The UK has become the latest country on Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) list to tighten its testing requirements for inbound travellers from overseas in the wake of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, with the reintroduction of pre-departure testing for all international travellers, regardless of vaccination status.
Unfortunately the test will be in addition to the UK’s post arrival ‘Day 2 test’, rather than replacing it, which means there will now be two COVID-19 tests involved when travelling quarantine-free from Singapore to the likes of London and Manchester, and an on-arrival self-isolation period continues to apply.
New UK pre-departure test
If you are arriving in the UK on or after 4am on Tuesday 7th December 2021, you will now require a pre-departure test in order to be able to check in for your flight.
From 4am, Tuesday 7 December all people aged 12 years and over must take a PCR or LFD COVID-19 test before they travel to England from abroad.
You must take the test within the 2 days before you travel to England.
This will apply whether you qualify as fully vaccinated or not.UK Government
The test can be a PCR or LFD (Lateral Flow Device = ART), and must be taken anytime during the two days before departure, by all travellers aged 12 and above.
For example, if you are flying on SQ322 to London at 23:45 on a Wednesday, the test must be taken on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which is quite flexible given the ready supply and short turnaround time for ART tests in Singapore.
If you are taking a multi-leg journey, for example Singapore – Dubai – London, the test timing applies as the two days before departure of the first leg.
If you’re taking a non-stop flight from Singapore to the UK, the first services to the affected by the new requirements are:
- BA12 SIN-LHR at 23:15 on 6th December
- SQ322 SIN-LHR at 23:45 on 6th December
If you have a busy schedule, Raffles Medical at Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Basement 2) is open 24 hours a day and provides 30-minute turnaround ART testing at S$30.