News Travel VTL

USA tightens pre-departure testing window to one day, including from Singapore

Pre-departure testing for those heading to the USA will need to be conducted no more than one day before your flight, for departures from 6th December.

The USA has announced some new safeguards for international travellers entering the country, which will also be applicable to those departing from Singapore for a two-way quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) trip, with a much shorter window for pre-departure testing than currently applies.

For those departing to the USA from overseas on or after Monday 6th December 2021 at 13:01 Singapore Time (flight departure), a negative pre-departure PCR or ART test for COVID-19 must have been conducted within one day (as little as 24h but up to 48h in some cases) of your flight departure time, because of concerns about the Omicron variant.


That’s one of the shortest timeframes currently in force for pre-departure testing when travelling to one of Singapore’s VTL countries, though thankfully the option to take a rapid (~30 minute) ART test still means it shouldn’t pose a significant problem, you’ll just have to plan a little more carefully.

New pre-departure testing window

Currently, travellers heading to the USA must have their COVID-19 test within a generous 3-day window prior to the calendar day of departure, allowing at least 72 hours (and close to 96 hours in some cases) prior to the flight, in which to have your swab taken.

If your departure to the USA is on or after Monday 6th December 2021 (05:01 hours GMT, which is 13:01 hours Singapore time), you’ll now be subject to a shorter 1-day validity window for your pre-departure test (minimum 24 hours to maximum 48 hours, again dependent on your flight’s departure time).


This timescale applies to the non-stop flight departure time, or the departure time of the first flight in a series of connections booked on the same itinerary, within which you will enter the USA from another country.

“By using a 1-day window, test acceptability does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test sample was taken.”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

The first Singapore Airlines flights to the USA to be affected (by flight number / route) will be:

  • SQ34 SIN-SFO at 18:40 on 6th December
  • SQ38 SIN-LAX at 20:45 on 6th December
    (and thereafter all SQ40 LAX flights too)
  • SQ26 SIN-FRA-JFK at 23:55 on 6th December
  • SQ8 SIN-HKG-SFO at 08:25 on 7th December
  • SQ28 SIN-YVR-SEA at 09:15 on 7th December
  • SQ24 SIN-JFK at 11:50 on 7th December
  • SQ52 SIN-MAN-IAH at 01:30 on 8th December
  • SQ12 SIN-NRT-LAX at 09:20 on <