete

Hello, is the SFO to SIN direct flight not on the VTL list?

Pete

Thanks Aaron

Somebody

…And award flights are full from LAX. Booked a flight back from NYC mid-Dec (on Advantage but got 11K) which means figuring out domestic travel with lots of luggage and the need to travel a day earlier, from SFO to NYC just in case winter storms hit. Finally the horror of flying out of NYC! I suppose first world problems but still, what does SIA have against SFO 🙁

cas

Will SQ change an originally booked non-VTL flight to a VTL flight for free, considering that prices are going to jump now?

vtl

I’ve managed to change mine to the first VTL flight out of Heathrow. Didn’t have to pay a single cent.

Jeremy

I’m coming back on 20th Oct from Germany by VTL flight. Can I visit France before I come back since it’s the first day of France added as VTL country?

Jeremy

thanks!

Angie

The big advertisement between “For avoidance of doubt, passengers travelling on a non-VTL flight will be subject to prevailing SHN rules based on their 14-day travel history, as summarised below:” and the actual chart caused a bit of confusion when reading on mobile.

Don’t know if you can avoid putting adverts in-between the description/heading of the chart and the chart itself, but it would help if you could

EP holder living in SG

Fabulous!! Only 5 tests (2 in SG & 3 in Korea)!! Def going back to my homeland in Nov..!

JonR

Aaron – thanks so much for posting this and especially for details of which are the VTL qualifying flights. Because of you, managed to book ticket to get my partner back to SG after 16 months. I owe you!

JonR

Really, thank you. The miles and points games are fun for us all and you are a better writer than (cough cough) head for / miles for points etc but this one you were ahead of everybody.

I get to go see my Dad in Scotland and bring my husband back to Singapore because of that.

Off-line, nice whisky incoming to you.

B. T.

For Canada – it is 72 hours from the departure from the last direct flight not from the first flight? We were turned away at the airport in September because our PCR tests were taken too early.

Scott

Wow I’m glad I read this… potentially a life saver for my travel at the end of this week.

B. T.

I’m glad for you. My family wasted 500 in new PCR tests and incurred 2.7K more in fare difference payments!

Gideon

Something potentially beautiful gets ruined by the rule that children (especially 1.5h), not sure if I can even rebook onto a non-VTL flight.

ALam

Are the VTL flight numbers likely to change after March 2022 or should you assume they won’t change?

Wen Hui

Booked for end of November:

SIN-SFO (95k J saver)
SFO-HNL (AS cash – $130)
HNL-LAX (UA cash – $150)
LAX-SIN (95k J saver)

#beachbound

Not the most efficient routing but what a happy day.

Last edited 10 months ago by Wen Hui
Jim

Is Hawaii accepting travellers now? I was under the impression they still have a safe travels program in place (only international tourists from Korean, Taiwan and Japan are allowed, and if fully vaccinated and tested through a trusted provider)?

Wen Hui

They indeed do require an additional test which I’ll do during my first days in the bay area. They accept providers like CVS or Walgreens so the threshold can’t be that high 😉

The countries you mention have specific rules in place as they have direct flights to Hawaii. That does not apply when arriving from SFO.

Last edited 10 months ago by Wen Hui
ZYX

Either you are vaccinated in the US, or PDT.

Bernard

Does it mean that if you want to get from Barcelona to Singapore via the VTL, you have to book the VTL flight from Barcelona to Singapore via Milan, but yet if you book the legs separately, Barcelona to Milan can be on any (even non-VTL) flights? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Bent

As long as you are in either Spain or Italy for the last 14 days. You can take any flight you want between these two countries. Of course u still need the 48h PDT

Last edited 10 months ago by Bent
Stella

Hi Aaron,

May I ask where did you find the information on the removal of day 3 and day 7 PCR tests starting from 19 Oct? I could not find it on Safe Travel website.

Thanks.

Hello
Ivan

Possible to travel via QR SIN-DOH-LHR? Then return via SQ? Flights on QR are cheap!

PiggieQ

Travellers from other VTL countries can also use Singapore as staging point for travelling to South Korea as well.

Jimmy

I think it also depends how Korea recognises vaccination status.

Jimmy

Aaron, referring to this South Korea government site, seems like citizen from 49 visa-free countries could now enter South Korea with application of pass known as K-ETA

https://overseas.mofa.go.kr/sg-en/brd/m_2444/view.do

Jimmy

Hi Aaron, my understanding on the information online is different than yours. I think South Korea borders are not closed to tourists from Europe and US, though it comes with self quarantine after the entrance. 1. Example, Please refer to this UK government site https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-korea/entry-requirements On the section “Regular entry requirements” and subsection “Visa and K-ETA” 2. Another website: VisitKorea organisation website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/FU_EN_15.jsp?nCategoryID=&searchType=&dateStart=&dateEnd=&keyword=&gotoPage=2&listType=&cid=2736880 “After being put on hold due to the pandemic, starting September 1, citizens from 28 countries in the EU and Schengen Agreement can enter Korea without a visa for up to 90 days” ————————— If on one… Read more »

Nel

Seem like it possible to travel to certain countries like Ukraine & Finland without PCR if you are fully vaccinated. Anyone planned to travel other region in europe for a week and then go back to any of the VTL countries for 14 days before returning to SG?

https://apply.joinsherpa.com/map?fireglass_rsn=true

Jon

They should add Vatican and Monaco to the list. Imagine people getting tripped up just cos they went to see the Pope or Monte Carlo

John

How to VTL with Canada? Still need to transit somewhere…

tsy

hihi , thanks for this detailed info regarding the newly announced VTL 🙂 , do u have any info about converting our vaccination cert into EUDCC in ITALY ? thinking of travelling there …

tsy

Thanks! but seems also depends on the local authority where u will be , will check it out with Milan local province rules then , Thanks Aaron! if u have more info looking forward to your posting too! 🙂

Ponnifer

I am just wondering if it makes more sense to convert our vax cert into the EU COVID-19 digital cert. However, I am not sure how to do it in Italy since there isn’t any real details about it

Ben Wightman

Could you offer a bit more detail on the process for “converting” the SG vaccination proof into the EUDCC in Germany and real necessity to do so throughout the EU now vs. just showing (I presume) the TraceTogether certificate? Also, once in the EU, do the restrictions of the other countries still matter when flying, or is it really now just about the entry point from SG and departure point from SG?

Joel

Am planning an early-November trip to Barcelona and having a look at the quarantine rules. Does anyone know how quarantine accommodation is sorted if you test positive in Spain during the PDT? I’m thinking of pre-booking a serviced apartment (more space) at free-cancellation prices just so I will have a place to stay if I do test positive, but no point if they’re going to move me to a government-mandated quarantine hotel. Quarantine hotels can be quite grim it seems – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-58129253 If I’m going to spend 10 days locked up I’m happy to shell out for a proper apartment… Read more »

nec

Hi Aaron, since vtl flight from rome stops over at copenhagen, if we actually do a few days stopover say 3-4 days, will we still have to do the pdt back to sg? considering its required for italy but not denmark?

nec

Ahh.. thank you for clarifying!!

Michelle

Hi Aaron, thanks for the well done summary. Is so much easier to read your article than elsewhere. By the way, are you aware if the France online application for the vaccination certification is EUDCC? Same as Germany? Am planning to go other European country so if France issue EUDCC, it will make travelling within Europe much easier.

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