Singapore to launch VTLs with Hong Kong, Israel, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Singapore's VTL expansion gets going again, with six more partners to be added within the next month and quotas restored.

As Omicron became a foremost concern in December 2021, Singapore decided to postpone its upcoming VTLs with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while also temporarily pausing the expansion of the VTL scheme. New VTL ticket sales were suspended, and VTL capacity was cut by 50%. 

But Omicron has since shown itself to be milder and more manageable, giving the authorities the confidence to resume border reopening. 

Today comes the news that Singapore will proceed with VTLs with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and, wait for it, Hong Kong (remember them?) from 25 February 2022. Israel and the Philippines will follow on 4 March 2022. 

VTL quotas will also be restored with immediate effect, and progressively increased from 5,000 to 15,000 by 4 March 2022. 

New VTL countries

Hong Kong joins the VTL, albeit a one-way opening

From 25 February 2022, Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will join the VTL scheme, followed by Israel and the Philippines on 4 March 2022. This brings the total number of VTL agreements to 30.

🌎 VTL Agreements
Current VTLs
  • Australia
  • Brunei*
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia*
  • Italy*
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Netherlands
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
From 25 Feb 2022
  • Hong Kong*
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • UAE
From 4 March 2022
  • Israel
  • Philippines
*Brunei, Hong Kong and Indonesia do not currently allow Singapore residents to enter without quarantine. Italy does not admit leisure travellers from Singapore.

Vaccinated Travel Pass applications will open at:

  • 10 a.m on 22 February 2022, for Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
  • 10 a.m on 1 March 2022, for Israel and the Philippines

Here’s the process for VTL travel to Singapore, which applies until 21 February 2022.

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
[Until 21 Feb 2022]
All
  • 14-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take PCR/LAMP test on arrival and self-isolate until negative result is received*
  • Take self-administered ART swabs on Days 2-7 if leaving accommodation*
Long-term pass & short-term visitors
Short-term visitors
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller

From 22 February 2022:

  • VTL (and Category I) travellers will do a supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival, instead of a PCR test at Changi Airport
  • No more Day 2-7 self-swab ARTs are required
  • The relevant travel history period will be shortened from 14 days to 7 days
  • Long-term passholders will no longer need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)

I’ve covered the changes in more detail in this post.

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
[From 22 Feb 2022]
All
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received
Short-term visitors & Work permit holders

VTL flights

Singapore Airlines will be operating the following VTL services to support the new VTLs. There is currently no non-stop flight from Israel to Singapore, and Qatar Airways is the only carrier connecting Qatar and Singapore. 

Cebu

Scoot currently operates four-times weekly services between Singapore and Cebu. From 4
March, TR385 will operate as the designated VTL flight from Cebu to Singapore with an
increase to five-times weekly services from 8 March.

These services will be operated on the Airbus A321neo aircraft.

Clark

Scoot currently operates daily services between Singapore and Clark. From 4 March,
TR387 will be designated as a VTL flight from Clark to Singapore.

These services will be operated on the Airbus A320 aircraft.

Davao

Scoot currently operates thrice-weekly services between Singapore and Davao. From 4
March, TR361 will be designated as a VTL flight from Davao to Singapore.

These services will be operated on the Airbus A321neo aircraft.

Dubai

SIA currently operates daily services between Singapore and Dubai. From 24 February, SQ495 will operate as the designated VTL flight from Dubai to Singapore.

These services will be operated on the Airbus A350-900 medium haul aircraft.

Hong Kong

SIA currently operates twice-daily services between Singapore and Hong Kong. From 25
February, SQ883 and SQ895 will operate as designated VTL flights from Hong Kong to
Singapore.

SIA services will be operated on the Airbus A350-900 or the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, depending on flight schedule.

Scoot currently operates daily flights between Singapore and Hong Kong. From 25
February, TR981 will be designated as a VTL flight from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Scoot services will be operated on the Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Jeddah

Scoot currently operates thrice-weekly services between Singapore and Jeddah. From 24 February, TR9597 be designated as a VTL flight from Jeddah to Singapore.

These services will be operated on the Boeing 787-8 aircraft

Manila

SIA currently operates 24-time weekly services between Singapore and Manila. From 4
March, all flights SQ915, SQ917, SQ919 and SQ921 – from Manila to Singapore will be
designated as VTL flights.

From 27 March, this service will increase to 28 times weekly between the two cities.

All services will be operated on the Airbus A350-900 medium haul aircraft.

Pre-departure testing

Here’s a summary of the pre-departure testing (PDT) requirements for the four countries joining the VTL. 

⚕️ PDT for Singapore Residents
 Vax.Unvax. Child Under 12
🇭🇰 Hong KongPCR (48h)PCR (48h)
🇮🇱 IsraelART (24h)
PCR (72h)
ART (24h)
PCR (72h)
🇶🇦 QatarPCR (48h)
N/A
🇵🇭 PhilippinesPCR (48h)
PCR (48h)
Under 4 exempt
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaART/ PCR (48h)ART/ PCR (48h)
Under 8 exempt
🇦🇪 UAE PCR (72h)
PCR (72h)
Under 12 exempt

Since Hong Kong is effectively (or perhaps, ineffectively) pursuing a COVID zero strategy, the arrangement will be one-way for now. Travellers from Singapore will still be required to do a 14 day quarantine in Hong Kong. 

The Philippines reopened to international tourists from 157 countries (including Singapore) on 10 February 2021, requiring fully vaccinated travellers to take a PCR test within 48 hours of departure and purchase travel insurance with at least US$35,000 of coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses. No on-arrival testing is required

For a detailed overview of pre-departure testing, including discounts, home swabbing and express options, refer to the article below. 

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

Conclusion

Singapore will be adding six new VTL partners to the mix, which means that fully vaccinated travellers from 30 different countries can enter Singapore without quarantine (the reverse applies to most, but not all countries!).

Other big announcements today include the removal of on-arrival PCR tests for certain passengers in favor of supervised ARTs within 24 hours of arrival. I’ll covered those in the article below, so do have a read.

Major VTL changes: Supervised ARTs to replace PCR tests; VTP not required for long-term passholders

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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Ortloc

What’s the difference in the testing/documentation regime between a category 1 and VTL country?

Paul

Am I missing something? What’s the point of having HK on a VTL, when they are already a Cat I territory to which we have opened our border completely and HK travellers can already enter sans quarantine?

Ryan

They aren’t Cat 1 anymore.

Paul

Oops, thanks. I must have missed seeing the memo about HK’s downgrade from Cat 1…

Freddy

Under Cat I, anyone can come. Under VTL, only vaccinated travelers can.

James Quek

Any chance of VTL with Japan and NZ within 2nd half of 2022?

JW19

Better hope its a reciprocating one, whats the point of a one way non-mutually beneficial one.

Ian End

You’ll have to ask Japan and NZ. Right now they’re doing a hermit crab impression.

Edwin

Amy idea if Emirates is planning for a VTL flight from Dubai too?

Alan

Qatar requires a PDT conducted within 72 hours of arrival into Qatar. The scheduled flight time to Doha on QR945 is 8 hours 5 minutes.

https://covid19.moph.gov.qa/EN/travel-and-return-policy/Pages/default.aspx

Alan

Only Qatari citizens and residents entering from a Green List country are exempted from PDT. My SC friend just landed in Doha QR945 today for work.

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan
Alan

https://covid19.moph.gov.qa/EN/travel-and-return-policy/Pages/default.aspx

With effect from 7pm, Feb 28, 2022, Qatari time:

“Must submit a negative pre-travel PCR lab result with validity of 48 hours from depa​rture time at the country of origin.”

UAE (DXB/AUH) has also scrapped PDT with effect from today (26 Feb 2022).

Polo

Obviously super excited. Considering doing a weekend in Phuket. I’m seeing different things when it comes to hotels. Do we need to stay fthe 3 night in the first SHA+ hotel? Or only the first and then we’re free to stay wherever we want?

(Apologies if that has been covered already)

Polo

Thanks!

vtl

Anyone planning to go to PH? Is it a good time to go in March/April?

Ron

By recognizing Israel as a VTL country without having direct VTL flights to Singapore – Does it mean I can fly to another VTL country on a non VTL flight (for example, TLV-FRA) and then fly on a VTL flight from Frankfurt to Singapore?

Speedbird

The one-way VTL with HK is ludicrous. Stick to the Air Travel Pass (ATP), especially when Macao, Mainland China, and Taiwan are given ATPs. Stop singling out HK and treating it differently, when it is part of China. Unless you give China a VTL, that is.

Last edited 1 year ago by Speedbird

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