News Travel VTL

Netherlands drops pre-departure test requirement from Singapore, but lockdown looms

You no longer need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to travel from Singapore to the Netherlands, but you may want to reconsider a leisure trip for now.

Update: That didn’t last long! A new policy comes into force on 22nd December 2022, reinstating the pre-departure test requirement for those travelling from Singapore to the Netherlands.

Last month the Netherlands added the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in order to travel, in response to the European Union reclassifying the Lion City under its “very high risk” category, following a surge in cases here.

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From 13th November 2021 it was therefore necessary for those departing from Singapore to Amsterdam to arrange a pre-departure test as follows:

  • PCR test conducted no more than 48 hours prior to departure; or
  • An ART test conducted no more than 24 hours prior to departure.

Test requirement removed

Thankfully case numbers in Singapore have dropped significantly, and from 16th December 2021 the Netherlands has moved Singapore back into its “high risk” category.

That still sounds serious, but in fact it removes the pre-departure test requirement listed above for fully vaccinated travellers, or children under 12, making your trip planning a little less complicated.

Note: Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals aged 12 or over travelling from Singapore to the Netherlands under an exemption category (e.g. right of residence) are still subject to the pre-departure testing requirements.

Some VTL countries still require pre-departure testing

The Netherlands may have relaxed its pre-departure testing requirement for travellers from Singapore, but there are still 16 countries on the VTL list with some form of test requirement to make it past the check-in desk, as outlined below.

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.

This includes European VTL countries like France, Switzerland and the UK.

If you still require a pre-departure test in Singapore before embarking on a VTL trip, here’s our latest rundown of the cheapest locations to get a test suitable for travel.

Note in particular that self-administered ART tests are not accepted for travel purposes, so you’ll still need to visit a clinic and obtain a certificate from the health provider when travelling to countries that accept an ART swab like the UK.

Based on our recent analysis, pre-departure test costs in Singapore are around:

  • PCR: S$107 (cheapest) – S$141 (average)
  • ART: S$27 (cheapest) – S$40 (average)


 


 

VTL flights AMS-SIN

Here’s a list of the VTL flights from Amsterdam to Singapore, which you’ll need to use on your return journey to benefit from quarantine-free arrival in Singapore.

1st November 2021 – 16th January 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ329
A350-900
AMS
10:25
SIN

05:55*
KL833
777-300ER
         
AMS
21:05
SIN

15:30*

* Next day

KLM will also operate the following additional VTL flight from Amsterdam to Singapore (KL813):

  • Friday 7th January 2022 (one-time VTL service)

17th January 2022 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ323
A350-900
       
AMS
10:25
SIN

05:55*
 bgcolor= SQ329
A350-900
     
AMS
10:25
SIN

05:55*
KL833
777-300ER
         
AMS
21:05
SIN

15:30*

* Next day

Amsterdam Singapore
Non-VTL

  • SQ323 services (Mon, Wed, Sun) prior to 17th January 2022 are not designated VTL flights.
  • KL835/837/839 services (Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun) are not designated VTL flights.

  Full list of all VTL Flights

For VTL trips, you will still be subject to Singapore’s latest test requirements on your way home, currently comprising a pre-departure test, an on-arrival test, and six daily ART tests.

A ‘hard lockdown’ is coming in the Netherlands

If you have travel to the Netherlands coming up in the near future, it’ll likely be of interest to you that the country is facing a fresh ‘lockdown’ due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The Netherlands is again shutting down. That is unavoidable because of the fifth wave that is coming at us with the Omicron variant.”

Mark Rutte, Netherlands Prime Minister

Non-essential shops, bars and restaurants will close, as will schools and other public places.

According to Our World in Data, 12% of new COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands over the two weeks to 13th December 2021 were the Omicron variant, the highest among VTL countries. The proportion is likely to be much higher now.

The lockdown takes effect from today (Sunday 19th December 2021) and will run until at least 14th January 2022.

Shops, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands were already under a curfew from 5pm to 5am each day, as part of measures introduced in late November, but now won’t be able to open at all in most cases.

The Netherlands is under a strict lockdown until 14th January 2022, with most businesses forced to close. (Photo: Shutterstock)

These measures are unlikely to deter families travelling home for Christmas, but they will significantly impact the experience for those going on holiday to the Netherlands in the coming days and weeks, who may want to reconsider their plans as a result of this news.

Summary

Good and bad news from the Netherlands this week as far as travel from Singapore is concerned.

It’s great to see the pre-departure test requirement dropped relatively quickly, but those heading to Amsterdam for a leisure trip between now and mid-January will almost certainly want to rethink their plan, with a tough lockdown in effect for the next four weeks or so.

(Cover Photo: Edouard Grillot)

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2 comments

  1. As an aside, PDT soft-copy certificates on HealthHub is as good as a paper certificate right? Do we need to literally print out the certificate with the QR code?

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