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.
|🌎 VTL Agreements|
|From 14 Dec 2021||
|From 16 Dec 2021||
|*Brunei 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|
|Long-term pass & short-term visitors||
|#For example, if your flight is at 2000 hrs on 20 December 2021, you can take the test anytime from 0000 hrs on 18 December 2021
*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 14-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-14 to D (i.e. 5 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 14 days long. So long as your 14-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).
- 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.
- Cambodia: Covid-19 Vaccination Card issued by the Ministry of Health/Ministry of Defence in Cambodia (starting 16 December 2021).
- 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.
|⚠️ Note: Even though children aged 12 can get vaccinated in Singapore, the 12 year age group is still granted the exemption. The age of the child is based on the calendar year, so unvaccinated children born in or after 2009 will be allowed to enter Singapore under the VTL in 2021.|
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 is a summary of restrictions for selected VTL countries:
|⚕️ PDT for Singapore Residents|
|Vax.||Unvax. Children Under 12 with Vax. Parents|
(under 5 exempt)
(under 5 exempt)
(under 5 exempt)
(under 6 exempt)
(under 2 exempt)
(under 1 exempt)
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||PCR11||PCR11
(under 9 exempt)
|🇰🇷 South Korea||PCR12||N/A
(Only children aged 5 and below allowed entry)
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||PCR13||PCR13
(under 2 exempt)
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||ART/PCR16||N/A16|
|🇺🇸 United States||ART/PCR17
(under 2 exempt)
|1. Within 72h of departure to Australia
2. Within 72h of entry into Cambodia
3. Within 72h of departure of last direct flight to Canada
3a. Within 72h of departure to Fiji
3b. Within 48h of departure to France
4. Within 72h of departure to India
5. Within 72h of departure to Indonesia
6. Within 72h of entry into Italy
7. Within 48h of departure to Malaysia
8. Within 96h of departure to Maldives
9. Within 24h/48h (ART/PCR) of departure to Netherlands
10. Within 72h of arrival in Qatar
11. Within 72h of departure to Saudi Arabia
12. Within 72h of departure to South Korea
13. Within 72h of departure to Sri Lanka
13a. Within 72h of departure to Switzerland
14. Within 72h of departure to Thailand
15. Within 72h of departure to UAE
16. Within 2 days of departure date to UK
17. Within 1 day of departure date to USA
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
|My Family Clinic
|Pinnacle Family Clinic||S$48||S$185||S$270|
|Central 24-HR Clinic
|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 14 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 14-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.
For example, you’re perfectly free to travel between Canada and the USA, or any of the VTL countries in Europe. Heck, you can even fly from the USA to Germany, France to Canada, or any permutation you can think of.
However, you cannot travel from Spain to France by driving through Andorra, or USA to Italy by transiting in Vienna.
Changi Airport’s website provides some further clarifications regarding such a scenario (the example is out of date, since Switzerland joined the VTL scheme on 8 Nov, but the principle still applies). From the FAQs:
Q: If I pass through a non VTL country/region at any point of my trip, am I still eligible to board a VTL flight? For example, if I take a train or drive from Italy to Germany, while passing through Switzerland, which is a non-VTL country
A: You will be eligible to take a VTL flight to Singapore if you fulfil the following criteria:
If at any time you set foot in a non-VTL country, you will need to return to a VTL country/countries and wait 14 days before coming back to Singapore.
Now, I’m fully aware (as is the ICA) that Europe is mostly borderless. “How would they know where I’ve been when my passport hasn’t been stamped?” you ask.
Well, all travellers (regardless of nationality) must fill up the SG Arrival Card with an electronic health declaration before entering Singapore. Inside is a question regarding your 14-day travel history, and providing a false declaration is a serious offence.
Believe me, there are ways of finding out where you’ve been. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
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
- Regardless of the duration of self-isolation, you will not be allowed to return to Singapore for at least 14 days, under MOH/ICA guidelines
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
|SIA VTL Flights|
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 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 14-day travel history. The rules of the strictest country apply, e.g. if your 14-day travel history features Cat. III and IV countries, Cat. IV rules apply.
|🛂Singapore Border Restrictions by Category
|Cat. I||Cat. II||Cat. III||Cat. IV||VTL|
|On-arrival PCR test||✔||✖||✖||✖||✔|
|Post-SHN PCR test||N/A||✔
|D3 & D7 ART
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 long-term pass holders or short-term visitors, and is not required for Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
A VTP must be applied for between 3-60 days before the intended date of entry into Singapore. 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!
Once issued, a VTP is valid for a single entry up to six calendar days from the intended date of entry to Singapore. Each traveller requires their own VTP, except children aged 12 or under.
Arrival Process in Changi
On arrival at Changi Airport, passengers will first clear immigration as per normal. Automated clearance was previously not available, but has been introduced again.
The immigration officer will need to verify:
- Identity card (for LTP or PRs)
- Negative pre-departure PCR test
- Proof of vaccination
- SG Arrival Card
- VTP (short-term visitors and LTP)
- Travel insurance with S$30,000 coverage (short-term visitors only)
- Mobile device with TraceTogether app (short-term visitors only)
Once done, you’ll be given a sticker to wear (which informs the airport staff you’re a VTL traveller), and then sent to baggage claim. Collect your baggage, pass through customs and follow the signage to the swab tent.
This is where you’ll undergo your on-arrival PCR test, which costs S$125 and can be booked in advance via the link below.
After performing the test, you will be required to leave the airport immediately and travel to your declared self-isolation premises via private hire car, taxi or private car. No public transport is permitted.
Your self-isolation period begins from the time you leave the airport till the time you receive the result of the on-arrival PCR test.
Two types of self-isolation accommodation are permissible:
- residential accommodation (i.e. HDB flat, condominium or landed property); or
- non-residential accommodation (i.e. hotel or serviced apartment)
Travellers must isolate alone, or with household members who are vaccinated and have the same travel history, arrival date and self-isolation requirement.
In other words, a family who travelled back from Germany on the VTL could isolate in the same home/hotel room.
If you opt to self-isolate at home and other household members without the same travel history are present, you will need your own enclosed room with an attached toilet. All parties must wear masks, observe hand hygiene and minimise interactions solely to the purpose of facilitating the entry of the traveller into the enclosed room with attached toilet.
For an overview of the arrivals process in Changi, refer to the post below.
Who should hold off on travel for now?
While the VTLs are a Godsend to travel-starved Singaporeans, there will be certain groups who may want to hold off travelling for now.
Apart from those who work for companies/ministries which have implemented soft/hard bans on non-essential travel, anyone who cannot afford to work remotely for 14 days should not travel overseas.
That’s because of the pre-departure test requirement, which has the potential to delay your return for at least 14 days should it come back positive (see above section on Positive Result: Now What?).
If your employer already wasn’t too enthused about you going for a holiday, this is hardly going to help. Likewise, those with children will want to be cautious about scheduling a post-Christmas trip, lest the worst happen and part of the new term gets missed.
VTL: Germany Trip Report
In early September, I was among the first few travellers to experience the VTL, returning from Munich to Singapore on the inaugural flight.
Here’s a full report of the end-to-end process.
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:
- Checking entry restrictions by country
- Singapore Airlines VTL information
- ICA: VTL Requirements & Process
- ICA: VTL FAQ
- CAAS: VTL travel with children aged 12 and under
The imminent expansion of Singapore’s VTL scheme is great news for those dreaming of year-end travel, and a big step towards a return to normal. Granted, it’s not the same as pre-COVID travel, but neither is it rocket science.
While I welcome questions, keep in mind I’m not the ICA. Nothing I say here has any kind of official weight, and if that’s what you need, you’re best off dropping them a message.