Just last week we were reporting on South Korea’s removal of COVID-19 testing for VTL travellers from Singapore, on Day 3 and Day 5 of their trip, and already there’s another welcome improvement announced this week for the two-way quarantine-free scheme.
The requirement to take a second (expensive) PCR test on Day 6 or Day 7 after arriving in South Korea, needed only if you’re staying in the country for eight days or more, has been scrapped for those entering the country from 10th March 2022 onwards.
Instead, you’ll simply have to take a self-administered ART test on Day 6 or Day 7, saving travellers who are planning longer trips around S$90 each.
Day 6/7 PCR test now a self-swab ART
For those taking the VTL to South Korea before 10th March 2022, there are up to three PCR tests required:
- In Singapore (Up to 48 hours before departure, cost from S$90)
- On arrival at the airport (Day 1, cost ~S$133)
- On Day 6 or Day 7, if you will remain in the country for eight days or more (cost ~S$95)
For those arriving in South Korea on or after 10th March 2022, the second PCR test on Day 6 or Day 7 has been downgraded to a self-swab ART test, with the following conditions:
- If the test result is negative, no reporting is required
- If the test result is positive, contact the public health centre immediately
You can buy COVID-19 ART kits in South Korea, but equally it may be easier for travellers to simply bring them from Singapore, since the country does not have a specific list of approved kits you must use for this purpose.
Remember if you arrived in South Korea on or before 9th March 2022, and your trip is eight+ days in total, you will still have to conduct the Day 6/7 PCR test.
For example if you landed on 9th March and will stay until 18th March, you’ll still be required to complete the PCR test on 14th or 15th March; only those who landed on 10th March onwards are allowed to follow the self-swab ART method.
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 were removed from 1st March and the Day 6/7 PCR test has been culled for arrivals from 10th March.
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 taxi, private vehicle, or public transport to your residence or accommodation
- Self-isolate until the result is available (4-17 hours, depending on test time)
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
There are now no additional requirements for travellers heading from Singapore to South Korea on the VTL for a longer trip, versus those going for a shorter trip, thanks to this latest change.
This reduces the total number of PCR tests for a South Korea VTL trip down to two, both of which are in the Singapore – South Korea direction.
For the cheapest pre-departure PCR tests in Singapore, starting at S$90 for a nasal swab or S$115 for a saliva method (also acceptable for South Korea travel), check out 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 an on-arrival COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours of clearing immigration in Singapore, at a QTC/CTC or via an approved Tele-ART provider (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.
|SG pre-departure (clinic PCR)*||From S$90|
|S. Korea arrival (airport PCR)||~S$133
|S. Korea Day 6/7 (self-ART)||~S$5|
|S. Korea pre-departure (clinic ART)||~S$100|
|SG arrival (supervised ART)||S$15|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
This latest cost reduction of close to S$90 applies only to those making longer South Korea trips, but it’s still a welcome improvement and sits alongside Singapore’s recently relaxed VTL arrival testing regime, itself cut from one PCR and up to six ART tests to just a single supervised ART.
Travellers can now expect to part with around S$340 on a round-trip to South Korea, regardless of how many nights they stay.
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 expand):
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 already became a little simpler earlier this month, with no self-administered ART test to worry about on Day 3 or Day 5 of your trip, but this relatively quick scrapping of Day 6/7 PCR test requirements for those on longer trips is potentially even better news.
Only a simple self-swab ART test will be required in its place.
Now there is effectively no differentiation between the testing requirements on this VTL based on the length of your vacation, and happily it’s one of the expensive PCR tests we’re waving goodbye to this time around.
All travellers will now need two PCR tests per person, in addition to the return testing when heading back to Singapore, reducing costs on what’s been one of the most expensive VTLs to date in testing terms.
Heading to South Korea for eight days or more? Just pack a couple of ART kits!
(Cover Photo: Korea Tourism)