News Travel VTL

Finland and Sweden to join Singapore’s VTL, pre-departure testing relaxed

Finland and Sweden are the latest quarantine-free 'VTL Zone' additions for those arriving in Singapore from 29th November.

In addition, VTL passengers will only require a pre-departure ART test from 12th November, reducing the cost of overseas trips.

Yesterday we got news that Malaysia will be joining Singapore’s list of approved Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries, opening up two-way quarantine-free travel for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from 29th November 2021.

Later it was also confirmed that Finland and Sweden will be added to the VTL from the same date, allowing Singapore-based travellers spending time in Europe to include these countries as part of their trip, without any impact on their VTL status.

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It should even be possible to fly non-stop in both directions without quarantine, in the case of Finland at least.

There was also welcome news on the testing front – a relaxation of requirements for those arriving back in Singapore on the VTL from 12th November 2021, with a cheaper ART pre-departure test now accepted and a wider testing window available.

Finland and Sweden

From 29th November 2021 it will be possible to arrive in Singapore with Finland and Sweden as part of your 14-day travel history, and still use the VTL to enter quarantine-free as a resident or a visitor, provided you:

  • are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; and
  • have spent the last 14 consecutive days exclusively in VTL countries and / or Singapore; and
  • travel on a designated VTL flight from any VTL country non-stop to Singapore.

If you are not a Singapore Citizen or Permanent resident, you will also require a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP), which you can apply for 7-60 days prior to your intended date of entry.

Helsinki in winter. (Photo: Alexandr Bormotin)

With Malaysia joining the VTL list on the same day, there will be a total of 16 countries in the ‘VTL Zone’. Stay within it and your recent travel history (14 days) will not affect your ticket to a quarantine-free arrival in Singapore, provided you fly to Changi on a designated VTL flight.

Singapore
Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Key Features

  • Must have stayed in a VTL country/region and/or Singapore for 14 days
  • Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
  • No restrictions on travel purpose or itineraries
  • Must be fully vaccinated in Singapore or any VTL country, with an accepted digital proof of vaccination
  • Unvaccinated children aged 12 or under can accompany their parents
  • Visitors and Singapore pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
  • Two COVID-19 tests replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice in Singapore

  VTL: All you need to know

Latest VTL countries

These new VTL additions will be effective from 29th November 2021, meaning there will be 16 such arrangements in place by late November.

Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Already Running 🇦🇺 Australia
🇧🇳 Brunei
🇩🇪 Germany
🇨🇦 Canada
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇫🇷 France
🇮🇹 Italy
🇳🇱 Netherlands
🇪🇸 Spain
🇨🇭 Switzerland
🇬🇧 UK
🇺🇸 USA
From 15 Nov 🇰🇷 South Korea
From 29 Nov 🇫🇮 Finland
🇲🇾 Malaysia
🇸🇪 Sweden

The Northern Lights

I have only been to Finland once, to Rovaniemi of all places (home of Santa Claus), but if once is all it takes to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) then let me assure you it’s worth the trip!

Sweden also benefits, but in both countries you’ll have to travel right up to the Arctic Circle in the far north to be in with the best chance to witness this spectacular sight.

The Northern Lights in Finland. (Photo: Maria Vojtovicova)

Finland calls this region ‘Lapland’, and you’re in for a good chance to experience this spectacle on clear nights between September and April each year.

There are even glass ‘igloo hotels’ for Northern Lights watching from the comfort of your own bed.

An ‘igloo hotel’ in Finland. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Both Norway and Sweden accept fully vaccinated Singapore residents without testing or quarantine on arrival.

Designated VTL flights: Finland

Here’s how Finnair’s VTL flight schedule looks, with three services in the first week quickly ramping up to four from early December.

29th November 2021 – 5th December 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Finnair_Small.png AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

17:15*

* Next day

6th December 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Finnair_Small.png AY131
A350-900
HEL
23:55
SIN

17:15*

* Next day

Finnair is using its Airbus A350 four days per week to fly to and from Singapore, with all HEL-SIN flights eligible for the VTL

The likelihood of Singapore Airlines starting nonstop flights to and from Finland is very low, in our opinion, though a fifth-freedom extension is not out of the question.

Designated VTL flights: Sweden

In terms of Sweden, Singapore Airlines permanently axed its Stockholm route in September 2020, formerly served as an extension of the carrier’s Moscow service.

SIA cut Stockholm from its route map over a year ago, having served the city since 2017. (Photo: Raphael Andres)

The city was served five times weekly, with the final flight operating to the Swedish capital on 14th March 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions took hold.

Even though Vancouver services are being resurrected after a 12-year gap in service, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Stockholm will also get the same treatment. Russia is not a VTL country, so a reboot of the previous routing won’t work at this stage.

A return to Stockholm for Singapore Airlines isn’t impossible, but doesn’t seem likely. (Photo: Felix Kalin)

SAS had a joint venture agreement with SIA in the past, so it’s not out of the question that the Scandinavian carrier could establish some Stockholm – Singapore services under codeshare to benefit from VTL and transit traffic.

It does seem unlikely though.

Watch this space, but travellers wishing to return to Singapore or visit quarantine-free from Sweden may need to transit in another VTL country to do so.

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That could make Sweden the first VTL country without any VTL designated flights, though to be fair Canada has been part of the programme for some time without one, and will only get a seasonal non-stop service, so this clearly isn’t a deal-breaker.

ART pre-departure tests will be accepted

Excellent news for VTL travellers is that Singapore will relax its rules on test type for those arriving on or after 12th November 2021.

From this date your pre-departure test (PDT) from any VTL country can be an ART test (also called an ‘Antigen’ or ‘Lateral Flow’ test in come countries), or a PCR test.

Cheaper ART tests will be accepted for those arriving in Singapore via the VTL. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The test must still be taken at an internationally accredited or recognised laboratory, cli