Just over a month ago, in late January 2022, Sri Lanka relaxed its pre-departure test requirement, shifting from an expensive PCR to also include the option for travellers to take a cheaper, quicker ART swab. This was a nice cost saving over the previous testing regime, especially for families.
Now the country has gone one step further and removed the pre-departure test requirement altogether for fully vaccinated travellers, making it the 13th two-way quarantine-free option on Singapore’s VTL list without any outbound testing.
Travellers will now only take two ART tests on a Sri Lanka trip – those imposed by Singapore as part of the VTL process when returning home, at a total cost of less than S$30 a head.
PDT no longer required
Effective from 1st March 2022, Sri Lanka has completely removed its pre-departure test requirement, which until 28th February 2022 comprised:
- a PCR test within 72 hours of departure; or
- an ART test within 48 hours of departure.
Children aged 11 or below were exempt from pre-departure testing.
Fully vaccinated visitors can now travel to Sri Lanka without the need to provide a negative test result. This policy applies to travellers from all countries.
Travellers aged 12 or over who are not fully vaccinated must continue to comply with the above testing requirements.
Latest process for Sri Lanka
To travel to Sri Lanka without quarantine, fully vaccinated tourists will now have to follow these requirements from 1st March 2022:
- Apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter Sri Lanka, if required.
- Complete a “Health Declaration” form here no later than 24 hours before arrival.
- Have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing that you were fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks before departure.
- Purchase mandatory local COVID-19 insurance (US$12 per person), even if you have your own policy.
- Unvaccinated children aged 12-18 must have an on-arrival PCR test (US$40 per person).
- Unvaccinated children aged 11 and below can travel without arrival testing, with fully vaccinated parents.
- Fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to make their own arrangements for accommodation, airport transfers and local transportation.
Designated VTL flights
Travellers can take any flight to Sri Lanka, since there are no designated VTL services in this direction.
Here are the designated VTL flights from Colombo to Singapore, operated by Singapore Airlines and SriLankan Airlines, which you’ll have to take on your return journey to follow the VTL process (click to expand):
Process to Singapore
Obviously no testing now applies for fully vaccinated Singapore residents heading to Sri Lanka, 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. Sri Lanka), 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 / countries for 7 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’ (see above)
- Take an on-arrival supervised COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours
- Self-isolate until the result is available
* Not applicable for Singapore Citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders
Sri Lanka VTL testing costs
ART testing costs in Sri Lanka at private hospitals are now capped at Rs. 2,000 (~S$13), after the government found providers charging almost three times that amount, then brought in legislation to address the issue.
Since you’ll need a professionally administered ART test within 2 days of travelling back to Singapore on the VTL, this low rate makes Sri Lanka one of the cheapest quarantine-free trip options, now that no testing applies when flying outbound.
Here are the estimated testing costs per fully vaccinated traveller for a Singapore – Sri Lanka – Singapore trip example, based on the new testing requirements.
|Sri Lanka pre-departure (ART)||S$13|
|SG on-arrival (supervised ART)||S$15|
This represents one of the cheapest VTL trips going, in testing terms at least, with additional costs per traveller standing at less than S$30.
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, which would make your Sri Lanka trip completely test free in both directions.
VTL countries still requiring pre-departure testing
With the Sri Lanka now off the list, a total of 17 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 PCR and ART options available in Singapore.
VTL countries not requiring any pre-departure testing are now:
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
That’s a total of 13 two-way quarantine-free options with no outbound PDT requirement, for cheaper trips with much less hassle involved.
Since the start of 2022 we’ve seen several of Singapore’s VTL countries relax their pre-departure test requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, and this is the second such announcement from Sri Lanka.
It’s now the 13th country on the quarantine-free list without any PDT needed, meaning travellers will only need to follow the recently simplified VTL testing regime on return to Singapore.
That’s just two relatively inexpensive ART tests in this case, making Sri Lanka one of the cheapest options in testing terms.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)