If you’ve been following the site for the last few days, it’ll be no surprise to you that European countries are gradually resetting to normality after the latest Omicron wave of COVID-19, and that includes many of those identified by Singapore as part of its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme.
That’s meant a ditching of pre-departure testing and general pandemic restrictions across the continent, and this time its Finland making life easier for travel-starved Singapore residents making quarantine-free overseas trips.
PDT no longer required
Effective from 15th February 2022, Finland has scrapped its pre-departure test requirement, which was in place since 21st December 2021 in response to the Omicron wave, and comprised:
- A PCR test or ART test conducted no more than 48 hours before arrival.
Fully vaccinated visitors can now travel to Finland without the need to provide a negative test result. This policy applies to travellers from Singapore and all countries outside the EU / Schengen area, like the UK, USA and Australia.
In order to travel to Finland quarantine-free as a non-resident, you must have received your last dose of an approved vaccine course at least seven days and no more than 270 days prior to your arrival day.
That means if you were fully vaccinated back in May 2021 or earlier, you’ll probably need to have received at least one booster dose in order to travel to Finland.
Approved vaccines for travel to Finland are:
- AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)
- Moderna (Spikevax)
- Nuvaxovid (Novavax)
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
- Sinopharm (BIBP)
If you have had only one dose of a two-dose vaccine (e.g. Pfizer) and you have a COVID-19 recovery certificate you can also travel to Finland without quarantine.
Travellers born in 2007 or later, which is those turning 15 years of age or less in the calendar year of 2022, are exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated when travelling to Finland.
Nationals and residents of Finland are exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated when returning to the country.
VTL countries still requiring pre-departure testing
With Finland now off the list, a total of 14 VTL countries will require a pre-departure test for fully vaccinated Singapore residents in the outbound direction from Changi.
You’ll 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
If you are heading to a country requiring pre-departure testing, be sure to check our comprehensive updated guide to the cheapest options available in Singapore.
Aside from Finland, other VTL countries not requiring pre-departure testing include:
- United Kingdom
That’s a total of 10 two-way quarantine-free options with no outbound PDT requirement.
VTL flights Helsinki – Singapore
Those visiting Finland can return to Singapore on designated VTL services operated by Finnair, as shown in the following table (click to expand):
The airline has yet to confirm its designated VTL flight schedule from 27th March 2022 onwards.
Process to Singapore
Obviously no testing now applies for fully vaccinated Singapore residents heading to Finland, but on the way back to Singapore the standard process will apply, as shown below.
VTL Process Singapore
- Must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. Finland), or any EU member state, or any non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC system
- Must have an accepted digital proof of vaccination
- Must have stayed in Singapore or any VTL country for 14 days
- Apply for a VTP in advance*
- Purchase COVID-19 travel insurance (min. coverage of S$30,000)**
- Take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR or ART test (up to 2 days before departure)
- Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
- Take an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR or LAMP test
- Self-isolate until the result is available (typically 4-6 hours)
- Take Day 2 to Day 7 self-swab ART tests using Singapore’s approved test kits, or those approved for use in your VTL origin country if you brought them with you, if you will leave your accommodation on those days
* Not applicable for Singapore Citizens or permanent residents
** Not applicable for Singapore Citizens, permanent residents or pass holders
Here are the approximate testing costs for a Singapore – Finland – Singapore trip, using the VTL on your return, now that no pre-departure test is required on the outbound journey.
|Finland pre-departure (ART)||~S$120|
|SG on-arrival (PCR)*||S$125|
|SG Day 2 (self ART)||~S$7|
|SG Day 3 (self ART)||~S$7|
|SG Day 4 (self ART)||~S$7|
|SG Day 5 (self ART)||~S$7|
|SG Day 6 (self ART)||~S$7|
|SG Day 7 (self ART)||~S$7|
* A more expensive S$204 rapid 1-hour on-arrival LAMP test is also available
As you can see pre-departure testing in Finland, even for an antigen test, is very expensive compared to most VTL countries, so it isn’t a cheap option to return to Singapore from there.
Remember if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days with documentary proof, you are now exempt from all pre-departure testing, on-arrival testing and isolation requirements when travelling to Singapore.
With Finland ditching its pre-departure test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers, there are now 10 countries for Singapore residents to make two-way quarantine-free trips without having to take a COVID test on the outbound part of their journey.
These include India, Denmark, France and the UK.
Do note that you’ll need to ensure you have received a vaccine booster dose when travelling to Finland, if it has been around nine months or more since the final dose of your primary vaccination regime.
With all these overseas relaxations from Singapore’s VTL countries, let’s hope for positive news of similar simplification and cost savings for the VTL process itself when returning to the Lion City.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)