News Travel VTL

Singapore long-term pass holders no longer need a VTP or entry approval when arriving from any country

Singapore long-term pass holders will enjoy a less stressful travel experience from 22 Feb, with no more entry approvals or applications.

There’s good news for Singapore’s long-term pass holders in the latest set of border relaxations, with the Ministry of Manpower confirming that entry approval for travel from non-VTL countries or on non-VTL flights will no longer be necessary for the majority of these residents.

They will also be exempt from applying for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) when arriving in Singapore on the VTL.

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The changes take effect for those touching down from Tuesday 22nd February 2022, and will simplify the arrival process for thousands of travellers resident in the city, though some work permit holders will still face restrictions and require approvals.

For Employment Pass and S Pass holders in particular, this removes the uncertainty around entry application through their Human Resources (HR) department for non-VTL journeys, which could be quickly approved but took months in some cases.

The previous process

Back in March 2020, Singapore imposed an entry approval requirement for long-term pass holders (LTPHs), to help regulate arrival volumes from high risk countries and probably to modulate pressure on SHN hotels and quarantine facilities being used at the time, since the return of Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents could not be easily (or popularly!) restricted.

The implementation of the entry approval measure for LTP holders who wish to enter or return to Singapore will help agencies to regulate the inflow of people into Singapore in order to mitigate the risk of importation of COVID-19 cases.

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, March 2020

While this wasn’t a huge issue for most pass holders returning, there were stories of some pass holders waiting many months to secure approval, which had to be sought through your employer in most cases (e.g. for Employment Pass holders).

Even when the Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble almost got going in November 2020 there were pass holders refused re-entry permission (i.e. to return to Singapore), according to the comments section of our article.

That was strange since those residents were in Singapore already, and were only proposing to go on a short trip to this “safe” country!

The new process

From 22nd February 2022, fully vaccinated long-term pass holders (excluding Work Permit holders) no longer need to apply for entry approval to return to Singapore from non-VTL countries or on non-VTL flights.

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They will also no longer need to have a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) when arriving from a VTL country on a designated VTL flight, allowing them to make short-term bookings without applying for a VTP at least three days in advance.

Singapore’s incidence rate is now comparable with most overseas destinations. Imported cases are unlikely to affect the trajectory of local cases.

Singapore Ministry of Health

Here’s a summary table showing the new requirements for an Entry Approval (EA) and / or a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP), based on your Singapore long-term pass type.

Singapore Entry Requirements
from 22nd February 2022

LTPH Category Travel Lane
VTL Non-VTL
  • Dependant’s Pass
  • Employment Pass
  • EntrePass
  • Immigration Exemption Order
  • Long Term Visit Pass
  • Personalised Employment Pass
  • S Pass holders
  • Student’s Pass
  • Tech.Pass
  • Training Employment Pass
  • Work Holiday Pass

Permitted

  without EA
  without VTP
  • Dormitory-bound work permit holders
  • Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the CMP sector

Not
Permitted

Permitted
  with EA
  • Confinement Nannies
  • Migrant Domestic Workers
  • All other work permit holders

Permitted
  without EA
  with VTP
LTPH Category
  • Dependant’s Pass
  • Employment Pass
  • EntrePass
  • Immigration Exemption Order
  • Long Term Visit Pass
  • Personalised Employment Pass
  • S Pass holders
  • Student’s Pass
  • Tech.Pass
  • Training Employment Pass
  • Work Holiday Pass
VTL Non-VTL

Permitted
  without EA
  without VTP

Permitted
  without EA
  without VTP
LTPH Category
  • Dormitory-bound work permit holders
  • Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the CMP sector
VTL Non-VTL

Not
Permitted

Permitted
  with EA
LTPH Category
  • Confinement Nannies
  • Migrant Domestic Workers
  • All other work permit holders
VTL Non-VTL

Permitted
  without EA
  with VTP

Permitted
  with EA

Source: Ministry of Manpower

This gives a lot more freedom to those holding an Employment Pass, Dependent’s Pass or S Pass, for example, with no VTP to fill out when using the VTL to fly back to Singapore, nor any entry approval to seek via your employer when returning from non-VTL countries, like Ireland.

Long-term pass holders including those with an Employment Pass, Dependent’s Pass or S Pass will be able to return to Singapore from all countries without an entry approval or a VTP from 22nd February. (Photo: Changi Airport)

It effectively puts these pass holders on a par with Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, in terms of required approvals to travel to Singapore.

Travellers will continue to be subject to the requirements of the SafeTravel Lane they are entering under, including border health measures and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) periods.

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For Employment Pass and S Pass holders in particular who need to return to their home countries to visit friends or family in non-VTL locations, this will simplify their journeys considerably.

An Employment Pass holder from Ireland, for example, was subject to the re-entry approval process via their HR department when coming back to Singapore at the end of the trip, even if they were fully vaccinated and happy to complete seven days SHN at home.

Proving your status

For flights arriving in Singapore from 22nd February 2022, eligible long-term pass holders will have to produce their long-term pass or in-principle approval letter to the check-in staff in order to travel to Singapore, either on a VTL or non-VTL flight.

They will also have to show their fully vaccinated status, via HealthHub / Notarise or a recognised digital certificate from overseas (this is not required for Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents returning non-VTL).

Work permit holders

Work permit holders must still apply for a VTP when travelling to Singapore on the VTL, or obtain an entry approval when arriving non-VTL.

Work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors and dormitory-bound work permit holders remain excluded from using the VTLs.

Work permit holders should continue to obtain a VTP if entering via VTL (excluding work permit holders in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors (CMP) and other dormitory bound work permit holders); or an entry approval under non-VTL channels (Work Pass Holder General Lane via Safe Travel Office or MOM’s entry approval for CMP workers).

This is to ensure work permit holders enter Singapore in a safe and calibrated manner given their larger numbers. 

Singapore Ministry of Health


 


 

Health declaration

Like Singapore Citizens and Permanent residents, all long-term pass holders must continue to submit the health and travel declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service, prior to arrival.

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This can be completed within three days of arrival date, and contains details about your health status and recent travel history, as well as personal particulars and contact details.

  Complete the SGAC

Summary

Long-term pass holders face a lot less uncertainty about returning to Singapore from non-VTL countries or on non-VTL flights with this latest development, meaning no requirement to have an entry approval, which your employer or HR department previously had to apply for in most cases.

Those using the VTLs will also have a much simpler journey to look forward to, with no requirement to apply for a VTP to cover their entry on the way home, and the freedom to make short-term bookings on VTL flights.

This shift will also help prepare Singapore for a wider border reopening, with VTLs hopefully becoming a thing of the past soon, as we move towards allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter from all countries once the Omicron wave begins to subside.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

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17 comments

  1. I think you have missed an important point here ie how to book an on-arrival RT-PCR test for non-VTL arrivals into Singapore. This was part of the Safe Entry approvals earlier as in when you make an application for Safe Entry it was mandatory to make the payment for the on arrival test. How would that process will change?

      1. I am aware of that but the booking for the quarantine exit test was part of the Safe Entry application. Now that the entry approvals are scrapped, how do you book the PCR test for non-VTLs?