Travel VTL

Full Guide: Singapore – Philippines Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)

Singapore residents can travel to and from the Philippines without quarantine in either direction from 4th March.

Here's all you need to know about our simplest regional VTL so far.

Updated: 12th March 2022
Pre-departure testing to the Philippines can now be an ART instead of a PCR

After maintaining one of the strictest border controls in the region for the last two years due to COVID-19, this month the Philippines began welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from over 150 countries to visit without any quarantine or on-arrival testing.

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From 4th March 2022 the Philippines is also being added to Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) programme, which means Singapore residents holding one of the valid nationalities can make two-way quarantine-free trips to the country.

With no on-arrival test or isolation period in the Philippines, over 70 weekly non-stop flights to the country, and over 50 designated VTL flights a week back to the Lion City, this will be Singapore’s simplest quarantine-free lane in South East Asia so far, with total round-trip testing costs from around S$60 per adult.

The Philippines is now quarantine-free and visa-free for citizens of 157 countries. (Photo: Shutterstock)

“While the Philippines has opened its borders to fully vaccinated business and leisure visitors, it is doing so with utmost care and with full regard for the health and safety of both visitors and the general public.”

Romulo Puyat, Philippines Secretary of the Department of Tourism

In a nutshell

Before we get into the details, here’s a summary of the process in each direction for quarantine-free travel to the Philippines and back, for a Singapore resident.

🇵🇭
Singapore Philippines

Eligibility & Vaccination
  • Hold one of these 157 nationalities to enter the Philippines.
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (15+ days after the second dose).
  • Booster dose is not required.
  • Hold a travel insurance policy with a minimum coverage of US$35,000.
  • Register with One Health Pass prior to arrival in the Philippines.
  • Install the ‘TRAZE’ contact tracing app on your personal device before departing to the Philippines.
  • Tourist stays are limited to 30 days.
COVID-19 Test(s)
  • ART test no more than 24 hours before flight departure; or
  • PCR test no more than 48 hours before flight departure.

🇸🇬
Philippines Singapore

Eligibility & Vaccination
  • 7-day travel history only includes the Philippines, Singapore, Category 1 countries, other VTL countries or travel history approved countries (EEA + 3).
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Singapore or any VTL country.
  • Booster dose is not required.
  • Travel insurance policy with a minimum coverage of S$30,000.*
  • Apply for a VTP 3-60 days prior to departure.*
  • Complete SG Arrival Card up to 3 days prior to departure.
  • Take a designated VTL flight to Singapore (see below).
  • Install the TraceTogether contact tracing application on your personal device and register your profile.*

* Short-term visitors only

COVID-19 Test(s)
  • ART or PCR test no more than 2 days before flight departure.
  • Supervised ART test within 24 hours of arrival (self-isolate until negative result).

Singapore to the Philippines

The Philippines reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers without arrival quarantine on 10th February 2022, nine days after extending the same privilege to Filipino citizens returning from overseas.

Here’s how the eligibility restrictions and process look for travel from Singapore.

Singapore to the Philippines
Eligibility

Fully vaccinated travellers heading to the Philippines, including Singapore residents, must either be Filipino citizens or currently hold one of these 157 nationalities to enter the country without quarantine.

Singapore passport holders are eligible.

Your Singapore Passport will get you past the check-in desk for a Philippines-bound flight with no arrival quarantine, but plenty of others will too. (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you are not Filipino and your passport is not on the list above, you won’t be able to travel to the Philippines at the moment.

For example, an Indian citizen (passport holder) who is a permanent resident of Singapore will not be eligible to travel to the Philippines at this stage, because Indian passport holders do not enjoy visa-free arrival in the Philippines.

Visa on arrival facilities are not currently available in the Philippines; you must be a citizen of a visa-free country.

Departing from Changi to the Philippines won’t be for all residents, your passport is king. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tourist stays in the Philippines are currently limited to 30 days, regardless of nationality.

Singapore to the Philippines
Vaccination

To travel to the Philippines quarantine-free you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Your primary vaccine course (i.e. the second dose in a two-dose vaccine, or the only dose of a single-dose vaccine) must have been administered at least 15 days before departure.

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The Philippines recognises the following vaccine types for arriving tourists:

  • One of the Philippines’ Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) List vaccines, or those issued under the Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration; or
  • Any vaccine on the Emergency Use Listing of the World Health Organization.

Acceptable proof of vaccination for those travelling to the Philippines, which needs to be presented at check-in and on arrival, comprises one of the following:

  • A World Health Organization International Certificate of Vaccination and Prophylaxis
  • A VaxCertPH
  • A National or state digital certificate of a country which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement (includes Singapore, Australia, UK, USA)
  • Other proof of vaccination permitted by the IATF (see below)

At the time of writing, the Philippines accepts vaccination certificates issued in the following 68 countries:

  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (SAR China)
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Ireland (Rep.)
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Korea (Rep.)
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russian Fed.
  • Samoa
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • USA
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City
  • Vietnam

Source: IATA Timatic

Pro Tip: Do not confuse the list of countries whose vaccination certificates are accepted with the list of eligible nationalities for travel to the Philippines.

It doesn’t matter which country you were actually vaccinated in, only that the certificate is issued by a recognised country (e.g. a vaccine administered in Panama ingested into Singapore’s National Immunisation Registry will be accepted by the Philippines, since you will have a Singapore Notarised certificate to present).

Most of our readers fully vaccinated in Singapore itself with Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac or Sinopharm will have no issues here. The Notarised vaccination certificate (i.e. with QR code) issued by the Ministry of Health will be accepted by the Philippines.

The Philippines does not require travellers to have a booster dose to travel to the country at this stage.

Children younger than 12 are exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated to enter the Philippines, when travelling with fully vaccinated parents.

Singapore to the Philippines
Testing

You must have a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the Philippines, comprising either:

  • a PCR test within 48 hours of departure; or
  • an ART test within 24 hours of departure.

The timing applies prior to departure at the first embarkation point in a continuous journey to the Philippines (i.e. where you do not leave the airport premises at any transit points).

For most of our readers that means the best option will be to have a (cheaper) ART test within 24 hours of the departure time of your non-stop flight from Singapore.

There are about 600 places to get a pre-departure COVID-19 test in Singapore. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

For example if you are departing to Manila with Jetstar on 3K765 at 4.35pm on Wednesday, simply take a pre-departure ART test from 4.35pm on Tuesday onwards.

If you opt for a more expensive PCR test, it must administered from 4.35pm on Monday onwards in this example.

Here’s our latest rundown of the cheapest locations to get a pre-departure ART test suitable for travel in Singapore, starting at S$21.40, or a PCR test, starting at S$90.

Children aged three or below by date of birth on departure are exempt from the requirement to have a pre-departure test to enter the Philippines.

Singapore to the Philippines
Insurance & Other documents

To travel quarantine-free to the Philippines, you must have a travel insurance policy covering COVID-19 treatment costs, with a minimum coverage of US$35,000, valid for the duration of your stay.

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You must also have:

  • A passport valid for at least six months at the time of arrival in the Philippines.
  • Valid tickets for your return journey to the port of origin, or next port of destination outside the Philippines, departing not later than 30 days from the date of arrival in the Philippines.

Singapore to the Philippines
Pre-departure form & App

All inbound passengers from overseas must register with One Health Pass prior to arrival in the Philippines. This will generate a QR code, which you must present to the immigration officer after you land, however no on-arrival COVID-19 test is conducted.

You must also install the ‘TRAZE’ contact tracing app on your personal device before departing to the Philippines, so we assume this will be checked by the airline staff at Changi.

Singapore to the Philippines
Flight options

In March 2022 there are 72 weekly non-stop options loaded for flights from Singapore to the Philippines, as shown below:

  • AirAsia Philippines: Manila (1/wk)
  • Cebu Pacific: Manila (4/wk)
  • Jetstar Asia: Clark (6/wk), Manila (7/wk)
  • Philippine Airlines: Manila (13/wk)
  • Scoot: Cebu (7/wk), Clark (7/wk), Davao (3/wk)
  • Singapore Airlines: Manila (24/wk)
Cebu Pacific is one of six airlines operating non-stop flights from Singapore to the Philippines. (Photo: Masakatsu Ukon)

The Philippines has relaxed its recently increased cap of 5,000 international arrivals per day into Manila, since clarifying that the cap will not apply to fully vaccinated tourists.

In the Philippines

Once you have arrived in the Philippines as a fully vaccinated traveller with no quarantine requirements, you are asked to self-monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 until the seventh day from arrival.

The Philippines is maintaining domestic COVID-19 restrictions including mandatory mask-wearing in public areas, however no curfews are in place and there are no restrictions on intercity or interstate travel. Domestic flights and public transport systems are operating, and most hotels are open.

The Peninsula Manila Lobby. (Photo: The Peninsula Hotels)

Do be aware, however, that some specific regions of the country are still under Alert Level 2 or 3, where venues such as cinemas and theme parks are not allowed to open, while dine-in restaurants operate under specific protocols.

“The opening of our borders to eligible foreign visitors and the rebound of the tourism industry can only mean the restoration of the livelihood of millions of Filipinos working in tourism-related establishments and businesses who have been displaced by the pandemic.

“It will contribute greatly to the eventual revival of the Philippine economy.”

Romulo Puyat, Philippines Secretary of the Department of Tourism

In the Philippines
Domestic flights

With no on-arrival testing required, you can continue your journey to other parts of the Philippines on domestic flights to reach your final destination, if required.

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For example there are over 25 daily flights from Manila to Caticlan, for those visiting Boracay. Just be sure to build in a comfortable buffer when making unprotected connection bookings, to clear immigration formalities on arrival then check in for your domestic flight.

The Shangri-La Boracay. (Photo Shangri-La)

You can then return to Singapore on a designated VTL flight, by positioning yourself to one of the four airports in the country these will operate from – Cebu, Clark, Davao and Manila.

The Philippines to Singapore

Prior to returning to Singapore from the Philippines on the VTL, you’ll need to ensure you meet all the following requirements.

The Philippines to Singapore
Eligibility

To return to Singapore from the Philippines on the VTL you must have stayed in the Philippines, Singapore or any VTL country for at least seven days.

The Philippines to Singapore
Vaccination

To travel to Singapore on the VTL you must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine. Proof of vaccine administration must have been issued:

  • in Singapore, or
  • in any VTL country (e.g. the Philippines), or
  • in any EU member state (e.g. Portugal), or
  • in any non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC system (e.g. Panama)

You must also have an accepted digital proof of vaccination.

If you were fully vaccinated in the Philippines, you will have to provide a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate from VaxCertPH, issued by the Philippines Department of Health.

The Philippines to Singapore
Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)

Unless you are a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident or eligible Long-Term Pass Holder, you will have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass between three and 60 days before travelling to Singapore on the VTL.

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This will require you to upload your vaccination credentials (QR code), if you were not vaccinated in Singapore itself and you have not had your overseas vaccination ingested into Singapore’s national register.

VTP applications for those arriving in Singapore on the VTL from the Philippines will open on 1st March 2022 at 10.00am Singapore Time.

  Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)

Once approved (typically instant), your vaccinated travel pass will be valid for entry on the intended date or up to 13 days later (total 14-day window).

Pro Tip: Apply for a VTP with an intended date of entry a few days before you will actually fly to Singapore, to give you a buffer either side in case your plans change.

Here’s our latest rundown on how the VTP application works.

The Philippines to Singapore
Testing

You will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR or Antigen (ART) test up to calendar 2 days before departure from the Philippines to Singapore.

For example, if your flight is scheduled to depart on a Wednesday (any time until 11.59pm local time), you must take the test any time on Monday (0.01am local time onwards), Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Pre-departure tests in the Philippines cost around:

ART: ~PHP750 (~S$20)
PCR: ~PHP2,700 (~S$70)

This includes options at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) itself.

There is obviously no need to have a PCR test before returning to Singapore on the VTL (rather than a cheaper, quicker ART), but if you choose to do so, or that is the only option the most convenient clinic provides, it should come in over 25% cheaper the rate you paid in Singapore before departing to the Philippines!

The Philippines to Singapore
Insurance & Other documents

Unless you are a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident or Long-Term Pass Holder, you must purchase COVID-19 travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 before travelling on the VTL to Singapore.



 


 

The Philippines to Singapore
Pre-departure form & App

All VTL passengers flying to Singapore must complete the SG Arrival Card up to three days prior to departure.

Additionally, short-term visitors must install the TraceTogether contact tracing app on their personal device and register a profile.

The Philippines to Singapore
Post-arrival test

You will need to book and travel on a designated VTL flight to Singapore to use the quarantine-free arrival process and avoid seven days of mandatory home isolation (see below for the list of VTL flights from the Philippines).

After arrival, you must attend a supervised self-swab ART at a test centre in Singapore, within 24 hours of clearing immigration.

A Quick Test Centre in Singapore. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

While you can choose to do this almost straight away, or up to a day later, do bear in mind that you will be expected to self-isolate until you have taken the test and received a negative result.

The Philippines to Singapore
VTL flights

You can take any flight from Singapore to the Philippines and enjoy quarantine-free arrival. It’s the return portion of your trip back to Singapore itself where you must take a specifically-approved designated VTL flight to arrive under the quarantine-free process.

So far designated VTL flights from the Philippines to Singapore have been confirmed by Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and Scoot from four cities; Cebu, Clark, Davao and Manila.

We also expect local Philippines operators to add some of their flights to the VTL programme, but for now here are the confirmed designated flights by Jetstar, SIA and Scoot on these four routes.

Cebu
(Scoot & Singapore Airlines)

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= TR389
A321neo
CEB
14:45
SIN

18:30

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Clark
(Jetstar & Scoot)

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022