Following successful pilot Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with Brunei and Germany since early September 2021, the Singapore Government has recently announced a significant expansion of the scheme, along with some welcome improvements for travellers.
There are now 11 countries on the VTL list, allowing two-way quarantine-free trips for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 , by simply clearing a pre-departure and on-arrival test when flying to Singapore.
Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes
|Already Running||🇧🇳 Brunei
|From 19 Oct||🇨🇦 Canada
|From 15 Nov||🇰🇷 South Korea|
* The UK includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not the Republic of Ireland
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 from 19th November 2021.
- 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?
- 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
- Must have an accepted digital proof of vaccination
- Must have remained in a VTL country 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 and on-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests (except for children aged 2 or under) replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice 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 14 days prior to departure to Singapore
- Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (any WHO approved vaccine) in Singapore or any VTL country, with the final dose completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Singapore, including digitally certifiable evidence (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 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 the VTL country (children 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)
* 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.
Overall, two COVID-19 PCR tests will be required, a significant improvement from the original VTL pilot scheme, which also involved two additional Day 3 and Day 7 post-arrival tests. For arrivals from 19th October 2021, these are no longer required.
In turn, the usual 7 days of SHN at home when arriving from VTL countries will not be 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
- 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 in the current calendar year, for arrivals in Singapore on or after 19th October 2021.
This is 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.
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.
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 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 12 or below, because South Korea does not allow unvaccinated children 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.
If you’re based in Singapore and taking an overseas trip to a VTL country, you should take a nonstop flight or transit only in other VTL countries 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).
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 exception is 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 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’
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.
Watch out for:
- Channel Islands (not part of the UK)
- Isle of Man (not part of the UK)
- Monaco (not part of France)
- San Marino (not part of Italy)
- Vatican City (not part of Italy)
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 November 2021 should not take a VTL flight to Singapore before 15th November 2021.
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).
Remember there are no designated VTL services from Singapore to VTL countries.
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 current version of the VTL, where only point-to-point passengers can board designated VTL services.
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 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.
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.
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.
Apply for a VTP approval (for Singapore long-term pass holders and visitors only).
Book a designated VTL flight.
Pre-pay for on-arrival test at Changi Airport (not required for transit passengers on VTL flights).
Submit your online SG Arrival Card (not required for transit passengers on VTL flights).
Take a pre-departure COVID-19 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)
Take an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test.
Activate your TraceTogether app (short-term visitors only).
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.
Once your negative test result is received by SMS, 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 (if required)|
|Negative COVID-19 PCR test result (within 48h)|
|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 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.
VTP Application Example
|13 Dec||13 Dec|
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.
The VTL for travel from approved countries to Singapore now requires only two COVID-19 tests, with a total cost of around S$240 to S$360 per person, as outlined below.
|Overseas pre-departure*||S$77 – S$200|
|Total||S$237 – S$360|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
Note: South Korea VTL testing is subject to confirmation
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.
Pre-departure test timing
You must take your pre-departure test within 48 hours of your VTL flight departure time 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.Pro Tip: Be careful of time zone differences if you are taking your test in a different country from your VTL flight departure country, and you’re aiming to test almost exactly 48 hours before departure! For example, the Netherlands is one hour ahead of the UK (12.35pm in Amsterdam is 11.35am in London).
“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 December 2021, you must not take the test earlier than 22:00 on Sunday 5th December 2021.
The ICA also gives a similar example in its FAQs.Important! This PDT requirement differs from that in force for Category 2-4 passengers flying to Singapore on direct flights, who can take their “48 hour” test any time in the previous two days of the flight departure day (e.g. departure on Sun 23:50, test can be taken from Fri 00:00 onwards). That won’t work for the VTL.
What if you test positive?
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 subject to isolation and/or medical treatment as advised by the Ministry of Health, based on severity of illness.
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.
Singapore residents who test positive on return from their VTL trip are subject to prevailing requirements, as though they were local cases (likely home isolation).
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.
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 when travelling to selected VTL countries
|🇨🇦 Canada||A pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure time of your last direct flight to Canada. Free mandatory arrival testing may also be imposed.|
|🇮🇹 Italy||A pre-departure PCR or ART test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Italy.
Note: Passengers in transit on Singapore – Milan – Barcelona flights are exempt.
|🇰🇷 S. Korea||A pre-departure PCR test taken within 72 hours of the departure of your non-stop flight from Singapore to Seoul.|
|🇬🇧 UK||A post-arrival PCR test (from 24 October 2021 – ART test) on or before Day 2 (the day you arrive in the UK is Day 0). You must book this test before you travel.
Note: You only need to take the test if you are still in the UK on Day 2.
|🇺🇸 USA||A pre-departure PCR or ART test taken within a 3-day window of your flight’s departure (e.g. for Thursday 23:20 SIN-LAX, test must be taken on Monday 00:00 onwards).|
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.
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 14-day travel history, including any transits, even if you remained within an airport’s transit area.
Singapore SHN requirements
|14-day travel history
(can include Singapore)
Partially vaccinated /
||7 days SHN at home
||10 days SHN at home
||10 days SHN in hotel|
|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.
11 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)