Singapore extending VTL scheme to Australia and Switzerland from 8 November

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Australia and Switzerland will be added to the VTL scheme, although only the latter will offer two-way quarantine-free travel for now.

Singapore has announced that Australia and Switzerland will be the next two countries added to the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, effective 8 November 2021. This brings to 13 the total number of VTL partners, 11 of which offer two-way quarantine-free travel. 

🌎 List of VTL Countries
Current VTL
  • Brunei (not open to SG)
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
From 8 Nov 2021
  • Australia (not open to SG)
  • Switzerland
From 15 Nov 2021
  • South Korea

While leisure trips to Australia won’t be possible just yet, Switzerland presents another viable option for Singaporeans wanting to travel to Europe. 

Australia and Switzerland added to VTL

Here’s an overview of the eligibility criteria for travellers entering Singapore under the VTL scheme.

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
All
  • 14-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or any VTL country/countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Present negative pre-departure PCR test taken within 48h before flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take PCR test on arrival and self-isolate until negative result is received*
Long-term pass & short-term visitors
Short-term visitors
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage
*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

As a reminder, the VTL concept applies for flights into Singapore; there may be additional restrictions in place when flying from Singapore into the VTL country (most notably South Korea).

Australia

Melbourne

Prior to COVID, Australia was among the top 10 markets for annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport. More than 50,000 Singaporeans live in Australia and 25,000 Australians live in Singapore, and they’ll no doubt be relieved to see the resumption of travel. 

Unfortunately, the arrangement will be one-way for now. While fully vaccinated Australian residents will be able to enter Singapore without quarantine, Australia will only be accepting Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family at this juncture. From 1 November 2021, Singapore Airlines will cater to this group with its For Eligible Passengers Only (FEPO) flights from Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney. 

The Straits Times says that we can expect reciprocal arrangements for student and business pass holders to be in place from 23 November 2021, and leisure travel could even be possible by December 2021 assuming all goes well.

Travellers to Australia must take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure time. There are further testing requirements on arrival and post arrival, although these can be done free of charge in Melbourne and Sydney. 

This means that Singaporeans looking to travel to Australia can expect three paid tests per person, as summarised below:

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
(Australia)
Location Remarks Price
🇸🇬 Singapore 72h before departure From S$128
🇦🇺 Australia On arrival
(NSW, VIC)
Free of Charge
🇦🇺 Australia 48h before departure ~S$150
🇸🇬 Singapore On arrival at Changi S$125*
*From 18 Nov 2021. Prior to this, the test costs S$160

Other requirements for travel to Australia include:

  • Being fully vaccinated with a TGA approved or recognised vaccine, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag, Moderna, Coronavac, or Covishield, at least 7 days prior to arrival in Australia. Children under the age of 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition are exempted from this requirement
  • Presenting a valid vaccination certificate in English, i.e. either the Australian Government issued International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or a paper or digital vaccination certification issued by a national or state/provincial level authority or accredited vaccination provider
  • Completing the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before flight departure. 

Switzerland

Zurich

Switzerland has already opened its borders to Singapore residents, so two-way travel will be possible from the get-go. 

However, Singapore residents will need to convert their vaccination certificate into a Swiss EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC). This is required to for all individuals 16 or older to access “red zones”, defined as large scale events, indoor events (concerts, sports, cinemas), nightclubs, indoor areas of bars and restaurants, attractions and museums.

Non-EU vaccination certificates can be converted online into a Swiss EUDCC for a 30 CHF (~S$44) fee. Of course, you could always get your Singapore vaccination certificate converted into an EUDCC in another European country, and use that when in Switzerland. 

Do note that Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccinations will not be recognised for those travelling to Switzerland as a tourist.

Switzerland does not require any pre-departure or on-arrival test for fully vaccinated Singapore residents, so the entire VTL process will involve just two tests. 

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
(Switzerland)
Location Remarks Price
🇨🇭 Switzerland 48h before departure ~S$230
🇸🇬 Singapore On arrival at Changi S$160

Designated flights

The following flights will be designated as VTL services to Singapore. Passengers on flights other than the ones listed below will be subject to the prevailing SHN requirements. 

Melbourne

Melbourne – Singapore
8 November 2021 – 26 March 2022
SQ218 Daily 12:35am – 5:15am Airbus A350-900
SQ228 Daily 4:40pm – 9:20pm Airbus A350-900

Sydney

Sydney – Singapore
8 November 2021 – 30 November 2021
SQ212 Daily 9:05am – 2:15pm Airbus A350-900
SQ222 Daily 4:10pm – 9:20pm Boeing 777-300ER
1 December 2021
SQ212 Wednesday 9:05am – 2:15pm Airbus A350-900
SQ222 Wednesday 4:10pm – 9:20pm Airbus A380-800
2 December 2021 – 26 March 2022
SQ212 Daily 9:05am – 2:15pm Boeing 777-300ER
SQ222 Daily 4:10pm – 9:20pm Airbus A380-800

Zurich

Zurich – Singapore
8 November 2021 – 26 March 2022
SQ345 Daily 10:35am – 6:00am (+1) Airbus A350-900

How much do awards cost?

Here’s the cost of KrisFlyer awards from Singapore to Australia, as well as Singapore to Switzerland. As with the other VTL routes, my expectation is that Saver award space will be close to impossible to find on VTL flights to Singapore, unless you’re a PPS Club or Solitaire PPS Club member. 

Redemption Cost from Singapore to Australia (ex. Perth)
(Flight on Singapore Air)
  Saver
(One-Way)
Advantage
(One-Way)
Economy 28,000 55,000
Premium Economy 47,000 N/A
Business 62,000 90,000
First 85,000 155,000
Redemption Cost from Singapore to Switzerland
(Flight on Singapore Air)
  Saver
(One-Way)
Advantage
(One-Way)
Economy 38,000 70,000
Premium Economy 64,500 N/A
Business 92,000 120,000
First 125,000 220,000

Singapore Airlines’ flights to Zurich are currently being operated by the A350-900, which does not have a First Class cabin. However, it’s always possible that Singapore Airlines may decide to bring the A380 back to Zurich, following reintroductions on the London and Sydney routes. A more realistic scenario might be to test the waters with a B777-300ER first, before deciding whether the whalejet is warranted. 

With the addition of Australia and Switzerland to the VTL, the quota for passengers entering Singapore will be increased from 3,000 to 4,000 travellers daily. 

Complete Guide to VTL travel

Singaporeans can enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel with 11 countries and counting

For a detailed guide on the VTL process, including eligibility, testing requirements, travel insurance, recognition of vaccination certificates and FAQs, refer to this post.

Conclusion

While Australia won’t be open to leisure travellers just yet, it’s great to see another potential European holiday destination in Switzerland. But Australia’s full reopening is surely only a matter of time, as various states hit their vaccination targets. I fully expect it’ll be possible for a fully vaccinated Singaporean to fly to Australia in time for the Australian Open next year.

VTL additions are coming thick and fast, and from what I hear, it’s just getting started. Expect more announcements in the weeks to come. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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John T

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Last edited 2 months ago by John T
Marco

Hi Aaron, Thanks for the informative article. Do you think there will be any chance the VTL flight for Switzerland will be extended to include Swiss air direct flight to SG?

Benjamin S

Will LX176 be a VTL flight?
If so would be interesting option for lifemiles redemptions

Benjamin S

Thanks.
And yup LX176 is VTL approved.

Sebastian

Aaron, your blog is the glimmer of hope as it’s finally becoming possible to leave (and return!) as a foreigner living in SG. Thanks for all your hard work! What’s your best guess at additional VTLs? Do you think Austria (the one with the Alps, not the Kanagaroos) is in the cards for year end? I realise you have no inside information but this sentence gets me excited; “VTL additions are coming thick and fast, and from what I hear, it’s just getting started. Expect more announcements in the weeks to come. “ Tempted to book a flight to Switzerland… Read more »

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