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Vietnam lifts quarantine for international visitors, becomes two-way VTL with Singapore

Vietnam has reopened its borders quarantine-free to overseas visitors, with only a pre-departure ART or PCR test required, making it another simple two-way regional VTL for Singapore residents.

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.

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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.

Ho Chi Minh

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.

Hoi An in Vietnam

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
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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
Scoot is flying its Airbus A321neo to and from Hanoi twice a week, increasing to daily later this month. (Photo: Dillon Chong)

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.

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Here’s a list of designated VTL flights from Vietnam to Singapore operated by Vietnam Airlines, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (click to expand):

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ171
737-800
DAD
11:55
SIN

15:45
 bgcolor= SQ173
737-800
DAD
16:35
SIN

20:10

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
VN661
A321
HAN
07:35
SIN

11:55
 bgcolor= SQ191
A350 Regional
HAN
12:35
SIN

17:05
TR301
A321neo
HAN
13:10
SIN

17:45
TR301
A321neo
HAN
16:20
SIN

20:50
 bgcolor= SQ193
737-800
HAN
18:30
SIN

23:00
 bgcolor= SQ193
A350 Regional
HAN
18:30
SIN

23:00

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= 3K556
A320
SGN
08:55
SIN

11:55
TR305
A321neo
SGN
08:55
SIN

11:55
VN651
A321
SGN
09:00
SIN

12:10
 bgcolor= SQ177
A350 Regional
SGN
12:30
SIN

15:30
 bgcolor= SQ183
A350 Long Haul
SGN
15:55
SIN

18:55
TR303
A321neo
SGN
17:20
SIN

20:25
 bgcolor= SQ185
A350 Regional
SGN
19:40
SIN

22:40

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Here are the estimated testing costs for a round-trip from Singapore to Vietnam and back, for those taking a VTL trip.

VTL
Singapore Vietnam
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
SG pre-departure (clinic ART)* From S$21
VN pre-departure (clinic ART)* ~S$15
SG arrival (self-ART) ~S$5
Total From ~S$41

* 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.

VTL Process
Vietnam Singapore

  • 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

Summary

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.