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Singapore Tele-ART pre-departure tests can now be taken when returning from ANY country

Great News: You can now take a supervised Tele-ART pre-departure test when returning to Singapore from any country, opening up the option in many popular Asia-Pacific locations for the first time.

Update 10th April
Lion Health now offers the cheapest overseas video pre-departure ART test at S$9

Update 7th April
Minmed is now offering PDT Tele-ARTs at S$12

Update 6th April
Swab N Go has reduced its PDT Tele-ART pricing from S$20 to S$15

Good news for returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders, with the Ministry of Health (MOH) now approving supervised Tele-ART swabs conducted by Singapore-based providers as eligible pre-departure tests when returning quarantine-free from any country in the world.

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This replaces a previous limitation, which required you to be physically present in one of 52 approved countries (at the last count), with only had one option in South East Asia, which has been quite restrictive for many of our readers taking regional trips.

The latest relaxation will make returning to Singapore under the new Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) simpler than ever for residents, and hopefully comes ahead of an eventual removal of pre-departure testing requirements for all fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the city, in the coming weeks.

Travellers returning to Singapore from a Bangkok trip are now able to use a Tele-ART pre-departure test provider based in Singapore to meet PDT requirements. (Photo: Shutterstock)

All countries are now recognised

Until 4th April 2022, the new supervised Tele-ART service pre-departure test for Singapore residents returning home was only available to those physically present in the following 52 countries.

PDT Tele-ART approved countries
(prior to 5 April – no longer in force)

🇦🇩 Andorra
🇦🇺 Australia
🇦🇹 Austria
🇧🇭 Bahrain
🇧🇪 Belgium
🇧🇬 Bulgaria

🇨🇦 Canada
🇭🇷 Croatia
🇨🇾 Cyprus
🇨🇿 Czech Rep.
🇩🇰 Denmark
🇪🇬 Egypt
🇪🇪 Estonia
🇫🇮 Finland
🇫🇷 France
🇩🇪 Germany
🇬🇷 Greece
🇭🇺 Hungary

🇮🇸 Iceland
🇮🇳 India
🇮🇷 Iran
🇮🇪 Ireland
🇮🇱 Israel
🇮🇹 Italy
🇯🇴 Jordan

🇰🇼 Kuwait

🇱🇻 Latvia
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein
🇱🇹 Lithuania
🇱🇺 Luxembourg
🇲🇹 Malta

🇲🇨 Monaco
🇳🇱 Netherlands

🇳🇴 Norway
🇴🇲 Oman
🇵🇱 Poland
🇵🇹 Portugal
🇶🇦 Qatar
🇷🇴 Romania
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇸🇰 Slovakia
🇸🇮 Slovenia

🇰🇷 South Korea
🇪🇸 Spain
🇸🇪 Sweden
🇨🇭 Switzerland

🇹🇷 Turkey
🇦🇪 UAE
🇬🇧 UK
🇺🇸 USA

🇻🇦 Vatican City
🇾🇪 Yemen

The most recent additions included Canada, South Korea and Switzerland, but popular regional quarantine-free countries like Thailand and Indonesia were still excluded, to the annoyance of many.

Thankfully from 5th April 2022 the MOH has now opened up the option regardless of which country you are returning from or taking your test in.

“You can [use] real-time remote supervised self-swab offered by an approved ART providers… regardless of the country or region you are in.”

Singapore Ministry of Health

MOH continues to state that you should not use the Tele-ART “for any other purpose the country or region you are departing from may require testing for, unless the relevant authorities of the country/region have expressly permitted you to do so”.

MOH now also adds:

“You are responsible for complying with the regulations and other local requirements from the country or region you will be departing from.”

Singapore Ministry of Health

In other words, this approval is for pre-departure ARTs to satisfy Singapore only, not for testing if you suspect you are COVID-19 positive while you are overseas. For those cases, you should refer to guidance from authorities in your current location for testing, reporting and any applicable isolation requirements.

An ART test kit showing a negative result

You can therefore now utilise the overseas supervised video ART service within two days of departure before leaving any country.

Remember this is not a ‘carte blanche’ approval to use any telemedicine provider in these overseas countries, like Project Screen in the UK, for example.

Your provider (the person at the other end of the video call) must be in Singapore, operating as part of an MOH-approved clinic.

Pre-departure test

The pre-departure test (PDT) requirement is:

  • A negative clinic PCR test; or
  • A professionally administered (clinic) ART test; or
  • A supervised video ART test conducted by an approved provider based in Singapore, whichever country you are physically present in.

This must be taken 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).

Singapore residents only

One part of the supervised video ART pre-departure test that hasn’t changed yet is that it remains an option only for returning Singapore residents, comprising:

  • Singapore Citizens; or
  • Singapore Permanent Residents; or
  • Singapore Long-Term Pass Holders; or
  • Singapore Work Pass Holders
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Unfortunately the option is not currently available for short-term visitors (e.g. U.S. Citizens visiting Singapore as tourists).

Cheapest overseas Tele-ART options

At the time of writing, a total of over 150 providers in Singapore have been approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to offer supervised pre-departure video ART swabs including service provision if you are located overseas.

Arguably the most popular provider to date, Doctor Anywhere, recently hiked its price from S$12.84 to S$21.40 today, but prices elsewhere thankfully start at S$9 plus the cost of your own Singapore-approved ART test kit (~S$5).

MOH also allows you to use a test kit approved for use in the country you are physically present in, but check with your provider first whether they will support this.

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Here are over 20 of the providers offering the cheapest rates as of 22nd April 2022 (please feel free to let us know in the comments section if you find other competitive options).

Cost of COVID-19 pre-departure
Overseas Video ART tests

Clinic / Provider Price
(inc. GST)*
Hours
(SGT)
Lion Health S$9.00 8am – 2am
MaNaDr
(via mobile app)
S$11.00 9am – 9pm
Minmed S$12.00 9am – 9pm
MyCLNQ S$12.00 24 hours
Hidoc
(via mobile app)
S$12.00 8.30am – 5pm
Kingston Medical S$14.00 9am – 6pm
S$25.00 6pm – 9am
Intemedical S$15.00 8am – 11pm
Swab N Go S$15.00 10am – 7pm
Speedoc S$16.05 9am – 9pm
Doctor Anywhere S$21.40 8am – 10pm
LifePlus Medical
(Sin Ming)
S$21.40 9am – 9pm
Faircare Medical S$23.00 9am – 10pm
S$46.00 10pm – 9am
BCH-ART S$25.00 8am – 9pm
Fullerton Health S$25.00 9am – 5pm
Healthway Medical S$25.00 Mon-Fri
9am – 9pm
or
Sat/Sun/PH
9am – 5pm
Swab Station SG /
Kingsway
S$25.00 8am – 5pm
The Tenteram Clinic S$25.00 6am – 11pm
Unihealth S$25.00 9am – 6pm
S$39.00 6pm – Midnight
S$49.00 Midnight – 9am
Bethesda Medical S$26.75 24 hours
(closed Sundays)
RMDY Clinic S$26.80 Mon-Fri
9am – 6pm
or
Sat
9am – 2pm
Raffles Medical
(via mobile app)
S$30.00 24 hours
Belief Family Clinic
(24 hours)
S$30.00 Mon-Fri
9am – 6pm
S$40.00 Sat/Sun/PH
9am – 9pm
or
Mon-Fri
6pm – 9pm
S$45.00 Daily
9pm – Midnight
S$60.00 Daily
Midnight – 9am

* Plus the cost of providing your own approved test kit.

  Full MOH List

Do note that the provider operating hours shown above refer to Singapore Time (SGT). Some providers will ask you to book your test in SGT and others in the local time zone of your approved overseas testing country.

As you can see some providers offer 24-hour testing for overseas Singapore residents returning, while some are restricted to working hours in Singapore itself, or charge more for nighttime appointments.

You can check the current local time in Singapore via this link, which also allows you to view local times in other cities – worth checking before making your overseas Tele-ART booking.

Overseas virtual supervised ART via the Raffles Connect app

How the Tele-ART works

The Tele-ART process with a provider in Singapore is simple enough, with either an in-app video function or weblink sent to you, depending on which provider you choose. You’ll need an internet connection, and we’d recommend Wi-Fi if possible (beware of exceeding your overseas data roaming limits if you’re using 4G/5G).

You should allow around 30 minutes for completion, but it should be a bit quicker in most cases.

You will have to provide your own test kit approved for use in Singapore or one approved in the country you are testing from, with some providers recommending you have a second spare kit on standby in case of invalid results, or in case you make a mistake.

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Some providers will ask for the test kit brand and/or the LOT number of the kit you’ll be using at the booking stage, so you may have to purchase in advance.

The swab supervisor will then guide you through the process, which typically involves:

  • Verifying your identit