Singapore-Australia travel: Summary of COVID-19 testing requirements

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Travelling to Australia? Here's all you need to know about pre-departure, on-arrival and post-arrival COVID-19 test requirements.

Even though the Australian federal government sets the overall policy for entering the country, each state/territory is empowered to set its own rules for on-arrival and post-arrival testing.

It basically means you’re dealing with eight different sets of rules, when talking about travel to Australia. 

🇦🇺 Summary: Australia Testing Requirements
State/ TerritoryPre-departureOn-arrival
Australian Capital TerritoryNot required for full vax. travellersART (24h)
New South WalesART (24h)
Northern TerritoryNone
Queensland*ART (24h)
South AustraliaART
TasmaniaNone
VictoriaART (24h)
-ends from 23 Apr-
Western AustraliaNone
*The Queensland government website states that travellers must take a PCR test if they depart from a country that’s exempt from pre-departure testing requirements. I believe this is a vestigial hangover that was supposed to be removed from 18 April, when Australia ended pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers from all countries.

In this post, we’ll look at the detailed COVID-19 testing requirements for entering Australia, as well as on-arrival and post-arrival testing obligations. 

Pre-departure testing

Australia Entry Requirements

Australia has eliminated its pre-departure test requirement for fully vaccinated passengers, effective 18 April 2022. 

Travellers from Singapore simply need to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of departure. Do note the following instructions:

If you are departing for Australia on or after 18 April, you no longer need to provide a pre-departure COVID test. While the DPD system transitions to these new arrangements you will need to select I am exempt from Australia’s COVID testing requirements in the health section of the DPD. This will produce the outcome confirmation required at check-in.

Don’t be concerned about this outcome – you will be processed as meeting the COVID-19 health requirements for boarding as long as you can show evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination record or acceptable proof that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons documentation at check-in. 

Singaporeans (and nationals of other ETA-eligible countries) must also apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which costs A$20 and allows unlimited entries for a 12-month period, capped at 3 months at a time. 

On-arrival testing

ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC

Travellers must take an ART within 24 hours of arrival (SA doesn’t actually specify a timeframe, but 24 hours should be safe), and isolate until a negative result is received. However, since self-administered ARTs are acceptable, you could bring along an ART kit and essentially finish isolation within 15 minutes of landing.

ART kits in Australia are overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA has a list of approved home test kits, as well as a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for each test.

Four of the kits sold in Singapore pharmacies are approved in Australia, namely:

  • Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test
  • Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
  • Hangzhou Alltest SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
  • SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal

With regards to SD Biosensor, note that it’s the white kit with blue text that’s approved for use in Australia, not the white kit with pink text (Standard Q).

For further details, refer to the posts below:

What if you’re transiting between states with different requirements?

If you’re transiting between states with different requirements, you should follow the rules of your final destination. This is provided your transit does not exceed the testing window allowance.

If you’re landing in a state/territory that does not require on-arrival testing (e.g. NT) but subsequently travelling to a different state, take note that additional testing may be required.

  • NT to ACT: ART within 24 hours, if overseas in the past 7 days
  • NT to NSW: No testing required
  • NT to Queensland: ART within 24h, if overseas in past 14 days
  • NT to SA: No testing required
  • NT to Tasmania: No testing required
  • NT to Victoria: ART within 24h, if overseas in past 14 days
  • NT to Western Australia: No testing required

Post-arrival

While certain states previously had post-arrival testing requirements (e.g. NT required travellers to take further ARTs on Days 3 and 6), these have all been eliminated for now.

Returning to Singapore

Travellers must take an ART/PCR test within 2 days of flying to Singapore, unless recently-recovered

Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) without quarantine or on-arrival testing. 

✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
Fully Vax.
& Unvax. Aged 12 and Below
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt. Exemptions may apply for recently recovered travellers who are fully vaccinated

They are merely required to take a pre-departure ART or PCR test within 2 days of departure to Singapore. For Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Passholders, this can be a remotely-supervised tele-ART.

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

For the full details on VTF travel, refer to the post below. 

Complete Guide: Singapore’s quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF)

Conclusion

Australia has scrapped pre-departure testing for all fully vaccinated travellers, making the arrivals process fairly straightforward. Some states are retaining on-arrival testing for now, but all requirements can be satisfied with a simple self-administered ART, meaning minimal isolation time (if any).

I anticipate that on-arrival test requirements will be further eased or removed over the next few weeks and months. 

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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Jeremy

So in practice, I guess most of us would land, do an ART at a quiet place in the airport, and then continue with our holiday from there as per usual? No need to submit results on an app or anything right?

bluepanda

It would be more disruptive if we didn’t plan for the contingency of testing positive (whether symptomatic or not), eg car rental, subsequent hotel cancellations. I would still plan to stay a few days (near airport or in the city) before starting the car rental. This way you have a confirmed place to stay even if positive. Then make changes to the plan when you recover.

Jeremy Tan

With regard to children under the age of 5, is it by actual birthday or calendar year (which Singapore uses)? This is the confusion amongst the different treatments everywhere.

Alan

It will be by their actual birthday. Until their 5th birthday they are 4 years old.

James Quek

Aaron, for my case of arrival and entering Melbourne at D1 but taking a a domestic flight to Hobart (Tasmania) on D2, is my understanding of no PDT in Melbourne and on arrival test in Hobart is required correct? Thanks.

L Ng

Here’s my confusion on return from Hobart (Tasmania) to Singapore via Melbourne. If there’s technically no requirement for PDT to Tasmania, does that mean i technically wont be stopped from flying out of Tasmania for the Hobart – Melbourne leg and instead just test in Melbourne Airport upon arrival to clear me on Melbourne requirements plus the Melbourne – Singapore leg?

Or am I not making sense at all?

tee

did you manage to get this cleared? I’m going on the same trip. sg -melbourne – hobart – melbourne – sg. and im unsure if i need to take PDT in hobart

L Ng

Not yet, my travel dates are only end April. To be safe, i’m still on my adjusted itinerary to block out time to take PDT in Hobart. And to cater for a second PDT in Melbourne airport in case as calculating my flight length would put me out of the 24hour range by the time i transit for melb-sin. Check the tasmania covid site for a list of test centres regardless. If your trip is earlier than mine, please update!

Tom

When doing pre-departure ART in Singapore via DoctorAnywhere Tele-ART, do we need to use one of the 4 approved kits? Does the type of kit used show up in the Tele-ART cert? Thanks.

Keropok

If we are tested positive before departure back to Singapore, are we able to stay at any accommodation (eg air bnb) to recover or it has to be Brisbane government nominated accommodation?

Ramesh

Can someone please confirm if i need PRE-departure covid-19 test when travelling from Singapore to Perth? The article text above suggests pre-departure test is required, but the Summary Table says it is not : only need ART test after arrival. thanks.

Tiffany

If I recently recovered from COVID and have a discharge memo from MOH, can I use this to board the plane from Australia to Singapore instead of doing the pre-departure supervised test in Australia?

Also, can I use this to go to Australia? Australia website says certificate from medical practitioner, so wondering if anyone has tried. Thanks!

Kyo

@Aaron

the Dept of Health website states one of the RAT PDT requirements is to have:

  • the brand and make of the test (for RAT tests)

do you know if any of the tele-ART in Sg is able to state this in the results?

Kyo

Thanks!

beezelbub

The post arrival for Melbourne at least don’t seem enforced in any way i.e. nobody reminds you to do it and nobody checks. So it’s pretty much on a good faith basis and no doubt will be scrapped entirely soon.

Alan

It has just been announced by the Victorian Government that international arrivals who are symptoms free are recommended but not required to take a rapid/PCR test.

https://twitter.com/sharnellevella/status/1516584840673435650

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