If you’re heading to Singapore on the VTL, you’ll probably be familiar with the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement (PDT) necessary to board your flight.
The good news is that ever since 12 November 2021, Singapore has been accepting the cheaper, faster antigen rapid tests (ARTs) for PDT purposes.
Since the waiting time for ART results is usually less than 30 minutes, you can integrate it into your check-in process, showing up at the airport a little earlier, getting swabbed and checking in as soon as the certificate is out (well, assuming it’s negative). This means greater convenience for travellers, since there’s no need to set aside separate time during the trip just to settle PDT.
In this post, we’ll look at which airports offer on-location ART swabbing, and how much it costs.
Recap: Pre-departure test requirements
VTL travellers to Singapore must take a COVID-19 ART or PCR test within 2 days of departure.
Note that the window is 2 days, not 48 hours. If your flight departs at 11.30 p.m on 28 December 2021, for example, you can do take your test anytime from 12.00 a.m on 26 December 2021 onwards.
|✈️ What about connecting flights?|
|For passengers who are taking a connecting flight to Singapore, the 2 days will be counted from the scheduled departure of his flight from his first embarkation point of his journey to Singapore. For example, if the passenger’s flight itinerary is LAX-NRT-SIN, the COVID-19 test must be taken within 2 days before the scheduled departure of his flight from LAX.|
As per the ICA, COVID-19 test certificates must contain the following information:
Travellers should ask for a copy of their negative test result as it will be considered by the airline and immigration officer as proof that the traveller has been tested for COVID-19. The documentary proof should:
A sample antigen test certificate is shown below. Notice how it has information like the name, date of birth, passport number, date of test, and name of the testing facility.
Despite the wording about self-swabs not being allowed, it’s been confirmed by multiple sources that CLEA supervised self-swabs are accepted for VTL travel from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (see table below).
In my experience, you don’t need a physical copy of the results certificate when travelling to Singapore. However, if you’re transiting through Singapore to other destinations, it’s best to get a physical copy just in case.
Which airports offer antigen testing?
Here’s my best effort at compiling a list of ART providers at various airports. Do note that certain airports may have multiple testing options, in which case I’ve taken the cheapest for reference.
If you’re aware of any on-airport providers that are cheaper, do sound out below.
|⚕️ On-Airport Rapid Antigen Test Prices|
|🇦🇺 Australia||Melbourne|| A$59|
|🇰🇭 Cambodia||Phnom Penh||Not available|
|Siem Reap||Not available|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||Copenhagen||DKK 199|
|🇫🇯 Fiji||Nadi||Not available|
|🇮🇳 India||Chennai||Not available|
|🇲🇾 Malaysia||Use CLEA||RM 15|
Plus the cost of an ART self-test kit
(most resorts will arrange for testing on-site)
|🇰🇷 South Korea||Seoul||84,000 KRW|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||Colombo||Not available|
|🇸🇪 Sweden||Stockholm||SEK 495|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||Zurich||CHF 55|
|🇹🇭 Thailand||Bangkok||THB 350|
|🇹🇷 Turkey||Istanbul||TRY 175 |
|🇺🇸 USA||Houston||Not available|
|New York JFK||US$179|
|San Francisco||Not available|
|^Use code BAOFFER for 4% off, valid for all passengers|
*This price seems a little too good to be true, so exercise caution (for what it’s worth, the provider is listed on the official Mumbai Airport website).
Most locations will provide results within 30 minutes. If you’re travelling during peak periods (typically morning and evening departures), you should budget a bit more time for queueing. You will not be able to receive your boarding pass until the test certificate is presented at the check-in desk.
Travellers to Singapore can use ART results for the purposes of PDT, which reduces cost and adds convenience to the travel process.
Do note that airport testing, while convenient, may not necessarily be the cheapest option. If your primary concern is saving money rather than time, you may be able to find cheaper alternatives downtown.