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VTL Update: India, Australia and UK impose arrival quarantine for Singapore travellers

Arrival quarantine ranging from 24 hours to 7 days is now in force when travelling to India, Australia and the UK.

Here are the latest requirements.

Global cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant are continuing to drive some countries to take enhanced border measures, with three recent policy changes affecting VTL countries previously offering two-way quarantine-free travel for Singapore citizens and residents.


Changes are happening relatively regularly and are likely to continue to do so over the coming days and weeks. At the time of writing there are now additional quarantine / self-isolation requirements when travelling to the following VTL countries, even if you are fully vaccinated:

  • India: 7 days
  • Australia: 3 days (72 hours)
  • UK: Up to 2 days


With effect for arrivals from 1st December 2021, India will require a seven-day self-isolation for those arriving from its list of at-risk countries, including Singapore.

Here’s the latest process when travelling from Singapore to India:

  • PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure time (find the cheapest)
  • Complete Self-Declaration Form (SDF)
  • PCR test on arrival
  • Self-isolation for 7 days (home / hotel room)
  • PCR test on Day 8
  • Monitor health for 7 further days

All testing costs are borne by the passenger.

Previously, these requirements did not apply to those fully vaccinated in Singapore or one of India’s ‘Category A’ mutual vaccine recognition countries, but the new policy applies regardless of vaccination status.

Full details are available here.


These new rules are obviously a significant deterrent for those travelling as tourists, who are unlikely to be willing to quarantine for a week at the start of their trip.


(Photo: Con Karampelas)

The Australian states of New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne) both opened to fully vaccinated Singapore Citizens (note: not Permanent Residents or pass holders at this stage) on 21st November 2021.

As concerns gathered over the Omicron variant, both states recently imposed a 72-hour self-isolation period for travellers, at your place of residence or in a hotel room.

Here’s the latest process when travelling from Singapore to Australia (NSW / VIC):

  • PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure time (find the cheapest)
  • Complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before flight departure
  • PCR within 24 hours of arrival
  • Self-isolation for 72 hours (home / hotel room)
  • PCR test on or after Day 6 (NSW) or between Day 5 and Day 7 (VIC)

The PCR test on arrival in NSW, which you must complete within 24 hours at a range of clinics, and the Day 6 test, are free of charge.


72 hours of self-isolation applies from the arrival time of your flight, and is not related to your arrival at your hotel / home, or your PCR test.

Further information including the latest requirements is available for those arriving in:

United Kingdom (UK)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK has now reverted its ‘Day 2 test’ requirement from a lateral flow (ART) to a more expensive PCR test, in the wake of the Omicron variant.

You can take the test any time between arriving in the UK and Day 2, so for many of our readers visiting for a holiday it will be easier to book the test at Heathrow T2 Arrivals / T5 arrivals, or at Manchester T2 Arrivals.

You can find a full list of Day 2 PCR test providers in England via this government portal.

The new additional requirement is that you must self-isolate at home or in a hotel while awaiting the results of the Day 2 test, which can take up to 24 hours to come through in some cases.

Update: Unfortunately rapid 3-hour PCR tests are not currently eligible as Day 2 arrival tests.

Even if you take your test at the airport when you land, that means remaining isolated for at least the first day of your visit.


Here’s the latest process when travelling from Singapore to the UK:

  • Pre-book a Day 2 arrival PCR test
  • Complete the Passenger Locator Form (including your Day 2 test booking reference)
  • No pre-departure test for fully vaccinated travellers
  • Complete Day 2 PCR test on or before Day 2 after arrival (arrival day is Day 0)
  • Self-isolation until negative test result received (home / hotel room)

Of the three countries, this still probably presents the ‘lightest’ impact on travellers, though testing costs for a family trip have certainly increased significantly!


The Omicron variant is causing many countries to impose tougher border restrictions, even on fully vaccinated travellers, and in recent days this now affects three of Singapore’s VTL arrangements where quarantine-free arrival was previously possible (only very briefly in the case of India!).

There are likely to be several further restrictions imposed in the coming days and weeks so stay tuned for the latest border news as we receive it, including via our Telegram Channel and Instagram page, where the details often break first.

(Cover Photo: Sylwia Bartyzel)



  1. the description of ‘arrival quarantine’ for the UK is a bit over the top- it’s basically go straight to where you are staying and then you stay in your room/ home until you get your PCR result. PCR test providers are changing their websites/ options, but a PCR result may be possible 3 hours after you land if you pay a premium- so basically by the time you get to your hotel/ home, unpack and have a cup of tea you may be able to go out if you have had your test at the airport on arrival?

    1. Agree it sounds similar to the on arrival test for VTL flights which is not considered quarantine. I think it’s more annoying on the outbound though especially if you have a morning arrival because then presumably you have to book the previous night at the hotel. This is also a relatively bigger expense/burden on shorter trips although hard to be confident the UK won’t make more changes.

    2. No chance for a rapid test for the foreseeable future sadly – so you’re looking at 24 hours (unless you’re willing to pay a private provider S$700+ per person).

      3h would be fine (as is 4-6h arriving back in SIN), but sorry 24h in a hotel room is quarantine to me!

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