Cheapest pre-departure COVID-19 ART and PCR tests in Singapore

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Here's the cheapest places to do a pre-departure COVID-19 ART or PCR test, plus express and home swabbing options.

If you’re travelling overseas in the near future, you’re likely to have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test (PDT).

The good news is that whether you’re looking at an ART or PCR, testing prices in Singapore have been falling every month. In fact, the price of a pre-departure test has now dropped below the S$100 mark- long may the trend continue!

😷 Summary: Cheapest Pre-Departure Tests
(Last updated: 12-Jan-22)

In this post, we’ll look at your options including at-home swabbing, express tests, saliva tests, and more.

⚕️ Cheapest Pre-Departure Tests

Which countries require a pre-departure COVID-19 test?

🌎 COVID-19 Travel Restrictions by Country
The following resources summarise COVID-19 travel restrictions by country, including who can enter, vaccination and testing requirements.
Timatic Sherpa

Here’s a summary of the VTL countries that require a pre-departure test for travellers from Singapore.

⚕️ PDT for Singapore Residents
  Vax. Unvax. Child Under 12^
🇦🇺 Australia
ART/PCR1
ART/PCR1
(under 5 exempt)
🇰🇭 Cambodia PCR2 PCR2
🇨🇦 Canada PCR3
PCR3
(under 5 exempt)
🇩🇰 Denmark ART/PCR3a N/A
🇫🇯 Fiji PCR4 N/A
🇫🇮 Finland  ART/PCR4a N/A
🇫🇷 France ART/PCR5 N/A
🇩🇪 Germany N/A N/A
🇮🇳 India PCR6
PCR6
(under 5 exempt)
🇮🇩 Indonesia PCR7 PCR7
🇮🇹 Italy ART/PCR8
ART/PCR8
(under 6 exempt)
🇲🇾 Malaysia  ART/PCR9 PCR9
(under 2 exempt)
🇲🇻 Maldives PCR10 PCR10
(under 1 exempt)
🇳🇱 Netherlands ART/PCR10a N/A
🇶🇦 Qatar PCR11 N/A
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia PCR12 PCR12
(under 9 exempt)
🇰🇷 South Korea PCR13 N/A
(Only children aged 5 and below allowed entry)
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka PCR14 PCR14
(under 2 exempt)
🇸🇪 Sweden N/A N/A
🇪🇸 Spain N/A N/A
🇨🇭 Switzerland N/A N/A
🇹🇭 Thailand PCR15 PCR15
(under 6 exempt)
🇹🇷 Turkey N/A N/A
🇦🇪 UAE PCR16 N/A
🇬🇧 United Kingdom N/A N/A
🇺🇸 United States ART/PCR17
ART/PCR17
(under 2 exempt)
^Accompanied by vaccinated parents
1. Within 24h/3 days of departure to Australia
2. Within 72h of entry into Cambodia

3. Within 72h of departure of last direct flight to Canada
3a. Within 48h/72h of entry into Denmark
4. Within 3 days of departure to Fiji
4a. Within 48h of entry into Finland
5. Within 48h of departure to France
6. Within 72h of departure to India
7. Within 72h of departure to Indonesia

8. Within 24h/72h (ART/PCR) of entry into Italy
9. Within 2 days of departure to Malaysia. ART for VTL land only
10. Within 96h of departure to Maldives
10a. Within 24h/48h (ART/PCR) of departure to Netherlands
11. Within 72h of entry into Qatar
12. Within 72h of departure to Saudi Arabia

13. Within 48h of departure to South Korea
14. Within 72h of departure to Sri Lanka
15. Within 72h of departure to Thailand
16. Within 72h of departure to UAE

17. Within 1 day of departure date to USA

Testing Windows

Testing windows have been summarised in the table above, but pay particular attention to:

  • Whether a shorter time frame applies if you wish to do an ART instead of PCR
  • Whether the window is in relation to your time of departure or your time of arrival in the overseas country
  • Whether the window is described in days or hours- there is a difference!
    • Example: The USA requires pre-departure tests to be taken within 1 day of departure. If you’re flying at 11 p.m on 20 December, for example, you can take your test anytime from 12 a.m on 19 December onwards. This means you could have as much as 48 hours to do your test in some cases

Testing windows shouldn’t be that much of a concern for those taking ART, as given the quick turnaround time you can do it the day before you fly. You could even do it at Changi Airport just before check-in, thanks to the Raffles Medical Clinic at Terminal 3. Alternatively, you could do it from the comfort of your home, thanks to DA Tele-ART. 

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

Travelers can approach any MOH approved clinic directly to book their test. For those with children aged 12 and below, do check whether the clinic is able to provide testing (it’s mentioned in the list). 

Approved COVID-19 Test Providers
Click the link for “clinics approved to conduct PCR Pre-Departure Tests”. These clinics offer results in the HealthCerts.oa format, which is needed for notarisation.

Clinic ART/PCR Tests

Here’s an idea of how much you can expect to pay at the major medical chains. Do note that prices may differ by clinic location. 

⚕️ COVID-19 Test Prices
Chain ART ↑ PCR PCR(S)
SwabStation S$38 S$98 S$168
Kingsway Medical S$38 S$98 S$168
InteMedical S$37 S$105 S$160
PDT Swab SG S$35 S$107 N/A
SATA Comm Health
S$28 S$107 S$157
Raffles Medical
Promo code
S$27
S$115 S$155
SIARMGART SIARMGPCR SIARMGPKG
LifePlus Medical S$27 S$118 S$155
Fusion Medical N/A S$118 S$161
OneCare Medical S$37 S$123 S$171
Q&M Medical S$30 S$125 S$155
Heartland Health
S$30 S$125 S$160
AcuMed Medical
S$30 S$127 S$172
Minmed S$35 S$128 S$178
DA Clinic S$32 S$107 S$155
Parkway Shenton S$38 S$118 S$166
Northeast Medical S$21 S$139 S$193
My Family Clinic
S$38 S$135 S$180
Healthway Medical
S$40 S$138 S$180
Fullerton Health S$35 S$160 S$214
ProHealth Medical S$54 S$179 S$200
Pinnacle Family Clinic S$48 S$185 S$270
Prices are subject to change; call clinics for latest information.
PCR (S)= PCR + Serology test

The promised turnaround time for most clinics is 24-48 hours, though in my experience it’s much closer to 24 hours.

Do note that if you’re travelling to mainland China, you will also require a serology test, indicated above by the PCR (S) column. 

Saliva PCR Tests

Saliva PCR testing was recently made available in Singapore, for those who find nasal swabs too invasive. Testing can be done at any of Lucence’s 18 medical partners.

⚕️ COVID-19 Test Prices
Chain ↑ Saliva PCR
Parkway Shenton S$138
Dedicare Medical
S$140
Chang Clinic S$155
My-Doc S$155
Gainhealth S$155
IMC S$165
Gleneagles Hospital S$200

Saliva PCR testing is currently accepted for travel to:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • UK
  • USA

For other countries, do contact the respective authorities for clarification.

At-Home ART/PCR Tests

For those seeking additional convenience, at-home swabbing is also available. This is understandably less cost-effective for a single individual, but if you’re travelling as a family, the price may fall from the second person onwards.

At-Home PCR Testing
Provider 1 Pax Additional Pax
DA Clinic S$128 S$90
BCH-ART S$138 S$138
pdtswab.sg S$138 S$138
SwabStation S$168 S$168
minmed S$178 S$128
Speeddoc S$180
(book via app)
S$171
Homage S$180 S$100
Healthway Medical S$188 S$128
Jaga-Me S$209 S$103

If you’re travelling as a couple, DA offers 2 pax for S$218, which you can stack with the code MC20 to pay just S$198 nett!

If you only need an ART result, DA is running a pilot programme with MOH that allows travellers to do supervised ART swabs at home, over video call. The consultation fee is S$12.84 plus the cost of a HSA-approved ART kit (typically S$5), and you’ll get your results within four hours. 

DA Tele-ART: Do your pre-departure and VTL Day 3 & 7 ART testing from home

Express PCR Tests

Express service is available with the following providers:

Express PCR Testing
Provider Price Location Remarks
PDT Swab SG
S$214 Clinic 12 hours
S$268 Home
BCH-ART S$238 Home 6-8 hours
Speeddoc S$244 Clinic 8-12 hours
Parkway Shenton S$268 Home 6 hours
SwabStation S$288  Clinic 8 hours
Kingsway Medical S$288  Clinic  8 hours 
IMC S$300  Clinic  4-6 hours 
Fullerton Health  S$308  Clinic 6 hours 
Jaga-Me  S$316  Home 6 hours 
Osler Health S$320 Clinic 8 hours
InteMedical S$321 Clinic 6 hours
Minmed S$328 Clinic 6-8 hours

Notarising PDT results

Travellers are required to digitally authenticate and notarise their test certificate via the Notarise website prior to travel.

However, in some cases the clinic or lab issuing your certificate may already have done it for you. This was the case for my PDT from Kingsway Medical, which was issued by Accredify.

Swab results issued by Accredify are automatically notarised. The notarised copy along with its QR code has been appended to your digital pre-departure memo. There are no further actions required from you.

You can check if the endorsement has been done by scanning the online verification QR code, which should bring you to Verify. Otherwise, it’s a simple matter of uploading the HealthCerts.oa file provided by the clinic for verification. 

The digitally authenticated and endorsed PDT HealthCert and QR code will be emailed to you within 15 minutes. If you presented your NRIC at the medical facility, the QR code will also be automatically uploaded onto your SingPass app.

There is no need to notarise your ART result, and in any case, not all ART results can be notarised. If you’re travelling on the land VTL to Malaysia, your ART result may be rejected by the MySafeTravel portal because it’s not notarised- while this is annoying, you can still travel with a hard/softcopy of your results. 

For more information, refer to this post.

Malaysia VTL: Why your ART results are rejected by the MySafeTravel portal (and what to do)

If you really want a notarised ART result, the following clinics provide it:

You can read the full set of FAQs regarding the notarisation process here.

What tests can’t be used for travel?

LHS: On-arrival PCR test results from Changi Airport | RHS: Pre-departure test results from Kingsway Medical

As a general guide, pre-departure test results must state the lab name and the fact that a negative result was received, and feature your: 

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number

These requirements mean that the on-arrival PCR test you do at Changi Airport and the S$15 ART tests done at CTCs/QTCs cannot be used for pre-departure purposes. 

What card should you use for payment?

Swabs at private clinics should code as MCC 8011: Doctors or Physicians. So long as contactless payments are accepted, you can use the cards below to maximise the miles you earn. 

Card Earn Rate Remarks
UOB Pref. Plat Visa
Apply
4.0 mpd Max S$1,110 per c. month, must use mobile payments
Review
UOB Visa Signature 
Apply
4.0 mpd S$1K-2K per s. month on contactless/ petrol
C. Month= Calendar Month, S. Month= Statement Month

Remember, UOB cards exclude rewards for MCC 8062: Hospitals, so if your swab takes place there you may not earn miles. 

If you’re prepaying for your swab online, then you can use the following cards. 

Card Earn Rate Remarks
Citi Rewards
Apply
4.0 mpd Max S$1K per s. month, excludes travel
Review
DBS WWMC
Apply
4.0 mpd Max S$2K per c. month
Review
C. Month= Calendar Month, S. Month= Statement Month

Do note that just because your credit card details are captured online doesn’t mean the transaction itself is processed online. The general rule is that if you receive an OTP, it’s definitely an online transaction. However, the absence of an OTP in itself does not mean an offline transaction. 

Conclusion

The cost of pre-departure COVID-19 PCR testing has fallen dramatically since I wrote this article last year, with the cheapest tests starting at just S$98. There’s also various options available for in-home and express testing, providing additional flexibility. 

If you’re looking to do a pre-departure COVID-19 ART swab, you can find options starting from S$21.40, or do a home-based Tele-ART for less than S$18.

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

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ernie eong

i am getting one done in the geylang area on 30Jan and am hoping to board a flight singapore – yangon Myanmar 02 Feb but am waiting for the visa issuers to com eback on line so i can get to my next destinationi am getting my covid test done at AnTeh dispensary SG$168all up so fingers crossed i have had almost 12 covid tests done from Auckland to now so it is pianless to do.does anyone know much of flights into yangon as thet’re all stopped until 31 Jan ?

Deb

OCBC Cards has discount as well – $150 for PCR or $190 for PCR + serology if you purchase on the HealthPass by OCBC app for tests at Healthway medical clinic. Info on their website: https://www.healthpassbyocbc.sg/

LionDen

What’s the best credit card to use to earn the most miles from PCR test? Are miles cards excluded from earning points since these are clinics/hospital.

Adam

There’s a Milelion article on this — please do a search.

Drakka66

I have the same question. If someone has the link to. Milelion’s article on what card to use for PCR and ART tests, pls post link here. Tried to search for it but couldn’t find. Came back from a VTL flight this morning and had to pay $500 (for family of 4) for the Day 1 test. First instinct was to take out UOB PPV, since I have been using Amaze paired with other cards. Then, remembered that Healthcare is excluded category and I was suddenly at a loss on what card to use… didn’t bring the All-purposes cash back… Read more »

TanKH

Do you guys reckon vaccinated people still need to be tested? Is this the same as the antigen rapid test?

Marcus Chong

I really hope we don’t have to do such tests when you are vaccinated.

TM

Just found out that the safra discount at raffles medical doesn’t apply for covid testing (as of 26 Jan).

TM

Ah shucks, forgot to do so. They were quite insistent that the discount applies only to normal GP consultation though

Doris

Acumed prices have dropped to $157 (before GST)

Khin

I found one clinic at Geylang Bahru MRT Station that did my worker’s predeparture covid swab for $148 flat. Went at 2pm, I got test results memo at 10pm. Would recommend people to go there

asprino

$160 at raffles and acumed if you hold a CX tix

Lila

It might be useful to add Osler Health to this list also. They are the most popular option in the expat community and there are lots of travelers there so it would be a useful reference. It is 60 dollars for an ART test there.

ANG

Hi Aaron, would you know if the 72/48 hours starts from the time of the report, or the time the swab was taken? Because for the 48 hours requirement, it can get tight at times. Thanks!

Raghuram

Do I need to do ART if I’m flying to Spain. But layover at Milan. Not exiting plane. Taking Singapore Airlines

Thomas

Not very sure myself, please help

sebastian

I am planning to travel to Italy end Oct. wondering i am right with the revised procedure and glad to hearing yr comments.
1. do a PCR 72 hrs before departure as is a requirement by Singapore government though italy accept both PCR/ART,
2. as i will travel on a VTL flight by SQ, there will be no need for me to do any test in italy prior to departure for singapore,
3. upon arrival into SIngapore, need to do a PCR test .
thanks

PYn

1. I don’t think you need to take a PCR 72h before, just a ART test.
2. You need to take PCR test in Italy before 48/72h boarding.
3. Yes, you need to still take the PCR test in SG.
Correct me if I am wrong?

Jin

I am planning to fly from Singapore to Frankfurt then to Rome then back to Singapore. Based on your article, I do not have to do PDT on arrival at Frankfurt ya? But I have to do PDT on both arrivals to Rome and Singapore?

Reeve

Can pre-departure ART (instead of PCR) tests be notarized?

Karen Wong

Italy accept ART Test – but is only for 24 hrs validity?

Angelica Wu

I saw the cheapest clinic PDT test on pdtswab.sg at 107 and they do a home swab service at 138. I saw that they are under Q&M, my boyfriend booked for the home swab service for his business trip to Germany , booking was an ease and we did not have to notarise our health cert because they have done it for us. highly recommended.

Ramesh

I saw that on their website too, will be trying to book them for my trip to Malaysia. thank you

kyh

how long do they take to release the results?

Ken

I flew to Zurich earlier this month as saw on the Singapore Airline website that flights to Switzerland accepts the PDT ART but when I called the embassy they say that they accept professionally administered ART but 24 hours prior on arrival to Switzerland which is tight on the time, so look into PDT PCR with pdtswab.sg, they were very professional and very helpful. I opted for their home swab service, The price difference makes it worth it rather than queuing up at the clinic.

Enil Esav

ART at Q&M Medical Group is $30 instead of the $25 listed above.

http://www.qandmmedical.com.sg/COVID-19-Testing

Goh SH

Hi saw the Straits Times . is there any cheaper option for saliva PCR testing for travel? Want this for my kids, they are afraid of swabs. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/saliva-testing-approved-in-singapore-for-covid-19-pre-departure-tests-of-travellers

SKS

What about the $15 ART test at QTC/CTCs? Can they be used for PDT?

Jason

Anyone actually tried and got rejected? I’d imagine shouldn’t be a problem if the results screen from MOH is printed out with QR code

Will

I booked at QTC at Funan on Dec 17 for a Dec 18 flight to US (PDT window is one day prior). Got there and was told it’s not valid for PDT because they only send you SMS, which does not have identifying info like passport or birthdate. Their tests are for pre-event and post-VTL. I had to scramble to find a clinic that would let me come in right away for an Express PCR. Not a fun morning.

Yogi

Hi ART test done last night ( 19th) for USA travel today at Raffles Medical in Changi Airport. They dont give anything other than a piece of paper stating the test is negative and also a sms which take you to a SG gove site confirming its negative. No .oa file to upload to Notarise and Verify doesnt work. Rang raffles and they said thats all they do. Hope thats enough to get on the flight.

Salmon Lee

Confirming the same issue, with my ART test unable to be notarised as there was no .oa file to upload. The sms leads to the MOH certificate with a QR code, with passport number stated. I assume that is OK for boarding.

But when you reach your destination, will that country’s passport control / customs accept that document? Anybody knows?

Salmon Lee

Ok, I just went through check in, using my Health Hub to show vaccination status, and the QR code generated by the SMS after my ART test to prove test result. Am sitting at the lounge now with a glass of champagne, so I suppose I got it all right.

ART

Based on your list, shouldn’t the cheapest pre-departure ART test be Northeast Medical at $20?

Ortloc

Their website says “Cost of non-subsidized ART: $20 (excluding GST and consult charges)”. I hope $21.40 is the full and final cost and the “consult charges” are not tagged on.

Teng

Hey, Finland requires pre-departure testing not older than 48 hours from 21 Dec.

JLo

There is a multi pax discount for home-based PCR with DA. I just paid $218 for 2 pax ($109/pax). Pretty good deal

Carl

Think Denmark requires PDT too, not sure if I’m correct ?

Anonymous

We cancelled our appointment with Pdtswab as they were very unresponsive. Although it has been more than three weeks since our cancellation and even after numerous chasers, they have yet to refund our fees which were paid in advance. It is not a pleasant experience.

Anonymous

Update: We continued to chase them through multiple platforms but did not receive any response. We have also heard of experiences whereby Pdtswab had errors in the PCR certificate resulting in much anxiety at the airport. At this stage, we do not think that we would be able to get our money back and do not think it’s worth our time to continue pursuing our claims. Would advise all to avoid them.

Lastly, thank you Milelion for all the help and guidance you have provided to us readers! Truly grateful.

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