Excellent news for travellers from Singapore heading to one of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries in Europe, with the Netherlands being the final card in the pack to fall, removing its pre-departure test (PDT) requirement for all overseas travellers effective from today.
It means there are no more countries in Europe on the VTL list requiring a PDT, and increases the total across all VTL countries to 18 (soon to become 20) out of 32.
The Netherlands has had a mixed history of testing requirements for travellers from Singapore over the last few months, with PDTs first required from mid-November 2021, then dropped in mid-December 2021, before being reinstated again only two days later!
Thankfully this new approach removing the test requirement is part of an EU-wide alignment, so it’s hopefully set to stick this time.
PDT no longer required
Effective from 23rd March 2022, the Netherlands has completely removed its pre-departure test requirement, which until 22nd March 2022 applied to travellers arriving from non-EU countries and had to be one of the following:
- a PCR test within 48 hours of departure; or
- an ART test within 24 hours of departure.
Children aged 11 or below were exempt from pre-departure testing.
Fully vaccinated visitors can now travel to the Netherlands from any country without the need to provide a negative pre-departure test result.
Unvaccinated visitors aged 18 or over are only eligible to travel to the Netherlands if they are European residents (children are exempt when travelling with fully vaccinated parents).
The pre-departure test relaxation also applies to those taking connecting flights to the Netherlands (e.g. via Dubai), as well as direct services.
It’s a wrap for Europe
With the Netherlands no longer requiring a pre-departure test, fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore no longer require one to travel to any of the VTL countries in Europe.
In fact the only European country still enforcing a PDT requirement is Poland, which is on Singapore’s approved travel list, but has no direct flights.
Latest process for the Netherlands
Here’s the latest process for those travelling to the Netherlands from Singapore.
- Complete a health declaration form for all travellers aged 12 or over. You will need to show it at check-in and on arrival.
- All travellers are advised to take a self-test after arriving in the Netherlands. This is not an obligation and is therefore not enforced.
Designated VTL flights
Travellers can take any flight to the Netherlands, since there are no designated VTL services in this direction.
Here are the designated VTL flights from Amsterdam to Singapore, operated by Singapore Airlines and KLM, which you’ll have to take on your return journey to follow the VTL process (click to expand):
Hopefully the VTL designated flight concept is on the way out in the coming weeks, with fully vaccinated travellers able to arrive quarantine-free in Singapore when arriving from any country on any service in the not too distant future.
Amsterdam is on this month’s KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes deal, with 30% off non-refundable award tickets in Premium Economy and Economy Class during April and May 2022.
Here’s how the award rates look for travel in those two months if you can lock in a Promo award before 31st March 2022.
Premium Economy Class
|Singapore to Amsterdam|
|Amsterdam to Singapore|
|Singapore to Amsterdam|
|Amsterdam to Singapore|
Process to Singapore
Obviously no testing now applies for fully vaccinated Singapore residents heading to the Netherlands, but on the way back to Singapore the standard process will apply, as shown below.
VTL Process Singapore
- Must be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine in Singapore, or any VTL country (e.g. Netherlands), 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 Singapore or any VTL country / countries 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’ (see above)
- Take an on-arrival self-swab COVID-19 ART test within 24 hours
- Self-isolate until the result is available
* Not applicable for Singapore Citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders
Netherlands VTL testing costs
Here are the estimated testing costs per fully vaccinated traveller for a Singapore – Netherlands – Singapore trip example, based on the new testing requirements, which only apply on your return to Singapore itself.
|Netherlands pre-departure (ART)||~S$50|
|SG on-arrival (self-ART)||~S$5|
Total testing costs come in at less than S$60, based on an antigen test with a travel certificate taken in the centre of Amsterdam at around EUR35, though testing at Schiphol Airport is more expensive, so do be aware.
You can now also have your pre-departure ART test in the Netherlands via supervised video link with an approved Tele-ART provider in Singapore, from S$20 plus the cost of your own approved test kit, which may be cheaper and more convenient.
Remember if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days with documentary proof, you are now exempt from all pre-departure testing, on-arrival testing and isolation requirements when travelling to Singapore, which would make your Netherlands trip completely test free in both directions.
VTL countries still requiring pre-departure testing
With the Netherlands now off the list, a total of 14 VTL countries will require a pre-departure test for fully vaccinated Singapore residents in the outbound direction from Changi.
You’ll be subject to testing requirements when travelling to the following countries, in addition to VTL testing on your return:
Testing before travelling to selected countries
based on fully vaccinated travellers departing from Singapore by air
|Country||Test type||Test timing||Exemptions|
||48h before departure||—|
|Japan||PCR||72h before departure
||Age 5 or below|
|Myanmar||PCR||72h before arrival||Age 5 or below|
|Qatar||PCR||48h before departure
||Age 3 or below
Vaccinated Qataris and residents
|PCR 2 days before departure
ART 1 day before departure
|Age 5 or below|
|Taiwan||PCR||2 days before departure
If you are heading to a country requiring pre-departure testing, be sure to check our comprehensive updated guide to the cheapest PCR and ART options available in Singapore.
There is no longer any pre-departure test required for fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the following VTL countries:
- Canada (from 1 April)
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- Thailand (from 1 April)
These destinations therefore offer cheaper trips, with less hassle involved.
The Netherlands was the last of Singapore’s European VTL countries imposing pre-departure testing, so now that the requirement has been dropped we have quarantine-free and test-free travel to practically the whole continent.
Only return testing from your VTL country back to Singapore now applies, but most European countries are eligible for the new supervised video ART method, making this a relatively straightforward process.
Hopefully Singapore will follow Europe’s lead and also continue to simplify and even remove testing requirements for travellers in the weeks ahead.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)