South Korea VTL: Day 3 and 5 self-ART requirement scrapped

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VTL travellers entering South Korea from 1 March are no longer required to take Day 3 and 5 ARTs, though the expensive PCR tests remain.

VTL travellers from Singapore to South Korea are currently required to perform self-administered ARTs on Days 3 and 5, as part of tightened measures introduced back in December due to fears over Omicron. 

This requirement has now been scrapped, effective 1 March 2022. While it’s a step in the right direction, travellers will still be required to take PCR tests before departure, on arrival and on Day 6/7, which make South Korea one of the most expensive VTLs in terms of testing costs. 

South Korea scraps Day 3 and 5 ARTs

South Korea is scrapping Day 3 and 5 testing

Prior to 1 March 2022, travellers to South Korea were required to perform self-administered ARTs on Days 3 and 5 of arrival in South Korea (the day of entry is taken as Day 1). 

  • If the ART result was negative, the traveller had to take a photo of the ART result together with his/her passport’s bio-data page for records. There was no need to submit the results
  • If the ART result was positive, the traveller had to contact the public health centre immediately, and arrangements would be made for a confirmatory PCR test

From 1 March 2022, this requirement has been removed, as per an update on the Korean Embassy in Singapore’s website.

 Additional Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs) to be taken while in Korea (updated)

No longer applicable to travellers who will seek entry into Korea from 01 March 2022, 0000hrs (KST) onwards

Do note that this applies to travellers who enter from 1 March 2022; if you arrived in South Korea before this date, you should still continue with the Day 3 and 5 ARTs, even if the dates fall in March. 

Travellers are still required to take a pre-departure, on-arrival and Day 6/7 PCR tests, depending on the duration of their stay:

  • Pre-departure (PCR): Within 48 hours of flight to South Korea
  • On-arrival (PCR): On arrival in South Korea
  • Day 6/7 (PCR): On Day 6/7, provided you are staying at least 8 days in South Korea

With the latest changes, here’s a summary of the VTL travel requirements from Singapore to South Korea. 

✈️ Summary: South Korea VTL
To South Korea 🇰🇷
  • 14 day travel history: Singapore and South Korea only
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. 30M KRW (~S$35K) coverage (short-term visitors only)
  • Apply for K-ETA (foreigners only)
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine in the WHO EUL (exemption for children aged 5 and below)
  • Take pre-departure PCR test 48h before flight
  • Take non-stop flight to South Korea
  • Install Self-Check Mobile App and report daily health status for 14 days or duration of stay, whichever is shorter
  • Take PCR test on arrival in South Korea (pre-booking required) and isolate until negative result received
  • Take PCR test on Day 6 or 7 in South Korea (if stay ≥8 days)

VTL travel to Singapore

Travellers must take an ART/PCR test within 2 days of flying to Singapore, unless recently-recovered

Singapore recently relaxed its border measures for VTL travellers, replacing the on-arrival PCR test requirement at Changi Airport with a supervised ART at a QTC/CTC within 24 hours of arrival. Alternatively, VTL travellers can opt to do a DA Tele-ART from the comfort of their own home. 

Also noteworthy is the scrapping of the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) requirement for the majority of long-term passholders. Only work permit holders and short-term visitors are now required to apply for a VTP.

LTPHsVTLNon-VTL
  • Long Term Visit Pass
  • Immigration Exemption Order
  • Student’s Pass
  • Employment Pass
  • EntrePass
  • Personalised Employment Pass
  • Tech.Pass
  • Training Employment Pass
  • Work Holiday Pass
  • Dependant’s Pass
  • S Pass holders

✔️

  • Show Long-Term pass/ in-principle approval letter and proof of vaccination status to transport operators/ checkpoint staff
  • No need to apply for or present entry approval/VTP
  • Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the CMP sector
  • Dormitory-bound work permit holders

Not allowed entry via VTL
✔️
Apply for and present entry approval
  • Confinement Nannies
  • Migrant Domestic Workers
  • All other work permit holders
✔️
Apply for and present VTP

With these changes, here’s a summary of the requirements for VTL travel to Singapore. 

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
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
*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

South Korea VTL: Testing costs

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore48h before departure (PCR)From S$98
🇰🇷 South Korea
On arrival at Incheon (PCR)KRW 120,000
🇰🇷 South KoreaDay 6/7 (PCR)~KRW 110,000
🇰🇷 South Korea2 days before departure (ART/PCR)~KRW 84,000
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 24h of arrival (ART)S$15

Even with the scrapping of the Day 3 and 5 ART requirement, South Korea remains one of the most expensive VTL destinations in terms of testing costs, with travellers looking at a per person bill that could easily exceed S$470.

If it’s any consolation, fully vaccinated individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19 can be exempted from all pre-departure and on-arrival testing requirements when travelling to Singapore, subject to presenting acceptable proof.

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

For a rundown of the cheapest places to get your pre-departure test in Singapore, refer to the article below. 

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

South Korea VTL: Full report

VTL guide at Incheon Airport

I visited South Korea on the VTL back in November- be sure to check out my full review of the South Korea VTL from start to finish, including the arrivals process at Seoul Airport, and pre-departure testing before returning to Singapore. 

🇰🇷 BTS (Back to Seoul)

Do also check out my complete guide to South Korea VTL travel, available via the link below.

Full Details: Singapore – South Korea VTL

Conclusion

VTL travellers to South Korea who enter from 1 March 2022 will no longer be required to take Day 3 and 5 ARTs. 

While any simplification of the testing regime is welcome, this won’t make a significant impact on the overall testing costs- the real pain points are the relatively expensive PCR tests before departing, on arrival, and on Day 6/7. Hopefully these get scaled back to ARTs in the near future, because PCR tests are more suited to a COVID-zero policy than an endemic one. 

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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Doug

On arrival in Incheon is 120k KRW. I went on Friday and came back today.

Doug

The website is a bit confusing, but it’s 120 KRW for foreigners without Korean national health insurance. That’s the amount I paid on Friday. In the URL you provided me, you can click on the foreigners without Korean national health insurance box.

Doug

Koreans pay 80k KRW

Doug

Anyway, just wanted to praise your work. By far the most up-to-date and most accurate resource out there for Singapore-related travel/cards. Would love to meet you one day to chat. I’ve been so passionate about travel and I used to have my own excel with all the info. I have since scrapped the excel thanks to Milelion.com 😀

Mandy

Hi, for fully vaccinated and recovered travellers, does that mean the pre-departure PCR test in Korea is no longer needed?

Thanks for the comprehensive report! This really helps in our trip planning!

Last edited 10 months ago by Mandy
Nick

Hi can I check if I depart Korea on day 8,will it still be considered 8 days stay in Korea?

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