Malaysia’s Ministry of Health has announced a new relaxation of post-arrival testing requirements for those entering the country on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Singapore, axing the requirement for up to five additional antigen tests on Days 2 to 6.
The eased rules will come into effect for arrivals from 3rd March 2022, simplifying the VTL process for travellers and also cutting costs for those making quarantine-free trips.
This comes in advance of a planned extension of the scheme to include air entry points in Penang and Kota Kinabalu, in addition to Kuala Lumpur.
Those travelling quarantine-free from Singapore to Malaysia on the VTL (Air) must have a pre-departure PCR test within two days of departure, followed by an on-arrival (Day 1) PCR test at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
In early December 2021, Malaysia hiked its post-arrival testing regime for VTL travellers to include up five additional tests, depending on the length of your trip, comprising:
- Day 2: Self ART
- Day 3: Professional ART
- Day 4: Self ART
- Day 5: Professional ART
- Day 6: Self ART
While you must wait at KLIA for the results of the on-arrival (Day 1) PCR before clearing immigration, no further isolation is required after taking the Day 2-6 tests.
Results from the Day 2, 4 and 6 self-swab tests must be reported on the MySejahtera app (Apple / Google), while the results of the Day 3 and Day 5 professional ARTs are automatically recorded by the clinic or provider.
These testing requirements apply to all travellers aged two or above.
For those arriving in Malaysia via the VTL (Air) from 3rd March 2022, the following tests will now be required:
- A COVID-19 PCR test within two days before departure from Singapore.
- A COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at KLIA (pre-immigration), and await the results in a designated waiting area (available within 1-3 hours).
No further testing requirements or quarantine / isolation will then apply in Malaysia.
Here’s our latest rundown of the cheapest locations to get a pre-departure PCR test suitable for travel in Singapore, starting at S$96.
There are even competitive options for those preferring to be tested at home, starting at S$128.
When returning to Singapore via the VTL (Air) the following tests are required:
- A COVID-19 PCR or ART test within two days before departure from Malaysia (children aged 2 or below in the calendar year are exempt).
- A COVID-19 supervised ART test within 24 hours of arrival in Singapore (self-isolate until a negative result is received).
Here’s how round-trip testing costs on the VTL (Air) to and from Malaysia will look following removal of the Day 2 to Day 6 tests.
|SG pre-departure (clinic PCR)*||From S$96|
|KL arrival (airport PCR)||S$81 (MY nationals)
S$114 (other nationals)
|MY pre-departure (clinic ART)*||~S$20|
|SG arrival (supervised ART)||S$15|
|Total||~S$212 (MY nationals)
~S$245 (other nationals)
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
This reduces testing costs on this VTL by around S$60, on top of the significant S$150 saving recently realised when Singapore relaxed its VTL arrival testing regime from one PCR and up to six ART tests to a single supervised ART.
Travellers can now expect to part with around S$210 – S$250 on a round-trip between the two countries, most of which is now imposed on the way to Malaysia.
While it’s far from the cheapest VTL in testing terms, at one point this particular arrangement had spiralled to around S$430 – S$460 in testing costs, so these recent changes including the latest relaxation are a welcome improvement.
How does it affect the VTL (Land)?
The VTL (Land) between Singapore and Malaysia works in much the same way as the VTL (Air), except that you can use an ART test pre-departure from Singapore and can expect the same on arrival in Malaysia, making it a cheaper option.
The Day 2 to Day 6 ART testing requirements imposed by Malaysia are common with the VTL (Air), and these will also be removed for VTL (Land) passengers for arrivals from 3rd March 2022.
We recently updated our full list of designated VTL flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which you’ll need to book in both directions for a quarantine-free trip, as summarised below (click to enlarge).
For a full list of all VTL flights to Singapore by route, see our dedicated and updated reference page.
Malaysia VTL (Air) full process
Here’s a reminder of the process for travellers using the Singapore – Malaysia VTL (Air), effective from the start of the testing relaxation on 3rd March 2022.
Singapore – Kuala Lumpur
Eligibility and Process
- All nationalities are accepted (visa may be required).
- No advance application is required, except if you require a Malaysian entry visa, based on nationality.
- You must have no travel history to any place other than Singapore or Malaysia in the last consecutive 14 days prior to departure to Malaysia. This applies even if you have been in Singapore’s other VTL countries – Malaysia does not recognise those.
- You must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any WHO approved vaccine, or one approved by a stringent regulatory authority, including different vaccine brands for respective doses. A digitally verifiable vaccination certificate is required.
- Children aged 12 or under based on date of birth are exempt from the vaccination requirement, when travelling with fully vaccinated adults.
- You must have a travel insurance policy with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 (~S$32,500) for COVID-19 related medical costs (short-term visitors only, including business travellers).
- You must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within two days before departure from the Singapore (children aged 2 or below in the calendar year are exempt).
- You must have a return ticket or onward ticket departing from Malaysia (short-term visitors only).
- You must travel on designated VTL flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (see above).
- You must complete a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at KLIA (pre-immigration).
- Await the results in a designated waiting area (available within 1-3 hours).
- Clear immigration.
- Download the MySejahtera app and adhere to prevailing public health measures during your stay.
- You may transfer to the rest of peninsular Malaysia after arrival, including islands such as Penang and Langkawi.
Travelling back to Singapore (or outbound if you’re originating there) means a process most readers are already familiar with, as shown below.
Kuala Lumpur – Singapore
Eligibility and Process
- All nationalities are accepted (visa may be required).
- Have no travel history to any place other than Malaysia, Singapore, any Category 1 country or any VTL countries in the last consecutive 7 days prior to departure to Singapore.
- Be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. Malaysia), 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.
- Children aged 12 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt from the vaccination requirement, when travelling with fully vaccinated adults.
- Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 3 and 60 days before your intended date of entry into Singapore (short-term visitors only).
- Purchase COVID-19 travel insurance with a coverage of at least S$30,000 (short-term visitors only).
- Have a negative COVID-19 PCR or ART test result from a recognised testing institution within two calendar days prior to departure from the VTL country (children 2 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt).
- Travel on designated VTL flights from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (see above).
- Download and activate the TraceTogether app (short-term visitors only).
- Complete a COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours of arrival at a QTC/CTC (children 2 or under in the calendar year of arrival are exempt).
- Self-isolate at place of residence or suitable accommodation such as a hotel or serviced apartment until negative test result received.
Penang and Kota Kinabalu being added
On 16th February 2022, when the temporary 50% capacity cap for VTL travel between Singapore and Malaysia was lifted, the Malaysian Ministry of Transport also announced that the VTL (Air) scheme between the two countries would be expanded to include non-stop flights to Penang and Kota Kinabalu “soon”.
The comments were echoed by Singapore on the same day.
This will be a great boost for the VTL, which remains fairly limited at the moment, requiring those wishing to travel quarantine-free to the rest of Malaysia to first fly to KL and complete formalities there before taking an onward domestic flight.
Singapore’s VTL with Thailand was similarly expanded to include more point-to-point services recently.
There will be no more daily testing to worry about when travelling to Malaysia on the VTL from 3rd March 2022, with the Day 2 to Day 6 post-arrival tests scrapped, saving inconvenience and cost for travellers.
Malaysia is remaining cautious by retaining the pre-departure and post-arrival PCR tests, rather than relaxing one or both of those to the quicker, cheaper antigen method like Singapore has done, or to match the VTL (Land) process.
Hopefully a further relaxation along those lines can also be something to look forward to for VTL travellers in the weeks ahead, since PCR tests are where the highest testing costs lie.
Meanwhile the VTL (Air) between the two countries will be further expanded to include non-stop flights to and from Penang and Kota Kinabalu “soon”, supplementing the 42 existing quarantine-free services between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur each week.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)