Confirmed: Quarantine-free travel to Australia available to Singapore citizens only

Quarantine-free travel from Singapore to Australia starts from 21 November 2021, but only Singapore citizens will be eligible at this time.

For those looking forward to year-end travel to Australia, there was some great news earlier this week with the announcement that travellers from Singapore will be able to enter Melbourne and Sydney without quarantine from 21 November 2021 onwards. 

However, there was some confusion as to just who would be eligible. The Sydney Morning Herald’s article vaguely alluded to “visitors from Singapore”, regardless of 14-day travel history. Did this mean anyone who departed from Singapore? Just Singapore residents? Just Singapore citizens?

Now we have an answer, and it’s going to make some people very unhappy.

Quarantine-free travel for Singapore citizens only

From 21 November 2021, Singapore citizens will be able to enter Melbourne and Sydney without any quarantine. This arrangement does not extend to permanent residents and EP holders.

The Australian High Commission confirmed this in a Facebook post yesterday.

For avoidance of doubt, they also explicitly stated it in response to a comment on the post. 

It seems a similar message has been disseminated to the airlines, with Scoot mentioning the arrangement is only for Singapore passport holders (i.e. Singapore citizens).

People are upset about this, and understandably so. From a public health perspective, it seems very arbitrary to draw a distinction between fully vaccinated Singapore citizens and permanent residents/EP holders, when all of them are regularly intermixing on a day-to-day basis in Singapore.

Moreover, the current travel bubble that Australia has with New Zealand explicitly states that there is no requirement to be a New Zealand citizen to travel to Australia without quarantine. That’s a further inconsistency which hasn’t been explained.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this in the weeks to come, but that’s the official stance for now: from 21 November, only Singapore citizens can enter Australia without quarantine.

Of course, the previously announced arrangement for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families still holds. From 8 November, this group will be able to travel between Singapore and Australia with no quarantine on either side. Singapore Airlines has already scheduled For Eligible Passengers Only (FEPO) flights from Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney to cater to them.

Testing requirement

As a reminder, travellers to Australia must take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure time. If they’re travelling to NSW, they will also need to do a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival. 

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

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

Vaccination and other requirements

Apart from the testing requirement, travellers from Singapore to Australia must also satisfy the following:

  • 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. 

All travellers entering Melbourne will need to download the Service Victoria app. This allows users to check-in and display their COVID-19 vaccination status. 

Conclusion

While Singapore citizens will be able to travel to Australia (New South Wales and Victoria) with no quarantine from 21 November 2021, the same concession won’t apply to permanent residents and EP holders for the moment. 

It doesn’t seem very fair to me, although there’s still some time to go before the commencement of travel so things may yet change in the near future. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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M D

This is unbelievable…been living in SG for ~11 yrs, ~half of those years as PR. Been paying PR rates for school fees, stamp duties, etc. I’m so done with this place if this holds

S G

Your statement is unfair. The decision is made by the Australian side not the Singapore side. You should take issue with the Australian Govt instead.

M D

Can you confirm that? If that’s the case, I wonder why SG didn’t make a bigger stink about it. Anwyay, I’ll update my comment accordingly.

Last edited 24 days ago by M D
A A

it dont understand why you put this on SG govt. im not die-hard supporter of SG govt but if that’s really SG govt doing, logically speaking all other VTLs would have excluded non SG citizen too… no doubt, it is definitely AU govt decision. Looking at the way AU govt treated its own citizen in the past 18 months where it was very difficult to go home to their own home country, It is not surprising that AU is extremely cautious on its reopening.

W L

Correct, Singapore hasn’t placed any such restrictions on any of the VTL flights from other countries tries, so clearly this requirement has come from the Aussie side. It makes no sense, and I’m sure the European and other nations embassies and chambers of commerce in Australia will lobby extensively for this to be changed.

D K

I don’t understand what you are grumbling about. 1. It’s the Australian government decision but it seems that you are taking it out on the Singapore government. 2. It’s understandable that this setup is at its infancy (yes, it’s probably at the embryological stage) and the Australian government is clearly cautious to start with a smaller subset – Singapore citizens vs Singapore residents. They clearly do not this to be taken as a loophole. 3. Every government in the world worth its salt would aim to take care of its own citizen first. Being a “permanent resident” of Australia previously… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by D K
Freddy

How does Aussie government’s decision have anything to do with the school fees and taxes you paid in Singapore?

More equal than others

Take your children to Australia and try to enrol them in a government run school. Take your children to Singapore and try to enrol them in a government run school. In Australia, no problem. In Singapore it’s not going to happen. Seems like a fair gripe. There is a definite inequality. Obviously this have nothing to do with VTL, etc.

Myopic Comparisons

Such comparisons will always be endless. All graduates can find jobs in Singapore, in fact Singapore even has an office called contact Singapore to make it easy for foreigners to learn more and join the Singapore workforce.

In Australia many jobs open post “Australians/PR only”, and many graduates have to return home.

CSS

Australia no problem then stay there lor kpkb for what… nobody force you to stay in Singapore what…

A K

I feel your pain. Hopefully this is just a glitch or even misunderstanding between governments, but if not then it doesn’t come as a huge surprise given how the Sing government has treated its non-SC residents over the last 18 months. Despite being PR, paying significant taxes and even having children do NS and pledge allegiance to Singapore, we’re still distinctly 2nd class in their eyes. So yes, it is highly disappointing that the Sing government allowed this to pass, especially given that it didn’t wash with NZ. Perhaps it’s a sign of Sing not being in as strong a… Read more »

4 7

you pay taxes hence the government owes you a living. got it.

CSS

Unbelievable kum lan comment….

Chauvin

Nationalistic jingoism, sounds like something out of the trumptard playbook. Oh that’s right dirty ang mohs and FTs take all the jobs from poor downtrodden sinkies.

Ponnifer

It’s the decision by the Australian government not by the Singapore government since Singapore can only determine who comes in

Wadever

Good bye!

LionDen

Would the Victorian service now app able to accept our SG vaccinations cert from Notorise ? Does it need conversion like the EUDCC?

smeedee

Aaron, in “Testing Requirements”, you mentioned that an on-arrival test is required upon arrival in NSW. Clicking on the NSW link, it mentions that another PCR test is required on day 7 after arrival. This applies only to NSW and not to VIC. That would seem to make it mandatory to take a total 5 PCR tests for a round trip for travel to NSW. Also, do you have any thoughts why Qantas isn’t running VTL flights to Singapore (so far), or at least does not mark its flights as VTL? It seems that the European VTLs have 2 carriers… Read more »

Peaches

Any idea when is Vtl flight to Melbourne opened for booking?

Rob W

Now they boot is on the other foot some don’t like it. Singapore has also been running a two tier system, Citizens and PR’s come and go as they please and EP holders cannot and get stuck in places such as the UK.

V M

If this isnt outright racism, i don’t know what is. Society has reared its ugly head ! Shame on both Singapore and Australia for even agreeing to such an arrangement.

Confused

Which race is being marginalized here?

SQ Flyer

How is this racism?

CSS

Commenting without a brain ftw

FreeThePeople

Racism is probably the wrong word here, classist is probably more appropriate. Which Singapore has championed for a long time and through COVID especially. I am surprised Australia agreed / led this agreement. Zero sense from a medical point of view, but 100 points for PAP securing brownie points with the people.

C3PO

Ah… Chinese privledge. Oops, i forgot that doesn’t exist!

George

I dont think it’s a racist policy. Its just a plain, simple, dumb policy made up by a dumb government, not contested by the SG government. My sense is it’ll be reversed as they clearly made a mistake here

4 7

Were you at the conference? How do you know it wasn’t contested?

BobCat

Were you? It’s a process of deduction.

Given the past behaviors and decisions, this falls right in the comfort zone of a society that functions on classist divides – and is comfortable with it.

George

Right makes total sense. The genetic superiority of purebred Singaporean blood is well documented in the medical field. Thank you Singapore government for pushing back on this totally normal request from the Australian government

Wanderer Tan

Sad but true. Australian populist politics at its best. Sadly, Singapore government just plays along.

Mayo

Omg i hope korea wont be like this cos ive booked my tickets for next year and im a PR 😭😭😭

Sean

Aww… I was excited about the news until I saw it is limited to Singapore Citizen only.
I really wanted to see my family that was transferred to Australia by WHO more than a year ago due to healthcare manpower shortage. Seems like I need to wait a little longer.

Tim Leon

Don’t understand why everyone is so grumpy about this. It’s the choice of Aus & let it be. They will learn their way. No use venting your anger here like brainless kids. There are several other better countries you are free to travel now.

Last edited 23 days ago by Tim Leon
George

There is a bigger lesson here, it’s not about venting anger like brainless kids. The whole VTL scheme that Singapore is pioneering and now the geniuses down under are trying to adopt, is simply not the right way to go. No other country that has reopened is following this scheme, because, quite simply, it’s not sustainable. You can’t mandate certain flights, certain duration in the country prior to your departure, no connection flights, banning long term residents of the country, no U12 y.o. unvaccinated travel etc. It is simply not sustainable and a) creates incredible operational burden for airports, airlines,… Read more »

smeedee

The restriction of including SG citizens only (and excluding SG’s long term residents) refers to quarantine-free travel TO Australia. Travellers of all nationalities using the VTL to travel from Australia INTO SG are welcome, provided they meet the necessary conditions (14 days in VTL countries, fully vaccinated, etc.). The SG Government has been very consistent in its VTL conditions with all the VTL countries. Let’s not forget VTL only refers to passage INTO Singapore and not out of. Isn’t this clear from all of this that the decision to limit entry on a quarantine-free travel INTO Australia really rests with… Read more »

Dave

Some of these comments don’t make sense.

Whilst the Singapore government have done some discriminatory things over the last 18 months and come up with some really dubious justifications, this is an Australian rule not a Singaporean rule.

I am extremely surprised that Australia has done this as it is so clearly discriminatory, arguably breaches their constitution and has the potential to indirectly discriminate against their own citizens (e.g. families with one Aussie and one foreigner).

I hope they fix this.

Matt

I’m thinking this is more political. Australia government probably didn’t want this travel arrangement, but may have grudgingly done so in return for SG donating vaccines to them

Scomo

They did think of the situation you mentioned, and long ago at that too. Immediate family of Australian Citizens/PR, New Zealanders who reside in Australia are allowed to travel into Australia.

https://singapore.embassy.gov.au/sing/ReturningToAustralia.html

NICHOLAS

I’m flying into VIC, and according to the Victoria site, the on-arrival tests appears to be free. Though it does not say whether is it a PCR or ART test.

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

Jac

Do you know if we are able to fly into VIC and out from NSW?

Wanderer Tan

I agree with the article: there is no logic, just simple old-fashioned prejudicial treatment. From a health perspective, what exactly is the difference between fully vaccinated Singapore citizens and fully vaccinated Singapore PRs? I tend to think the unfairness is coming from the AUS side. Populist politics as usual. I am sad to see that the SG officials didn’t call out the unfairness of the arrangement. Kind of implies that Singaporean multicultural population is somewhat less worthy in the eyes of AUS politicians.

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