Just last week, I wrote about Singapore’s messy and confusing overseas tele-ART policy, which allows Singapore residents to use a video supervised tele-ART as a pre-departure test when returning to Singapore, but only from certain countries.
In my mind, there was no good reason why some countries were on the list but not others; you could take a tele-ART when coming to Singapore from Yemen, but not Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia!
But now there’s some very good news. Singapore residents will be permitted to take a tele-ART from approved Singapore-based providers when returning from any country in the world.
Tele-ARTs now available from any country
From 5 April 2022, Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Work Pass Holders and Long Term Pass Holders may take a remotely supervised tele-ART when returning home from any country.
You can tap on the real-time remote supervised self-swab offered by an approved ART providers listed below, regardless of the country or region you are in.
-Ministry of Health
This replaces the previous restricted list of just 52 eligible countries, which had interesting inclusions like Iran and Kuwait (neither of which has direct flights to Singapore), but not ASEAN countries which you think could have really used the option!
The MOH further specifies that tele-ART services should “only be used for fulfilling the Pre-Departure Test (PDT) requirement for travel to Singapore”. In other words, you shouldn’t be using it to fulfil travel requirements to third countries, e.g. taking a tele-ART in Frankfurt for travel to New York.
You may not take a tele-ART if you are a short-term visitor, e.g. a German national visiting Singapore as a tourist.
Singapore’s pre-departure test requirement
As a reminder, travellers are currently required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test within 2 days of departure to Singapore.
|⚠️ 2 days, not 48 hours!|
|Do note that the testing window is 2 days, not 48 hours. For example, if your flight departs at 10 p.m on Wednesday, you can take your test anytime from 12.01 a.m on Monday onwards.|
This test can be:
- A professionally-administered PCR test
- A professionally-administered antigen rapid test (ART)
- A self-administered ART remotely supervised by an approved ART provider in Singapore
Option (3) is only available to travellers who are:
- Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long Term Pass Holders or Work Pass Holders
- using an approved ART provider in Singapore
Travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may be exempt from the pre-departure test requirement, provided they meet the following conditions:
- Fully vaccinated
- Present a positive COVID-19 PCR or professionally-administered ART dated between 7-90 days before departure for Singapore, or a medical discharge memo featuring date of infection between 7-90 days before departure for Singapore
Either document in (2) must mention the traveller’s full name, and identity number or date of birth.
If you contracted COVID-19 in Singapore and got your infection recorded in the HealthHub system, you may use that as proof to enter Singapore without pre-departure testing during the 7-90 day window. Do note that the result must be tagged with “licensed provider” as shown below; “self-administered” results are not accepted.
If in doubt, refer to the ICA’s self-check tool to determine your eligibility for vaccinated-recovered traveller concessions.
Cheapest overseas tele-ARTs
The MOH has approved 93 different providers to offer supervised tele-ARTs for pre-departure testing to Singapore.
Here’s a list of the cheapest providers on the market. Do remember that you’ll need to add ~S$5 for the cost of your own HSA-approved ART kit. The MOH also allows the use of test kits approved in the country travellers are returning to Singapore from.
|📹 Overseas Tele-ARTs|
|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)
|Intemedical||8 a.m to 11 p.m||S$15|
|Swab N Go||10 a.m to 7 p.m||S$15|
|DoctorAnywhere||8 a.m to 10 p.m||S$21.40|
|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)
|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|
Do note that Doctor Anywhere has just hiked its price from S$12.84 to S$21.40, but fortunately there are still numerous options at the S$12 mark.
What happens during a tele-ART?
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.
Some providers have their own apps, others will use Whatsapp or Zoom to conduct the test. Either way, you will:
- Show the supervisor your identification (passport or IC) and confirm your itinerary
- Show the supervisor the ART kit’s serial number, open the kit and perform the swab
- Leave the camera on and trained on the ART kit for the next 15 minutes (you don’t need to be physically present during this time)
- Return to the camera, show the result and upload a photo if requested
The entire process (including waiting) should not take more than 20 minutes. Following this, the provider will update HealthHub and send you the travel certificate within their stipulated timeframe.
Do note that some providers request the serial number of the ART kit at the time of booking, so you may need to purchase it in advance.
Singapore residents are now permitted to take a convenient video supervised tele-ART when returning to Singapore from any country in the world, which is fantastic news. This saves you the trouble of having to hunt down an overseas health centre (and exposing yourself to potential infection), and saves precious vacation time.
Rumour has it that Singapore will be removing the pre-departure test entirely in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for further developments.