Cheapest overseas tele-ARTs for pre-departure testing to Singapore

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Take some of the hassle out of pre-departure testing to Singapore by taking a video supervised tele-ART. Here's your options.

⚠️ Important Update

Singapore has scrapped pre-departure testing for all fully vaccinated travellers, effective 26 April 2022. With this change, the article below will only be relevant to unvaccinated travellers seeking entry into Singapore. 

If you’re looking for information on the cheapest pre-departure ART/PCR tests for travel out of Singapore, refer to the post below.

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

Singapore has reopened its borders under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF), allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter from anywhere in the world without quarantine.

While the VTF is much simpler than the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme it replaced, there’s one vestigial hangover: the pre-departure test. This is required for all unvaccinated travellers, except:

  • those born after 2020 (i.e. below two years old)
  • those who have recovered from COVID within 7-90 days of departure

Fortunately, Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Work Pass Holders and Long Term Pass Holders returning to Singapore from any country can now satisfy the requirement with a video-supervised tele-ART. This saves them the trouble of hunting down a clinic overseas, and potentially exposing themselves to infection. 

Tele-ARTs offer greater convenience when testing

In this post, we’ll look at the options available for taking a tele-ART when returning to Singapore.

Singapore’s pre-departure test requirement

Unvaccinated travellers are 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: 

  1. A professionally-administered PCR test
  2. A professionally-administered antigen rapid test (ART)
  3. 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
  • physically present overseas and using an approved ART provider in Singapore

In other words, this service cannot be used by short-term visitors to Singapore, e.g. tourists. It also cannot be used for travel to third countries, e.g. someone in Frankfurt wanting to fly to New York. 

You may not use a tele-medicine provider based outside of Singapore, although there have been numerous reports of travellers from Malaysia to Singapore successfully using tele-ART swabs by CLEA. 

Options for overseas Tele-ARTs 

Photo: DoctorAnywhere

The MOH has approved more than 120 medical providers to offer overseas supervised tele-ARTs.

Prices start from S$9, plus the cost of a HSA-approved ART kit (~S$5). Travellers may also use a test kit that has been approved for use in the country they’re flying from, though not all test providers may be accept these kits (probably because they’re unaware of the concession; refer to the 5th bullet point in this document).

Here’s the details of the various providers (I’ve also indicated which ones use an app with 📱, since I understand not everyone wants to install another one; the rest use Whatsapp or Zoom). 

📹 Overseas Tele-ARTs
ProviderOperating Hours
(SGT)
🠕 Price*
Lion Health8 a.m to 2 a.mS$9
📱 MaNaDr9 a.m to 11 p.mS$11
📱 MyCLNQ24 hoursS$12
📱 Hidoc8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m
(weekdays only)
S$12
📱 Minmed9 a.m to 9 p.m 
(weekdays only)
S$12
Kingston Medical24 hoursS$12
(+S$13 from 6 p.m to 9 a.m)
Intemedical8 a.m to 11 p.mS$15
Swab N Go10 a.m to 7 p.mS$15
📱 Doctor Anywhere8 a.m to 10 p.mS$21.40
Faircare Family Clinic24 hoursS$23
(+S$23 from 10 p.m to 9 a.m)
The Tenteram Clinic6 a.m to 10 p.mS$25
Fullerton Health9 a.m to 5 p.mS$25
Swab Station8 a.m to 5 p.mS$25
BCH-ART8 a.m to 9 p.mS$25
Healthway Medical9 a.m to 9 p.m
(9 a.m to 5 p.m on weekend/ PH)
S$25
Bethesda MedicalVaries by dayS$26.75
📱 Speedoc8 a.m to 8 p.mS$26.75
RMDY Clinic9 a.m to 5.30 p.mS$26.80
Unihealth7.30 a.m to 12 a.mS$29
(+S$20-31 for after hours, weekend and PH)
📱 Raffles Connect24 hoursS$30
Belief Family Clinic24 hoursS$30
(+S$10-30 for after hours, weekend and PH)
Full List of Providers
*Must provide your own HSA-approved ART kit, which adds ~S$5 to the total price

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. 

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. 

Here’s my experience using DoctorAnywhere for a pre-departure test out of Singapore. The process will be exactly the same for someone doing a pre-departure test back to Singapore. 

Can these be used for travel out of Singapore?

If the country you’re travelling to accepts antigen tests, then you may use a tele-ART to satisfy the requirement. The following is a non-exhaustive list of countries currently accepting ARTs as pre-departure tests. 

  • Fiji
  • Malaysia (from Singapore only)
  • United States
  • Vietnam

For the full list of pre-departure testing options when travelling out of Singapore, refer to the post below.

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

Conclusion

Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Work Pass Holders and Long Term Passholders have the convenience of doing it a virtually-supervised tele-ART when returning to Singapore. 

This saves them the trouble of finding an overseas swab centre (not to mention antigen tests can be surprisingly expensive in some countries!), leaving more time to enjoy their trip.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Zhi

Sri Lanka is unfortunately still not on the list. Any kind souls would have contacts on where to do a pre-departure ART in Colombo? Google isn’t very helpful with this!

Peter

Although the country is not on the MoH list, I used HiDoc this week for a pre-departure test from the Maldives back to Singapore.
The test process went flawless, and the report looks pretty much the same as PCR results I received in the past.
Check-in using the tele-ART report was also a breeze.

Sand

Obviously he left out some details. As quoted by the person i spoke to on the chat on their website, after i mentioned that someone managed to do a tele-art from Maldives? This was their answer : ” There were 2 cases that the Tele-art from Maldives but the Dr and nurse did make know to them that patients should check the requirements on their end. We will provide the necessary documents for patients after the Tele-art.”

Peter

Correct, it has the name of the medical center and the doctor’s name on the test result.
In my experience the ground staff only checks for the date of the test, the name on the certificate, and the negative result.
For a trip from Melbourne to Singapore earlier this month I used a US tele-ART provider. Its report didn’t look nearly as professional as the one from hidoc, and that one was accepted without questions as well.

Hannah Tan

If Thailand is not on this list, does it mean I can’t take the Tele-ART test from Thailand ?

Jellybelly

Just to confirm that tele-ART is acceptable for travel out of Singapore to Australia? Has anybody tried that?

QAZ

We did it a few weeks back, it was accepted with no questions asked

Poh

I came back via Land VTL from Malaysia yesterday and did my virtual ART through an approved Malaysian provider CLEA( https://cleadoc.com). Efficient and cost-effective . RM 15 for the test with report and self provided test kit at RM6

Lim

“You may not use a tele-medicine provider based outside of Singapore, although there have been numerous reports of travellers from Malaysia to Singapore successfully using tele-ART swabs by CLEA. “
Do u have evidence saying this statement?
I have been using CLEA as a frequent traveller to and fro Malaysia Singapore. I did not see any users complain about using it too.

Poh

Before April 1st, there was a page on the ICA Safe Travel site which stated that A remotely supervised ART by a provider authorized by the Malaysian health authority would sufficed. The page is no longer accessible ( or at least I cannot locate it this morning).

I also checked with CLEA and they confirmed via chat that the results would be accepted . On that basis, I went ahead.

Crossing into Woodlands on March 31 , before the opening of borders, I did not encounter any issue.

Not sure if rules have since changed.

Freddy

ART kits have serial numbers? I didn’t know that. Do all brands have those?

Freddy

Thanks. Let me look more carefully.

tom

Hi Aaron, if for example you are in the US and want to use DA to do your pre departure test before returning to Singapore? Because you schedule your test based on Singapore hours, do you know if the test results will show Singapore hours only or US hours?

Becks Tan

Can i check, Malaysia was not mentioned in the list of countries for pre departure virtual ART. And also can we use approved test kits from Malaysia to do the virtual test?

Bernard

So I booked my pre-departure test with MyCLNQ because it’s the cheapest one that will let me do the test at 3am SGT. The system was a bit flaky, and seems like a new company or product that is still ironing out many teething issues. The app doesn’t say if it’s using Singapore time or the local time at my location. Contacted the support staff who told me that it’s Singapore time at first, but when probed further (by providing screenshots of the app that show that I can book for a time in the future for me, but in… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Bernard
Yen

Do not recommend Kingston Medical Group at all – seems scam & poorly run. Booked for a 10am tele ART today on Zoom – kept on hold for 30+ min, waiting for KMG host to initiate the meeting. Calls to the mobile # / Whatsapp go to a busy line, and no Whatsapp chat messages are answered. Only message from KMG was the Zoom host asking participants to rejoin the meeting. Now booking another provider before flight tomorrow – and asking for a refund, because they’re prepaid. Edited to add: Check the recent Google reviews from the past few days… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Yen
Nicholas

Did you get your refund? They seem to ignore all requests for refunds. Total scam.

SQ Flyer

While no provider is perfect, there have been numerous data points of people having terrible and unprofessional experiences with Kingston Medical e.g. mass testing and displaying of results, overcrowded waiting rooms etc) – might want to remove it from your list?

J H

So can I take a SG recognised tele ART when I fly from Singapore to Malaysia KL?

According to milelion post, it seems like this is possible. But earlier I checked with Minmed, they say tele ART is not acceptable cause malaysia needs a professional administered ART.

Ken

Has anyone used Lion Health yet? How are they?

Sarah Yj3

Would like to share my experience using Kingston Medical for the pre departure ART test to Singapore today for my family of three. The website is easy to use for booking, confirmation and reminder emails were sent promptly. However, at the schedule time, via Zoom, nothing happened. We tried to call the emergency number, it was disconnected. We were searching for another service provider in the mean time and the anxiety just built up. Luckily, about half an hour later, James, from Kingston Medical was on line via Zoom. He was very professional, instructions were clear, though no apologies for… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Sarah Yj3
Serene

Hi Aaron!
It was stated in this article that Philippines don’t accept tele-ART
https://mainlymiles.com/2022/03/11/philippines-vtl-pre-departure-art-test-now-accepted/

So would like to confirm that now they accept tele-ART as mentioned in this article since you have listed it as one of the countries

Serene

Thank you so much for the clarifications. I’m flying to Philippines next week, and was looking for information if tele-ART is applicable

Ally

Went with Swabway for my teleArt today. The whole process was fast and seamless and it was just $10!Really glad that I found them and I will sure engage them again whenever I travel.

Sandra Lim

Is the tele-ART is acceptable for travel out of Singapore to New Zealand ? Has anybody tried that?

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