VTF: Singapore scraps pre-departure COVID-19 testing from 26 April

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From 26 April, fully vaccinated travellers to Singapore will not need a pre-departure COVID-19 test, making the process completely test-free.

When Singapore reopened its borders via the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) on 1 April 2022, it opted to retain pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all arrivals, regardless of vaccination status.

This measure was to be reviewed “in the next 2-4 weeks”, and now there’s some good news.

From Tuesday, 26 April 2022 at 0001 hours, Singapore will scrap the pre-departure test requirement for all fully vaccinated travellers, and unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and below. 

Pre-departure testing will be scrapped for all fully vaccinated travellers to Singapore from 26 April 2022

This removes the last vestige of COVID-era restrictions, and restores inbound travel to pre-pandemic conditions for fully vaccinated travellers. It’s a watershed moment for sure. 

Singapore scraps pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated individuals

✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
(w.e.f. 26 April 2022)
Fully Vax.
& Unvax. (Aged ≤12)
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt, as well as recently-recovered travellers

Up till 25 April 2022, 2359 hours, all travellers to Singapore are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test within 2 calendar days of departure.

For example, if your flight departs on Wednesday at 2200 hours, you can take the test anytime from Monday 1201 hours onwards.

This can be either:

  • a PCR test
  • a professionally-administered ART
  • a remotely-supervised tele-ART, for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Work Pass holders (including Long Term Pass holders) 

From 26 April 2022, 0001 hours, fully vaccinated travellers (and unvaccinated travellers aged 12 and below) are no longer required to take any pre-departure COVID-19 test.

They will only need to complete the SG Arrival Card, and install TraceTogether (which you probably already have, if you’re a Singapore resident). 

❓ What is the SG Arrival Card?
SG Arrival Card

The SG Arrival Card can be completed within three days before arrival in Singapore, and contains only three brief sections:

  • Personal particulars
  • Submission of vaccination proof (not required for those vaccinated in Singapore)
  • Health declaration

Completing the SG Arrival Card is free of charge, if you do it via the official website. Beware of lookalikes out there which charge a fee!

The removal of pre-departure testing also eliminates the much-feared “overseas stranding” that comes with a positive result, though need it be said that you shouldn’t be boarding any flight if you’re symptomatic.

One caveat: the pre-departure test requirement still remains if your 7-day travel history includes a restricted country. However, Singapore has not designated any country as restricted for the moment, so it’s an academic exercise at this point. 

What about unvaccinated travellers?

✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
(w.e.f. 26 April 2022)
Unvax.
(Aged 13 and above)
  • Most unvaccinated travellers who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents will be barred from entry from 1 April 2022, with limited exceptions
  • Apply for entry approval (required for short-term visitors, or LTP holder aged 18 and above [aged 13 and above from 1 July 2022])
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses (required for short-term visitors)
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Download and install TraceTogether (Android | iOS)
  • Serve 7-day SHN at home or hotel
  • Take PCR test at the end of 7-day SHN*
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt,

Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to take a pre-departure test as per the guidelines above, well as comply with other regulations like a 7-day SHN on arrival and a further PCR test before release into the community. 

In other words, nothing changes for this group from 26 April 2022. 

Pre-departure testing may be required for travel out of Singapore

Just to be clear: pre-departure testing has been scrapped for travel into Singapore; it may still be required for travel out of Singapore depending on where you’re heading.

A non-exhaustive list of countries which still require pre-departure testing is given below. 

CountryPre-Departure Test
(time before departure)
🇫🇯 FijiART (24h)
🇮🇩 IndonesiaPCR (48h)
🇲🇾 MalaysiaBy air: ART (2 days)
By land: Not required
🇵🇭 PhilippinesART (24h)
🇶🇦 QatarPCR (48h)
🇰🇷 South KoreaPCR (48h)
🇻🇳 VietnamART (24h)
🇺🇸 United StatesART (1 day)

However, many others have scrapped pre-departure testing altogether: 

  • Australia (NSW, QLD, SA require on-arrival testing via ARTs)
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • EU (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden)
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Norway
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand (on-arrival testing required till 1 May 2022)
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom

To keep abreast of the latest pre-departure testing requirements for a given country, refer to TIMATIC or Singapore Airlines’ travel advisory page.

Complete Guide to VTF travel

Travel to Singapore is now extremely straightforward, but for those who want a clearer picture  of who counts as fully vaccinated, how the VTF differs from the VTL, and what happens if you test positive in Singapore, do refer to my guide below.

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

Conclusion

From 26 April 2022, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before returning to Singapore. 

Testing on arrival was already scrapped from 1 April 2022, which means that after 763 days, flying to Singapore is finally back to pre-COVID conditions. That’s cause for celebration, surely.

For those nervous about being on an aircraft full of untested individuals, all I can say is we did that everyday before COVID, and no one seemed to mind. Being vaccinated and boosted is your best defence, and in any case I don’t think masking on planes will go away anytime soon.

It’s all in line with treating COVID-19 as a mild, manageable disease, and a necessary step for returning to normality.

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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Muneer

Flying out of Rome on 25 Apr and arriving in Singapore on 26 Apr morning. Will I need a Pre-departure test for checking in at airport?

lovebkk

No

Muneer

Sure, Aaron. Will get tested so that there are no issues at check-in..Thanks.

Jpatokal

Masking on planes already went away in the US, and European carriers like Finnair are already following suit. It’s a matter of time until SQ also does so.

Alian

It’s not the airlines but the country rules. So SQ would not have much say

Jpatokal

SQ, Changi and the government (CAAS etc) are joined at the hip. Once the government starts to feel that Singapore is losing too much business over masks, and in particular alternative hubs like Dubai start dropping their mandates, they’ll change their tune fast enough.

Freddy

MMTF/MOH/CAAS makes the call

Spoon

Conveniently left out that masking on planes went away in the US because of Trump-appointed federal judge Kathryn Mizelle, not because of US government decision. You won’t find that happening in Singapore. For example, AC is still enforcing masks on planes. It’s a simple and sensible move, except in Murica where everything is politicised.

Jpatokal

So Trump is dictating policy to KLM, British Airways and Finnair now? They’ve also dropped their mask mandates.

Spoon

Nice whataboutism move there, Jani. Your original comment implied that because “masking on planes already went away in the US”, other airlines like Finnair were following that lead, and therefore it was writing on the wall that SQ would do so sooner rather later, no? But the premise of your argument was flawed (unsurprisingly, given your adherence to more whataboutism) since the dropping of mask mandates was in fact contrary to CDC’s desire in the US. Then when called out for it, you come up with this rubbish Hail Mary move and talk about Trump dictating policy. I’m not going… Read more »

Harry

Great news, thanks

Joe

Any idea if there is still a need for pre-departure ART testing for cruises-to-nowhere from 26 Apr onwards? Also will cruises approved capacity increased from 75% to 100%?

Last edited 2 months ago by Joe
Mark

So while travel to Singapore is back to 2019-style, and travel from Singapore to a number of countries is also back to 2019-style, Japan remains fully closed with no options at all for a tourist to enter. So frustrating.

Firdaus

Hi. To confirm, switzerland doesn’t required any predeparture art test to the country from Singapore?

Jimmy

Hi Aaron, knowing that you are interested in this, today, Japan PM gave a speech in London. Extracted below is a paragraph from the transcript of his speech about next date to note

“We have now eased border control measures significantly, with the next easing taking place in June, when Japan will introduce a smoother entry process similar to that of other G7 members.”

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