More good news for some Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) travellers from Singapore, this time from South Korea which has a bilateral quarantine-free arrangement, announcing a removal of two post-arrival tests, bringing the maximum number of swabs for a round-trip down from seven to five.
Unfortunately with up to three PCR tests still in play, this VTL remains one of the most expensive, with longer trips costing travellers over S$500 each before flight and hotel costs have even been considered.
Day 3 and Day 5 ART tests scrapped
For those arriving in South Korea on or before 28th February 2022, there are two self-administered ART tests required on Day 3 and Day 5 (arrival day is Day 1), with travellers required to complete the following post-test process:
- If the ART result is negative, the traveller is required to take a photo of the ART result together with his/her passport’s bio-data page for self-recording.
- If the ART result is positive, the traveller is required to contact the public health centre immediately and arrangement would be made for him/her to take a PCR test.
Thankfully for those arriving in South Korea on or after 1st March 2022, these additional self-ART tests are no longer required.
Remember if you arrived in South Korea on or before 28th February 2022, you will still have to conduct the Day 3 and Day 5 self-ART tests, even if their due dates fall in early March.
For example if you landed on 28th February, you’ll still be required to complete these tests on 2nd March and 4th March respectively; only those who landed on 1st March onwards are exempt.
Latest South Korea VTL process
Here’s how the overall process now looks for travellers from Singapore to South Korea, now that the Day 2 and Day 5 ART tests have been removed.
Singapore South Korea
- Must be fully vaccinated with a WHO vaccine and certificate issued in Singapore or South Korea
- Must have stayed in Singapore or South Korea for 14 days
- Unvaccinated children aged 6+ are not eligible
- Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation*
- Purchase COVID-19 travel insurance (min. coverage of KRW30 million – approximately S$34,000)*
- Book an on-arrival PCR test before departure
- Take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test (up to 48 hours before departure)
- Travel to Seoul on any non-stop flight
- Install the Self-Check mobile app and enter your daily health status for 14 days from the day of arrival
- Take an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test
- Leave the airport via private transportation or designated bus / train to your residence or accommodation
- Self-isolate until the result is available (4-17 hours, depending on test time)
Take Day 3 and Day 5 self-swab ART tests, with the arrival day as Day 1*
For stays of 8 or more days:
- Take another COVID-19 PCR test on either Day 6 or 7 of your trip, with the arrival day as Day 1*
- No post-test isolation period applies
* Not applicable for South Korean citizens or permanent residents
Note that depending on your trip duration, there are potentially still up to three COVID-19 PCR tests involved in the Singapore – South Korea direction.
For the cheapest pre-departure PCR tests in Singapore, starting at S$96 for a nasal swab or S$115 for a saliva method (also acceptable for South Korea travel), check our continually updated list here.
Here’s the latest VTL process from South Korea to Singapore:
South Korea Singapore
- Must be fully vaccinated in with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. South Korea), 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 South Korea, Singapore or any VTL country 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’
- Take 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.
* Not applicable for Singapore Citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders
Here’s how round-trip testing costs on the VTL to and from South Korea now look, following removal of the Day 2 and Day 5 tests.
|SG pre-departure (clinic PCR)*||From S$96|
|S. Korea arrival (airport PCR)||~S$196
|S. Korea Day 6/7 (clinic PCR)*||~S$130|
|S. Korea pre-departure (clinic ART)||~S$100|
|SG arrival (supervised ART)||S$15|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
Costs have reduced, largely thanks to Singapore’s recently relaxed 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 at least S$540 on a round-trip of eight+ days to South Korea, though many taking shorter trips will be able to avoid the Day 6/7 test, for a total cost closer to S$400.
You can take any non-stop flight from Singapore to Seoul to use the VTL with South Korea, but on your return to Changi you’ll have to select one of the designated VTL flights, as listed below (click to enlarge):
For a full list of all VTL flights to Singapore by route through to the end of October 2022, see our dedicated and updated reference page.
VTL trips to South Korea will be a bit simpler starting this month, with no self-administered ART test to worry about on Day 3 or Day 5 of your trip, saving inconvenience and a little bit of cost for travellers.
The main testing costs for this particular arrangement, however, are the expensive PCR tests.
Up to three are still required per person for longer trips, on top of the return testing when heading back to Singapore, making this one of the most expensive VTLs in testing terms.
Let’s hope for further improvements in the weeks and months ahead, but this is at least a start.
(Cover Photo: Yu Kato)