At last we have the news we’ve been anticipating regarding SHN-free travel for Singapore residents, with confirmation that fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore will be able to travel to and from Germany without quarantine from 8th September 2021, under a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangement.
“We will implement a new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) to facilitate fully vaccinated persons to travel into Singapore under reduced border measures. We will start pilot VTL arrangements with Brunei and Germany.”Singapore Ministry of Health
From Wednesday 8th September 2021, fully vaccinated Singapore residents and visitors arriving from Germany will be able to skip any Stay Home Notice (SHN) period, either in a hotel or at home, and enjoy almost immediate freedom, with additional COVID-19 PCR tests instead.
The same program is also available for those arriving in Singapore from Brunei on a pilot VTL, though this is likely to be less attractive to most of our readers looking for a leisure trip.
How will it work?
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), travellers using the VTL from Germany to Singapore will have to:
- Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (which also means aged 12 or over)
- Take a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of their scheduled flight departure time (from ~S$110)
- Travel to Singapore on a designated VTL flight
- Take an on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport (cost S$160)
- Isolate at home or in your hotel room until your on-arrival PCR test comes back negative (travel via private vehicle, private-hire car or taxi)
- You are now free to go about life as normal, except that you must…
- Take post-arrival PCR tests (pre-paid) by 3pm on Day 3 and Day 7 after arrival, at a designated clinic (cost 2 x S$94)
This applies to Singapore residents and nationals of other countries eligible to enter for business or leisure purposes, provided they have remained solely within Germany (or Singapore, before their trip commenced) for the last 21 consecutive days.
That does open up the possibility of a wider Europe trip outside Germany, taking any flight you like to get there, provided you are willing to spend the final 21 consecutive days in Germany before returning on a designated flight.
Do note however, S$458 in testing costs is not inconsequential.
The number of VTL travellers will be limited by available flights dedicated to the scheme. VTL travellers must also travel on non-stop designated flights to Singapore, which means no transit itineraries on Germany – Singapore routings at this stage.
You will be able to transit en-route to Germany, however you won’t be eligible to use the VTL on your way home unless you remain in Germany for 21+ days.
Short term visitors will need COVID-19 travel insurance to be able to utilise the VTL. It must include a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COCIVD-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs.
They will also have to download the TraceTogether app and retain its data for 21 days after leaving Singapore.
Here are the infographics from CAAS regarding the process:
Fully vaccinated status
An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after he or she has received the full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech / Comirnaty, Moderna or any vaccine in the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing.This includes Sinovac-Coronavac, Sinopharm and AstraZeneca’s vaccines.
Travellers must have been fully vaccinated in Singapore or in their country of departure (Germany or Brunei).
Application for pass holders and tourists
Prior to travelling to Singapore, short-term visitors and Long-Term Pass holders who wish to travel under the VTL will need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 7 and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore.
Applications for the VTP will start from 1st September 2021 for travel into Singapore from 8th September 2021.
Returning Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated will automatically qualify and will not need to apply for the VTP in order to travel under the VTL.
More details on this application process are promised from CAAS in due course.
“As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures in tandem with our roadmap to becoming a COVID resilient nation.”Ministry of Health
Travellers using the VTL will have to use a designated flights by Singapore Airlines or Lufthansa when bound for Singapore, to qualify for zero-SHN on arrival in the Lion City.
SIA and Lufthansa will operate their inaugural VTL services from Germany to Singapore on 7th, 8th and 9th September 2021, as shown below.
|7 Sep 2021|
|8 Sep 2021|
|9 Sep 2021|
Thereafter, seven Germany – Singapore services per week will qualify for the VTL process.
Germany to Singapore
(from 7th September 2021)
* Next day (e.g. if you depart on Monday, the local day when you arrive will be Tuesday)
Some of these Singapore Airlines flights were only planned yesterday, as we noted. Booking and redemption is now loaded for the initial dates through to the end of October 2021, through you can expect to pay Advantage rates for redemptions on VTL flights.
It doesn’t matter which flight you travel on from Singapore to Germany, where entry for Singapore residents is currently permitted with no specific restrictions.
Do be aware, however, that transits (e.g. Singapore – Doha – Frankfurt) will ‘reset’ your 21-day clock when it comes to using the VTL for your return trip.
For example if you take an indirect routing to Germany, you’ll then have to spend at least 21 clear days there on arrival before being eligible to take a VTL flight to Singapore.
Award rates for KrisFlyer members flying on Singapore Airlines between Singapore and Germany are as follows:
Singapore ↔ Germany
|First / Suites||125,000||220,000|
Flight SQ325 from Frankfurt to Singapore is operated by a 4-class Boeing 777-300ER, which means potential for First Class.
Though availability in this cabin hasn’t been loaded yet, we expect First Class will be an option, though likely at Advantage levels rather than Saver, given the pent-up demand.
Update: First Class has been added to the Frankfurt VTL flights.
New Singapore SHN categories
Singapore is also implementing new general arrival categories for arrival SHN requirements from 20th August 2021, 2359 hours, in addition to the VTL, based on their risk.
Where flight connections are made, the most restrictive country applies, including transit stops.
New Singapore SHN requirements
(from 21st August 2021)
|21-day travel history
(can include Singapore)
Partially vaccinated /
From 8th September
Brunei (VTL only)
Germany (VTL only)
Mainland China (excl. Jiangsu province)
Mainland China (Jiangsu province)
|7 days SHN at home
|14 days SHN at home
|14 days SHN in hotel|
All other countries
|14 days SHN in hotel|
Note that the Category I – IV restrictions apply for those not travelling on a VTL.
If you are a Singapore resident flying from Germany to Singapore without vaccination on a non-VTL flight, for example, you will follow the Category II requirements.
If your travel history requires SHN in a hotel, remember you can book a specific property in Singapore, if you’re willing to fork out for a suite! Check out our comprehensive guide here.
What about travelling to Germany?
Germany has no entry restrictions for Singapore residents, regardless of their nationality or the purpose of their journey.
You must have been living in Singapore in the past 6 months, or be fully vaccinated. Arrival quarantine is not required.
All individuals aged six years or older travelling to Germany by air must hold one of the following before entering Germany:
- Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination
Proof of vaccination (i.e. both doses) against COVID-19 in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish in digital or paper form. The full list of recognised vaccines includes the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently administered in Singapore. A period of at least 14 days must have elapsed since receiving the last vaccine dose; or
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result
A negative test result obtained using nucleic acid amplification technology (e.g. PCR or PoC-PCR) in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish. The test must have been carried out within 72 hours prior to arrival in Germany; or
- A negative antigen rapid test result
Given that those wishing to use the VTL to return to Singapore will have to be fully vaccinated, the first option is the most obvious one here!
That means no need to take a pre-departure PCR test before departing Singapore in most cases.
The Hong Kong ATB is over
In other news, Singapore and Hong Kong have abandoned their plans to form a quarantine-free ‘travel bubble’ between the two cities.
This is not unexpected, while Hong Kong has only 40% full vaccination and continues to pursue a ‘zero COVID’ strategy, and Singapore enters a more relaxed ‘endemic COVID’ phase as far as local and border measures are concerned.
Germany was top of the list as one of the countries with low COVID-19 infection rates and high vaccination levels, so it’s not surprising to see it as the first real two-way quarantine-free travel option for Singapore residents.
Unfortunately, much like the now-dead Hong Kong ATB, designated flights and multiple COVID-19 tests are a requirement.
Short-term visitors and Long-Term Pass holders will also need to apply for permission to use the new vaccinated travel lane, though Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated will be exempt.
Those vaccinated outside Singapore or Germany will also not be eligible to use the VTL at this stage, which is a shame.
Despite the various requirements, it’s great news to start seeing relaxation like this now that Singapore has achieved close to 80% fully vaccinated status across its population.
Let’s hope for a successful launch this time and more countries joining the VTL list in the months ahead!
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)