Big news: No more SHN, testing or “14-day stranding” for recently-recovered vaccinated travellers to Singapore

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Fully-vaccinated individuals can return to Singapore in as little as 72 hours after a positive test result, under the eased regime for recovered travellers.

From 24 January 2022, Singapore will implement a major policy change that’s good news for fully-vaccinated travellers who have recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

Fully-vaccinated individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days will be exempt from all testing and SHN requirements, upon submission of documentary proof.

What this means, in simple terms is:

  • No pre-departure testing to travel to Singapore
  • No on-arrival or post-arrival testing in Singapore
  • No SHN, regardless of your travel history and whether or not you take a VTL flight

This will save you a good chunk of money on COVID-19 testing, as well as open up more travel destinations and return flight options.

In addition to this, Singapore will be allowing recently-infected individuals to return to Singapore in as little as 72 hours after their initial infection, provided they can produce a subsequent negative pre-departure test. This means the end of the dreaded “14-day stranding” that was putting a lot of people off travel.

Eased measures for recently-recovered travellers

Recently-recovered travellers will now have a clear path to return to Singapore

Here’s MOH’s summary of the revised measures for recently-recovered travellers, that take effect for arrivals from 24 January 2022 onwards. 

Facilitating Travel for Recently-Recovered Travellers

28.    With the growing number of cases worldwide, there is a rise in the number of travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19. Such travellers can continue to shed non-infectious viral fragments even after they have recovered, and therefore test positive for COVID-19 despite posing no infection risk. As fully vaccinated individuals who recently recovered from infection have a high level of immunity through their recent COVID-19 infection and vaccination, the likelihood of reinfection is low.

29.     Hence, travellers arriving after 23 January 2022, 2359 hours who are fully vaccinated and recently recovered (i.e. within 90 days of their last infection) will be exempted from all testing and SHN requirements if they are able to provide appropriate documentary proof. Non-fully vaccinated recently-recovered travellers will be exempted from pre-departure testing requirements, but will still be subjected to all other prevailing border measures. This will facilitate the safe return of recently-recovered residents who travel overseas. See Annex D for the list of documentation to be presented by such travellers at check-in and arrival immigration to qualify for this exemption.

Fully-vaccinated

Fully-vaccinated travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may present the following documents to excuse themselves from SHN and testing requirements:

  • a positive COVID-19 PCR or professionally-administered ART result dated between 7-90 days before date of departure to Singapore or
  • a discharge memo 

Either document must:

  • state the traveller’s name and at least one other personal identifier (e.g. date of birth, passport number)
  • state the date of infection or discharge date, which must be within 7-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore
  • be issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional

Note that you can present either a positive COVID-19 PCR or professionally-administered ART result or a discharge memo. In many countries it may be difficult to obtain the latter, but it doesn’t really matter since you can just show your positive pre-departure test certificate.

Non-vaccinated/partially-vaccinated

Non-vaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers (including children aged 12 and below) may present the following documents to excuse themselves from pre-departure testing requirements:

  • a positive COVID-19 PCR or professionally-administered ART result dated between 14-90 days before date of departure to Singapore or
  • a discharge memo

Either document must:

  • state the traveller’s name and at least one other personal identifier (e.g. date of birth, passport number)
  • state the date of infection or discharge date, which must be within 14-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore
  • be issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional

Note the difference in time frame. The date of infection or discharge date is a minimum of 7 days for fully-vaccinated individuals, versus 14 days for non-vaccinated or partially-vaccinated individuals. 

No more 14 day “stranding” overseas

Getting a positive pre-departure test result isn’t going to be the nightmare it used to be anymore

One thing that’s putting a lot of people off from travelling, even on the VTL, is the prospect of getting stranded for 14 days. 

That’s because of this advisory (i.e. rule) listed on the ICA’s website.

⚠  Defer travel if you:

  1. Have COVID-19 symptoms;
  2. Are diagnosed or suspected to have contracted COVID-19 in the last 14 days before departing for Singapore; or
  3. Had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient in the last 7 days before departing for Singapore. This includes the provision of care for a COVID-19 patient in a healthcare or family/social setting, staying in the same location as a COVID-19 patient, or had been in close (i.e. less than two meters) contact with a COVID-19 patient for more than 15 minutes.

However, this advisory will soon be updated as follows:

⚠  [For travellers entering Singapore after 23 Jan 2022, 2359hrs] Defer travel if you:

  1. Have COVID-19 symptoms;
  2. Are diagnosed or suspected to have contracted COVID-19* in the last 7 days (for fully vaccinated persons) or 14 days (for non-fully vaccinated persons, e.g. children aged 12 and below) before departing for Singapore; or
  3. Had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive patient in the last 7 days before departing for Singapore. This includes the provision of care for a COVID-19 patient in a healthcare or family/social setting, staying in the same location as a COVID-19 patient, or had been in close (i.e. less than two meters) contact with a COVID-19 patient for more than 15 minutes. [Not applicable for recovered travellers with proof of recovery]

* If you test positive for COVID-19 in the last 7 days (for fully vaccinated persons) or 14 days (for non-fully vaccinated persons, e.g. children aged 12 and below) before departing for Singapore, you are required to obtain a new negative COVID-19 PCR test or professionally-administered ART result more than 72 hours after the positive test in order to proceed with your travel.

Let’s break this down, because it’s a crucial distinction.

From 24 January 2022 onwards, a fully-vaccinated traveller who tests positive on his pre-departure test has two options. 

  1. He can wait 72 hours and take another professionally-administered ART or PCR test. If this is negative, he may fly back to Singapore, where he will be subject to the prevailing border measures (e.g SHN, on-arrival testing)
  2. He can wait 7 days and then return to Singapore, using his positive pre-departure test result to exempt himself from further testing or SHNs

Perhaps a couple of illustrations may be helpful.

Non-VTL Country

John is in Philippines, a Category III country. His pre-departure test is positive.

Option 1

  • He takes a second test 72 hours later and it comes back negative
  • John can now fly back to Singapore, where based on prevailing Category III rules he’ll be required to do a 10-day SHN on arrival, plus a COVID-19 PCR test before the end of the SHN

Option 2

  • He waits 7 days in the Philippines
  • John can now fly back to Singapore, where he will be exempt from any further pre-departure/ on-arrival/ post-arrival testing or SHN requirements

VTL Country

Jack is in Germany, a VTL country. His pre-departure test is positive.

Option 1

  • He takes a second test 72 hours later and it comes back negative
  • Jack can now fly back to Singapore. Assuming he takes a VTL flight, he’ll do an on-arrival PCR test, and follow the Day 2-7 self-swabbing regime 

Option 2

  • He waits 7 days in Germany
  • Jack can now fly back to Singapore on any flight he wishes, exempt from any further pre-departure/ on-arrival/ post-arrival or SHN requirements

All in all, this is a fantastic development. If you’re fully-vaccinated and your body can clear the viral load quickly, why should you have to stay overseas and incur additional expenses when you’re essentially safe?

Further implications for travellers

More choice of places to visit

Dark and light green places are open to fully-vaccinated travellers from Singapore, with no quarantine

According to Sherpa, there are 148 countries and territories that will accept fully-vaccinated Singaporeans without quarantine. 

Many of these are not VTL countries, but that won’t matter anymore for a fully-vaccinated, recently-recovered individual. He or she could enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel to Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, and South Africa, to name a few. 

It basically means that travel history and country categories are irrelevant for this group of people, at least where returning to Singapore is concerned (since there’s no SHN required). It also paves the way for fully-vaccinated, recently-recovered travellers from these countries to visit Singapore, which could be a huge fillip for business. 

More flights to choose from

If you want to avoid an SHN (and aren’t coming from a Category I country), you’ll need to enter Singapore on a VTL flight. But VTL capacity has been cut by 50%, and Saver award space was always tricky to come by on certain VTL routes. 

Fully-vaccinated, recently-recovered individuals are able to take whatever flight they wish into Singapore, since they’re exempt from SHNs anyway. 

Lower testing costs

Here’s a summary of the current testing regime required for VTL travellers to Singapore, effective 24 January 2022. 

🇸🇬 Testing Regime for VTL Travel to Singapore
(From 24 Jan 2022)
DayTestCost
Within 2 days before departure to SingaporeProfessional ART/PCR Varies
Day 1 (arrival in Singapore)Air VTL: PCR
Land VTL: ART
S$125 (PCR)
S$15 (ART)
Day 2Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 3Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 4Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 5Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 6Self-administered ART*~S$5
Day 7Self-administered ART*~S$5
*Only required if you intend to head out of home/hotel on that day

All these costs will not need to be incurred by a fully-vaccinated, recently-recovered traveller.

That’s a potential saving of S$155 on the Singapore tests alone, plus the cost of the overseas pre-departure test (which can cost upwards of S$100 in countries like Finland or parts of the USA- even for ARTs!).

Conclusion

Singapore is introducing eased measures for recently-infected travellers, with fully-vaccinated ones standing the most to gain. So long as it’s been at least seven days from your infection, you may return to Singapore from any country you wish, on any flight you wish- with no testing or SHN required.

Another excellent development is the removal of the prospect of a 14-day overseas stranding. If you’re able to wait it out overseas, come back after seven days and be exempt from testing and SHNs. If you need to come home ASAP, take a test after 72 hours, pray it’s negative, then return under prevailing rules (and enjoy testing and SHN exemptions from your next trip).

Don’t forget to catch up on today’s other big development: the simplification of the VTL testing regime for travellers from 24 January 2022. I’ve summarised all you need to know in the article below. 

Singapore simplifies VTL testing regime; removes supervised swabs

What do you make of Singapore’s new policy for recovered travellers?

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

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Happy Camper

this means I should get myself infected? 🤔😬

Adrian

Why not. Omicron infection offers the best immunity after that. Better than the damn vaxx

Marie

Yes
citizen or not !!!!

Michael

This is a ridiculous policy. What a way to encourage infection parties.

Ben

Good thing not everyone is as ridiculous as you.

Tom

I think it is worth noting that each respective country has their own isolation rules, hence if you had a positive result from a registered government testing facility, probably you are suppose to isolate for more than 72 hours etc. and cannot leave your location to take your flight back to Singapore

Becky Jones

Yes. This. ^^^^^

James Quek

Can travel to Europe and USA with “lesser anxiety” liao.

Ortloc

It seems like the government is rewarding those who have been infected and encouraging those who haven’t, to get infected.

Marie

Yes ?? And on this note be fair to all

Anony

Profits Above People

WLKW

1st thought was, wow suddenly there’s an incentive to get infected.

Nevertheless, encouraging for business travelling. Kept delaying travel to overseas countries for this quarter due to fear of being stranded for 14 days in an overseas country without my family with me.

Then again, like what someone has said, there are different prevailing covid measures in other countries that may not allow one to leave their accomodation at the 7th day point.

I see this as encouraging incoming biz travellers to come into sg or use sg as a stopover. Govt is super caring for sq and changi.

Stefan

Where can I get myself one of these fancy Covid infections? 😀

Marie

Stefan
to your point please let me know too 😃

jake

thanks for your analysis Aaron – was difficult to digest on ST! a bit curious, to “benefit” from a positive COVID result, does it now mean that one has to rush to a clinic for a proper diagnosis? because the MOH guideline specifically tells people, if you are feeling well, to stay home. that of course will not result in any paperwork that will prove you have recovered from COVID… am i the only one who is confused what i am supposed to do if/when i get COVID? below is what i found on this website https://www.covid.gov.sg/not-sure, after putting “i… Read more »

Zaos

If self test is positive, cheapest might be to go to a CTC and get a positive result? Or Raffles medical?

Chris

Don’t forget that non-Singaporeans and PRs still need approval to enter the country if they are on a non-VTL flight.

Last edited 8 months ago by Chris
Alan

I think Chris is referring to the Re Entry Permit (REP) requirement.

Becky Jones

Yes this.and the article makes it sound like tourism from everywhere is open for business. Which is incorrect bc they would still need to enter from a VTL and meet those requirements.

Marie

yip
so MOH SHOULD BE FAIR TO all

anon

So getting infected essentially allows a “free” pass? lol…

but jokes aside..

I cannot fly back on non SHN flight if I were negative all the way right?

Marie

Ya that seems like it
Perhaps the MOH CAN CONSIDER THE SAME WITH VACCINATED PEOPLE TOO!!!!

Chev

Question. If I was tested positive for coivd and received the recovery memo from MOH which only state the name, last 4 digit of nric and infected date will that suffice as a recovery memo to be exempted from the necessary procedure? Also will we face any issue with the memo when boarding our flight abroad?

Australia Open fan

Come Singapore soon Novax Djokovic. You supposedly got COVID in Dec 2021 🙂

Freddy

LMAO!

Djocovid

He will get deported shortly after when he’s photographed without masks at Sports Hub taking pics with kids.

John

Thats unfair as if we vaccinated and traveling to singapore we need to quarantine???? Eush so i need to get get the virus and be positive

Marie

The govt should really
SCRAP THE QUARANTINE RULE FOR ALL VACCINATED- POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE PEOPLE ANC OUT OF SINGAPORE

Marie

Definitely agree 😉

Marie

Agree
in and out traveling and fair treatment

SKL

If you have had covid before but don’t have proof of it, does a serology test certificate provide that proof of having previously had covid?

Yves

Problem is : was positive at sg arrival and MOH does not send us proof of infection (only a SMS) and do NOT indicate passport number or date of birth on the discharge memo… And refuse to do so when I asked them…
How can I get the proper document in order for me to be able to travel without the need to be tested at departure and on arrival?

Mark

“state the date of infection or discharge date, which must be within 7-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore” – apart from timezones; 7-90 is a range; not a “within”.
If I test today (Feb-14 in the US); can I depart to SIN on Feb-21 (US time), landing on the 22 or 23 SGT? Or does it mean I must depart on Feb-22?

Chev

Question. If I was tested positive for coivd and received the recovery memo from MOH which only state the name, last 4 digit of nric and infected date will that suffice as a recovery memo to be exempted from the necessary procedure? Also will we face any issue with the memo when boarding our flight abroad?

Elaine

any one has the answer to this? hehe i was wondering if the masked IC number on my recovery memo is sufficient as well? or have to go back to the clinic I visited and pay $ to get an unmasked version?

Recently Recovered

What about recently COVID recovered traveling TO usa? Will the HealthHub screenshot of positive ART from QTC/CTC be enough?

Problem is US CDC website states to show both a positive ART test result and letter from health provider or ministry. But MOH doesn’t provide recovery memo anymore.

Traveling by SIA btw.

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