|⚠️ 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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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
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|
|Lion Health||8 a.m to 2 a.m||S$9|
|📱 MaNaDr||9 a.m to 11 p.m||S$11|
|📱 MyCLNQ||24 hours||S$12|
|📱 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|
|📱 Doctor Anywhere||8 a.m to 10 p.m||S$21.40|
|Faircare Family Clinic||24 hours||S$23|
(+S$23 from 10 p.m to 9 a.m)
|The Tenteram Clinic||6 a.m to 10 p.m||S$25|
|Fullerton Health||9 a.m to 5 p.m||S$25|
|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)
|Bethesda Medical||Varies by day||S$26.75|
|📱 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)
|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.
- Malaysia (from Singapore only)
- United States
For the full list of pre-departure testing options when travelling out of Singapore, refer to the post below.
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.