Good news for those eager to make quarantine-free trips between Singapore and Vietnam, with the new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) launched today now confirmed to be a two-way arrangement since the government there (finally) confirmed that tourists will not have to serve any arrival isolation period.
The country will also become only the second in the South East Asia region on Singapore’s VTL list to accept the cheaper and more convenient antigen (ART) method for pre-departure testing, significantly reducing costs for travellers and especially families making a trip.
Vietnam previously required inbound travellers to take a more expensive PCR test before departing their origin country.
The reopening that wasn’t
Vietnam technically opened its border to foreign visitors on 15th March 2022, but there was one problem. No one had laid out the requirements for travellers to follow, including whether the prevailing three-day quarantine period for fully vaccinated tourists had been dropped or not, leading almost no tourists to actually arrive on the first day.
Today the government has thankfully confirmed that there will be no quarantine requirements for visitors, who will instead only be subject to a simplified pre-departure testing regime.
Vietnam has also resumed a visa exemption scheme for travellers arriving from 13 countries, including Germany, France, the UK, Japan and the Republic of Korea, allowing 15 days of visa-free travel for these citizens.
Singaporean travellers and those from most ASEAN countries no longer require a visa to visit Vietnam for trips of up to 30 days, as was the case pre-COVID, following a return to pre-pandemic entry measures implemented on 15th March 2022.
This expanded list for non-ASEAN countries, however, will allow many Singapore residents with other nationalities to make a hassle-free trip there.
Process to Vietnam
Interestingly Vietnam has chosen not to pursue its original plan to require international visitors to be fully vaccinated prior to entering the country, relying only on pre-departure testing to vet inbound travellers.
Like the Maldives and Saudi Arabia, two of Singapore’s other VTL partners, vaccination is not a prerequisite for travellers, though for most of our readers based in Singapore this is a moot point, since we are basically all fully vaccinated anyway.
All travellers, vaccinated or not, will now be eligible to visit Vietnam if they hold a passport from a visa-exempt country, or one of the 13 countries on the newly-reinstated visa exemption list.
Travellers will have to:
- Complete a Health Declaration Form before arrival
- Download the PC-Covid app before arrival
- Have a negative COVID-19 PCR test conducted within 72 hours of departure or a negative professionally-conducted ART test within 24 hours of departure at the first embarkation point
- If you cannot take a COVID-19 test before departure you can still travel to Vietnam, but you must then take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours after arrival, and you must isolate in your accommodation until obtaining a negative result
- Monitor health for 10 days after arrival and seek medical attention if necessary
- Comply with mask-wearing and social distancing protocols while in Vietnam
Children under two years of age are exempt from pre-departure testing, a tightening of Vietnam’s original proposal to only impose this test on those aged 12 or above.
Singapore – Vietnam flights
There is no designated flight concept for travellers to arrive quarantine-free in Vietnam, so you can take any non-stop flights from Singapore with the following airlines:
- Da Nang: Singapore Airlines (from 27th March)
- Hanoi: Scoot, SIA, Vietnam Airlines
- Ho Chi Minh: Jetstar, Scoot, SIA, VietJet, Vietnam Airlines
Vaccinated Travel Lane
Today (16th March 2022) also marks Vietnam’s addition to Singapore’s VTL scheme, meaning travellers can now arrive at Changi Airport quarantine-free on a designated flight from the country, following the VTL process with a pre-departure and post-arrival test.
Here’s a list of designated VTL flights from Vietnam to Singapore operated by Vietnam Airlines, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (click to expand):
Here are the estimated testing costs for a round-trip from Singapore to Vietnam and back, for those taking a VTL trip.
|SG pre-departure (clinic ART)*||From S$21|
|VN pre-departure (clinic ART)*||~S$15|
|SG arrival (self-ART)||~S$5|
* Prices vary between providers and locations.
Travellers should face testing costs of less than S$50 each on a round-trip VTL Vietnam trip, provided they opt for a cheaper ART test before departure in both directions (since a PCR is also valid, but probably to be avoided if possible).
Here’s a reminder of the full VTL arrival process when travelling to Singapore, hopefully set to be significantly simplified soon.
- Must be fully vaccinated in with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. Vietnam), 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 a VTL country/region and/or an approved travel history country (EEA + 3) and/or Singapore for the last 7 consecutive 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 self-swab COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours of clearing immigration in Singapore, and report the result
- 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
Vietnam becomes another regional trip choice for Singapore residents, offering both city and beach options for travellers, and with only a simple pre-departure ART test to clear within 24 hours of departure it’s one of the simplest yet in the region, joining the Philippines which now has similar requirements.
Our last overseas vacation pre-COVID was to Hoi An in Vietnam, which was a fantastic trip and we’re already thinking of going back under this straightforward process.
With Singapore’s regional neighbours now starting to adopt simple entry requirements for international travellers, the VTL programme has never looked so outdated, so we hope it’s confirmed eventual demise can now happen sooner rather than later, with a simple vaccinated traveller entry concept into Singapore from all countries.
(Cover Photo: Chansak Joe / Shutterstock)