From 16 March 2022, Singapore will expand the travel history requirement for the VTL to include all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), plus Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City.
For avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that the entire EEA has been added to the VTL. However, it pretty much gives the same result, as it means that VTL travellers whose 7-day travel history includes EEA countries will still be allowed to board VTL flights for Singapore.
VTL travel history expanded to EEA
As it stands, travellers who wish to board a VTL flight to Singapore must ensure that their 7-day travel history includes only:
For example, someone who lands in Munich on Day 1, travels to Vienna on Day 3 and returns to Munich on Day 8 will not be permitted to board a VTL flight from Munich to Singapore until Day 15. That’s because Austria is neither a Category I nor a VTL country.
On the other hand, someone who lands in Munich on Day 1, travel to Rome on Day 3 and returns to Munich on Day 8 may board a VTL flight straight away, because Italy is a VTL country.
That all changes from 16 March 2022, when all 30 EEA countries can be part of a VTL traveller’s 7-day travel history.
|❓ EEA Countries|
In addition to these 30 countries, travel history to Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City will also be permitted.
The Vatican has always occupied a strange kind of limbo (purgatory?)- within Italy, but not part of it. Technically speaking, stepping foot inside would disqualify you from taking a VTL flight for at least a week!
The UK and Switzerland are not included in the EEA, but are already VTL partners in any case.
How is this beneficial?
With the upcoming addition of Greece to the VTL, two-way quarantine-free travel will be available with all countries in Europe that have direct flights to Singapore.
Since you can’t fly to Singapore from Austria or Belgium or many of the other EEA countries, why does this development matter?
Less buffer time
It matters because many people travel to Europe with the intention of visiting more than one country. If their plans included any non-VTL country, they would need to ensure that they finished their trip in a VTL country, spending at least seven days there before coming back to Singapore.
While travellers still need to fly to Singapore from a VTL country, the addition of the EEA to the permissible travel history reduces buffer time. For example, I could have spent yesterday in Lisbon, take a car/train/plane to Barcelona today, and immediately hop on a VTL flight home.
More connections from Europe
Although Singapore is connected to most major European cities, this coverage is far from complete. There’s no direct flights to Brussels, Vienna, Warsaw or Zagreb, for example.
But these cities are served by carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, and with the inclusion of EEA countries in permissible travel history, routings like BRU-DOH-SIN become possible options for getting home (assuming your DOH-SIN flight is a VTL service, of course).
Revised VTL eligibility
Here’s a summary of the revised VTL eligibility criteria, following the latest changes.
|✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria|
|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
From 16 March 2022, Singapore will allow all 30 EEA countries plus Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City to feature on a VTL traveller’s 7-day travel history when flying to Singapore.
Unless I’m missing something, this for all intents and purposes makes EEA countries conceptually similar to VTL countries, just without VTL flights. It will eliminate the need to build in buffer at the end of a trip where you visit non-VTL European countries, and allow travellers to take advantage of more routings home (such as those offered by the ME3).
The next step would be to scrap the entire VTL concept entirely and base quarantine on vaccination status alone- something I hope we’ll see in the next few months.