The United States will drop its pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for international travellers from Sunday 12 June 2022 at 12.01 a.m, eliminating the need to present a negative PCR or ART result before boarding.
For the moment, this is being positioned as a suspension, with the decision to be reassessed in 90 days. However, barring some major outbreak, it’s hard to see the decision being reversed.
With the removal of testing, fully vaccinated Singapore residents will be able to travel to the USA and back with no testing required on either end.
USA removes COVID-19 testing for international arrivals
Currently, travellers to the USA are required to take a pre-departure ART or PCR test within 1 day of departure. For example, if their flight is at 5 p.m on a Friday, they may take the test anytime from 12.01 a.m on Thursday onwards.
Testing is required regardless of vaccination status, although children aged below two are exempt.
From Sunday 12 June 2022 at 12.01 a.m (this refers to the time of your departure to the USA, and works out to 12.01 p.m Singapore time), the testing requirement will be scrapped for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
|✈️ Requirements for travel to USA|
(from 12 June 2022)
However, do remember that full vaccination with an approved COVID-19 vaccine is a mandatory requirement for entering the USA, except for US nationals and residents. This must be completed at least 14 days prior to travel, and no booster dose is currently required.
|🇺🇸 Recognised vaccines for USA entry|
Travellers to the USA must complete an Attestation Form, which will presumably be updated to remove the section that declares you have a negative COVID-19 test. The Attestation Form requires a sworn declaration that you have been fully vaccinated, and must be completed by any passenger aged two years or above.
Travellers from Visa Waiver Programme countries like Singapore must also apply for an ESTA, as detailed below.
Singaporeans and nationals of other visa waiver countries must apply for an ESTA before travelling to the USA (even if they only intend to transit en route to a third country).
This costs US$21 (recently increased from US$14), and is valid for multiple entries of up to 90 days per trip, over a two-year period. An ESTA allows business or pleasure travel, but not work (business= attend business meetings relating to employment outside the USA, work= set up lemonade stand).
Make sure you apply via the official ESTA website. There are many lookalikes out there which charge a lot more!
Most of the ESTA application is routine stuff; the only part likely to cause consternation is the Social Media section. It’s optional, and everyone’s going to have to decide for themselves if they’re comfortable filling it up.
I personally didn’t, and still got approved in less than 20 minutes. I think one of the perks of Singapore citizenship is that you’re automatically considered lower risk, so leaving it blank is unlikely to be a deal-breaker (though obviously I can’t speak to every situation).
It’s recommended that you apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before departure.
A new ESTA is required if your passport details have changed (e.g. if you recently renewed your passport), as a current ESTA linked to an old passport number cannot be used.
International travellers to the USA will no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test from 12 June 2022, which will save those from Singapore about S$10 each (based on the current cost of a tele-ART). Just remember that the requirement only kicks in for flights departing Singapore from 12.01 p.m on 12 June, due to the time zone differences.
With COVID-19 testing requirements rapidly getting dropped around the world, it was surprising to see the USA clinging on to them for so long, but better late than never I guess.