Changi Airport News VTL

Singapore VTL: S$204 rapid turnaround on-arrival test now available at Changi

Singapore VTL travellers can now opt for a rapid turnaround on-arrival test at Changi Airport, with results taking only 1 hour, at a cost of S$204.

When it comes to Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) process, we were hoping to soon be reporting on a relaxation of the expensive on-arrival test at Changi Airport, or at the very least a reduction in the current fee of S$125 per traveller, for those arriving in the country via the quarantine-free lane.

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What’s been added as a new option for travellers from 15th February 2022 is effectively the opposite of what we were expecting – a quicker test but a higher price!

New 1-hour LAMP test

For those needing to get on with their business without any further need to isolate within an hour of their VTL arrival test at Changi Airport, a new Loop-Mediated Amplification (LAMP) test method is now available.

This is an alternative to the standard S$125 PCR test, which is still available with an advertised turnaround time of 12 hours, though we all know the actual wait for results is typically only 4-6 hours.

Example for arrival at T3 tomorrow morning (16th Feb)

LAMP tests are around 100 times more sensitive than the traditional PCR method, making them significantly faster. Typically, results are available within 30 minutes.

STC offers 2 types of tests: Standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Express Loop-Mediated Amplification (LAMP). Both tests have been validated by the Ministry of Health to be adequate for serving as Arrival COVID-19 tests.

Changi Safe Travel Concierge

This option won’t be of interest to most of our readers, who are returning residents easily able to isolate at home for a few hours while awaiting the standard S$125 PCR test result.

The Standard PCR test provides travellers with results within 12 hours and costs SGD 125, whereas the Express LAMP test provides travellers with results within 1 hour and costs SGD 204.

It is completely up to travellers which test you would like to take.

Changi Safe Travel Concierge
VTL travellers now have the choice between two test types on arrival at Changi Airport. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

One thing this new option probably does allow you to do is head straight to the office almost straight away, or attend a face-to-face meeting soon after landing on a morning VTL flight, for example.

Those travelling to Singapore as tourists might also be interested – by the time you reach your hotel reception the rapid LAMP result will probably have come through, allowing you to start your holiday immediately.

Slots for the new testing option appear to be limited to certain times of day at this stage, so you may not see it available for your date or time selection.

We did find morning slots available by making dummy bookings at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, however, so it should be possible regardless of which airline you’re arriving with.

Latest VTL arrival process

Since 24th January 2022, travellers returning on the VTL have been subject to a single on-arrival test at Changi Airport (Day 1) followed by up to six self-swab ART tests on Days 2 to 7, only necessary if leaving their place of accommodation that day.

Singapore VTL arrival testing regime
(since 24th January 2022)

Day Test Type Test Location Cost
1 PCR
(administered)

Changi Airport
S$125
2 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
3 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
4 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
5 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
6 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
7 ART
(self-swab)

Home / Hotel
~S$7
Total Up to 7 tests Up to S$167

This was a slight cost saving on the previous arrangement, where Day 3 and Day 7 tests were supervised at Quick Test Centre and cost S$15 each.

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If you opt for the new rapid LAMP on-arrival test, the total cost for 7 tests will increase from around S$167 to around S$246 per person.

If your company is paying – why not? Otherwise, probably one option to skip!

Remember if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days with documentary proof, you are now exempt from all on-arrival testing and isolation requirements in Singapore.



 


 

Summary

Not exactly the news we were hoping to report for Singapore’s VTL on-arrival test, with the expectation that at least the PCR test would become cheaper (S$96 is now the cheapest in the city, so S$125 does seem a bit steep!), or ART testing in the S$30-40 range might become the new norm.

We obviously shouldn’t dismiss this additional option, which will no doubt be useful for those who need to get on with their work, general lives or business meetings almost immediately on arrival, but for most the cost is too prohibitive to consider for the relatively small time benefit.

Results will only be available 3-5 hours quicker than they are with the S$125 PCR test, despite the “advertised” 11-hour benefit.

Let’s hope there’s better news in the form of a cost reduction or ART on-arrival testing method soon, since this remains one of the most costly elements of many VTLs, especially those without any outbound testing like to France and India.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

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8 comments

  1. I feel it’s contradictory on the info required to be captured on the documentary evidence of your covid infection like ID# as in the travel doc or date of birth but if you have seen a discharge memo that Singapore’s MOH issues, it does not the passport number or your DOB. All you have is your name and your NRIC/FIN with all characters masked with X except the last 4 characters. Going by the criteria to use your covid recovery doc to replace the PDT, you won’t be able to use the discharge memo from MOH singapore.

  2. PCR test in Germany is Euro 39. ART about 80 Euro cents in the supermarket. It’s interesting to see that the government allows some companies to make steep profits from the pandemic in Singapore.

      1. Sorry but that is nonsense. There are plenty of private PCR test stations/labs that charge around Euro 40-50. No German Krankenkassen card is required. And I am sure the German Government would not subsidize a vacation pre-departure test for a Singapore citizen.

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