Last week we were reporting on the unfortunate news that only days after the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) from India to Singapore had kicked off, heightened precautions due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had led to India imposing mandatory arrival quarantine on those landing from “at-risk” countries, including Singapore.
While India’s stance for those arriving from these nations has not changed, there’s good news nonetheless for those planning a trip.
Singapore removed from the “at-risk” list
Effective from 9th December 2021, Singapore is no longer on India’s list of “at risk” COVID-19 countries, which means fully vaccinated travellers can once again make quarantine-free trips to the country.
Singapore was originally placed on India’s “at-risk” list in early November, not because of Omicron, but because of the general spike in COVID-19 cases that arose here in October and November this year.
Even The Straits Times seems confused about this, incorrectly claiming Singapore was added to India’s “at-risk” list only after the Omicron variant emerged.
India entry process
With effect for arrivals from 9th December 2021, India will no longer require self-isolation for those arriving from Singapore.
Here’s the latest process when travelling from Singapore to India:
- PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure time for those 5 years or older (find the cheapest)
- Complete Self-Declaration Form (SDF)
- Random 2% of travellers (aged 5+) will undergo a PCR test on arrival
- No quarantine, unless randomly selected and tested positive on arrival
- Monitor health for 14 days
Testing costs in Singapore
You’ll require a pre-departure PCR test in Singapore before embarking on a trip to India, so here’s our latest rundown of the cheapest locations to get a test suitable for travel.
Remember, ART tests are not valid for travel to India at the time of writing – it must be a PCR test.
Based on our recent analysis, pre-departure test costs in Singapore are around:
- PCR: S$107 (cheapest) – S$141 (average)
- Home PCR: S$138 (cheapest) – S$191 (average)
Rapid turnaround tests (6-8 hours) cost from S$214 – S$332 each.
Other VTL countries requiring pre-departure testing
India isn’t the only VTL country requiring a pre-departure test for fully vaccinated Singapore residents.
You’ll also be subject to testing requirements when travelling to the following countries, in addition to VTL testing on your return:
Testing before travelling to selected countries
based on fully vaccinated travellers departing from Singapore by air
|Country||Test type||Test timing||Exemptions|
||48h before departure||—|
|Japan||PCR||72h before departure
||Age 5 or below|
|Myanmar||PCR||72h before arrival||Age 5 or below|
|Qatar||PCR||48h before departure
||Age 3 or below
Vaccinated Qataris and residents
|PCR 2 days before departure
ART 1 day before departure
|Age 5 or below|
|Taiwan||PCR||2 days before departure
VTL flights India – Singapore
Designated VTL flights from India to Singapore are being operated by Air India, IndiGo, Singapore Airlines and Vistara.
Here’s a list of the VTL flights from India, which you’ll need to use on your return journey to benefit from quarantine-free arrival in Singapore, assuming you are also returning from India (click to expand):
These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and India on SIA.
|KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
India to/from Singapore
|First / Suites||53,000
Unfortunately there is not yet any First Class or Suites option on SIA’s India services.
What about VTL flights to India?
As with most VTLs (Malaysia is the exception), there are no VTL flights from Singapore to India. If you are fully vaccinated, you can already travel to India as a tourist since 15th November 2021.
You can take any available non-stop flight, or transit in another country when flying to India, and still take a VTL flight back to Singapore at the end of your trip.
Singapore only considers your travel history in the last 14 consecutive days when you check in for your VTL flight. This travel history must be solely within VTL countries and/or Category 1 countries, excluding transits.
A variety of non-stop passenger flights from Singapore to India are being operated by Singapore Airlines and Scoot, including to cities not included on the VTL list, like Hyderabad and Kolkata.
VTL testing to Singapore has also been beefed up
On your return from India (or any VTL country), you’ll now face the usual on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport plus six additional COVID-19 ART tests on Days 2 to 7 after your arrival day (Day 1).
These take the form of either self-declared home ART swabs (Days 2, 4, 5 & 6) or a supervised self-administered ART test at one of over 40 Quick Test Centres (QTCs) / Combined Test Centres (CTCs) on Day 3 and Day 7.
We recently outlined full details for these tests, with the latest regime effective for arrivals from 7th December 2021.
Total testing costs
There are nine COVID-19 tests on a roundtrip from Singapore to India. Here’s how the approximate total testing costs for the journey look.
|Singapore pre-departure (PCR)*||S$107 – S$200|
|India pre-departure (ART)*||~S$12 – S$30|
|Singapore arrival (PCR)||S$125|
|Total||S$302 – S$413|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
You’re looking at around S$300 to S$410 per traveller in addition to flight and hotel expenses, for a round-trip from Singapore to India.
It’s great to see that the quarantine (self-isolation) requirement for those travelling from Singapore to India was short-lived.
This reopens two-way air travel between the two countries again, one of the most important air links for Singapore and an essential connection for many families and businesses.
With 42 designated VTL flights per week from India to Singapore operated by four different airlines, there should be plenty of options for a quarantine-free trip in both directions.
Will you be travelling to India on the VTL? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Boeing)