Travel VTL

Cheapest home pre-departure PCR tests in Singapore

Why trek to a clinic for your pre-departure PCR test in Singapore? It no longer costs much extra for them to come to you!

Since pre-departure PCR testing became a requirement for overseas travel to a wide range of countries last year, one happy piece of news is that costs have dropped significantly. While it was common a year ago to be looking at S$200 for a test, a wide range of clinics now offers the service for less than S$140.

On top of that, many countries like Italy and the USA now accept a cheaper pre-departure (clinic) ART test, available in Singapore for around S$30, plus there’s no testing required when travelling to some countries if you’re fully vaccinated, like Germany and France.



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Which countries?

There are still a number of countries not accepting Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) for those entering from overseas, including nine out of Singapore’s 21 Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries due to be part of the scheme by early December.

For these, you’ll need a PCR test instead, as shown in the following table.

VTL countries requiring pre-departure PCR test

VTL country Test type Test timing Exemption
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia PCR 72h before arrival โ€”
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji PCR 3 days before departure Age 12 or below
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia PCR 72h before departure โ€”
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia PCR 2 days before departure โ€”
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives PCR 96h before departure Age below 1
๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Qatar PCR 72h before arrival โ€”
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia PCR 72h before departure Age 7 or below
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea PCR 72h before departure Age 5 or below
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka PCR 72h before departure Age 1 or below
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand PCR 72h before departure โ€”
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช UAE PCR 72h before departure Age 11 or below

As you can see there are countries many of us are planning to travel to and from quarantine-free under the VTL programme, which still require a pre-departure PCR test before leaving Singapore, including Australia, Malaysia and India.

Travel on the upcoming India VTL requires a pre-departure PCR test

Home PCR testing

A new industry of sorts has now cropped up within in the PCR testing sphere – home testing – where instead of you trekking to the clinic… the clinic comes to you!

This isn’t like the self-test ART kits you can use at home, which obviously can’t be used for travel purposes, but rather the qualified nurse will come to your place of residence or hotel to conduct a PCR swab, which is then sent to the lab for analysis as normal.

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There was previously only a single provider (Homage) charging a steep rate for this option, but now at least seven providers across the city will travel and collect the swab sample for analysis, allowing you to get on with your day almost interruption-free, especially useful if you’re working from home.

Home PCR options

All the providers we checked below will swab up to four people at the same address if required, and the per-person cost usually starts to drop the more tests you require, for example if you’re travelling as a couple or a family.

Home PCR testing costs

Provider: Cost (per pax) for:
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax
pdtswab.sg S$138 S$138 S$138 S$138
Minmed S$178 S$153 S$145 S$141
DA Clinic S$190 S$190 S$190 S$190
BCH-ART S$188 S$158 S$148 S$143
Speedoc S$198 S$163 S$151 S$146
Jaga-Me S$209 S$155 S$137 S$128
Homage S$250 S$198 S$180 S$171

The cheapest option we found was with pdtswab.sg, providing a PCR test at your home for S$138 per person.

Pro Tip: Book your home swab by Sunday 28th November 2021 via pdtswab.sg/blackfriday and enter promo code “blackfriday10” for a home-based PCR swab at S$128.

However, once you have three or four people in your household needing a test at the same time it becomes cheaper to use Jaga-Me, whose initial high cost for a home visit soon starts to fall due to their excellent S$95+GST rate (S$101.65) for each additional test.

That means if four of you require a pre-departure PCR test, the total cost of S$513.60 means you’re getting each test for S$128.40. That’s comparable to some of the cheaper in-clinic costs, and you haven’t even had to leave home!

Clinic costs

If you can secure a home appointment with some of these providers, you’re actually no longer spending significantly more than you would heading out to a clinic for a pre-departure PCR test, with all the inconvenience that entails.

Here’s our latest analysis of the cheapest ‘top picks’ across the city, at sub-S$140 rates.

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure PCR tests

Clinic Locations Price (inc. GST)
PCR Only PCR + Serology
(for China)
SATA CommHealth 6 S$107.00 S$157.00
pdtswab.sg 5 S$107.00 n/a
Intemedical 2 S$125.00 S$180.00
Minmed Clinic 9 S$128.00 S$178.00
Swab Station SG 3 S$128.00 S$158.00
AcuMed Medical 12 S$135.89 S$184.04
DA Clinic 6 S$136.00 S$180.00
Raffles Medical
Raffles Hospital
37 S$138.00 S$177.99
Parkway Shenton
Shenton Medical
Shenton Wellness
26 S$138.00 S$166.00

You can find further details and a full up-to-date analysis at our dedicated article on clinic pre-departure PCR and ART tests for travellers.

Summary

Getting a pre-departure PCR test in the comfort of your own home in Singapore was a luxury few could afford when the option was first offered by a single provider at an eye-watering S$250, but thankfully costs have reduced substantially since then.

At least seven providers across the city now offer this service, from as little as S$128-S$138 per person, depending on your group size.

While some S$107 clinic-based PCR tests exist, once you start to look at more readily available options close to your home or place of work it’s soon apparent you’ll pay about the S$128-S$138 range anyway – so why not go for the convenience of a home visit next time?

This is certainly what we’ll be doing prior to our next trip to a country requiring a pre-departure PCR test!

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

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19 comments

  1. I am still perplexed and angry with the testing requirements.

    Land VTL (SG – MY – SG) only requires 2 ARTs (SG – MY) and 1 ART (MY – SG). Total cost is less than S$60.

    Air VTL for the same route requires 2 PCRs (SG – MY) and 1 ART + 1 PCR (MY – SG). Total cost is S$300 – S$400.

    This pandemic has already caused a huge strain to our lives and away from our families but testing cost for air travel is so high. Covid-19 can transmit through air travel but not land travel? As ART is less reliable than PCR test, what is the scientific explanation for this? If there is not any, appreciate if the authorities can streamline the requirements.

    Please help me.

  2. Could you kindly share an official link where I can confirm whether my 3 year old daughter need to do a pre departure PCR test to goto Dubai from SG? I see a different guideline on Emirates website that the PCR test is not required for kids below 12 only if they have some disabilities like Down syndrome and other.. we have an upcoming flight to DXB on Dec 12th with SQ.

    1. Emirates site is correct:

      “Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from taking a COVIDโ€‘19 RTโ€‘PCR test.”

      Two separate groups I think you are confusing them together.

  3. there is a mistake, intemedical has 2 locations – one at Kovan another at Potong Pasir. the doctor there doing the swab. is good. and not uncomfortable.. will recommend for kids.

      1. Thanks Andrew. I’ve tried their Whatsapp but no response. Trying their Facebook chat now. Will keep everyone posted. Good to know they’re not ghosting others too.

    1. Strange, i booked for home swab too and they turned up and swab me and the family, process was less than 30 mins.. they came swab and left and got my results today.. maybe because they are cheap and high volume from kiasu Singaporeans of bookings they cant confirm immediately..

    2. I booked my appointment on Nov 25th. Received the Paypal receipt immediately after booking and within 2 hours I got the confirmation email from Acumen Diagnostics Pte Ltd.

      1. Yeah, I Actually have the same question as the Nurfatin. On the certificate, I wonder does the result isseud by Q&M medical clinic or pdtswab.sg? because to be honest i don’t see pdtswab.sg on the MOH accepted clinic, but I can find Q&M. Please enlighten me.

      1. It is run by Acumen Diagnostics which is the approved lab. Acumen Diagnotics is partially owned by Q&M. I booked for tests on 6 Dec too. Those that have done their swabs, any feedback on results turnaround?

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