Maldives VTL: Pre-departure test scrapped for fully vaccinated visitors

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From 5 March, Maldives has eliminated its pre-departure PCR test requirement for vaccinated tourists.

If you’re planning a trip to the Maldives, you may be pleased to know that effective from 5 March 2022, the authorities have scrapped the pre-departure PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated visitors.

The Maldives isn’t exactly the cheapest of places to visit, so every little bit helps. 

Maldives scraps pre-departure test requirement

Maldives no longer requires a pre-departure test for vaccinated individuals

Previously, all visitors to the Maldives were required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 96 hours prior to departure to the Maldives. The only exception was for infants aged below one.

From 5 March 2022, those rules are changing as follows:

  1. Vaccinated tourists are no longer required to present a PCR test result upon arrival to the Maldives
  2. Vaccinated tourists who stay on the inhabited islands are no longer required to present the PCR test result during departure

Unvaccinated travellers (including children aged one and above) will still be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 96 hours prior to departure to the Maldives. 

Maldives recognises all vaccines approved by the WHO EUL, which includes Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac and Sinopharm. Boosters are not required, and the primary regime must have been completed at least 14 days prior to arrival. 

All travellers must also complete a Traveller Health Declaration form within 48 hours of departure to Maldives. 

Singapore-Maldives travel: Total testing costs

⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Maldives Travel
LocationRemarksPrice
🇲🇻 Maldives2 days before departure (ART/PCR)~US$150*
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 24h of arrival (ART)S$15*
*Children aged 2 and under exempt

With the removal of the pre-departure testing requirement, round-trip travellers between Singapore and the Maldives should incur slightly over S$200 in testing costs per person. The bulk of this expense will come from the pre-departure test in Maldives, which your resort will arrange. 

Even though Singapore accepts professionally-administered antigen tests, most resorts only offer PCR tests, and a standard test costs around US$150 nett. Express options would set you back US$250 nett or more. 

Since the standard test has a turnaround time of up to 72 hours, here’s where Singapore’s 2 day allowance may come in useful. Remember: 2 days is not the same as 48 hours. If you’re flying at 11 p.m on 18 February, for example, you can take your test anytime from 12.01 a.m on 16 February. 

Fully vaccinated individuals who have recently recovered from COVID-19 can be exempted from all pre-departure tests, on-arrival tests and SHN requirements when travelling to Singapore. They will be required to present acceptable proof of a COVID-19 infection/recovery within the last 90 days. 

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

VTL flights from the Maldives

Singapore Airlines is now operating the B737 MAX 8 to the Maldives

While you can take any flight you wish to the Maldives, if your trip is 7 days or less, you should either fly non-stop, or only transit in Category I, VTL or EEA countries en route.  A 7-day travel history that includes non-Category I/VTL/EEA countries will disqualify you from taking a VTL flight back to Singapore.

When flying to Singapore, travellers must take a VTL flight or else serve a 7-day SHN on arrival. VTL flights from the Maldives to Singapore are currently operated by Singapore Airlines as per the following schedule.

FlightsDays
SQ437
(Till 26 Mar 22)
SMTWTFS
MLE 2325

SIN 0715 (+1)
    
SQ437
(From 27 Mar 22)

SMTWTFS
MLE 2325

SIN 0705 (+1)

Singapore Airlines is now deploying its B737 MAX 8 aircraft on the Maldives route, with all-new Business and Economy Class seats. 

Singapore Airlines B737-8 Business Class
Singapore Airlines B737-8 Business Class

Business Class passengers can expect full flat beds, which will be a lifesaver on the redeye flight to Singapore which departs at 11.25 p.m. These are a quantum leap from the recliner style seats found on the B737-800s, with additional storage space and in-seat power. 

Singapore Airlines B737-8 Economy Class

Economy Class passengers will have individual IFE screens, USB charging ports (though there’s no in-seat power for laptops) and Wi-Fi access. If you have to fly a narrowbody in the SIA fleet, this is the one you want. 

For a full review of the Business and Economy Class seats, refer to the articles below.

Hands on: Singapore Airlines’ new B737-8 Business Class seat

Hands on: Singapore Airlines’ new B737-8 Economy Class seat

VTL travel to Singapore

Singapore has eased border restrictions from 22 Feb 2022

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 and/or EEA countries (from 16 Mar)
  • 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

Which VTL countries don’t require pre-departure tests?

With these latest changes, the following VTL countries no longer require pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated travellers.

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • UK

For the full list of pre-departure test requirements, and places to get your test done, refer to the post below.

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

Conclusion

Banyan Tree Maldives

Maldives has removed its pre-departure PCR test for vaccinated travellers, although any unvaccinated children aged one and over will still be required to present a negative test result.

This will save a couple travelling from Singapore around S$200 in total, which can probably buy you a bottle of mineral water at one of the resorts.

I kid, I kid (but not really). 

(HT: JJ)

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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Elizabeth

To share, it is possible to do antigen tests! It depends on the resort and whether they can arrange it for you. My resort said they do offer antigen tests at USD 45++ per person (which I think is on the higher side as with the cost of their PCR tests).

cheers,

Elizabeth

Its Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

John

You’re missing Sri Lanka from the list of no testing VTL countries.

Tom

This is great news and a step in the right direction.

On a semi-related note: I’m pretty sure this is the case from the SQ website, but am I right in thinking you can take a VTL flight without any form of PCR or antigen test if you are only transiting in Singapore? E.g. VTL flight to SG, stay at the airport, then flight out of SG without having entered SG?

Kerri

Does anyone know how to get supervised antigen tests (ART) in Maldives for the return to SG rather than PCR which the resorts seem to be pushing for

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