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Singapore VTL travellers can complete a self-swab ART arrival test from 15 March

Singapore's VTL on-arrival test is being simplified, with travellers touching down at Changi from 15th March allowed to do a self-swab ART test, costing around S$5.

More good news for Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) passengers, with the announcement that those arriving in the city on the quarantine-free scheme from 15th March 2022 onwards will now be able to perform a self-administered ART test at home or in their hotel, rather than take a supervised swab.

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This will save travellers around S$15, currently levied at QTC/CTC supervised swab locations, or at least S$12 for an online supervised Tele-ART consultation, though the cost of the ART test kit itself will be borne by the passenger, at around S$5.

“We will now further rationalise our travel protocols by switching to an unsupervised self-swab Antigen Rapid Test (ART) within 24 hours of entry for General Category (Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)) and Category I travellers entering Singapore from 14 March 2022, 2359 hours. This will replace the previous requirement for a supervised self-swab ART.

Singapore Ministry of Health
An ART test kit in Singapore costs around S$5

This will bring the VTL programme, almost certainly now in the final throes of its existence, to the simplest testing protocol yet.

“These are important steps to take to prepare ourselves for a new Vaccinated Travel concept in the coming weeks, where fully vaccinated travellers generally need not apply for approval to enter Singapore, and will undergo simplified test requirements.”

Singapore Ministry of Health

Mainly Miles understands the VTL concept could be canned by 1st April 2022, paving the way for fully vaccinated travellers to arrive quarantine-free from almost any country, on any flight.

Ditching the designated VTL flight concept will mean being able to enter Singapore quarantine-free on any flight as a fully vaccinated traveller. (Image: Gulf Air)

This is something we’ll all be eager to hear about, and we’ll bring you the details on that welcome development as we receive them.

The new testing process

VTL travellers heading to Singapore from 15th March 2022 will still have to conduct two tests:

  • A clinic (professional) ART or PCR test in their VTL country within two days of departure to Singapore
  • A self-administered ART swab within 24 hours of clearing arrival immigration, using an approved test kit

That means travel from most countries will now cost somewhere in the region of S$35 in total per passenger, depending on the cost and availability of clinic ART testing overseas.

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It’s a far cry from some of the higher costs we’ve seen for the scheme, including when PCR testing and daily post-arrival tests were mandated.

“Travellers entering Singapore from 14 Mar 2022, 2359hrs (SGT) will only need to undergo an unsupervised self-administered ART using self-procured authorised ART kits within 24 hours of arrival in Singapore. This will replace the previous requirement for a supervised self-administered ART.”

Singapore ICA

You must complete the post-arrival self-test using either:

Remember these kits are not provided to travellers on arrival, they must instead be self procured.

Unlike in some countries, which use an honour system for post-arrival testing, travellers will be required to report their negative test result via sync.gov.sg “before proceeding with their activities in Singapore”.

  • For Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPHs) with SingPass accounts, that means logging into Sync using your SingPass to submit your results.
  • If you’re an LTPH or short-term visitor without a SingPass account, you should log into Sync using your passport number, date of birth and nationality, in order to report your negative result.

We expect no photographic evidence will be requested, in the same way self-ART test reports were conducted in a previous version of the post-arrival VTL testing programme.

While it’s great to save around S$10, and the VTL scheme is coming to an end soon anyway, the major benefit of this announcement for our readers flying to Singapore soon will be convenience. Simply arrive at home (or at your hotel) and take a 15-minute ART test, report your negative result, then all isolation requirements will cease.

Remember the VTL tests (both pre-departure and post-arrival) continue to be required only for travellers aged two or above in the current calendar year (i.e. those born in 2020 or later, for those arriving in 2022).



 


 

Summary

Just yesterday we were reporting on a 24-hour Tele-ART possibility for those taking their VTL supervised on-arrival swabs, but already Singapore is moving to a far more relaxed self-administered process, meaning travellers can be free from isolation almost immediately, just for the cost of an approved ART kit.

The most exciting part of the news though is that the messaging continues to validate our recent report outlining a scrapping of the VTL concept altogether in the coming weeks, in favour of welcoming vaccinated travellers from all countries, most importantly without the annoying ‘designated VTL flight’ concept attached!

Let’s hope we can be happily moving into this next important phase of less-complex and cheaper travel in the coming weeks, as the government has alluded to today, and we can finally put this ‘long in the tooth’ VTL idea to bed.

(Cover Photo: Changi Airport Group)

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15 comments

  1. Well if VTL is to be scrapped from 1st April or whenever..does that mean we no longer need the pre-departure PCR/ART before boarding a flight to SG?

    1. Well that’s the $64,000 question! Hopefully we’ll know soon, but I think we can safely say this new testing process is the worst-case scenario.

      Fingers crossed that the PDT can also be dropped, but let’s see.

      1. I’d suggest the PDT will be retained. Look at Australia for example, they require PDT but they accept travellers from all countries.
        I think no one wants to board a plane where there might be positive cases because they didn’t test before boarding.

  2. Waiting for VTL cancellation/Waiting for Godot.

    Meanwhile the’temporary’ laws to put lockdowns in place have just been extended…to 2023.

  3. Hello,

    Just a quick question, I got my booster shot within 14 days of departure, can I still use VTL? Or the 14 day rules only apply to the first 2 shots?

    The second shot was completed in September.

    The website is very unclear, and I will be departing from HKG.

  4. Thanks Jay and Andrew! Too bad I just purchased the supervised test already from Kingston Medical, and then they made this change. Is there anyway to get a refund, my credit card still shows pending..

  5. When you say “a rapid test kit approved in your origin country, if you are bringing your own kits from overseas.” – does this mean it does not need to be a kit approved in Singapore, as long as it is approved from wherever I depart FROM? Doesn’t that hypothetically mean, the range of kits that someone arriving in Singapore could use for their official covid test can be almost any test kit under the sun, provided it’s approved from wherever they depart? It seems kinda loose..!! I wonder if that includes saliva tests too?