South Korea suspends VTL until 21 Jan 2022; existing ticketholders unaffected

South Korea has suspended the sale of new VTL tickets for travel between 29 Dec 2021 and 21 Jan 2022- but existing ticketholders are safe.

Last week, Singapore decided to suspend the sale of new VTL tickets for flights to Singapore arriving from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. 

Passengers with existing tickets can continue to enter under regular VTL conditions, and existing VTPs are not affected. To be clear, you can still buy VTL tickets for flights to Singapore arriving from 21 January 2022 onwards (although the number of tickets has been capped at 50% of the allocated quota). 

If you were hoping to travel to South Korea during this period and then return to Singapore from 21 January 2022 onwards, you’re out of luck. South Korea has decided to reciprocate, per this update on the Korean Embassy website:

To mitigate the risk of omicron variant, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) has announced that travellers who will purchase air tickets for entry in Korea from Singapore between 29 December 2021, 0000hrs and 20 January 2022, 2359hrs would not be eligible to make use of VTL arrangement and be exempted from quarantine.

Travellers who already hold valid tickets and meet all other conditions for travel under the VTL will not be affected and may continue to enter Korea under the VTL.

South Korea joins Malaysia in suspending new VTL ticket sales during this period, meaning that both of Singapore’s reciprocal VTL partners have now responded in kind. 

South Korea suspends VTL until 21 January 2022

Here’s a summary of what’s going on:

  • If you purchase a ticket from Singapore to South Korea between 29 December 2021 0000 hours and 20 January 2022 2359 hours*, with entry into South Korea between 29 December 2021 000 hours and 20 January 2022 2359 hours, you will not be allowed to enter under the VTL arrangement
  • However, if your ticket from Singapore to South Korea was purchased before 29 December 2021, you can still enter into South Korea between 29 December 2021 000 hours and 20 January 2022 2359 hours under the VTL arrangement

*all times above refer to Seoul, GMT +9

In other words, if you bought your ticket to Seoul yesterday, you’re safe. It doesn’t matter what your travel date is to South Korea, you’ll be able to enter under VTL conditions. 

However, if you buy your ticket to Seoul from today onwards, you won’t be able to enter South Korea from 29 December 2021 to 20 January 2022 under the VTL arrangement, and will have to do a 10-day quarantine. 

Singapore Airlines has added a further clarification on its VTL landing page (in case you’re wondering why the difference in times, remember that Seoul is 1 hour ahead of Singapore):

The South Korean authorities have also announced that those with confirmed bookings purchased on or before 28 December 2021, 2300hrs SGT may enter South Korea quarantine free if they meet all the VTL requirements.

Following which, customers with new bookings for flights arriving into South Korea between 28 December 2021, 2301hrs (SGT) and 20 January 2022, 2300hrs (SGT), will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in South Korea. Customers who wish to make a new flight booking to South Korea during this period may only do so by contacting their local Singapore Airlines office.

The Singapore Airlines website will no longer sell tickets to Seoul for flights arriving between 28 December 2021 and 20 January 2022; if you wish to purchase tickets, you’ll need to contact the local Singapore Airlines office. 

Korean Air has issued a similar update on its website regarding the suspension of ticket sales. 

Click to enlarge

South Korea’s updated COVID-19 testing regime

Incheon Airport East testing centre

If you still plan to travel to South Korea, do take note of the updated COVID-19 testing regime that kicked in from 20 December 2021. 

Travellers arriving from Singapore will now have to:

  • Take pre-departure PCR tests within 48 hours of departure (previously: 72 hours)
  • Take self-administered ARTs on days 3 and 5

The day of entry is now considered as day 1 (it was previously considered as day 0). That means if you arrive on 21 December (day 1), the ARTs are required on 23 December (day 3) and 25 December (day 5).

If the ART result is negative, the traveller must take a photo of the ART result together with his/her passport’s bio-data page for records. There is no need to submit this to the authorities unless requested.

If the ART result is positive, the traveller must contact the public health centre immediately, and arrangements would be made for a confirmatory PCR test.

All other testing requirements remain the same, and travellers from Singapore can expect to do up to 13 COVID-19 tests, depending on the duration of their stay in South Korea. 

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
Location Remarks Price
🇸🇬 Singapore 48h before departure (PCR) From S$107
🇰🇷 South Korea
On arrival at Incheon (PCR) KRW 174,000
🇰🇷 South Korea Day 3 (ART) ~S$5
🇰🇷 South Korea Day 5 (ART) ~S$5
🇰🇷 South Korea Day 6/7 (PCR)
(if stay ≥ 8 days)
KRW 110,000
🇰🇷 South Korea 2 days before departure (ART/PCR) KRW 84,000
🇸🇬 Singapore On arrival at Changi (PCR) S$125
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 2 (ART) ~S$5
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 3 (Supervised ART) S$15
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 4 (ART) ~S$5
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 5 (ART) ~S$5
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 6 (ART) ~S$5
🇸🇬 Singapore Day 7 (Supervised ART) S$15

For full details, refer to the article below. 

South Korea VTL: Pre-departure testing window now 48 hours; up to 13 COVID-19 tests required


South Korea has suspended the sale of new VTL tickets for travel between 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. You can still buy a ticket for travel to Seoul during this period, but you’ll need to quarantine for 10 days.

The good news is that existing ticketholders will not be affected, and can proceed with their original plans. 

One can only hope that South Korea will soon start treating Omicron cases like any other COVID case, as Singapore recently decided to do. 

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

Similar Articles



Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi~ Do you happen to know if a ticket is purchased between 30 dec to 20 jan 22 for entry into ICN in February 2022, is this eligbile for VTL?

Thanks! 😀