Singapore has made the biggest step to ease border restrictions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an end to its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) programme on 1st April 2022, in favour of a new Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) scheme, under which fully vaccinated travellers arriving from any country are now eligible to enter quarantine-free.
All fully vaccinated travellers and children aged 12 and under entering Singapore from 1st April 2022 are now able to travel quarantine-free via any flight from any part of the world under the scheme, as the country re-calibrates travel requirements based predominantly on a traveller’s’ COVID-19 vaccination status, rather than their travel history.
Singapore Vaccinated Travel Framework
- Fully vaccinated travellers can travel to Singapore from any country without serving quarantine or an SHN period
- No more VTL flights – arrive on any flight, operated by any airline
- No more Vaccinated Travel Pass for short-term visitors
- No more pre-departure test [from 26 April 2022]
- No more on-arrival test in Singapore
Here’s what you need to know about how the travel process has changed for air travellers, now that the VTL is a thing of the the past and the (far simpler) VTF is in force.
Before we get into the details, here’s a summary of the eligibility and process changes for quarantine-free arrivals, reflecting Singapore’s transition from the VTL to the VTF.
VTL vs. VTF
|Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)|
|SG Arrival Card (Health Declaration)|
|Flights to Singapore|
To be eligible to travel to Singapore quarantine-free under the VTF, air passengers must be:
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19; or
- Aged 12 and below (i.e. born in or after 2010, for arrivals in 2022) and not fully vaccinated
Fully vaccinated definition
In order to be considered fully vaccinated for entry into Singapore under the VTF, you must meet one the following conditions at least two weeks before arrival:
- Received the full regimen of WHO EUL Vaccines (see below) and meet the minimum dose interval period; or
- If you contracted COVID-19 before being vaccinated, you must have received at least one dose of any WHO EUL Vaccine (see below) at least 28 days from your first diagnosis of a COVID-19 infection. You must produce acceptable proof of your first positive COVID-19 diagnosis in this case.
|Manufacturer / Vaccine||Doses||Minimum interval between doses|
|Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty||2 doses||17 days|
|Moderna||2 doses||24 days|
|AstraZeneca||2 doses||24 days|
|Covaxin||2 doses||24 days|
|Serum Institute of India (Covishield)||2 doses||24 days|
|Janssen / J&J||1 dose||N/A|
|Sinopharm||2 doses||17 days|
|Novavax||2 doses||17 days|
|Sinovac||2 doses||13 days|
|Two doses of different vaccine types, both from the list above||2 doses||17 days|
A booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of entering Singapore via the VTF.
Proof of vaccination is preferably via digitally-verifiable means (QR code) for faster arrival processing, but unlike the VTL requirements, non-digital (paper-based) certificates are also accepted under the VTF.
See here for full details.
If your passport is issued in one of these 36 countries, you will need a visa to travel to and enter Singapore.
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- South Sudan
Remember, the SG Arrival Card (SGAC), which must be completed by all passengers, is not a visa.
Further information on obtaining an entry visa is available at the ICA website.
If you are a non-Malaysian Work Permit In-principle Approval holder employed in the Construction, Marine shipyard and Process Sector (CMP worker), you will need to apply for Entry Approval from the Ministry of Manpower at least 3 working days before your intended date of departure.
If you are travelling from a country in Africa or South America that is endemic for Yellow Fever, you are also required to produce a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate for entry into Singapore. Further details, including a list of affected countries, is available here.
All countries and regions around the world are currently in Singapore’s General Travel category, meaning there are no travel history requirements for VTF travellers.
This is a welcome change from the VTL scheme, which had specific travel history requirements.
Under the VTL, travellers had to enter Singapore on designated VTL flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.
This was arguably one of the most complex elements of the scheme, leading to our full list of these services recording over 427,000 views in the five months since we launched the page.
While we are happy this resource was so valuable to so many readers from all around the world, we’re also very happy to confirm that the designated VTL flight concept has been completely done away with in the new VTF scheme.
Travellers can now arrive in Singapore on any flight, with any routing, from or via any country, on any airline and still enjoy the quarantine-free arrival process, under the VTF from 1st April 2022.
This opens up exciting new options including:
- Any flight on a Middle East carrier, adding Gulf Air services from Bahrain and all Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad flights, which had some quarantine-free VTL options but not every day of the week.
- Transits from the USA via Japan on JAL and ANA.
- Transits from Europe and the USA on all Turkish Airlines flights via Istanbul (only Sunday flights had the VTL tick)
- Quarantine-free flights from non-VTL countries already open to tourists, like Singapore Airlines services from Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Additionally, this will hopefully encourage more airlines to restore services to Changi, like Air Mauritius, Ethiopian Airlines and LOT Polish, increasing options and reducing costs for travellers on transit itineraries.
Incumbent Singapore-based carriers may also reopen some non-VTL routes after 1st April 2022, like Scoot to Lombok and Jetstar to Medan and Surabaya. Let’s hope for some announcements like that soon.
Fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Singapore under the VTF scheme from 1st April 2022 will still require a pre-departure COVID-19 test (until 26th April 2022), but the self-swab ART on-arrival test within 24 hours of clearing immigration has thankfully been removed.
This also cancels any on-arrival self-isolation requirement, leaving you free to roam and enjoy your trip or simply get on with everyday life as a returning resident immediately, like in pre-COVID times.
The pre-departure test (PDT) requirement is:
- A negative clinic PCR test; or
- A professionally administered (clinic) ART test
Within two calendar days of departure (e.g. if your flight departs for Singapore at 11.55pm on Wednesday, you can take the test anytime on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday).
Additionally, Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass Holders or Work Pass Holders
physically present in an approved overseas country can also take:
- A video ART test supervised by an approved telemedicine provider in Singapore.
This service is now valid for those arriving from all countries, having originally been restricted to those physically present in selected locations.
We have a rundown of the cheapest video ART test providers offering this service, starting at S$12, here.
PDT removed from 26 April
The next major step for the VTF will be the removal of the pre-departure testing requirement, which will come into effect on 26th April 2022.
That will be a fantastic step for travellers, removing the worry about being stranded overseas due to a positive PDT result, not to mention the inconvenience of arranging a test prior to travel.
Many countries Singapore residents can travel to without quarantine already don’t impose pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers, including all European countries, Cambodia, Canada and Australia.
This means two-way quarantine-free and test-free travel is on the horizon for Singapore residents to and from many countries from 26th April.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 between 7 and 90 days before your date of departure for Singapore, you may qualify as a Vaccinated-Recovered Traveller, which removes the pre-departure test requirement under the VTF process.
The ICA has a handy tool which allows you to check whether you qualify. Requirements include providing a valid COVID-19 positive test certificate.
For those who contracted COVID-19 in Singapore, any positive test will be reflected in your HealthHub app, which can then be used within the 7-90 day window to enter Singapore without pre-departure testing.
If you qualify for Vaccinated-Recovered Traveller Protocol, you can refer to this ICA checklist for full details of the required process.
No more Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)
Currently, short-term visitors and work permit holders heading to Singapore on the VTL scheme must apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 3 and 60 days before their intended date of entry.
Approved VTPs were then valid for 14 days (date of entry plus 13 subsequent days), to accommodate any changes in travel plans.
Good news is that the VTP is being disbanded at the commencement of the VTF scheme on 1st April 2022, and will no longer be a requirement for any arriving passengers.
Upload of overseas vaccination certificates for visitors will be merged into the SG Arrival Card.
Arrival card (SGAC)
All travellers arriving in Singapore must complete the SG Arrival Card (SGAC), which is a common requirement between the VTL and the new VTF process.
Once the VTF commences on 1st April 2022, the SGAC will be “streamlined”. Travellers will be able to complete it within 72 hours of arrival in Singapore, ideally doing so before departure. The modified SGAC will comprise:
- Personal particulars
- Vaccination status, including the submission of proof of vaccination for those who are vaccinated outside Singapore. Those vaccinated in Singapore do not need to upload their proof of vaccination
- Health declaration
At the latest, the SGAC must be completed on arrival, in order for immigration clearance to be processed.
Children aged 12 or below in the current calendar year (e.g. those born in 2010 or later, for arrivals in 2022) are exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated, effectively the same policy applied to the VTL programme since October 2021.
Under the VTF, however, unvaccinated unaccompanied minors are allowed to travel on flights to Singapore and benefit from quarantine-free arrival.
Unaccompanied minors under 12 are not allowed to travel on VTL flights if they are unvaccinated, so this opens another option for some families who need to travel separately from their children, without quarantine concerns.
Contact tracing app
All VTF travellers must install and activate the TraceTogether contact tracing app on their mobile device.
Travellers aged six or below in the arrival calendar year, or those who are unable to use a mobile device, can pick up a TraceTogether token after arrival in Singapore.
Arrival health checks
If you are symptomatic on arrival at Changi Airport, you may be directed to take a COVID-19 test, at your own expense.
Each ART administered will cost S$30, while each PCR test will cost S$138.
What about unvaccinated travellers?
If you are aged 13 or over and are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will not qualify for quarantine-free entry under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) and will instead need to:
- Obtain an entry approval (except for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents)
- Obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test, as outlined for VTF travellers above
- Serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN) for seven full days on arrival in Singapore (e.g. clear immigration on 1st May, SHN period is 1st-8th May inclusive)
- Take a mandatory PCR test before the end of your SHN period, which will be arranged by ICA, costing S$125
Travellers aged 13 and above who hold a long-term pass (e.g. Student’s Pass or Work Pass) must complete the full vaccination regimen within two months of arrival, unless they are medically ineligible.
Unvaccinated short-term visitors are generally not allowed to travel to Singapore, though there are exceptions on compassionate grounds.
Full details for unvaccinated travellers can be found here.
What about those arriving from restricted countries?
Singapore’s list of restricted countries is currently empty, with all countries and regions around the world in the ‘General Travel’ category.
The restricted category may be used in future, for example if a new COVID-19 variant of concern emerges in a specific location.
If the list is used in future, travellers with a seven-day travel history including one or more restricted countries will be subject to the following requirements:
- A pre-departure PCR test is mandatory (rather than the VTF traveller requirement comprising either a PCR or ART test)
- An on-arrival PCR test will be conducted
- Seven-day SHN at a dedicated facility will be enforced on arrival in Singapore, at a cost of S$1,015
- A mandatory PCR test before the end of the SHN period, which will be arranged by ICA, at a cost of S$125
Let’s hope this category remains empty and does not need to be used, however in the event that it does come into force one option for travellers will be to clear their seven-day travel history of restricted countries by travelling to a ‘General Travel’ country for at least a week, before flying to Singapore.
What about transit passengers?
Transit passengers who are changing to an onward flight at Changi without clearing arrival immigration or leaving the transit area must be fully vaccinated to travel on designated VTL flights to Singapore, with a valid vaccination certificate in English issued by any country.
With no more designated VTL flights from 1st April 2022, this requirement will cease and transit passengers will no longer be required to show fully vaccinated status to travel on any service to and from Singapore, with a transit at Changi.
Transit passengers passing through Changi are already exempt from any pre-departure test requirements, whether travelling on VTL flights or not, unless their final destination country imposes one.
Singapore’s shift to the Vaccinated Travel Framework from 1st April 2022 represents the country’s most significant relaxation of its borders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, coming only around a month after we confirmed the complex VTL scheme was set to be scrapped.
Both Singapore residents and visitors alike can now take advantage of this simple quarantine-free process, provided they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with no more pesky designated VTL flights to book, travel history requirements or on-arrival testing to contend with.
There is also a removal of the pre-departure test requirement from 26th April, which will simplify the process even further towards an almost completely pre-COVID travel experience, while also removing the worry for Singapore residents about becoming stranded overseas, due to a positive PDT result.
Let us know if you have any questions about the VTF process in the comments section below. Happy (quarantine-free) travelling!
(Cover Photo: Changi Airport)