Following successful pilot Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with Brunei and Germany from early September 2021, the Singapore Government has significantly expanded the quarantine-free scheme, and for the most part, aside from an early Omicron ‘blip’, has also progressively eased the requirements for travellers, like testing.
There are now 32 countries on the VTL list, most allowing two-way quarantine-free trips for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, by clearing a pre-departure test before flying to Singapore, followed by a self-test within 24 hours of arriving.
Here’s how the VTL list currently looks, with a wide range of countries offering quarantine-free travel, including both regional and long-haul options.
Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇰🇷 South Korea
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka
🇭🇰 Hong Kong
Updated: 16 March 2022
Here’s our detailed rundown of the process for vaccinated travellers heading to and from VTL countries, covering the latest requirements for arrivals in Singapore.
- Vaccination Certs
- Children 12 and under
- Travel to VTL countries on any flight
- Travel within the ‘VTL Zone’ (but be careful!)
- VTL designated flights
- Transit passengers on VTL flights
- The VTL process
- VTL departure checklist
- Singapore pass holders and visitors
- Testing costs
- Pre-departure test timing
- What if you test positive?
- Additional testing?
- Additional testing for travel to some VTL countries
- What if the VTL is suspended?
- Travelling to Singapore on a non-VTL flight
- Other resources
Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes
- Must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country, or any EU member state, or any non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC system
- Must have an accepted digital proof of vaccination
- Must have remained in a VTL country or countries and/or Singapore for the last 7 days
- Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’ (full list here)
- Unvaccinated children aged 12 or below are eligible when travelling with fully vaccinated adults
- Short-term visitors and Singapore work pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
- Pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 tests (except for children aged 2 or under) replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice (SHN) in Singapore
- Those recovered from COVID-19 in the last 7-90 days are exempt from all testing when travelling to Singapore and and SHN in Singapore
To be eligible to travel from a VTL country to Singapore quarantine-free, you must fulfil the following criteria:
- Have no travel history to any place other than Singapore or any VTL countries in the last consecutive 7 days prior to departure to Singapore
- Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (with any WHO approved vaccine) in Singapore, or any VTL country, or any EU member state, or any non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC system, with the final dose completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore
- Have digitally certifiable evidence of vaccination (QR code)
- Children aged 12 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt from the vaccination requirement, when travelling with fully vaccinated adults
- Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 3 and 60 days before your intended date of entry into Singapore (short-term visitors and work pass holders only)*
- Have a negative COVID-19 PCR or ART test result from a recognised testing institution within two calendar days prior to departure from the VTL country (children aged 2 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt)
- Travel on designated VTL flights on the final leg from a VTL country to Singapore
- Transits between VTL countries on non-VTL flights are allowed prior to taking a VTL flight to Singapore
- Complete a supervised COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours of arrival in Singapore, at a QTC/CTC facility, and self-isolate until a negative result is received (children 2 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt)
* Returning Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated will automatically qualify and will not need to apply for a VTP in order to travel under the VTL.
Overall, two COVID-19 tests are required – one ART / PCR before departure and one ART within 24 hours of arrival.
In turn, the usual 7 days of SHN at home when arriving from VTL countries is not required.
Vaccination certificate requirements
When the VTL with Germany was first introduced, travellers had to be fully vaccinated in either Singapore or Germany, which was (perhaps deliberately) quite restrictive in those early days, while the scheme was being used as a pilot.
Good news with progressive expansion is that passengers travelling on a VTL flight can now show their digitally-verifiable vaccination records from a range of sources, provided they have been fully vaccinated in any VTL country, or in Singapore.
For those vaccinated in 🇸🇬 Singapore, you can provide:
- Vaccination status on the TraceTogether or HealthHub app; or
- Vaccination certificate(s) issued by the Singapore Ministry of Health; or
- For work pass holders or short-term visitors with records in Singapore’s National Immunisation Registry, successful verification of their records on the Vaccinated Travel Pass (Air) application portal
For those vaccinated in 🇪🇺 European Union Member States, or non-EU countries that have joined the EUDCC system (listed here), you can provide:
- EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) of vaccination, showing the final dose in the vaccination series.
For those vaccinated in any other VTL country (e.g. Australia, India, Malaysia, UK, etc…) accepted proof of vaccination is country-specific.
A full list of acceptable proof of full vaccination issued in these countries is available here.
Children 12 and under
The VTL is open to unvaccinated children aged 12 or under, based on the calendar year of arrival in Singapore.
For example, for arrivals in 2022 those born after 1st January 2010 will not be required to provide proof of vaccination to board designated VTL flights.
Unvaccinated children must be travelling with fully vaccinated adults to be eligible. Unaccompanied minors are not permitted on designated VTL flights.
This rule applies to children who are short-term visitors, long-term pass holders, Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, and therefore eligible tourists can also travel with younger children to visit Singapore as a family, as well as any Singapore resident families returning.
Children aged 12 or below must comply with all other VTL conditions, including the 7-day travel history requirement, pre-departure and on-arrival testing, but in the case of short-term visitors they are not required to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP).
Children aged 2 or younger in the year of arrival in Singapore (i.e. those born on or after 1st January 2020 for arrivals in 2022) are exempt from the pre-departure COVID-19 ART/PCR testing requirement overseas, and the on-arrival COVID-19 supervised ART test within 24 hours of landing.
Children aged 13 and above in the current calendar year will need to be fully vaccinated to use the VTL.
You can travel to VTL countries on any flight
You won’t find any VTL designated flights from Singapore to a VTL country, because the requirement only applies to those arriving in Singapore.
Exception: 🇲🇾 Malaysia
Those using the VTL to take a trip to Malaysia will also have to take designated VTL flights from Singapore for quarantine-free entry to Malaysia on that bilateral scheme.
A full list of designated flights from Singapore to Malaysia is available here.
If you’re based in Singapore and taking an overseas trip to a VTL country, you can take a nonstop flight or transit only in another VTL or a Category 1 country en-route, to keep your 7-day travel history ‘clean’ for your return journey eligibility (unless your stay in VTL countries will be more than 7 days).
If you’re based overseas and are visiting Singapore using the VTL, it doesn’t matter what flight you take at the end of your trip to return home, subject to the prevailing arrival restrictions (based on travel history) of your destination country.
Travel within the ‘VTL Zone’
(but be careful!)
You can retain your quarantine-free arrival privileges in Singapore using the VTL on your return provided you have remained only within VTL countries (or Singapore itself) over the last 7 consecutive days before your VTL flight back to Singapore.
The only exceptions are Malaysia and South Korea, where you’ll need to have remained in Singapore itself for at least 14 days prior to travel, before setting off for those countries on a VTL trip.How is 7 days counted? Singapore counts your arrival day in a country as ‘Day 0’. If you enter the ‘VTL Zone’ from anywhere other than Singapore or a Category 1 country you will therefore have to spend a full 7 nights in VTL countries to be able to declare a ‘clean’ 7-day travel history and be eligible for a VTL flight to Singapore.
For example, if you fly from Portugal (non-VTL) to France (VTL) on 1st April, then remain in France, you should not take a VTL flight to Singapore before 8th April.
Trips can therefore incorporate several European countries (e.g. both France and Italy) and even more adventurous journeys like Singapore – France – Canada – USA – Netherlands – Singapore.
Only the final flight to Singapore must be a VTL-designated service.
You must be careful not to stray outside VTL countries, if your VTL flight to Singapore is within 7 days, since your travel history must include only Singapore and/or VTL countries during this period.
Given that many of these countries in Europe share a land border, you could unknowingly fall foul of the requirements.Pro Tip: Be especially careful when taking train journeys in Europe between VTL countries. Some of these (e.g. Paris – Amsterdam) pass through non-VTL countries (e.g. Belgium), voiding your eligibility to use a VTL flight to Singapore in the next 14 days.
Direct flights between VTL countries are a safer bet.
If you are going to ‘stray’ to (or through) a non-VTL country on a longer trip, do so at or near the beginning of your journey, so that the relevant ‘naughty’ travel history will fall outside the 7-day window when it comes time to return home.
These requirements equally apply to residents of VTL countries wishing to visit Singapore using the scheme.
For example a US resident who returned from a trip to Mexico (non-VTL) on 1st March 2022 should not take a VTL flight to Singapore before 8th March 2022.
While the Schengen zone in Europe is ‘borderless’, and there is a ‘Common Travel Area’ between the UK and Ireland, remember you will have to make a health declaration prior to using the VTL, stating that you have only been in Singapore and/or a VTL country for the last 7 consecutive days.
False declarations can result in enforcement under Singapore’s Infectious Diseases Act.
VTL designated flights
To qualify for SHN-free arrival in Singapore, the VTL requires you to travel on designated flights from a VTL country to Singapore, operated by a wide variety of airlines.
These flights will only carry VTL passengers (no unvaccinated travellers are allowed, with the exception of children).
Remember there are no designated VTL services from Singapore to VTL countries, apart from the Singapore – Malaysia VTL.
We have a continually updated designated VTL flights page showing all the available options to use the scheme from VTL countries to Singapore.
Transit passengers on VTL flights
Since 19th October 2021, passengers transiting at Changi to a further final destination have been allowed to take designated VTL flights.
This is a slight change from the original version of the VTL, where only point-to-point passengers were allowed to board designated VTL services.
If you’re booked on a designated VTL flight but are transiting in Changi, you can therefore still travel on the flight, provided:
- You are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; and
- You hold a valid vaccination certificate in English, issued by any country.
You must also meet all entry requirements for your destination country, which may include a pre-departure test (though one isn’t required to simply transit Changi any more).
Other points to note about transiting through Changi from a VTL flight:
- Transit passengers on VTL flights do not need to apply for a VTP.
- Transit passengers on VTL flights are exempt from the 7-day travel history requirement.
- Transit passengers on VTL flights are exempt from any on-arrival testing in Singapore.
- Transit passengers on VTL flights can roam the transit area freely, shop and use the lounges at Changi Airport.
Note that if you enter Singapore on the VTL and make an unprotected connection (i.e. two separate bookings) onward to a third country (e.g. Singapore Airlines Munich to Singapore, followed by Jetstar Asia Singapore to Phuket), you will not benefit from the simplified transit process.
In this case you will have to proceed through immigration, complete on-arrival testing within 24 hours, and then self-isolate until your results come through, before being able to proceed back to the airport for any onward flight.
The VTL process
Here’s how the process works, assuming travel from Singapore to a VTL country and back again via the VTL.
Pre-departure process (Singapore to VTL country)
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 a country in the ‘VTL Zone’, if your stay in VTL countries will be less than 7 days. (Exception: Malaysia VTL requires a designated VTL flight from Singapore)
For stays of at least 7 days in the ‘VTL Zone’, you can take a connecting flight via a non-VTL country (e.g. Bahrain) and still use the VTL on your return. Those visiting Singapore on the VTL can also return home via any routing.
Pre-departure process (VTL country to Singapore)
Apply for a VTP approval (for Singapore work pass holders and visitors only).
Book a designated VTL flight to Singapore.
Submit your online SG Arrival Card (not required for transit passengers on VTL flights).
Take a pre-departure COVID-19 ART or PCR test.
Bring a mobile device with the TraceTogether app downloaded and registered and your vaccination certificate.
Bring your VTP confirmation and proof of COVID-19 insurance (not required for Singapore passport holders or long-term pass holders).
Post-arrival process (VTL country to Singapore)
Activate your TraceTogether app (short-term visitors only).
Take private transport (e.g. taxi or Grab) to your self-isolation location, for example your place of residence or a designated hotel. Isolate there until going out for your post-arrival test.
Once your negative test result is received by SMS / email, you are free to leave your self isolation location.
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
|COVID-19 vaccination certificate|
|Valid visa / VTP (work pass holders and visitors only)|
|Negative COVID-19 ART or PCR test result (within 2 days of your departure)|
|QR code receipt of Health Declaration|
|Mobile device with the TraceTogether app|
|Proof of COVID-19 insurance (visitors only)|
Singapore pass holders and visitors
If you’re in Singapore on a Work Permit, or you are flying in from a VTL country as a short-term visitor, there’s an extra step if you want to use the Vaccinated Travel Lanes, which is to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP).
You must apply for the VTP between 3 and 60 calendar days prior to the intended date of entry into Singapore.
Once issued, the VTP is valid for single entry up to 13 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.
VTP Application Example
|21 Apr||21 Apr|
Returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders who are fully vaccinated will automatically qualify and will not need to apply for the VTP in order to travel under the VTL.
Check out our detailed guide on the VTP application process.
The VTL for travel from approved countries to Singapore requires two COVID-19 tests.
The total cost is around S$45 per person, as outlined below.
|Overseas pre-departure (clinic ART)*||~S$30|
|Singapore arrival (supervised ART)||S$15|
* Typical cost, prices vary between providers and locations.
This assumes you choose an ART (also known as RAT or ATK) test in your VTL country prior to departure. Those opting for a PCR test will incur higher costs in most countries.
Remember if you’re travelling with children under 2 years of age in the calendar year of arrival in Singapore, no testing is required for them.
You can read about our first-hand testing experiences when we travelled on the VTL between Germany and Singapore in September 2021, but the system was a fair bit more complicated then!
Pre-departure test timing
You must take your pre-departure test (professionally administered ART or PCR) within 2 days of your VTL flight departure date when travelling from a VTL country to Singapore.
Your test does not have to be conducted in your country of departure, for example if you are flying from the Netherlands to the UK to take your VTL designated flight from London to Singapore, a test issued in the Netherlands will suffice.
[Example:] If the pre-departure test is taken on 1 April 2022, it will be valid for departures up to 3 April 2022, 2359 hours.Singapore ICA
For example, if your VTL flight to Singapore leaves on Thursday 9th June 2022, just deduct two days from the local departure date. You can take your PDT anytime from 7th June 2022 at 00:00 hours onwards in this case, even if your flight departs at 23:55 on 9th June 2022.
What if you test positive?
If you test positive from your on-arrival supervised ART swab, the following procedure applies:
- Follow MOH’s Protocol 2 and self-isolate immediately.
- Immediately stop going to work and cancel your social activities to protect others from possibly being infected with COVID-19.
- Self-isolate for 72 hours at home or in your accommodation. This will allow you to safely recover, monitor your health and avoid spreading the virus further.
- At the end of 72 hours, you should perform a self-administered ART.
- You can stop self-isolation and resume normal activities when you get a negative result.
- If you continue to test positive, continue to self-isolate and self-test daily until you obtain a negative result, or until 12pm on Day 10 for vaccinated individuals, whichever comes earlier.
Singapore residents overseas who test positive for COVID-19 will have to arrange treatment at their own expense. In most VTL countries, you’ll be subject to mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for COVID-19.
Recovered travellers: Exemption from testing & SHN
Provided they have recovered from the virus within 90 days of their last infection, with appropriate documentary evidence, VTL travellers will be exempted from all testing and stay-home notice requirements.
- A positive COVID-19 PCR test or professionally-administered ART result 7-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore.
- A discharge memo that states the traveller’s name, and at least one other personal identifier such as the date of birth or passport number corresponding exactly with the information in the passport used for entry into Singapore. It should also state the date of infection or the discharge date, which must be within 7-90 days before the date of departure for Singapore. The memo must also be issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional.
This allows those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 to travel or return to Singapore after 7 days.
Furthermore, fully vaccinated travellers who are diagnosed or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 within 7 days of their departure for Singapore, or non-fully vaccinated travellers who are diagnosed or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 within 14 days of their departure for Singapore, may be permitted to depart for Singapore if they test negative for COVID-19 via a PCR test or professionally administered ART at least 72 hours after their initial diagnosis.
That potentially brings their travel or return to Singapore down to 3 days following a positive test.
Of course it’s also possible just to wait until the 7-day point and travel to Singapore without further testing, if that fits with your plans.
Additional testing for travel to some VTL countries
If you’re based in Singapore and heading on a VTL trip, it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll also be subject to the following testing requirements when travelling to certain countries from Singapore, in addition to VTL testing on your return:
Testing before travelling to selected countries
based on fully vaccinated travellers departing from Singapore by air
|Country||Test type||Test timing||Exemptions|
||48h before departure||—|
|Japan||PCR||72h before departure
||Age 5 or below|
|Myanmar||PCR||72h before arrival||Age 5 or below|
|Qatar||PCR||48h before departure
||Age 3 or below
Vaccinated Qataris and residents
|PCR 2 days before departure
ART 1 day before departure
|Age 5 or below|
|Taiwan||PCR||2 days before departure
Please check with the formal government websites to ensure these requirements still apply, or have not changed, when planning your trip.
We also recommend checking entry requirements for any VTL destination country, because rules can change at short notice.
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.
“All Short Term Visitors entering via [the] VTL are required to prepare an electronic or physical copy of their insurance policy to bring with them to facilitate their entry into Singapore.”Singapore ICA
The requirement does not apply to Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (SCs/PRs), as they are able to access Government subsidies and MediShield Life / Integrated Shield Plans to help pay for their medical bills, should they develop onset of symptoms for COVID-19 within 14 days of returning.
For Singapore residents using the VTL to travel overseas, it’s a very good idea to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19 before your trip.
Options for Singapore residents visiting VTL countries 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?
The VTL arrangement is subject to suspension or cancellation in certain conditions.
“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.
Other airlines operating VTL flights may have different policies, so it’s best to check with them directly before booking.
The way we see potential VTL suspension, there are two scenarios:
- The entire scheme is suspended (unlikely)
- Individual countries or regions are removed from the VTL
Suspension of the entire VTL scheme would be the worst-case scenario, but we can only foresee such a major decision in very critical circumstances, like a new vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant spreading across the globe (i.e. we’d be back to March 2020 – square one!).
A much more likely modification of the VTL would potentially exclude only certain countries or regions from the relevant 14-day travel history eligibility.
In this case, if all or part of your 14-day travel history included a now-prohibited country, you would probably have the following options:
- Wait for the VTL with that country to resume (assuming a temporary suspension)
- Fly to Singapore on a non-VTL flight (SG residents only) and complete the prevailing SHN requirements for that country (this would probably have moved to Category 3 or 4)
- Travel to a VTL country where the VTL is still running and “cleanse” your 14-day travel history there, before taking a VTL flight to Singapore
Hopefully the Singapore Government would give some notice of a country becoming excluded from the VTL scheme, allowing you to return on a VTL flight before any suspension took effect.
Travelling to Singapore on a non-VTL flight
Singapore residents can travel to Singapore on a non-VTL flight if they wish, but SHN on arrival is then based on the highest category from their 7-day travel history, including any transits, even if you remained within an airport’s transit area.
Singapore SHN requirements
(from 27th October)
|14-day travel history
(can include Singapore)
Partially vaccinated /
||7 days SHN at home
||10 days SHN at home
|Category 4||10 days SHN in hotel|
For example, if you wish to travel to Category 2 countries during your trip that aren’t on the VTL, then return within 14 days, you’ll have to take a non-VTL flight to Singapore.
Let’s say you spend a week in Greece (Category 2) then a week in France (Category 2 & VTL). Since Greece is not included in the VTL, you’ll have to take a non-VTL flight back to Singapore. Here are some examples:
- Singapore Airlines non-stop non-VTL: Category 2 arrival criteria applies (France is Category 2)
- Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong (Category 1): Category 2 arrival criteria applies (France is Category 2)
- British Airways via London (Category 2): Category 2 arrival criteria applies (France and the UK are both Category 2)
- Emirates via Dubai (Category 4): Category 4 arrival criteria applies (UAE is Category 4)
As you can see it is not possible to travel from a VTL country on a non-VTL flight to Singapore and have a quarantine-free arrival, since the minimum requirements (Category 2) currently require 7 days SHN at home.
Please also refer to these official resources for details of the latest VTL process, which may be updated periodically.
Singapore started small and cautiously with its Vaccinated Travel Lane concept to Brunei and Germany, with the latter the only effective quarantine-free two-way option at the time.
The welcome success of the scheme, with only two positive cases recorded among thousands who used it in the initial weeks, has thankfully given the government confidence to boost it significantly.
Over 20 countries in total are now eligible (or will be in the coming weeks), and the process has also been simplified.
Not only can unvaccinated children aged 12 or below use the VTL , but testing has been reduced and travellers can move within a large ‘VTL Zone’ of countries during their trip, for more interesting and varied itineraries.
It’s not the simplest travel process, but once you get your head round the concept (primarily that the VTL is only really for the journey to Singapore), it’s easy enough to understand.
Hopefully we have 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.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)