Changi Airport Travel VTL

Your full guide to Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL)

Singapore's latest Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme not only adds a host of countries to the list, but makes the process easier, more flexible, and more accessible for families.

Following successful pilot Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with Brunei and Germany since early September 2021, the Singapore Government has progressively made significant expansions to the scheme, along with some welcome improvements for travellers.

ADVERTISEMENT

There are now more than 20 countries on the VTL list, most allowing two-way quarantine-free trips for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, by clearing a pre-departure and on-arrival test when flying to Singapore, then taking a Day 3 and Day 7 test.

By mid December 2021, Singapore will have opened VTLs with 24 countries, providing a wide range of options for quarantine-free travel including both regional and long-haul options.

Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Already Running 🇦🇺 Australia
🇧🇳 Brunei
🇩🇪 Germany
🇰🇭 Cambodia
🇨🇦 Canada
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇫🇯 Fiji
🇫🇮 Finland
🇫🇷 France
🇮🇳 India
🇮🇩 Indonesia
🇮🇹 Italy
🇲🇾 Malaysia
🇲🇻 Maldives
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇰🇷 South Korea
🇪🇸 Spain
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka
🇸🇪 Sweden
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇹🇭 Thailand
🇹🇷 Turkey
🇬🇧 UK
🇺🇸 USA

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.

Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Key Features

  • 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 14 days
  • Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
  • Unvaccinated children aged 12 or below are eligible when travelling with fully vaccinated adults
  • Visitors and Singapore pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
  • Pre-departure, on-arrival and post-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 testing and SHN in Singapore

Eligibility

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 14 days prior to departure to Singapore
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (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 (visitors and LTP 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 COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Singapore (children 2 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt)
  • Complete post-arrival Day 2 to Day 7 self-swab COVID-19 ART tests, if you will leave your place of accommodation that day (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, up to eight COVID-19 tests may be required – one ART/PCR before departure, one PCR on arrival, and up to six more ARTs between Day 2 and Day 7 post-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 the early days, while the scheme was being used as a pilot.

Good news with this latest 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:

  • A vaccination status on the TraceTogether app or HealthHub app
  • A vaccination certificate issued by the Singapore Ministry of Health in English

For those vaccinated in a VTL country:

  • Holding an EU Digital COVID certificate (EUDCC) issued by any VTL country 🇪🇺
  • With a SMART Health Card – CommonTrust Network for the 🇺🇸 US and 🇨🇦 Canada
  • With a COVID Pass in the National Health Service (NHS) mobile app in the 🇬🇧 UK
  • With an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 🇦🇺 Australia
  • With a vaccination certificate issued by the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), as well as authorised clinics and hospitals in 🇰🇷 South Korea
  • Vaccination status on the BruHealth app for 🇧🇳 Brunei

Exception: 🇰🇷 South Korea

For those planning to take the VTL to South Korea, your vaccination certificate must be issued in Singapore or South Korea.

The Singapore government has said “we are currently working on accepting digitally verifiable vaccination certificates by other issuers. Further details will be shared at a later date”.

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 2021 those born after 1st January 2009 will not be required to provide proof of vaccination to board designated VTL flights.

If you’re arriving in Singapore in 2022, the exemption applies to those born after 1st January 2010.

The VTL is now open to children under 12. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Unvaccinated children must be travelling with fully vaccinated adults to be eligible. Unaccompanied minors are not permitted on VTL designated flights.

This rule applies to children who are short-term visitors, long-term pass holders, Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, and therefore eligible tourists based overseas can travel with younger children to visit Singapore as a family, as well as any resident families returning.

ADVERTISEMENT

Children aged 12 or below must comply with all other VTL conditions, including the 14-day travel history requirement, pre-departure and on-arrival testing, but in the case of short-term visitors or long-term pass holders, 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 2019 for arrivals in 2021) are exempt from the pre-departure COVID-19 ART/PCR testing requirement overseas, and the on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at Changi Airport.

Exception: 🇰🇷 South Korea

Those using the VTL to take a trip to South Korea will not be able to travel with unvaccinated children aged 6-11, because South Korea only allows unvaccinated children aged 5 or under to enter the country.

Children aged 13 and above in the current calendar year will need to be fully vaccinated to use the VTL. That means those in the 13-17 age range residing in some VTL countries will not be eligible, because they still cannot be vaccinated in their home country.

Some countries (e.g. UK) also administered only one dose of two-dose vaccines to children under 18. This does not meet Singapore’s criteria for full vaccination, and they will not be able to travel on the VTL until two weeks after a second dose has been given.



 


 

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 other VTL or Category 1 country en-route, to keep your 14-day travel history ‘clean’ for your return journey eligibility (unless your stay in VTL countries will be more than 14 days).

You should only transit in non-VTL Cat 2+ countries more than 14 days before your VTL flight departure to Singapore, so it works only for Singapore residents taking longer trips or visitors returning home from Singapore. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

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!)

With an expansion of the scheme, it’s now possible to 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 14 consecutive days before your 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 the country on a VTL trip.

How is 14 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 14 nights in VTL countries to be able to declare a ‘clean’ 14-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 November 2021, then remain in France, you should not take a VTL flight to Singapore before 15th November 2021.

With this expanded list, that now includes trips that can 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.

The ‘VTL Zone’

The “VTL Zone” countries
(click to enlarge)

You must be careful not to stray outside VTL countries, if your flight to Singapore is less than 14 days away, 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.
Be careful not to stray into any of the ‘gaps’ in Europe if your VTL flight to Singapore is within 14 days.
(click to enlarge)

Watch out for:

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Channel Islands (not part of the UK)
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man (not part of the UK)
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco (not part of France)
  • San Marino (not part of Italy)
  • Switzerland
  • Portugal
  • Vatican City (not part of Italy)
Popping over to Austria during your trip to a neighbouring VTL country may seem harmless, but you should not do this and then travel to Singapore on a VTL flight without then spending a further 14 days in a VTL country. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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 14-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 December 2021 should not take a VTL flight to Singapore before 15th December 2021.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 14 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 variety of airlines.

These flights will only carry VTL passengers (no unvaccinated travellers are allowed, with the exception of children).

(Image: Singapore Airlines)

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

From 19th October 2021, passengers transiting at Changi to a further final destination will be allowed to take designated VTL flights.

This is a slight change from the original version of the VTL, where only point-to-point passengers can board designated VTL services.

VTL flights are open to fully vaccinated transit passengers from 19th October

If you’re booked on a designated VTL flight but are transiting in Changi, you can therefore still retain your booking and travel on the flight (on or after 19th October), provided you are fully vaccinated and comply with the pre-departure testing requirements.

Pre-departure testing is a requirement for transiting at Changi anyway, for those originating in all current and upcoming VTL countries, so it’s only the full vaccination requirement that’s new here.

  • Transit passengers on VTL flights do not need to apply for a VTP.
  • Transit passengers on VTL flights are exempt from the 14-day travel history requirement.
  • Transit passengers on VTL flights are exempt from the on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport.
  • Transit passengers on VTL flights can roam the transit area freely, shop and use the lounges at Changi Airport, unless they have a 14-day travel history including specified countries.
  • Transit passengers on VTL flights are exempt from all post-arrival tests (obviously!).

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, 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 14 days. (Exception: Malaysia VTL requires a designated VTL flight from Singapore)

Trip less than 14 days
Trip more than 14 days, or returning home

For stays of at least 14 days in the ‘VTL Zone’, you can take a connecting flight via a non-VTL country (e.g. Qatar) 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)

Ensure you have received the final dose of an eligible COVID-19 vaccine 14+ days prior to arrival date, with accepted proof from an eligible country.

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

3 to 60 days before departure

Book a designated VTL flight to Singapore.

Pre-pay for on-arrival test at Changi Airport (not required for transit passengers on VTL flights).

Within 72h of arrival

Submit your online SG Arrival Card (not required for transit passengers on VTL flights).

Take a pre-departure COVID-19 ART or PCR test.

Within 2 days of departure
On departure day

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).

On departure day

Post-arrival process (VTL country to Singapore)

Take an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test.

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, for example your place of residence or a designated hotel. Remain there until you receive a negative result. This typically takes four to six to hours.

Once your negative test result is received by SMS, you are free to leave your self isolation location.

Freedom!
Day 2-7 Tests

Unless you are leaving Singapore that day, you must take a self-swab ART test before leaving your accommodation each day on Day 2 to Day 7. If you are not leaving your accommodation, a test is not required that day.

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
(VTL Country to Singapore)

COVID-19 vaccination certificate
Valid passport
Valid visa / VTP (if required)
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 an Employment Pass, S Pass or 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 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.

VTP Application Example

Application
Window
  Intended
Entry
  Validity
Window
20 Dec        
58Day Line        
15 Feb        
         
    18 Feb   18 Feb
        7Day Line
        24 Feb

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.

Check out our detailed guide on the VTP application process.

Testing costs

The VTL for travel from approved countries to Singapore requires two COVID-19 tests, plus up to six daily ART tests after arrival if you are leaving your place of accommodation each day.

ART test kits in Singapore cost around S$7 each at the time of writing.

The total cost is around S$200 per person, as outlined below.

 Singapore VTL
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
Overseas pre-departure (ART)* ~S$30
Singapore arrival (PCR) S$125
Day 2 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Day 3 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Day 4 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Day 5 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Day 6 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Day 7 (self ART)^ ~S$7
Total ~S$197

* Prices vary between providers and locations.
^ Only if you are leaving your accommodation that day.

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.

Germany pre-departure test

READ THE ARTICLE

Changi Airport arrival test

READ THE ARTICLE

Germany pre-departure test

READ THE ARTICLE

Changi Airport arrival test

READ THE ARTICLE

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 November 2021, it will be valid for departures up to 3 November 2021, 2359 hours.

Singapore ICA

For example, if your VTL flight to Singapore leaves on Thursday 9th December 2021, just deduct two days from the local departure date. You can take your PDT anytime from 7th December 2021 at 00:00 hours onwards in this case, even if your flight departs at 23:55 on 9th December 2021.



 


 

Day 2 to Day 7 tests

VTL travellers must complete the Day 2 to Day 7 self-tests only if they need to head out that day, using approved kits authorised for use in Singapore, as outlined here by the Health Sciences Authority, or using a rapid test kit approved in your origin country, if you are bringing your own kits from overseas.

These kits are not provided to travellers on arrival, they must instead be self procured.

Outlets like Watsons, Guardian and Unity pharmacies stock these kits for around S$6-7 per test, but remember you must not go out to purchase them during the self-isolation period between your on-arrival PCR test and the negative result notification (typically 4-6 hours).

ART test kits cost around S$7 in Singapore

These ART kits are designed for use by consumers and do not require a doctor’s prescription or authority letter to purchase them. Instructions are relatively simple to follow and results take 15 minutes.

You can also stock up on approved kits via home delivery services like Grab or PandaMart, if you don’t have a sufficient supply at home or have not brought kits approved for use in your home country with you.

Approved home test ART kits are available for doorstep delivery via some apps in Singapore

If you are leaving Singapore within a week of arriving on the VTL, you won’t have to undergo both of the post-arrival ART tests.

If you are leaving Singapore on Day 2 through Day 7, you are exempted from taking a scheduled ART on the day of departure. The traveller’s day of departure from Singapore is defined as the scheduled day of departure of their flight or ferry, or the day they clear departure immigration if they depart by land.

FAQs for the Day 2 to Day 7 tests are available here.

What if you test positive?

If you test positive from a self-swab Day 3 or Day 7 test, the good news is a confirmatory PCR test is no longer required for arrivals from 24th January.

Instead, 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.
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

Evidence includes:

  • 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 only 7 days, instead of the current 14 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 just 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 VTL countries

VTL country Test type Test timing Exemptions
Australia PCR
or
ART
PCR 3 days before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 4 or below
Brunei PCR 48h before departure
or
72h before departure (Singapore RGL)
Cambodia PCR 72h before arrival
Canada PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Denmark PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 48h before arrival
Age 14 or below
or
Danish Residents
Fiji PCR 3 days* before departure Age 11 or below
Finland PCR
or
ART
48h before arrival Age 15 or below
or
Finnish Citizens / PRs
France PCR
or
ART
48h before departure Age 11 or below
India PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Indonesia PCR 72h before departure
Italy PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 24h before arrival
Age 5 or below
Malaysia PCR 2 days before departure Age 2 or below
Maldives PCR 96h before departure Age below 1
Netherlands PCR
or
ART
PCR 48h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 11 or below
South Korea PCR 48h before departure Age 5 or below
Sri Lanka PCR 72h before departure Age 1 or below
Thailand PCR 72h before departure Age 5 or below
USA PCR
or
ART
1 day before departure Age 1 or below

* Passengers arriving in Fiji from the UK or USA must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 1 day of departure of the first flight or series of flights booked on the same itinerary.

A VTL trip to Italy will require an additional COVID-19 test, before leaving Singapore. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Please check the links above 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 not listed above, because rules can change at short notice.

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.

“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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

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)

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!).

ADVERTISEMENT

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 14-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)

Fully vaccinated

Partially vaccinated /
Unvaccinated
VTL
No SHN N/A
Category 1
No SHN
Category 2
7 days SHN at home
Category 3
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)
A transit flight from a VTL country to Singapore with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong will land you in at least 7 days of home SHN. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

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.

Other resources

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



 


 

Summary

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.

Denmark is now on the VTL-approved list from 19th October 2021. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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)

ADVERTISEMENT

57 comments

  1. SQ26 is a conundrum on the outbound SIN-FRA-JFK. All VTL for Singapore. But USA has banned pax from Germany, incl transit. I called SQ they are checking and will get back to me in three days. Let’s see. Everyone be careful. Might be easier to book the non stop

    1. Yes I believe USA has still to name the exact date it is allowing vaccinated EU and UK travellers to arrive Q-free. “Early November” is still the only hint.

      This would presumably affect all pax on SQ26, due to the transit.

  2. Wish ICA could change their ruling regarding this. Doesn’t make sense anymore given that anyone who gets covid is supposedly even more immune than one who hasn’t. Reckon that as long as PDT is negative they should allow citizens back in.

    “ Do note that if you test positive for COVID-19 overseas you’ll be unable to fly to Singapore within 14 days, even if you produce a negative PCR test sooner than that. This applies to both Singapore residents and Singapore visitors.”

  3. Hi Andrew, thanks for the detailed overview of VTL. If I were to take the Singapore – Copenhagen- Rome route, with a stopover in Copenhagen, says 4 days before continuing the journey to Rome, is PCR test still required 72 hours prior to the fifth freedom flight from Copenhagen to enter Italy?

    1. Hi Keith,

      Yes unfortunately you still have a ‘List D’ country (Singapore) in your 14-day travel history under Italy’s rules, so you won’t save yourself the requirement for a pre-departure PCR or ART at -72h with a short stop in CPH.

      Only difference – you’ll have to do the test in Denmark, as anything done in Singapore would have expired by then.

      Nice idea though!

  4. As a Singapore resident, I still think it’s safer to take a non-VTL flight. What if I test positive before departure to Singapore? I feel this is my biggest risk. Being not familiar with the medical system of a VTL country I may not know what’s going to happen next.

    1. Unfortunately returning via the Category 2/3/4 lanes also requires a pre-departure test, so there’s no testing benefit to taking non-VTL.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the detailed write up.

    I saw one of the query asking about flight from CPH having to also undergo the ART, what if we are not flying in, but taking bus or train or say France to Italy, within 14 days from departure of Singapore.

    And for the train from Netherlands to France for example, if it just bypass Belgium without stopping, it is still considered as ineligible for VTL within last 14 days?

    Just a comment on the irony that last time VTL passengers need to pay for 1 extra PCR for 7 days of freedom, but now SHN vaccinated passengers are now paying for 1 extra PCR and losing 7 days of freedom.

    1. Italy’s entry requirements do not seem to differentiate between arrivals by air or land, so a 14-day travel history including Singapore would still trigger the ART requirement.

      For the Netherlands – France train yes since you are physically in Belgium (whether in a moving vehicle or not), you have been in a non-VTL country. Same applies for driving through unfortunately. Safest option is to take a non-stop flight between VTL countries, if your flight back to SIN is within 14 days.

  6. Hi Andrew,
    Great article, extremely informative.
    We are Singapore PRs and traveling with kids under 12 and have BA flights booked to Ireland (via Heathrow). Looks like the flight has now being designated a VTL flight. My question is am I still eligible to use this flight but need to do the 7 days SHN as Ireland is cat 2, or will I be contacted to move to a non-VTL flight please? Some mixed info on this flight (BA11) that it’s a VTL flight every day or only some days.
    Cheers

    1. Unfortunately you won’t be eligible to travel on the VTL flight with a travel history including Ireland. BA will have to move you to a non-VTL service, which looks like a data change or a different airline at this stage (unless they increase frequencies with some non-VTL in the mix). It’s complicated once you leave the VTL zone sadly!

  7. Struggling to get an application through the VTL application platform. They require exact match of passport full name and the NHS COVID pass, while not accounting for the fact that the latter only ever displays the first and last name (ergo “Computer says no!” if it’s John Adam Smith vs John Smith). Have rung up ICA’s helpline and told to “wait a few days”, also sent off a written query… Really don’t un

  8. Bad new for us in the Channel Islands then. Although we are British (with British passports), but the Channel Islands are not part of the U.K. our healthcare systems are not part of the NHS so we do not have NHS covid App. Even for Guernsey and Jersey are two separate entities. Oh well!

    1. Yes hopefully they can fix this soon. If it’s any consolation, even us Singaporeans vaccinated here can’t hop over to Jersey!

      1. Thanks Andrew. But the thing is you CAN hop over to Jersey as there are no border controls between U.K. and Jersey. It’s like flying domestic from London to Jersey. Just like flying from London to Manchester. 🙂

  9. I think if you test positive for your pre-departure test and wait 14 days, you still have to do another PCR test before you can fly back to Singapore on a VTL flight. Does anyone knows what happens if you test positive a second (or third, or fourth) time despite having recovered? Will SQ let you board / ICA let you in?

    It seems the average time to return a negative test after first testing positive is about 25-30 days (and as long as 270 days), due to viral shedding and whatnot. If there’s no exception made for recovered patients then actually the implication of a positive test is not just a 14-day extended stay in the VTL country – it’s potentially months on end. Insurance generally only covers quarantine allowance up to 14 days. This is a huge problem if it’s not addressed. Not sure if any of you have received any guidance from the airlines or authorities on this?

      1. Hopefully they will rethink this, then! With the increasing number of cases in SG there will surely be travellers who caught it here but have recovered (perhaps even unknowingly), yet will end up testing positive before their VTL flight home.

        I actually called ICA about this issue this evening and they said if you’ve recovered but still test positive, you should call the ICA hotline and fill out the SafeTravel inquiry form as well. The operator said they may then advise you to get a serology test and doctor’s memo stating that you’ve recovered and are no longer contagious, which might be sufficient for ICA to declare you fit to fly. Strange that this is not in writing – it would be better to just put it out there so that people can make an informed choice whether to travel, rather than have this huge lacuna and uncertainty within the VTL scheme. The government is well aware that patients can test positive for months after recovery so it’s baffling that they haven’t concretely addressed the situation!

  10. Some of the country exclusions are ridiculous! How on earth would they know if you had wandered into Vatican City?! You could easily do so by mistake “when in Rome” as they say! It’s like saying Singapore is VTL, excluding Bugis! 🤣

  11. Actually the 48hour requirement is really 2 calendar days. e.g. if your flight is at 9pm on Sunday, a test taken anytime on Friday (e.g. 11am) would qualify. I just flew back from London recently and these timelines worked for me.

    1. I think that’s a difference between the PDT requirement for Category 2-4 passengers and that for VTL passengers.

      For Cat 2-4 arrivals it states:

      “For passengers on direct flights to Singapore, the 48 hours will be counted from the scheduled departure day of the flight to Singapore. For example, if the flight is scheduled to depart on 28 May 2021, the COVID-19 PCR test must be taken no earlier than 26 May 2021.”

      For VTL arrivals, however, it states:

      “All travellers… must undergo a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours before departure for Singapore.

      “For example, if the visitor’s scheduled time of departure for Singapore is 15 September 2021, 1030hrs, the test must be taken no earlier than 13 September 2021, 1030hrs.”

  12. Hi Andrew
    Thanks for the detailed information.
    I’m wondering if there’s a written rule or more information about those “gaps” in Europe. What about Puerto Rico which is a US territory, they are citizens and vaccinated by US system? What about Hawaii, would it be considered as part of the USA for the VTL? Andorra in Spain, who knew! How’s visiting Italy and skipping the Vatican?!
    Thanks for sharing any links with more information about this grey area.

    1. The Safetravel website in its dropdown box seems to indicate that Puerto Rico/Guam/US Virgin Islands and something called Pacific Islands (US) etc as separate from the US although the VTL pages describe the US without mentioning any exclusions. The SG Arrival card asks for what regions of countries you travelled as well. I guess you would have to reach out to ICA or if you are American the US Embassy in Singapore.

  13. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the detailed write up. Was looking at PCR tests and there are 2 options offered; the usual nose swab or saliva. Was wondering if we take the saliva PCR option will it be recognised by SG? Appreciate if you have any info. Thanks!

  14. Reading thru the eligibility requirements, it dawned on me that the USA VTL program is applicable ONLY to residents of several states which has an electronic vaccination record program in place. Most states only issue a manual, handwritten vaccination card which is NOT good for travel to Singapore under the current VTL eligibility rule. I think this needs to be highlighted.

  15. Hi Andrew, thank you for your article. This is my first time coming across your page and it is so helpful.

    I am a Singaporean based in Singapore itself and have not travelled since Mar 2020. I would like to ask you:-

    If I book a multi-city flight with SQ to fly in to Zurich and spend about 8 days in Switzerland, and then take the train to Paris and spend 5 days there, and finally, take the train to London, does it mean that my Paris and London stay can total up to 14 days before my flight back to Singapore from Heathrow using VTL flight?

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Liz yes thats right, your time in VTL countries combined must be a minimum of 14 nights, then you’re good to fly back to SIN on the VTL.

      So if you arrive in France from Switzerland on 1 Nov then remain only in VTL countries you can take a VTL flight back on 15 Nov onwards (no earlier).

  16. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the informative info on VTL flights. We will be departing from Denmark on a VTL flight on the 2nd Nov and I was wondering if the Australian (ICVC) vaccine certificates are already valid for VTL flights or does this only happen after Australia becomes a VTL country on the 8th Nov ? Regards Mark

      1. Hi Andrew. VTL flights in Australia only fly from either Sydney or Melbourne. I am based in Perth but was silly enough to buy at non-VTL flight tickets bound to Singapore from Perth. Now my question can we then fly to Sydney first to get the VTL flight just to be on the VTL all the way. I guess it’s better than having to serve the SHN. As I don’t think as short term visitors we’re allowed to say stay at my mum’s to serve the SHN?

  17. Hi Andrew, I am Siti I came across your article and find it useful. I am Singaporean based in Singapore itself and have not travel since jan 2020.I have a question to ask .I plan to go for vacation to Germany, can you advice me what is the max number of nights allow to be 1 in vtl country?I am plannng to stayed about 22 days in Germany and travel other Germany states by trains .Taking a vtl flight from Munich back to Singapore.

    1. There is no maximum number of nights to spend in a VTL country / countries. It’s only based on what your visit visa allows (typically 90 days in EU countries)

  18. H Andrew, I am currently in Canada and plan to take vacation in singapore. I want to leave Canada through the VTP route on November 27 via the US as SQ does not fly from Canada yet till December 4. In the VTP application, would I select Canada or US as my departure country?

  19. Thank you Andrew, this is very help. I am current in NYC. I would like to fly to Italy to visit a friend and maybe go to France/Spain too. Does it matter how many days I stay in those countries? Only my last fly has to be VTL flight to avoid the quarantine, right? Best, Ming

  20. Hi, i’m considering travelling from Singapore to Germany in Dec. Is possible for me to buy single way air tickets (to and fro separately) instead of round trip? Essentially I will be in Germany within the 14 days validity.

    Singapore to Munich (layover at Frankfurt)
    Berlin to Singapore (VTL)

  21. Hi,
    I am from Canada, Ontario and I tried to upload my vaccine QR code to the VTP application but it did not work. Do you know anything I could do?

  22. Hi Andrew,
    I have an odd issue. We are going to the UK for Christmas and return to Singapore first week of Jan. We are both EP holders but my husband’s EP will be changed to a DP while we are in the UK and he will be my Dependant as he is retiring. The DP has already been approved by MOM and they will be issuing an IPA letter but cannot give us the actual pass until the EP has expired and we will be in the UK when that happens. This is causing a problem since I assume he will have to apply for a VTP as a Short Term Visitor to come into Singapore but how does he get Travel Insurance if he isn’t actually resident in the UK and hasn’t been issued the DP either but has the IPA? Who should I contact for help in this matter? Thanks.

  23. I’m in big trouble now. Went to get my PCR Test last night, 48 hours before my VTL flight leaves for Singapore tomorrow at 21:15. Unfortunately we got to the test center a bit too early and the guy swabbed us at 21:09. So now our test results are not within the 48 hours limit – it’s 6 minutes off. Do you think they will let us board the plane?

    1. If you check the VTL FAQs and checklist, the PCR test is to be taken within 48 hours before the day of the flight, not to the minute. So you will be fine.

  24. Hello Andrew,
    I am planning a trip as follows:
    Singapore – Amsterdam(Tour starts) – France(Tour ends) – Switzerland(to clock the 7 days extra in a VTL zone)
    The tour goes through Austria and if I interpreted it correctly, I would have to stay 14 days within a VTL zone to ‘cleanse’ my travel history.
    Is it feasible, or would it be too risky?
    Also, how do you recommend fitting in the PCR test 48 hours before the flight back to Singapore? Are there actually testing centres located throughout the city?
    Thanks so much for this guide, helps a lot!

  25. Dear Andrew, Thank you very much for your article. I have 2 questions for the Pre Departure Test under the VTL
    1) I would like to know departure from France to Singapore on VTL flight, can the PDT be ART? Or do I need to take the PCR test?
    2) I would like to know departure from south Korea Incheon to Singapore on VTL flight, can the PDT be ART? Or do I need to take the PCR test?
    I look forward to your reply.
    Thank you very much.

  26. Hi Andrew,
    With regard to electronic proof of vaccination, does it refers to an actual app that you have on your mobile device or can one carry a PDF printout of such document (complete with QR code for verification purpose)? My parents will have a lot of problem navigating this requirement if they are expected to operate an app.

  27. Hi Andrew, I am a Singapore citizen and am currently in Spore. My question is wrt the 14 day travel history. For eg. Vtl with Fiji starts on 16 Dec. Suppose I travel from Sg to Fiji on 10 Dec (before the start of vtl), and stay in Fiji for 7 days. On 17 Dec (vtl has started), I decide to return from Fiji to Sg on a vtl flight.

    Does this fulfil the 14 days travel history requirement and will I be able to enter Sg without quarantine? *Bearing in mind I was in Fiji or 5 days (10 – 15 Dec) before the start of the vtl on 16 Dec. Do these 5 days count towards the 14 day requirement? Thank u.

    1. Yes it has nothing to do with the start date. If you have been solely within VTL countries and/or Singapore for the last 14 days (including Fiji) on 16 Dec you’re good to enter SG quarantine-free on the VTL. 👍🏼

  28. Hi Andrew – or any other nice reader – thank you very much for this comprehensive overview. Currently navigating through all the rules but happy to see connecting on separate tickets from VTL countries is at least possible again. Question: You state that the result of the arrival PCR test is usually available within 6-8h. What is the official rule? I plan to arrive on a VTL flight from KUL at 8.30 pm and plan to travel onwards on a flight at midnight (i.e. roughly 27h later). Do you think that will work? I will also ask the hotel whether having a booking for one night is enough for this time-frame. Of course it would be simpler to add an extra night in Singpaore to be on the safe side but wonder what the “official” turnaround time of the PCR test is. Thanks and stay safe! cheers, Al

    1. @Al The itinerary you described is not a connecting/layover situation as the connection time is greater than 24 hours. It is what’s normally called a stopover. I do not think SIN allows separate tickets layover yet although I would very much like to be proven wrong.

    2. Officially they still say “up to 48h” if I’m not mistaken, but in reality it’s 4-6 hours lately.

      6 hours is the max I’ve had myself or heard of since September.

      1. Thank you Andrew – I will for sure “risk it” on the way to Langkawi and think about it for return trip. Safest would be to build in a 48h margin but also seems to be doable with 24h… travel these days is fun 🙂 post below is also from me, autofill somehow changed my name (apologies).

  29. @Ron agree, it is a stopover, so I will officially immigrate to SIN via VTL process but only stay for one day (basically what Andrew describes above). However, I cannot find anywhere what is the “maximum” time it could take for the results of the on arrival PCR test to post. It generally seems that it should be < 12h, so assuming 24h should be very conservative. Also (related) I don't assume that there is a minimum required stay in SIN under VTL and hence it should work. Already planning to transfer like this to Langkawi (travel bubble). I wil keep you posted!

Leave a Reply