If you have questions about how Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme works, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, I’ll walk through everything you need to know about quarantine-free travel to Singapore (and for Singaporeans, how to enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel).
|✈️ Complete Guide to the VTL|
VTL: Eligible Countries
The following countries are currently part of the VTL, or will be added to the VTL in due course.
|🌎 Singapore VTL Agreements|
|*Brunei, Hong Kong and Indonesia do not currently allow Singapore residents to enter without quarantine|
VTL: Eligible Travellers
In order to be eligible for VTL travel to Singapore, travellers must meet the following criteria.
|✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria|
|Short-term visitors & Work permit holders|
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt|
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller
If all these criteria are met, travellers will not need to serve an SHN on arrival in Singapore.
ICA determines your 7-day travel history as follows:
If the scheduled day of departure of the traveller’s flight to Singapore is D (e.g. 19 October 2021), the traveller must have only been to one or more of the VTL countries/regions and/or Singapore from D-7 to D (i.e. 12 to 19 October 2021, if D is 19 October 2021).
And since it’s asked so many times, no, there’s no requirement for your VTL trip to be at least 7 days long. So long as your 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or the VTL country/any Category I country, you’re fine.
In addition to Singapore-issued vaccination certificates (which can be displayed via the TraceTogether or HealthHub app), the following proof of vaccinations are accepted:
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC).
- Brunei: BruHealth issued in Brunei + present Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP).
- Cambodia: Covid-19 Vaccination Card issued by the Ministry of Health/Ministry of Defence in Cambodia (starting 16 December 2021).
- Canada: The Smart Health Cards (SHC) format on the CommonTrust Network (CTN) or the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) are accepted. SHCs can also be digitally verified on the SMART Health Card Verifier app.
- Europe: European Union Digital Covid Certificates (EUDCC) from any country, from 7 December 2021 (before this only VTL countries)
- India: International Travel Certificate in the Digital Infrastructure for Vaccination Open Credentialing (DIVOC) standard, available on the Co-WIN platform.
- Malaysia: MySejahtera App (starting 29 Nov 2021).
- The Maldives: Covid-19 Digital Certification downloaded from the Health Protection Agency Maldives (starting 16 December 2021).
- South Korea: Static QR Code on the COOV app or Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued by the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), downloaded from the KDCA website.
- Sri Lanka: Certificate of Covid-19 Vaccination issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health (starting 16 December 2021).
- Thailand: International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate issued by the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand (starting 14 December 2021).
- The UK: National Health Service (NHS) COVID Passes downloaded from the NHS mobile app.
- The USA: The following will be accepted:
- The Smart Health Cards (SHC) format on the CommonTrust Network (CTN) or the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). SHCs can also be digitally verified on the SMART Health Card Verifier app.
- A physical vaccination record and a letter signed by the state, local health authority, or vaccination provider attesting to the travellers vaccination status will also be accepted. This letter must contain the traveller’s name and one other personal identifier, such as the date of birth or passport number; as well as the date and name of the vaccine administered.
- Digital vaccination record retrieved from the public health database of the state or the local health authority.
Children 12 and under
Unvaccinated children 12 and under (regardless of nationality) are permitted to travel into Singapore under the VTL, provided they are accompanied by a vaccinated traveller.
For children 12 and under, the VTL rules look like this:
|✈️ Summary: VTL Scheme|
|For children aged 12 and below|
|*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt|
Note that there is no requirement for children 12 and under to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass.
|🇰🇷 No go to Seoul|
|South Korea does not allow children who do not qualify for vaccination (or people who are medically unfit to be vaccinated) to enter the country. Therefore, a VTL trip to South Korea is out of the question for now, unless your child is aged 5 and below|
Full details for VTL travel with children aged 12 and below can be found in the following article.
Singapore: Pre-departure testing
Depending on which VTL country you are flying to, you may or may not require a pre-departure test.
Here’s a summary of the VTL countries that require a pre-departure test for travellers from Singapore.
|⚕️ PDT for Singapore Residents|
|Vax.||Unvax. Child Under 12^|
(under 5 exempt)
(under 5 exempt)
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong||PCR5||PCR5|
(under 2 exempt)
(under 4 exempt)
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||PCR12||PCR12|
(under 9 exempt)
|🇰🇷 South Korea||PCR13||N/A|
(Only children aged 5 and below allowed entry)
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||N/A||N/A|
(under 6 exempt)
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||N/A||N/A|
|🇺🇸 United States||ART/PCR15||ART/PCR15|
(under 2 exempt)
(under 2 exempt)
|^Accompanied by vaccinated parents|
1. Within 24h/3 days of departure to Australia
3. Within 1 day/72h (ART/PCR) of departure of last direct flight to Canada
4. Within 24h/2 days (ART/PCR) of departure to Fiji
5. Within 48h of departure to Hong Kong
6. Within 72h of departure to Indonesia
7. Within 72h of departure to Israel
8. Within 2 days of departure to Malaysia. ART for VTL land only
10. Within 24h/48h (ART/PCR) of departure to Philippines
11. Within 48h of departure to Qatar
12. Within 72h of departure to Saudi Arabia
13. Within 48h of departure to South Korea
14. Within 72h of departure to Thailand
15. Within 1 day of departure date to USA
16. Within 24h/72h of departure to Vietnam
Do note that not all countries require PCR tests; some accept the cheaper ART swabs too.
For reference, here’s an idea of how much you can expect to pay at the major medical chains (prices may differ by clinic location).
|⚕️ COVID-19 Test Prices|
|Swab N Go||S$30||S$100||S$140|
|SATA Comm Health||S$28||S$107||S$157|
|PDT Swab SG||S$35||S$107||N/A|
Promo code ➤
|Pinnacle Family Clinic||S$48||S$128||S$214|
|My Family Clinic||S$35||S$132||S$177|
|Prices are subject to change; call clinics for latest information.|
PCR (S)= PCR + Serology test
Not all ART swabs listed above may be suitable for international travel (you need a results certificate stating your name, time of swab, birth date and passport number). When in doubt, check with the clinic.
Collinson has partnered with Singapore Airlines to offer discounted pre-departure testing at Raffles Medical. Passengers can do a PCR test for S$115 (code: SIARMGPCR), or an antigen rapid test for S$27 (code: SIARMGART).
For a detailed overview of pre-departure testing, including discounts, home swabbing and express options, refer to the article below.
It’s highly recommended you purchase travel insurance that includes COVID-19 medical expense and quarantine coverage, as well as protection for trip cancellation and curtailment (should you test positive).
The following underwriters provide this.
|Provider||Medical Exp.||Quarantine Allow.|
Per Day (Capped)
|Offered by SIA|
depends on country
I would avoid Allianz and NTUC Income, since they provide no quarantine allowance.
If you’re travelling to South Korea in particular, a minimum coverage of 30,000,000 KRW (~S$34,000) for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs is required. All of the above policies except Aviva meet this requirement.
For a full guide to travel insurance policies with COVID-19 coverage, refer to the article below.
Flights from Singapore
Repeat after me: there is no such thing as a VTL flight from Singapore.
|🇲🇾 Malaysia Exception|
|The only exception to this rule is Malaysia, where you will need to take a designated VTL flight to Malaysia as well.|
The VTL concept only applies to flights returning to Singapore; on the outbound leg, you’re free to take any flight you please…with some caveats.
First of all, if your trip is 7 days or less, you’ll need to avoid transiting in non-VTL countries (except Category I) when flying out of Singapore. That’s because transits, no matter how short, will add that country to your 7-day travel history. It does not matter that you never technically entered that country!
Second, if the VTL country happens to impose restrictions on the country of transit, you transiting there may render you liable for quarantine on arrival in the VTL country.
Therefore, the safest option is to take a non-stop flight, or a flight that transits in VTL country A, en route to VTL country B, where B does not impose restrictions on A.
Will my vaccination certificate be recognised in day-to-day life?
One of the most commonly asked questions is how Singapore residents can prove their vaccinated status in countries where vaccination is required for day-to-day life. Will your HealthHub/Notarise certificate be accepted, or do you need to get it converted?
The good news is that if you’re travelling to Europe, Singapore vaccination certificates have been granted equivalency to the EUDCC, a decision that takes effect from 7 December 2021. This means you’ll be treated the same way as any other vaccinated EU citizen, simply by showing your Notarise certificate.
While overseas, you may travel from VTL country to VTL country and still be eligible for an SHN waiver on return to Singapore, provided you do not pass through a non-VTL country in the process (unless it’s a Category I or EEA country).
If at any time you set foot in a non-VTL, non-Category I and non-EEA country, you will need to return to a VTL country/countries and wait 7 days before coming back to Singapore.
VTL Country: Pre-departure testing
All travellers to Singapore must undergo a pre-departure COVID-19 ART/PCR test within 2 days of boarding their flight to Singapore. This means that if your flight departs at 8 p.m on 18 December 2021, you can take your test anytime from 12 a.m on 16 December 2021.
A negative result certificate must be obtained in English, from a recognised laboratory, clinic or medical facility. The certificate must mention the date the test was taken, traveller name and either date of birth or passport number as stated in the passport.
The MOH does not mention specific testing facilities for VTL countries (except Korea), and travellers are advised to check with the local Department of Health for approved test providers.
I realise that’s uncomfortably vague for some people, but your hotel concierge should be able to assist with this. Use common sense- any swab provider in an airport or major hospital/clinic should pass muster, and Singapore Airlines provides a list for reference as well.
To read about my experience getting a pre-departure PCR test done in Munich, refer to the article below.
Positive Result: Now What?
If your pre-departure COVID-19 test comes back positive:
- The local health authorities will order/advise self-isolation (example: Germany), the strictness of which depends on the country. This may last anywhere from a few days to two weeks, or until you can clear a follow-up PCR test
- You may return to Singapore after 72 hours if a follow up PCR/professionally-administered ART comes back negative; otherwise you may return after 7 days without any testing requirement. This is in line with Singapore’s eased measures for recently recovered travellers
If your symptoms are mild or if you’re asymptomatic, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be sent to hospital- most of the VTL countries (Korea aside) don’t even operate a system of government-run quarantine facilities like Singapore. Home recovery (or a hotel, in the case of tourists) is the default option in most places.
This means it’s imperative to get travel insurance with a COVID-19 quarantine allowance, to help defray some of the additional hotel and food costs should this happen.
Singapore Airlines will refund the unused portion of your ticket with cancellation fees waived, should you test positive for COVID-19 during your pre-departure test. Alternatively, you will be able to make complimentary changes under their existing flexibility policy.
VTL Flights to Singapore
VTL travellers must return to Singapore on a designated VTL flight in order to avoid an SHN on arrival. You can find the full details of VTL flights in the links below.
|✈️ VTL flights|
Entering Singapore on a non-VTL flight means you’ll be subject to regular border control measures, depending on your 7-day travel history. The rules of the strictest country apply, e.g. if your 7-day travel history features Category I and General Travel (non-VTL) countries, the latter applies.
|Category I||N/A||ART or PCR within 2 days of depart. to SG||Supervised ART within 24h|
|General Travel: VTL||N/A|
|General Travel: Non-VTL||7 days|
|PCR at end of SHN|
|PCR within 2 days of depart. to SG||PCR on arrival|
PCR at end of SHN
|Category I: China, Macau, Taiwan|
VTL: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Fiji, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA [From 25 Feb: Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE; From 4 Mar: Israel, Philippines]
Non-VTL: All other countries
Restricted: No countries at the moment
For the most up to date list of countries by category, do refer to the ICA’s SHN and Swab Summary page.
Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)
This is an additional step for work permit or short-term visitors, and is not required for Singapore citizens, permanent residents, or long-term passholders.
VTP applications are open for travellers intending to enter Singapore 3 to 60 days after today. Travellers not entering Singapore during this date range should come back on a later date to apply. A VTP is valid for entry up to 13 calendar days after the traveller’s chosen date of entry.
VTPs are approved or rejected instantly (and there’s no need for your employer to get involved, unlike general re-entry approval), and there is no fee involved. Be careful of websites that look like the real thing, but charge a fee!
Each traveller requires their own VTP, except children aged 12 or under.
If you’re fully vaccinated and have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, you will not be required to undergo pre-departure testing or testing on arrival in Singapore, and will be exempt from SHN regardless of whether you return on a VTL or non-VTL flight.
This is provided you can present either of the following documents:
- a positive COVID-19 PCR or professionally-administered ART result dated between 7-90 days before date of departure to Singapore or
- a discharge memo
Either document must:
- state the traveller’s name and at least one other personal identifier (e.g. date of birth, passport number)
- state the date of infection or discharge date, which must be within 7-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore
- be issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional
In other words, the only test requirements that apply to you in this scenario is the pre-departure ART/PCR test before travelling to Sri Lanka.
For more details, refer to the article below.
VTL Trip Reports
I’ve taken several VTL trips since the scheme began in September 2021. Do have a read of the full details below!
|🦘 Journey to the Hermit Kingdom|
|🏰 The Romantic Road|
Useful Tools & Official Resources
While I’ve endeavored to make this article as accurate as possible, “I read it on a blog” won’t hold much water if push comes to shove.
So do refer to the following official resources as well when planning your trip: