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Good news: India drops quarantine for Singapore travellers

Two-way quarantine-free air travel between Singapore and India is back, with self-isolation on arrival removed from 9th December.

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.

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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 VTL countries

VTL country Test type Test timing Exemptions
Australia PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Brunei PCR 48h before departure
or
72h before departure (Singapore RGL)
Cambodia PCR 72h before arrival
Canada PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Denmark PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 48h before arrival
Age 14 or below
or
Danish Residents
Fiji PCR 3 days* before departure Age 11 or below
Finland PCR
or
ART
48h before arrival Age 15 or below
or
Finnish Citizens / PRs
France PCR
or
ART
48h before departure Age 11 or below
India PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Indonesia PCR 72h before departure
Italy PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 24h before arrival
Age 5 or below
Malaysia PCR 2 days before departure Age 2 or below
Maldives PCR 96h before departure Age below 1
Netherlands PCR
or
ART
PCR 48h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 11 or below
South Korea PCR 48h before departure Age 5 or below
Sri Lanka PCR 72h before departure Age 1 or below
Sweden PCR
or
ART
48h before arrival Age 11 or below
Switzerland PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 15 or below
Thailand PCR 72h before departure Age 5 or below
USA PCR
or
ART
1 day before departure Age 1 or below

* Passengers arriving in Fiji from the UK or USA must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 1 day of departure of the first flight or series of flights booked on the same itinerary.

VTL flights India – Singapore

Designated VTL flights from India to Singapore are being operated by Air India, IndiGo, Singapore Airlines and Vistara.

Vistara is using its Airbus A321neo to fly from Mumbai to Singapore five days per week as a VTL flight. (Photo: 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):

29th November 2021 - 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= 6E51
A321neo
MAA
22:30
SIN

05:15*
 bgcolor= SQ529
787-10
MAA
23:15
SIN

05:55*

* Next day

27th March 2022 - 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ529
787-10
MAA
23:15
SIN

06:10*

* Next day

Chennai Singapore
Non-VTL

  • AI347 (Wed) is not a designated VTL flight.
  • IndiGo VTL flights from 27th March 2022 to be confirmed.

29th November 2021 - 13th February 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ403
787-10
DEL
21:50
SIN

06:10*
 bgcolor= AI382
787-8
DEL
21:55
SIN

05:35*

* Next day

14th February 2022 - 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ403
A380
DEL
21:50
SIN

06:10*
 bgcolor= AI382
787-8
DEL
21:55
SIN

05:35*

* Next day

27th March 2022 - 30th April 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ403
777-300ER
DEL
21:55
SIN

06:10*

* Next day

1st May 2022 - 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ403
A380
DEL
21:55
SIN

06:10*

* Next day

Delhi Singapore
Non-VTL

  • SQ401 (Thu, Sun) from 20th January 2022 are not designated VTL flights.
  • Non-SIA flights from 27th March 2022 to be confirmed.

1st December 2021 - 6th February 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= UK105
A321neo
BOM
01:50
SIN

10:00
 bgcolor= AI342
787-8
BOM
17:45
SIN

01:35*
 bgcolor= SQ423
A350 Regional
BOM
23:35
SIN

07:30*

* Next day

7th February 2022 - 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= UK105
A321neo
BOM
01:50
SIN

10:00
 bgcolor= AI342
787-8
BOM
17:45
SIN

01:35*
 bgcolor= SQ423
A380
BOM
23:35
SIN

07:30*

* Next day

27th March 2022 - 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ423
A380
BOM
23:40
SIN

07:40*

* Next day

Mumbai Singapore
Non-VTL

  • SQ421 (Tue, Fri) from 17th December 2021 is not a designated VTL flight.
  • AI1368 (Wed) is not a designated VTL flight.
  • Non SIA flights from 27th March 2022 to be confirmed.

  Full list of all VTL Flights

Redemption rates

These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and India on SIA.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
India to/from Singapore
  Saver
(one way)
Advantage
(one way)
Economy 18,500
37,000
Premium Economy 32,000
n/a
Business 39,000
65,000
First / Suites 53,000
98,000

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.

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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.

🇮🇳 VTL
Singapore India
Estimated Testing Costs 

Test Cost
Singapore pre-departure (PCR)* S$107 – S$200
India pre-departure (ART)* ~S$12 – S$30
Singapore arrival (PCR) S$125
Day 2 S$7
Day 3 S$15
Day 4 S$7
Day 5 S$7
Day 6 S$7
Day 7 S$15
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.



 


 

Summary

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)

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