In mid-January Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan pulled the plug on the states’ planned border reopening two weeks before it was due to happen, over the Omicron variant, dashing the hopes of many families looking forward to reuniting and travellers who had planned a holiday around the original proposal.
No subsequent reopening date was provided, leaving everyone in limbo over when to expect a relaxation.
It also meant that when VTL flights from Perth to Singapore commenced on 5th February they represented only a one-way quarantine-free arrangement, with most travellers still unable to fly into Perth from overseas.
Western Australia to reopen on 3rd March
In a new announcement, Western Australia’s Premier has confirmed that the latest plan for the state is to reopen both domestic and international borders on 3rd March (that’s 2022, don’t worry – I checked!).
This will be the last of Australia’s states to reopen, with a general lifting of international border restrictions already announced to take effect from 21st February 2022.
Once Western Australia also comes on board from 3rd March, international arrivals will be welcomed across the whole of Australia for the first time in two years.
Following a review of WA’s border controls based on the latest health advice, the updated Safe Transition Plan will take effect from 12.01am Thursday, 3 March 2022.
The full border opening will allow for safe travel into WA from interstate and overseas with vaccination and testing requirements on arrival, pending the latest health advice.Western Australia Government
Travellers heading to Perth from overseas will have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, in addition to providing evidence of full vaccination, with the two options being:
- A PCR test within three days of departure; or
- A RAT (ART) test within 24 hours of departure
Note that those taking a PCR test can do so within three calendar days of the departure date of their first flight to Australia (i.e. on the day of departure or anytime on the preceding three days). For those taking a RAT (ART) however, the test must be conducted within 24 hours of the departure time of their first flight to Australia.
Those aged 4 or below at the time of check-in are exempt from pre-departure testing when travelling internationally to Australia.
For a RAT (ART), the test must be undertaken by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner (e.g., pharmacist, general practitioner, nurse, pathologist, pathology collector or trained personnel at airport-based testing stations).
Australia PDT Requirements
Your COVID-19 test result can be paper-based or electronic. Results must refer to the following mandatory requirements:
- traveller name and date of birth (age at time of test or passport number accepted, if date of birth not listed)
- the test result (such as ‘negative’ or ‘not detected’)
- the method of test conducted e.g., NAA test or RAT
- the brand and make of the test (for RAT tests)
- the date (for RAT also include time) of specimen collection for the accepted COVID-19 test
- that the specimen for the test was collected, and the test was carried out by or under the supervision of and, signed by an authorised person
PCR tests in Singapore on average cost around S$120, though there are a good number of options in the S$96 – S$115 range. For those phobic of the nasal swab process, there are also saliva-based PCR tests available from S$115, valid for travel to Australia.
Pre-departure ART tests including a certificate for travel, meanwhile, cost around S$36 on average in Singapore, with multiple options in the S$21 – S$30 range, not to mention video-call supervised ART testing from as little as S$12.84, plus the cost of your own test kit.
Perth arrival process
Here’s how the process will look for travellers to fly internationally into Perth from Singapore, or from other countries with direct flights.
- Take a pre-departure test before travelling to Australia (see above)
- Meet Commonwealth Government requirements (eVisa) to enter Australia
- Be fully vaccinated under the Commonwealth Government requirements
- Complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of departure
- Have a registered G2G Pass
- Undertake a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) upon arrival within 12 hours and report any positive result
All passengers arriving into Perth will have a RAT kit provided to them free of charge.
The testing regime may be amended based on the state’s ongoing review process.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Australian travellers will still need to quarantine in a hotel for seven days on arrival in Western Australia, however children under the age of 12 years and 2 months are exempt from this requirement.
International travellers arriving in Western Australia will have to comply with the Commonwealth Government definition of “fully vaccinated”.
This requires visitors to have received at least two doses of any combination of the following vaccines, at least 14 days apart:
- Pfizer / Biontech Comirnaty
- Sputnik V
Alternatively, visitors may have had a single dose of:
- Janssen (J&J)
Note that if you’re travelling interstate to Western Australia (i.e. from other Australian states like Victoria), you will need to have received a booster vaccine dose (third dose) to enter WA, if you are eligible to receive one.
Here are the estimated testing costs for a round-trip from Singapore to Perth and back, once the border reopens, for those taking a VTL trip.
|SG pre-departure (ART)*||From S$21|
|Perth on-arrival (ART)||Free|
|Perth pre-departure (ART)*||~S$60|
|SG arrival (ART)||S$15|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
Thanks to a recently relaxed VTL testing process in Singapore from 22nd February, additional costs for a Western Australia trip should now be around S$100 per traveller.
Perth-Singapore VTL flights
You can take any flight from Singapore to Perth, but here’s the latest list of designated VTL flights you’ll need to take from Perth to Singapore to use the quarantine-free lane.
27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022