It was recently announced that remotely-supervised tele-ARTs would be accepted as pre-departure tests for travel to Singapore.
While this only applies to Singapore residents departing from selected countries, it’s still great news for those who stand to benefit. Professionally-administered ARTs can be frighteningly expensive in some countries, and even if not, you still need to take time off your holiday to visit a swabbing centre.
Now, the original list published on 21 March featured 42 eligible countries, but there were some curious omissions. All of Singapore’s European VTL partners were listed, but not Switzerland. The entire Middle East was featured, but not Turkey. You could poke your nose in Rome, but not in the Vatican City.
That’s now been rectified with a revised list that adds Canada, the EEA and other European microstates.
MOH expands eligible countries for overseas tele-supervised ARTs
|Approved Countries for Overseas Tele-ART|
The MOH has published an update to the document with the ludicrously long name “List of Approved Providers for Antigen Rapid Testing for Real-time Remote Supervised Self-Swab to Fulfil Pre-Departure Testing Requirements involving Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Work Pass Holders (including Long Term Pass Holders) situated overseas.”
The latest list features 51 countries, with the new additions highlighted in bold.
|🌎 Eligible Countries for Tele-ART|
The main changes to highlight is that Canada, the rest of the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), various European microstates (Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City), Switzerland and Turkey are now approved.
As of 1 April 2022, South Korea has also been added.
Who is eligible to take an overseas tele-ART?
Overseas tele-ARTs can only be used as a pre-departure test for travel to Singapore by the following individuals:
- Singapore Citizens
- Permanent Residents
- Work Pass Holders (including Long Term Pass Holders)
If you’re travelling to Singapore on a short-term visit (e.g. a tourist from Germany), you won’t be permitted to take an overseas tele-ART.
When must the pre-departure test be done?
Travellers to Singapore must take their pre-departure test within two calendar days of departure.
For example, if your flight is at 10 p.m on Wednesday, you can take the test anytime from 12.01 a.m on Monday (in other words, 2 days ≠ 48 hours).
What are your testing options?
The MOH has approved more than 50 medical providers to offer overseas supervised tele-ARTs. Prices start from S$12, plus the cost of a HSA-approved ART kit (~S$5). You may also use a test kit that’s approved for use in the country you are flying home from.
I’ve included some sample pricing below for your reference.
|📹 Overseas Tele-ARTs|
|Provider||Operating Hours||🠕 Price*|
|Hidoc||8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m|
|Minmed||9 a.m to 9 p.m |
|Kingston Medical||24 hours||S$12|
(+S$13 from 6 p.m to 9 a.m)
|DoctorAnywhere||8 a.m to 10 p.m||S$12.84|
|Intemedical||8 a.m to 11 p.m||S$15|
|Swab Station||8 a.m to 5 p.m||S$25|
|BCH-ART||8 a.m to 9 p.m||S$25|
|Healthway Medical||9 a.m to 9 p.m|
(9 a.m to 5 p.m on weekend/ PH)
|Speedoc||8 a.m to 8 p.m||S$26.75|
|RMDY Clinic||9 a.m to 5.30 p.m||S$26.80|
|Unihealth||7.30 a.m to 12 a.m||S$29|
(+S$20-31 for after hours, weekend and PH)
|Swab N Go||10 a.m to 7 p.m||S$30|
|Raffles Connect||24 hours||S$30|
|Belief Family Clinic||24 hours||S$30|
(+S$10-30 for after hours, weekend and PH)
|*Must provide your own HSA-approved ART kit, which adds ~S$5 to the total price|
A full list of providers can be found here.
Do be careful with time zones when booking, because some providers base their appointments in SGT, while others the time zone of the country you’re currently in.
Tele-ARTs are extremely straightforward; all you need is a pair of ART kits (one to use, one for backup) and a decent internet connection. You’ll swab yourself in front of a supervisor, then keep the camera trained on the ART kit for the next 15 minutes (you don’t need to be on camera during this time).
Once the time has elapsed, show the result to the supervisor, and they’ll send you the certificate within their stated timeframe.
Cheapest overseas tele-ARTs for pre-departure testing to Singapore
Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Work Pass Holders can now use remotely-supervised tele-ARTs as their pre-departure test when returning to Singapore from 51 countries.
The approved country list now includes VTL partners Switzerland and Turkey (remember: the VTL concept goes out the door from 1 April), as well as Canada and Norway.
A better question, however, would be why all the restrictions? Seriously, why should someone in Tehran be able to take a remote tele-ART while someone in Bangkok can’t? I’m struggling to see the rationale behind the rules, so clue me in if you know better.
Maybe that’s worth an article in itself…
Why a remote tele-ART for pre-departure to Singapore is not extended to all countries is probably not due to Singapore but the government of the departing country which disallows it especially if they are only allowing pre-departure from SG to their country to be based on PCR test only. God knows why but I believe many are curious to know the real reason too!
But it’s Singapore that sets the rules for what kind of pdts are acceptable for travel to Singapore, not the overseas governments. I could understand if country x says ok when you come to me, you can’t take a remote art. But why should they care what test you take when you leave the country?
You never know what the overseas governments are thinking since tele supervised ART is not administrated by a healthcare professional and those tested under tele supervised can be covid positive and become spreader during these 48 hours in their country. But it’s silly of course since so many of the APAC countries have opened up their borders with reasonable high cases. I hope we can get an official response on this! :p
Maybe some countries would restrict this as telemedicine but I doubt those regulations would change quickly to expand the country list. I have not verified this but I am unaware of any similar country restrictions on United States video supervised tests like BinaxNOW.
Some countries could have a specific procedure that healthcare professionals have to follow in case someone tests positive on their territory, which may make remote supervised tests tricky.
I find it strange that no ASEAN countries are included in the remote tele-ART testing, especially when citizens and residents are likely to come from. I don’t believe it’s coincidental or because of health regulations in these countries.
The ASEAN absences sticks out like a sore thumb given the opportunity to embrace better cooperation in this block / community appears lost despite 2 years of shared pain
DoctorAnywhere needs to update their website as it still states “Do note that our online supervised ART test services can only be used for tests in Singapore.”
Looks like Belief now charges 30 SGD for the overseas pre-arrival virtual ART.
All this will be moot when pre-departure testing to Singapore is removed.
My guess is that it’s mainly because of the relatively large number of travellers (SG citizens, PRs, and work pass holders) that will be coming from Southeast Asia, and the relatively limited supply of tele-ART providers. Rather than further increase capacity for what is likely a short term need, they are probably just trying to maximise the number of countries that would come under this in the very short term.
Typo……clue me in 🙂
Thanks! Will fix that
The pre-departure test for ENTRY INTO SINGAPORE is 100% a Singapore requirement…
…the absence of Asian countries ex-India on this list is surprising….
I’m confused by the wording in https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider5/default-document-library/list-of-approved-art-providers-for-remote-supervised-self-swab-for-overseas-travellers-(01042022).pdf, quoted “Please see below for a non-exhaustive list of countries where the real-time remote supervised self-swab ART result can be used for fulfilling PDT requirement for travel to Singapore. ”
So it could also mean that there’re countries not listed but tele-ART also accepted?
you’d think so, but…