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Singapore scraps pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement from 26 April

Travel will be closer than ever to the pre-COVID experience for fully vaccinated passengers landing in Singapore, with the pre-departure test requirement scrapped from 26th April 2022.

In late March Singapore took its biggest step yet to return the travel process for residents and visitors as close as possible to a pre-COVID experience, opening up the borders to fully vaccinated travellers from around the world and dropping the on-arrival test requirement from 1st April 2022, under a new Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) scheme.

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That was great news, but there was still one unpopular part of the process that unfortunately still stuck.

Travellers still need to take a COVID-19 pre-departure test (PDT) within two days of their flight to Changi, regardless of whether they are returning residents or visitors.

Travel to Singapore is about to become test-free, provided you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ministers already alluded to the likely short-term nature of this travel precondition on 24th March 2022, stating the PDT requirement for those heading to Singapore would be reviewed and could be removed “within two to four weeks”.

More recently, the Singapore Tourism Board’s chief Keith Tan told a tourism forum in Manila that the requirement would be dropped “very soon”.

Thankfully there’s now very good news in this department.

PDT requirement scrapped

It’s fantastic to report that the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement will be axed for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Singapore from 26th April 2022 onwards.

“All fully vaccinated travellers and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and below arriving from 26 April 2022, 0001 hours via air or sea checkpoints, will no longer be required to take a PDT before departing for Singapore.

“With this move, it will mean that fully vaccinated and well travellers will not require any tests to enter Singapore.”

Singapore Ministry of Health

This will not only allow completely test-free travel to Singapore, it opens up many completely test-free two-way travel options for those travelling to countries also not requiring any pre-departure or on-arrival testing, such as the UK, all EU countries, Canada and Cambodia.

Singapore residents and short-term visitors will no longer have to arrange a pre-departure test when travelling to the Lion City, provided they are fully vaccinated, saving cost and inconvenience. (Photo: Heathrow Airport Limited)

Australia also recently joined the list of countries no longer requiring a pre-departure test since 18th April 2022, only a week before Singapore relaxes its own requirements, though individual states do still impose self-swab on-arrival antigen tests for the time being.

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It was also recently confirmed that Thailand will also remove all testing requirements, a little later than Singapore, from 1st May 2022.

Perhaps most importantly if you’re a Singapore resident, this removes any concerns about becoming stuck overseas for a period of time, in the unfortunate event that your PDT came back positive just prior to returning home!

The definition of “fully vaccinated” for travel to Singapore remains the same as before – at least one dose of Janssen/J&J, or at least two doses of other WHO EUL vaccines. For full definition of acceptable vaccinations and dose intervals for entry to Singapore, refer to this page.

The announcement comes as Singapore also revealed that other safe management measures would be relaxed, including on group sizes and mask-wearing in certain settings.

Exceptions

Not all groups will benefit from the pre-departure testing relaxation, even if they are fully vaccinated, with non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders (WPHs) holding an In-Principle Approval (IPA) in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) sectors still required to comply with the existing PDT until further notice.

Two-way quarantine-free options

Singapore residents will now have a range of trip options requiring no testing whatsoever, either outbound from Singapore or on the trip home, from 26th April 2022.

Here are some examples:

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ All 50 countries in Europe
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia (NT, VIC and WA)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand (from 1st May)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช UAE

Two-way quarantine-free and test-free travel will be available for those heading from Singapore to the UK and back, plus all other European countries. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Single test quarantine-free options

For those making trips from Singapore and returning on or after 26th April 2022 there will now only be a single pre-departure test involved for travel to other popular countries, including:

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA

There’s also only a single on-arrival test (self-ART) when travelling to the following Australian states:

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia (NSW, QLD, SA)

Current PDT requirement

Until the rules change the PDT requirement will remain in force for all those travelling to Singapore.

That means travellers touching down on or before 25th April 2022 will still be bound by the existing PDT requirement, which comprises:

  • 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 Saturday, you can take the test anytime on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday).

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Additionally, Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass Holders or Work Pass Holders physically overseas (in any country) can also take:

This Tele-ART is one of the most popular methods chosen by our readers, saving time and with more convenience compared to visiting a clinic. In some countries, like Canada and Finland, there’s also a significant cost saving, even though you have to provide an approved test kit yourself.

Latest Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) process

The latest VTF process now has one less step from 26th April 2022, and it’s perhaps the most important concession of all for the vast majority of travellers.

The quarantine-free entry process, now simpler than ever since the start of the pandemic, will be as summarised below.

Singapore Vaccinated Travel Framework
Process (from 26th April 2022)

  • Be fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine, or be aged 12 or under in the current calendar year (i.e. born in 2010 or later, for 2022 arrivals)
  • Submit your SG Arrival Card (SGAC) within three days of arrival to Singapore
  • Apply for an entry visa (for visa-required nationalities only)
  • Take any flight from or via any country to Singapore and enter quarantine-free

  Complete VTF Guide

What about recently recovered travellers?

Singapore will cease to have a Vaccinated-Recovered traveller protocol from 26th April 2022, which allowed those who had been recently infected within the last 7 to 90 days with appropriate evidence to enter Singapore without taking a pre-departure test.

With no more PDT required for any passengers from that date, this scheme is no longer necessary, however do remember you may still be excused from testing when making trips from Singapore to some other countries (e.g. to the USA), if you are a recently recovered traveller.

Unvaccinated recently recovered travellers arriving in Singapore still won’t require a PDT.

Singapore testing requirements: A full history

It’s been seven months since Singapore launched quarantine-free travel from overseas, starting with the inaugural one-way Vaccinated Travel Lanes from Germany and Brunei.

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Here’s a look back at the Pre-Departure Testing (PDT), On-Arrival Testing (OAT) and Post-Arrival Testing (PAT) requirements that have been imposed for those arriving in Singapore since then, including this happy situation we are soon to find ourselves in, with no inbound testing at all for fully vaccinated travellers.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements
for fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore by air
Dates PDT OAT PAT
7 Sep ’21

18 Oct ’21
PCR
within 48h of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
PCR on D3
PCR on D7
19 Oct ’21

11 Nov ’21
PCR
within 48h of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
  None
12 Nov ’21

2 Dec ’21
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
  None
3 Dec ’21

6 Dec ’21
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Supervised ART on D3
Supervised ART on D7
7 Dec ’21

23 Jan ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Self ART on D2
Supervised ART on D3
Self ART on D4
Self ART on D5
Self ART on D6
Supervised ART on D7
24 Jan ’22

14 Mar ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Self ART on D2*
Self ART on D3*
Self ART on D4*
Self ART on D5*
Self ART on D6*
Self ART on D7*
15 Mar ’22

31 Mar ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
  None Self ART within 24h
1 Apr ’22

25 Apr ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
  None   None
26 Apr ’22
onwards
  None   None   None
COVID-19 Testing Requirements
for fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore by air
Dates PDT OAT / PAT
7 Sep ’21

18 Oct ’21
PCR
within 48h of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
PCR on D3
PCR on D7

19 Oct ’21

11 Nov ’21
PCR
within 48h of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
12 Nov ’21

2 Dec ’21
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
3 Dec ’21

6 Dec ’21
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Supervised ART on D3
Supervised ART on D7

7 Dec ’21

23 Jan ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Self ART on D2
Supervised ART on D3
Self ART on D4
Self ART on D5
Self ART on D6
Supervised ART on D7

24 Jan ’22

14 Mar ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
PCR
at Changi Airport
Self ART on D2*
Self ART on D3*
Self ART on D4*
Self ART on D5*
Self ART on D6*
Self ART on D7*

15 Mar ’22

31 Mar ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
Self ART
within 24h
1 Apr ’22

25 Apr ’22
ART
within 2 days of departure
  None
26 Apr ’22
onwards
  None   None

* Only if leaving place of accommodation that day

At the peak of testing requirements during the initial global surge of the Omicron variant between 7th December 2021 and 23rd January 2022, travellers heading quarantine-free to Singapore on the VTL needed to complete a total of eight COVID-19 tests (seven ARTs and one PCR), four of which were professionally administered or supervised.

To go from that arduous regime to zero testing in the space of three months is a significant improvement all travellers will no doubt welcome.

Tele-ARTs made things easier

Since mid-March 2022, Singapore has approved supervised video ART pre-departure testing for returning residents overseas from selected countries, from as little as S$9, which made the process significantly simpler and less expensive for many travellers.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

Approval for the scheme was later rolled out for those returning from any country on 5th April 2022.

This programme remains in place until the PDT requirements ceases, and we have a list of the cheapest options and operating hours available here for those Singapore residents still returning prior to its removal.

Testing still applies for unvaccinated travellers

If you are aged 13 or over (born in 2009 or before for 2022 arrivals) and you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will still be required to take a pre-departure test under the current rules as part of the following process:

  • Obtain an entry approval (except for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents)
  • Obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test (ART or PCR) within two days of departure
  • Serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN) for seven full days on arrival in Singapore (e.g. clear immigration on 1st June, SHN period is 1st-8th June inclusive)
  • Take a mandatory PCR test before the end of your SHN period, which will be arranged by ICA, at a cost of 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.

Note that from 1st July 2022, all Long-Term Pass holders aged 13 and above who are not fully vaccinated with WHO EUL Vaccines will also not be able to enter Singapore without entry approval.

Full details for unvaccinated travellers can be found here.



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Summary

The final major remnant of the Vaccinated Travel Lane concept still in existence when Singapore transitioned to its significantly simpler VTF scheme on 1st April this year was the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement.

While there has been a simpler method introduced recently for returning residents to tick this box via supervised video Tele-ART, that option remains unavailable to short-term visitors arriving from overseas, meaning the inconvenience and cost associated with hunting down a clinic to complete the test.

This fantastic news that the pre-departure test will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers arriving on or after 26th April 2022 means that those heading overseas on a trip from Singapore and back again will only be subject to the testing requirements of their overseas destination country, which in many cases have already been significantly relaxed, or done away with altogether.

For example, two-way quarantine-free and completely test-free trips will soon be possible to and from all 50 countries in Europe (including the UK and Switzerland), Canada, Cambodia and the UAE. Thailand also joins that list next month.

For many of our readers the biggest benefit will be no more worry about being temporarily stranded overseas in the event of a positive pre-departure test before returning home to Singapore, which will hopefully encourage even the most cautious travellers to finally take an overseas trip again.

(Cover Photo: Changi Airport Group)

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8 comments

    1. Fully vaccinated definition has not changed (two doses of WHO-EUL, or one dose of J&J). I have added a note and a link to the source.