Singapore scraps COVID-19 test requirement for transit passengers through Changi Airport

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From 22 February, no more COVID-19 testing and no more Transit Holding Area for transit passengers through Changi Airport.

Singapore will be embarking on a major easing of its border control measures from 22 February 2022, as the country powers ahead with reopening after COVID. 

🛂 Singapore’s eased border measures
[From 22 February 2022]
  • Supervised ARTs replace on-arrival PCR tests for Category I and VTL travellers
  • No more Day 2-7 testing for VTL travellers
  • Maximum SHN duration cut to 7 days; no more mandatory hotel quarantine
  • VTP or entry approval no longer required for fully vaccinated LTP holders (except work permit holders)
  • Relevant travel history period shortened to 7 days
  • No more COVID-19 testing requirement for transit passengers; freedom of movement in transit area

In line with this, Changi Airport will also be removing its pre-departure test requirement for transit passengers through Singapore. 

 In tandem with the other adjustments to travel measures, CAAS will also be removing the pre-departure test requirements for all passengers transferring or transiting through Singapore. This will help reduce cost, improve convenience and enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a transfer/transit hub.

The changes will apply to all flights arriving in Singapore from 21 February 2022, 2359 hours (Singapore Time), regardless whether the flight is a designated VTL flight.

-CAAS

Transit passengers will also be able to access all facilities in the transit area once again, a shift away from the current Transit Holding Area model adopted for high-risk countries. 

Singapore Changi Airport removes COVID-19 test requirement for transit passengers

Transit hall, Changi Terminal 3

Currently, transit passengers through Changi must take a COVID-19 ART or PCR test, depending on their 14-day travel history:

CategoryAcceptable TestsTiming
Category I, II and IIIProfessional ART or PCR2 days before departure
Category IVPCR
List of country categorisations 

Travellers aged 2 or below in the current calendar year are exempt, as are those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 at least 7 days (vaccinated; 14 days for unvaccinated) before their departure to Singapore. 

Tests must be done within a 2 day window before departure for Singapore. For example, a traveller departing for Singapore on 3 December 2021 should take a pre-departure COVID-19 test from 1 December 2021 onwards. 

Obviously, the strictest of all requirements apply. If a passenger is flying from Australia (Category II) to Singapore to Thailand, for example, he will need to carry a PCR test result because Thailand requires it (notwithstanding the fact Singapore only requires an ART). Likewise, if a passenger is flying from Australia (Category II) to Singapore to Germany, he will need to carry an ART result because Singapore requires it (notwithstanding the fact Germany has no testing requirement).

From 22 February 2022, the COVID-19 test requirement for transit passengers will be scrapped altogether. Passengers flying through Changi Airport do not need to carry a test result, unless of course their final destination requires it. 

In other words, transit through Changi will have no bearing at all on the testing requirements for your trip. 

Full access to facilities for all transit passengers

Singapore Airlines new SilverKris Lounge at Changi Terminal 3

The scrapping of the COVID-19 test requirement isn’t the only passenger-friendly move that Changi will be making.

From 22 February 2022, all transit passengers regardless of travel history will once again be free to visit the facilities in the transit area, be it shopping, dining or airline lounges.

Transit Holding Area at Changi Airport

This is a welcome change from the current arrangement, which sees travellers from Category IV countries, plus Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK confined to a Transit Holding Area, hermetically sealed off from the rest of the airport. I’ve never experienced it personally, but I can tell you it’s not the most fun place to spend a long layover. 

This change is happening because Singapore will be combining Category II, III and IV into one General Travel category and applying the same rules throughout for arriving passengers. It would make little sense if differentiated measures were applied on one side of the airport and not the other. As per a statement from Changi Airport

All connecting passengers, except for those from countries/regions in the Restricted Category as classified by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, will not need to remain within the Transit Holding Area from 2359 hours on 21 February 2022 (Singapore Time). There are no countries/regions currently in the Restricted Category. 

Conclusion

Singapore Changi Airport will no longer require transit passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test from 22 February 2022, and will be permitting them to make full use of transit facilities as before. 

Qantas recently decided to bypass Singapore on its Kangaroo route between the UK and Australia, in no small part due to the COVID testing requirement for transit passengers. Hopefully this is enough to make them change their minds, and perhaps the Qantas First Lounge at Changi can finally reopen?

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

The raft of senseless rules and their constant rejigging just reaffirms the belief that even after 2 years, this government is running around like a headless chicken.

Tom

Better late than never I suppose…..but Singapore still way behind other countries with this. Missed out on a lot of my transit for Q1 travel this year already. How disappointing.

Abc

Is SG still requiring transits thru SG to be approved? I remember there was a list of countries you could transit from/to, as well as a list of airlines permitted to offer transits. If it’s still in practice, need to abolish that.

Need to also exempt those VTL arrivals in SG from the on arrival ART test if they are heading to airport/sea port solely for international departure out of SG. Doesn’t make sense to require testing of these people if they’re heading directly to departures.

N K

What happens if you’ve booked the $125 PCR test for arrivals after 22 Feb? Does this get automatically converted to an ART now?

Brad

Too late for SG. Always reactive than proactive. Qf 1 n 2 will skip SG in the mean time.

Sg gotta open in time for the F1, since it’s already signed.

Ehch

If we’re OK having non-tested passengers on VTL flights, why do we even have VTL flights? This news makes it plainly obvious VTL and non-VTL flights are theatre with no real public health justification.

Ingo Reisch

Good news, but hopefully the rule that you cannot transit unless your flights are on one ticket is also scrapped. Surely I can fly in one airline and either recheck my luggage or have the first airline check through my luggage and move to a different carrier…..currently not permitted.

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