Changi Airport Singapore Airlines Travel Travel Bubbles

Complete guide to the Singapore – Germany Vaccinated Travel Lane

The Singapore - Germany Vaccinated Travel Lane is set to get underway on 8th September.

Here's all you need to know about the process, including 'designated VTL flights', award prices, COVID testing and insurance.

Latest Updates

  • 28th August
    Lufthansa VTL services commence on 16th September 2021. First Class will not be available until at least November 2021.
  • 25th August
    36 designated clinics for post-arrival (Day 3 and Day 7) tests have been announced
    Singapore Airlines is now offering Book The Cook on its VTL flights from Frankfurt to Singapore
  • 23rd August
    Singapore Airlines is now offering First Class on its VTL flights from Frankfurt to Singapore

As Singapore moves into ‘endemic COVID’ phase, with around 80% full vaccination among its 5.7 million resident population, a gradual relaxation of border restrictions is finally starting to take effect, leading to the announcement of the first Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs).

This pilot programme will allow testing to replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice (SHN) periods on arrival in Singapore for those visiting as tourists or for residents returning from an overseas trip.

Germany and Brunei made the initial list, effective from 8th September 2021, and there are no prizes for guessing which of the two most of our readers are eyeing for a trip!

Here’s our detailed rundown of the process for vaccinated travellers heading to and from Germany from next month.

Singapore – Germany VTL

Key Features

  • Must have stayed in Germany and/or Singapore for 21 days
  • Travel from Germany to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
  • No restrictions on travel purpose or itineraries
  • Must be fully vaccinated in Singapore or Germany
  • Children under 12 are not eligible
  • Visitors and Singapore pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
  • COVID-19 PCR testing replaces quarantine / Stay-Home Notice in Singapore

Eligibility

To be eligible to travel from Germany to Singapore via the VTL from 8th September 2021, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Have no travel history to any place other than Singapore or Germany in the last consecutive 21 days prior to departure from Germany to Singapore
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in either Germany or Singapore, with the final dose completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore
  • Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 7 and 30 days before your intended date of entry into Singapore (visitors and LTP holders only)*
  • Have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a recognised testing institution within 48 hours prior to departure from Germany
  • Travel on designated VTL flights, as listed below
  • Have another COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Singapore
  • Have two further COVID-19 PCR tests on day 3 and day 7 after arriving in Singapore

* 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.

Fully vaccinated status relates to having passed 14 days after your full regimen of Pfizer-BioNTech / Comirnaty, Moderna or a WHO EUL vaccine, which must have been administered in Singapore or Germany.

Overall, four COVID-19 PCR tests will be required in place of the regular two tests for those arriving in Singapore from Germany via the ‘Category II’ travel lane.

In turn, the usual 7 days of SHN at home will not be required for VTL travellers.

Germany has had no entry restrictions for Singapore residents since October 2020, regardless of your nationality or the purpose of your journey.

What about children under 12?

Since travel on the VTL requires full vaccination, which is not yet available for children under the age of 12 in either Germany or Singapore, it will not be possible for younger children to use the scheme at this stage.

The VTL will unfortunately not be open to children under 12. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
  • Families in Singapore with children under 12 can travel to Germany, but will have to use the ‘Category II’ travel lane on their return (7 days home SHN).
  • Families in Germany with children under 12 will not be able to travel to Singapore.

This is disappointing news for many, and errs very much on the side of caution from Singapore’s perspective. Hopefully we will see some relaxation here as the pilot scheme progresses.

Meanwhile it looks likely that vaccines will be approved for children under 12 in the months ahead.

Can you travel to other countries?

Yes – sort of. If you wish to travel to other European countries for example, this is possible, and you don’t even need to fly from Singapore to Germany in the first place to use the VTL on your return.

The 21-day travel history restriction will still be enforced, however, so you’ll have to finish your trip in Germany for at least three weeks before taking your VTL flight home, if you have visited another country.

Otherwise you will have to take a non-VTL flight home, with arrival restrictions imposed for the highest risk country in your 21-day consecutive travel history applicable.

Popping over to Austria during your trip may seem harmless, but you should not do this and then travel to Singapore on the VTL without then spending 21 further consecutive days in Germany. (Photo: Hasmik Ghazaryan Olson / Shutterstock)

While the Schengen zone in Europe is ‘borderless’, remember you will have to make a health declaration prior to using the VTL stating that you have only been in Singapore and/or Germany for the last 21 consecutive days.

False declarations can result in enforcement under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Pro Tip: You can take domestic flights within Germany without affecting your return VTL eligibility.

VTL designated flights

To qualify for SHN-free arrival in Singapore, the VTL will require you to travel on designated flights from Germany to Singapore, operated by Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

These flights will only carry VTL passengers (no transit passengers or unvaccinated travellers are allowed). Masks will still have to be worn except while eating and drinking, and SIA crew will continue to offer a simplified meal service to reduce interaction.

(Image: Singapore Airlines)

Inaugural flights

SIA will operate its inaugural VTL services from Germany to Singapore on 7th and 8th September 2021, with Lufthansa following on 16th September 2021, as shown below.

Frankfurt    Singapore

SQ325
777-300ER
7 Sep 2021
FRA
22:00
SIN
16:25
(+1 day)

Munich    Singapore

SQ331
A350-900
8 Sep 2021
MUC
13:15
SIN
07:05
(+1 day)

Frankfurt    Singapore

LH778
A340-300
16 Sep 2021
FRA
21:55
SIN
16:45
(+1 day)

Remember, since Singapore’s entry restrictions for VTL travellers take effect on 8th September 2021, the overnight SQ325 flight departing Frankfurt on 7th September 2021 is the first eligible service, landing into Changi the following afternoon.

Initially, five Germany – Singapore services per week will qualify for the VTL process, three from Frankfurt and two from Munich, operated by Singapore Airlines.

Germany to Singapore
VTL flights
(7th – 15th September 2021)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ331
A350-900
     
MUC
13:15
SIN

07:05*
SQ325
777-300ER
       
FRA

22:00
SIN

16:25*

* Next day (e.g. if you depart on Monday, the local day when you arrive will be Tuesday)

Once Lufthansa joins the VTL on 16th September 2021, there will be daily service with seven designated Germany – Singapore services per week, five from Frankfurt and two from Munich.

Germany to Singapore
VTL flights
(from 16th September 2021)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ331
A350-900
         
MUC
13:15
SIN

07:05*
LH778
A340-300
         
FRA

21:55
SIN

16:45*
SQ325
777-300ER
       
FRA

22:00
SIN

16:25*

* Next day (e.g. if you depart on Monday, the local day when you arrive will be Tuesday)

There are some minor timing adjustments to these services in the northern winter schedule from November 2021, however flight numbers and days of operation remain the same.

There are no designated VTL services from Singapore to Germany.

The VTL only applies for your return to Singapore, therefore travel from Singapore to Germany can be on any non-stop flight, without impacting your 21-day travel history for the Germany – Singapore (VTL) leg.

VTL flights are marked

Singapore Airlines is marking which flights are available to those wishing to use the Vaccinated Travel Lane between Germany and Singapore, for bookings on its website or mobile app.

Be careful not to book other Singapore Airlines flights, like SQ25 from Frankfurt to Singapore. These are non-VTL services, including transit passengers, and even though you are fully vaccinated you will not be allowed to follow the VTL process on arrival if you travel on one of these flights.

Lufthansa isn’t making it quite so clear unfortunately, only warning you that your flight is operating as a VTL service after you have selected it and proceeded to the ‘Configure Your Trip’ page, with a small advisory then appearing.

Transit flights

It is important to note that any transits (e.g. Singapore – Doha – Frankfurt) will reset your 21-day travel history ‘clock’ when it comes to using the VTL for your return trip.

Transiting on your way from Singapore to Germany will invalidate your VTL eligibility for the next 21 days. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

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.

If you take the Scoot flight to Berlin via Athens, you will also need to spend 21-days in Germany before using the VTL to fly to Singapore.

Those who want to make shorter trips of three weeks or less, which is likely to be most of our readers, must therefore take a non-stop flight to Germany in order to use the VTL on the way home.


 

 

Which aircraft?

Singapore Airlines is deploying its four-class Boeing 777-300ER on designated VTL flights from Frankfurt to Singapore (SQ325), and its three-class Airbus A350 Long Haul from Munich to Singapore (SQ331).

Lufthansa is using its three-class Airbus A340-300s from Frankfurt to Singapore (LH778) during September and October 2021, upgauging to the four-class Boeing 747-8 from October 2021 November 2021.

Here’s how the aircraft configurations compare:

Germany – Singapore VTL
Aircraft Types

  Singapore Airlines Lufthansa
A350-900
777-300ER A340-300
747-8
First
4

8
Business 42
48
30
80
Premium
Economy
24
28
28 32
Economy 187
184
221
244
Total 253 264 279 364
Singapore Airlines will operate its Boeing 777-300ER on the Frankfurt VTL flights. (Photo: Plane’s Portrait Aviation Media / Malcolm Lu)

First Class

Singapore Airlines is now offering its 4-seat First Class cabin on VTL flights operated by its Boeing 777-300ER, having originally excluded the option when the scheme was first announced.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER First Class. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you haven’t experienced it before, don’t miss our full review of SIA’s Boeing 777-300ER First Class.

Lufthansa is making First Class on its Boeing 747-8 available on its Thursday and Saturday VTL flights from 2nd October 2021 4th November 2021.

Lufthansa First Class on the Boeing 747-8. (Photo: Lufthansa Group)

Pricing is of course not cheap, at around S$8,200 one-way from Singapore to Frankfurt or S$11,500 for a round-trip in this cabin.

In the other direction it’s even more expensive, from Frankfurt to Singapore starting at S$11,600 one-way or S$13,500 for a round-trip.

Economy ‘Sleeper Row’

On Lufthansa flights between Singapore and Frankfurt Economy Class passengers now have the option of paying extra at check-in for a row of three or four seats to themselves, including a mattress topper, pillow and blanket, from an additional S$255.

That’s great value for a long overnight flight, but there’s a catch! You can’t secure these rows in advance – they are based on availability and you won’t find out if the option is available until you check in.

Other seat types

On Singapore Airlines flights, it’s the popular long-haul 2013 Business Class seat in a 1-2-1 configuration to look forward to on VTL flights.

Singapore Airlines 2013 Business Class on the Airbus A350. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Those flying to or from Frankfurt on the Boeing 777-300ER get a slightly more spacious version of the same seat found on the A350 Long Haul.

A bit more room to stretch out in the Boeing 777-300ER Business Class seats. (Photo: Matt@PEK via Flickr)

Opting for a bulkhead seat will give you even more legroom, as follows:

Airbus A350

  • 11A & 11K (window)
  • 11D & 11F (middle pair)
  • 19A & 19K (window)
  • 19D & 19F (middle pair)

Boeing 777

  • 11A & 11K (window)
  • 11D & 11F (middle pair)
  • 15A & 15K (window)
  • 15D & 15F (middle pair)
It’s worth trying to secure a bulkhead row seat in Business Class, for additional legroom. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

In Premium Economy it’s a small three or four-row cabin in a 2-4-2 configuration, so the window pairs here are good for couples.

Singapore Airlines A350 Premium Economy. (Photo: View from the wing)

Good news again on the Boeing 777-300ER for those flying to or from Frankfurt – these seats are 19.5 inches wide (half an inch wider than on the Airbus A350).

In Economy Class it’s the 2013 seat on the Boeing 777-300ER and most A350 Long-Haul aircraft (80% of that fleet), or the newer 2017 seat if you’re on board a more recently delivered A350 LH.

Lufthansa’s Business Class seat is in a 2-2-2 configuration, unless you can snag the upper deck on the Boeing 747-8 where it’s a more intimate 2-2 layout.

Lufthansa Business Class. (Photo: Lufthansa Group)

The seats don’t have much privacy, but work quite nicely for couples since they are angled slightly towards one another.

Cash fares

Here’s how current cash fares look on the Singapore – Frankfurt route during September and October 2021, based on a round-trip SIN-FRA-SIN booking, at the time of writing.

September & October 2021

  Economy Premium Business First*

SIA
S$700 –
S$900
S$2,300 S$4,400 –
S$5,000
S$8,200 –
S$13,800

LH
S$580 –
S$590
S$2,300 S$4,300 –
S$6,800
S$8,200 –
S$9,000

Fares on SIA’s Munich route are similar to the airline’s Frankfurt rates.

Award rates

Singapore Airlines is currently offering only Advantage redemption rates in First Class and Business Class on its VTL flights, with some additional Saver space available for PPS Club members, as usual.

In Economy Class and Premium Economy Saver awards are on offer for all members.

Redemption rates are as follows.

Singapore Airlines

Class / Route
Saver Advantage
Economy SIN > FRA 38,000
(+S$42)
70,000
(+S$42)
FRA > SIN 38,000
(+S$170)*
70,000
(+S$170)*
Premium Economy SIN > FRA 64,500
(+S$42)
n/a
FRA > SIN 64,500
(+S$170)*
n/a
Business SIN > FRA 92,000
(+S$42)
120,000
(+S$42)
FRA > SIN 92,000
(+S$170)*
120,000
(+S$170)*
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Seats-1CD-2-Small-MM.jpgFirst SIN > FRA 125,000
(+S$42)
220,000
(+S$42)
FRA > SIN 125,000
(+S$170)
220,000
(+S$170)

* Taxes from Munich are slightly lower, at around S$145.

Note that you can’t currently redeem Singapore Airlines flights using miles or points in partner programmes (e.g. Lifemiles), due to COVID-19 complications.

Lufthansa awards will set you back much more in taxes and fees compared to a Singapore Airlines redemption, due to the airline’s high fuel surcharge.

Lufthansa

Class / Route
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is I-Survived-Lufthansa-Economy-Class-17.jpg
Economy
SIN > FRA 45,000
(+S$432)
FRA > SIN 45,000
(+S$555)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is LH-777-J-Seats-Small-Lufthansa-Group.jpgBusiness SIN > FRA 92,000
(+S$432)
FRA > SIN 92,000
(+S$555)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is LH-748-First-Small-Upgraded-Points.jpgFirst SIN > FRA 140,500
(+S$432)
FRA > SIN 140,500
(+S$555)

Despite the higher taxes, an identical Business Class award rate for Lufthansa flights is worth considering from Frankfurt to Singapore if you can find award space and SIA still only has Advantage seats available.

This could be combined with a one-way SIA Saver redemption from Singapore to Germany, which are more widely available since any flight can be taken.

Lufthansa typically only offers its First Class cabin for redemption using partner frequent flyer programmes like KrisFlyer 14 days before departure.


 

 

The VTL process

Here’s how the process works, assuming travel from Singapore to Germany and back again via the ATL.

Pre-departure process (Singapore to Germany)

Ensure you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure, enabling you to use the VTL on your return

Book any non-stop flight to Germany, if your stay there will be less than 21 days. For longer stays, you can take a connecting flight and still use the VTL on your return


Pre-departure process (Germany to Singapore)

Ensure you are have received both doses of an eligible COVID-19 vaccine 14+ days prior to departure date

Apply for a VTP approval (for Singapore long-term pass holders and visitors only)

7 to 30 days before departure

Prepay for Day 3 and Day 7 post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests

Book a designated VTL flight

Within 72h of arrival

Submit your online SG Arrival Card

Take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test

Within 48h of departure
On departure day

Bring a mobile device with the TraceTogether app downloaded and registered, your vaccination certificate and VTP

Bring proof of COVID-19 insurance (not required for Singapore passport holders or long-term pass holders)

On departure day

Post-arrival process (Germany to Singapore)

Take an arrival COVID-19 PCR test (Day 1)

Activate your TraceTogether app (short-term visitors only)

After your test
After your test

Take private transport (e.g. taxi or Grab) to your self-isolation location, which can be your own home for Singapore residents, or a designated hotel. Remain there until you receive a negative result. This may take six to eight hours.

Make an appointment for your Day 3 and Day 7 COVID-19 PCR tests

Day 3 after arrival

Take a COVID-19 PCR test at a designated clinic* by 3pm (Day 3 is 2 days after your arrival day. There is no need to self-isolate awaiting results)

Take a COVID-19 PCR test at a designated clinic* by 3pm (Day 7 is 6 days after your arrival day. There is no need to self-isolate awaiting results)

Day 7 after arrival

* The list of 36 designated clinics in Singapore has now been released. You do not need to visit the same designated clinic for your Day 3 and Day 7 swab tests.

Your VTL departure checklist

Here’s your checklist of items you’ll need to have with you before you head to the airport to check in for your VTL flight.

VTL Departure checklist
(Germany to Singapore)

COVID-19 vaccination certificate
Valid passport
Valid visa / VTP (if required)
Negative COVID-19 PCR test result (within 48h)
QR code receipt of Health Declaration
Mobile device with the TraceTogether app

Singapore pass holders and visitors

If you’re in Singapore on an Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit, or you are flying in from Germany as a short-term visitor, there’s an extra step if you want to use the Vaccinated Travel Lane, which is to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP).

Applications for the VTP will open on 1st September 2021, 0001 hours (Singapore time).

You must apply for the VTP must be made between seven and thirty calendar days prior to the intended date of entry into Singapore.

Once issued, the VTP is valid for single entry up to six calendar days from the intended day of entry to Singapore, giving you some flexibility if you need to take a later VTL flight than originally planned.

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.

Testing costs & clinics

The VTL for travel from Germany to Singapore requires four COVID-19 tests, with a total cost of around S$460 to S$550 per person, as outlined below.

Germany – Singapore VTL
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
Germany pre-departure* S$110 – S$200
Singapore arrival S$160
Day 3 test S$94
Day 7 test S$94
Total S$458 – S$548

* Prices vary between providers and locations.

This high cost per traveller will remain a deterrent for many, especially families, who will be forking out significant additional testing expenses in addition to flight and hotel costs.

Here is the latest list of approved clinics performing pre-departure PCR tests for VTL passengers:

  Germany pre-departure clinics

After arrival in Singapore, Day 3 and Day 7 tests must be conducted at one of 36 designated Raffles Medical clinics.

Day 1 is your arrival day, so you are actually taking these tests 2 days and 6 days after arrival in Singapore (e.g. land Monday, Day 3 test on Wednesday, Day 7 test on Sunday).

Pre-departure test timing

According to CAAS, you must take your pre-departure test within 48 hours of your VTL flight departure time when travelling from Germany to Singapore.

“Travellers must undergo this test within 48 hours before the scheduled departure time of their designated VTL flight to Singapore and obtain a negative test result certificate in English.”

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

That would mean, for example, that if you are departing from Frankfurt on SQ325 at 22:00 on Tuesday 7th September 2021, you must not take the test earlier than 22:00 on Sunday 5th September 2021.

The ICA also gives a similar example in its FAQs.

Singapore Airlines has a slightly different take on the requirement, suggesting the 48 hours applies before the scheduled departure day of the VTL flight.

“The pre-departure Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is valid for 48 hours for Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) customers, prior to the scheduled departure day of the flight.

“For example, in the case of 48 hours, if the flight is scheduled to depart on 15 October 2021, the COVID-19 PCR test must be taken no earlier than 13 October 2021.”

Singapore Airlines

If this is the case, you could take the pre-departure test from 00:00 on Sunday 5th September 2021, for a 22:00 departure on Tuesday 7th September 2021, giving you 10 additional hours to do so.

We are dubious about SIA’s statement here, which does not chime with the authorities. Until this inconsistency is clarified, we strongly suggest planning for the more restrictive (CAAS/ICA) requirement.

Luckily in Germany, COVID-19 PCR testing clinics generate results within 24 hours or even as short as 2-4 hours if you’re willing to pay a little extra.

What if you test positive?

With four COVID-19 tests on the journey between Germany and Singapore under the VTL programme, it’s a reasonable query to ask what will happen if you test positive for COVID-19!

If you test positive for COVID-19, Singapore Airlines says you may request for a refund for the unused portion of your ticket, with cancellation fees waived.

Overseas visitors who test positive for COVID-19 in Singapore will be sent to a government hospital for medical treatment.

Singapore residents overseas who test positive for COVID-19 will have to arrange treatment at their own expense.

If you test positive in Germany from a PCR test, the test provider is required to notify the local health office (Gesundheitsamt), which is responsible for monitoring self-isolation and will provide further guidance in individual cases.

You must then self-isolate in your home or where you are staying locally, or in another appropriate location enabling self-isolation. You may only leave your self-isolation location to carry out PCR tests.

Germany does not operate a system of managed quarantine in government facilities.

Mandatory self-isolation ceases once you record a negative PCR test. Otherwise self-isolation lasts for 14 days, or until the local health office confirms release.

Insurance

Short-term visitors travelling to Singapore on a VTL flight must purchase travel insurance, with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19 related medical treatments and hospitalisation costs, prior to travel to Singapore

Even for Singapore residents, it’s a very good idea to have travel insurance that also covers COVID-19 before your trip.

Options for Singapore residents visiting Germany include SIA’s own coverage (from AIG), now including enhanced COVID-19 clauses.

It’s also possible to get travel insurance from a third-party provider as usual, several of which include COVID-19 cover, including:

What if the VTL is suspended?

Unlike the now-defunct Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble, where a specific set of criteria was outlined for suspension of quarantine-free travel, operation of the VTL is at the discretion of the Singapore Government.

“Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevant authorities in Singapore may, at their own discretion, introduce new measures or requirements to safeguard public health. This may include changes to the VTL conditions or cancellation of the VTP at short notice. Travellers will be notified of changes to the VTL conditions or cancellation of their VTP.”

Singapore ICA

If your Singapore Airlines flight is cancelled or reverted to a non-VTL flight, you will be eligible for a refund, with a waiver of any applicable cancellation fees, including for non-refundable fare types and award tickets.

Singapore Airlines will provide fee-free refunds or miles redeposit in the event of VTL cancellation, if you no longer wish to travel. (Photo: Russell Lee)

We are clarifying Lufthansa’s policy at the time of writing and will update this section with their response.

If you are unable to return to your Singapore before a suspension or cancellation of the VTL takes effect, you will have to either wait for the VTL to resume (assuming that’s proposed), or complete the prevailing SHN period for arrivals from Germany in force at the time.

Here’s how it currently looks, with Germany as a ‘Category II’ country:

Return to Singapore

  • No pre-departure test required
  • COVID-19 PCR test on-arrival
  • Seven-day SHN at self-sourced accommodation, including place of residence and COVID-19 PCR test at the end of SHN

Bear in mind, however, that if the VTL is suspended or cancelled, Germany’s status will probably have become more restrictive (Category III or IV).

Consider the ‘Category II’ lane

If you can work from home and live alone, or everyone in your household travels with you on the same itinerary, it’s arguably much easier to follow the ‘Category II’ travel lane from Germany to Singapore and then self-isolate in your residence for 7 days.

This allows you to take any flight, including those with transits in Category I and II countries (e.g. Hong Kong).

Since vaccination is not required, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers can use these arrival procedures, also meaning you can travel with children under 12.

With two fewer PCR tests, costs are also reduced, and there’s no hassle arranging a test while you’re in Germany.

There’s also the opportunity to more easily snag a Saver award rate, rather than an Advantage one, or transit in Hong Kong if you wish, plus you can travel straight away – no need to time your return date for 8th September onwards.

The VTL on the other hand could be costing you more miles and more money – while involving additional testing and less travel flexibility – for 7 days of freedom in return.

Other resources

Please also refer to these official resources for details of the latest VTL process, which may be updated periodically.


 

 

Summary

Singapore is starting small and cautiously with its first major Vaccinated Travel Lane country – Germany.

It’s not the simplest travel process, and the testing is expensive, but with the recent death of the Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble this does represent the first real two-way quarantine-free leisure travel opportunity for most of us in over 18 months.

(Photo: Roman Kraft)

Let’s hope the arrangement goes ahead smoothly, and proves that high vaccination levels and testing are our keys to unlocking future travel arrangements like this one.

We’ve hopefully covered most if not all of the VTL’s detailed aspects here, but if we missed anything, made a mistake or you have any other questions, let us know in the comments section below.

38 comments

    1. No there is no minimum stay requirement. Provided your travel history solely includes Singapore and Germany in the last 21 consecutive days, you can take a VTL flight from Germany to Singapore.

      Just go for the day, if you like!

      1. I am puzzled how the Singaporean or German authorities can check your 21 day travel history in Europe – once in Germany there are no boarder controls with countries like France, the Netherlands or Austria?

      2. You must self-declare that you have remained in Singapore and/or Germany for the last 21 consecutive days. There are penalties for false declarations.

        I agree with you that SG can’t easily check your travel history at the Europe side. That doesn’t mean they can’t subsequently prove non-compliance if they suspect it, investigate at random, or get tipped off.

        It’s not worth it.

  1. A clarification on Category II. I was rather confused whether someone returning from Germany can actually serve their SHN at home (with own room and toilet) but mix with other people who didn’t travel with you (eg. domestic helpers, other residents of the same home). The rules on ICA’s website doesn’t explicitly say that you can’t, even though the general rule for 14 days SHN says you can’t.

    So I called ICA and spoke to someone to clarify (they appear to be aware of this). The response was, “since the website didn’t explicitly mention this, you’re allowed to mix with people who don’t share your same travel history, as long as the requirement of room with adjoining toilet is met”. Interesting.

    1. I agree it’s confusing.

      But doesn’t what ICA told you go against its own requirements for home SHN here?

      “Avoid contact with other persons residing in the same place of residence who are not serving SHN with you.”

      “If sharing a place of residence with others, stay in your own room at all times, and use a dedicated toilet.”

      So a CAT II arrival sharing a residence with VTL returnees would be basically confined to their room for a week.

    2. that’s unfortunately incorrect. i called them this morning to clarify exactly this point. If you are returning from Germany and you have to serve 7 day SHN and choose your own place of residence, you can only do so if EVERYONE registered at that place traveled with you. If there are people at your residence that didnt (like your helper) you have to file an appeal via their webpage and ask them to be “opted in” to your SHN. If they approve, everyone has to serve SHN, if they dont, you wont be able to serve your SHN at your own residence.

      1. Refer to MOH announcement again: 7-day SHN at own residence doesn’t make reference to Annex A which describes further restrictions to doing it at own residence and application to opt out of SDF. Only 14-day SHN makes references to Annex A.

  2. Agree with you that Category 2 is way more practical! This VTL is a joke with the extra tests specific flights and so on so forth. I’ll go to Germany but with 7 day SHN in residence for sure, not this stupid VTL!

      1. Not to mention the only option for them, and for short-term visitors from Germany coming as tourists to escape the cold this winter!

        They can even move on from Singapore to Phuket and use the sandbox, then return home after some beach time. Oh to have such freedoms!!

    1. But wouldn’t the risk of being positive in Germany be the same for VTL and Cat II – because you undergo the same PCR test at Changi upon returning?

      1. On-arrival PCR test at Changi is fine since you’re already in Singapore (and equal on both fronts). But Cat II does not require pre-departure test in Germany. It’s quite sian when you sway sway kena false positive in Germany.

  3. The benefit of VTL (if you qualify) is that you have the option of flying First which is not the case for the non-VTL flights — should that be of interest to you. SQ mentioned they will open F for booking soon’ish.

  4. Thank you for this guide, which is truly useful!

    I’ve been looking at the fine print on the ICA site referencing to the 21 days in Germany. I believe that if I’d interpreted it correctly, if my flight from Germany is 24 September, that means I must have been on Germain soil (continuously) from 4 September. Which is 21 days.

    If I’m on German soil only from 4 September around 2 pm, but my flight on 24 September is at 11 am, I suppose we’re not going into the details of hours, right? Or have I interpreted this incorrectly?

    1. Hi Sally,

      You’re not alone – quite a few people have been misinterpreting this requirement!

      You must have spent the last 21 consecutive days in Germany and/or Singapore to use the VTL flight to Singapore.

      If you have travelled to a different (third) country on your trip, like France, then you’re right you will have to spend a ‘fresh’ 21 clear days in Germany to be eligible for the VTL, but if you’ve simply travelled non-stop from Singapore you can stay in Germany for as little time as you like (e.g. arrive 2pm, leave 10pm the same day on VTL is fine!).

      Hope this clarifies.

      1. Thank you. I’m wondering if they count the number of hours, going into the details. The e.g. I’ve cited above, 4 September is not a full 24 hours to count as one day, and 24 September is also not a full day either. So what do they mean by “day” exactly?

      2. They don’t go into that much detail so I would suggest contacting ICA about that.

        Worst case – assume 21 clear consecutive calendar days are needed (i.e. not including your date of arrival in Germany from a country other than Singapore, and not including your date of departure to Singapore on the VTL).

  5. The official recognized lists (https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/statistics/accreditation-bodies-for-covid-19-testing as per MOH and SIA) for the PCR Testing Centers in Germany is really suspicious and strange.

    I am German and the webpages they link to are privately owned and maintained lists (i would assume with paid for listings). Out of curiosity I contacted 2 of the test centers and indeed their pricing is more than double than the usual tests (140 Euro vs 65 Euro). Furthermore I contacted my regional Health Officials and they directed me towards the official Hospital Test Centers of regional towns, not the private clinics listed on the webpage linked by MOH and SIA.

    Wonder how they arrived at choosing these links, they are clearly not correct nor representative.

    1. Passengers transiting through Hong Kong SAR, China must:
      – have a connecting flight booked on the same ticket, and
      – have all the boarding passes printed, and
      – have their baggage checked through until their final destination.

      Doesn’t seem likely!

  6. Germany as a ‘Category II’ country does not require pre departure PCR. They should remove this pre departure PCR for VTL at least for Singaporean.

  7. I’ll also add that the VTL is the only likely option for the 400,000 EP and S-pass holders in Singapore. Getting MoM approval has been notoriously difficult over the last 18 months, so looking forward to the first opportunity we get to travel again!

  8. If I travel to Germany and back to Singapore under non-VTL flights, can I spend sometime outside of Germany (in EU) while I am there, for example, go visit nearby Switzerland before going back to Germany to take the non-VTL flight back to Singapore. Would the 7-day SHN and 2 PCR tests still apply?

    1. No the 14-day home SHN (for fully vaxxed) would apply because Switzerland is Category 3. Also a pre departure PCR, on arrival PCR and Day 14 PCR.

      Basically the rules for the most restrictive category apply within your 21-day travel history.

  9. Travellers using category 2 (that are vaccinated but are opting to not using VTL and go to 7 days home quarantine instead) returning from Germany to Singapore needs to submit anything to the government or obtain any pre approval?

    1. Not for Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents I believe.

      Pass Holders would have to obtain entry approval and tourists (short term visitors) would not be allowed though.

      1. Thanks for your reply.. If we have helper at home who is not travelling with us , can we still do Self-Isolate at home for 7-days. We have option to send our helper to our relative’s place for 7 days.

      2. Check with STO to be sure but I think your helper can stay for the 7-day SHN for Category 2 arrivals like this.

        “Serve a 7-day SHN in one of the following….

        …Place of residence (only occupied by the pass holder or family, including any helpers)”

        It doesn’t say your family or helper must share your travel history.

        That’s quite different from the 14-day home SHN option for Category 3 countries, which is much more strict and says you have to occupy your accommodation alone (i.e. no domestic helpers), or with family members/helpers, who are also vaccinated and have the same travel history, arrival date and SHN duration as you.

  10. The best guide I have seen. You saved me by detailing that you cannot book a transit flight to return on a VTL, which I did initially. There was no clear information anywhere that I could find, or at least not in one place. This was the most helpful information I could find anywhere.

  11. Hi Andrew, I looked at the Lufthansa flight 778 in December but it says the current schedule for the Thursday and Saturdays VTL flights are only confirmed up till 30th October. Would it be safe to assume the the VTL schedule will remain the same till December as written in your guide?

    Also, would it be safe to book the LH-SQ codeshare flight through SQ website marketed as SQ2007 operated by LH778? It is not indicated as a VTL flight on SQ website, although on LH website it is marketed as a VTL flight. Thanks!

    1. Yes I expect Lufthansa will continue to operate LH778 on Thursdays and Saturdays as VTL services, though this is subject to confirmation as the airline has still to confirm its winter schedule from 31st October.

      Booking a Lufthansa VTL flight as a codeshare under SQ flight number probably isn’t programmed in the system to show up as VTL on the SIA website, but it shouldn’t be a problem and you’ll still have to comply with all the VTL requirements to travel on that service.

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