Singapore continues to return towards pre-COVID travel norms, with a recent announcement by the Ministry of Health that there will no longer be any vaccine-based differentiation as far as quarantine is concerned for residents and visitors entering the country, effective from 29th August 2022.
The news means that those aged 13 or above who are either partially vaccinated or completely unvaccinated will no longer face a seven-day period of self-isolation (SHN), nor any post-arrival test.
Travellers entering Singapore from 29th August 2022 will also no longer need entry approvals.
This will allow unvaccinated short-term visitors and long-term pass holders to enter restriction-free from 29th August 2022, both groups becoming exempt from the requirement to obtain an entry approval, which was typically issued only for compelling reasons.
Unvaccinated short-term visitors will still need to have a negative pre-departure test when heading to Singapore, though this continues not to apply for transit passengers through Changi.
Singapore follows its regional neighbours Australia, Cambodia, India, Laos, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam in scrapping the requirement for tourist visitors to be fully vaccinated.
Singapore launched its Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) on 1st April 2022, which represented the first real reopening of the country to those from around the world, but still required full vaccination as a fundamental prerequisite.
Until 11.59pm on 28th August 2022, those aged 13 or over who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not qualify for quarantine-free entry under Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF), and instead need to:
- Obtain an entry approval (except for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents)
- Obtain a negative COVID-19 test within two days of departure
- Hold travel insurance including COVID-19 treatment, with at least $30,000 of coverage
- Complete the SG Arrival Card
- Serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN) for seven full days on arrival in Singapore at home or in a hotel room (e.g. clear immigration on 1st August, SHN period is 1st-8th August inclusive)
- Take a mandatory PCR test before the end of the SHN period
Unvaccinated short-term visitors are generally not allowed to travel to Singapore, though there are exceptions on compassionate grounds.
From 29th August 2022, entry into Singapore for returning residents and short-term visitors will be simplified as shown below, based on vaccination status.
Entry to Singapore
(from 29th August 2022)
or partially vaccinated
|Negative pre-departure test
(ART or PCR within two days of departure)
|Complete SG Arrival Card||Required^||Required|
Travel Insurance covering COVID-19
Travel Insurance covering COVID-19
* Those who have completed the full regimen of WHO EUL Vaccines and meet the minimum dose interval period.
^ Except for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders arriving via the land border from Malaysia.
Entry approval, post-arrival SHN and a COVID-19 exit PCR test are all being removed, with only limited requirements set to be in force.
Testing and insurance remains for unvaccinated travellers
Unvaccinated short-term visitors will still be required have a pre-departure test at most two days before departure, and will need to hold travel insurance including COVID-19 treatment, with at least $30,000 of coverage, as outlined here.
The pre-departure test can be either a PCR test, a professionally-administered antigen rapid test (ART), or a self-administered ART supervised remotely by an approved provider based in Singapore.
The pre-departure test is not required if you tested positive for COVID-19 between 14 and 90 days before your date of departure for Singapore. This online tool allows you to check if the pre-departure test can be waived, including details of the documentation required to prove your infection or recovery.
What if you test positive overseas?
All travellers who test positive for COVID-19 overseas, whether as part of a pre-departure test or on any other test, are advised to:
- Follow the recovery protocols of their current location
- Defer travel plans and do not board commercial flights or ferries to Singapore
- Resume travel when they test negative, and at least 72 hours from the time they first test positive or:
- Fully vaccinated (or below 12 years old): On Day 7 if they continue to test positive.
- Not fully vaccinated aged 12 years and above: On Day 14 if they continue to test positive.
Mask-wearing will also be relaxed
From 29th August 2022, Singapore will also scrap the legal requirement to wear masks indoors, meaning it will then be optional to wear a face covering across both outdoor and indoor settings.
This includes both the public and transit areas of Singapore Changi Airport, but mask-wearing will still be a requirement in the following high-risk settings:
- On buses and MRT trains
- At indoor public transport facilities (e.g. boarding areas within bus interchanges and on MRT platforms)
- At hospitals and polyclinics, private primary care and dental facilities, specialist and TCM clinics, day hospices, care homes and COVID-19 care facilities
- At COVID-19 testing and vaccination centres
- On emergency ambulances and medical transport vehicles
Despite the relaxation, the Singapore Government is still stressing the importance of personal responsibility when it comes to mask wearing, for example in crowded places.
Mask-wearing on board aircraft will also be relaxed from 29th August 2022, except where required:
- by airline policy (e.g. on Emirates flights); or
- when travelling to or from countries which legally require mask-wearing on board aircraft.
We recently summarised the list of applicable mask-optional Singapore Airlines routes from 29th August 2022, which covers around 40% of the carrier’s flights.
Scoot has since confirmed that its flights to and from mask-optional countries will have no mandatory mask-wearing requirement, including those heading to and from Greece, Laos, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Singapore-based Jetstar Asia only applies mandatory mask-wearing on board its flights based on the requirements of the destination / origin country, meaning its Singapore – Bangkok – Singapore and Singapore – Phuket – Singapore flights will become mask-optional for passengers, from 29th August.
In all cases, we understand that Singapore-based cabin crew will still be required to wear masks on board all flights, regardless of the applicable regulations for passengers.
Vaccination still required for new passes and renewals
While Singapore will no longer require tourists to be fully vaccinated to visit the country without quarantine or entry approval, in order to sustain high vaccination rates among its resident population it will be a requirement for:
- Approval of all new long-term passes and work passes
- Renewal of existing work passes for Work Permit Holders and S Pass Holders:
- from the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors; or
- residing in dormitories.
New long-term pass holders and work pass holders already need to be fully vaccinated as a condition of approval, while the new requirements for selected pass renewals will take effect from 1st October 2022.
Full details are available at the MoM website.
The Singapore Arrival Card (SGAC) remains
All travellers arriving in Singapore must continue to complete the SG Arrival Card (SGAC), with the exception of Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders who are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 WHO EUL vaccines and are entering via land checkpoints.
The SGAC has been progressively simplified since the original VTF process started in April.
Travellers can complete it within three days of arrival in Singapore, ideally doing so before departure. The modified SGAC comprises:
- Personal particulars
- Travel details, including arrival date
- Health declaration
- Accommodation details in Singapore*
- Vaccination status, including the submission of proof of vaccination for those who are vaccinated outside Singapore.*
* Foreign visitors only
At the latest, the SGAC must be completed on arrival, in order for immigration clearance to be processed.
What about transit passengers?
Transit passengers who are changing to an onward flight at Changi without clearing arrival immigration or leaving the transit area are already not required to be fully vaccinated, since 1st April 2022.
Transit passengers passing through Changi are also exempt from any pre-departure test requirements, whether fully vaccinated or not, unless their final destination country imposes this requirement.
If you have a transit in Singapore and wish to enter the country during your layover (e.g. to visit Jewel), you must meet the prevailing entry restrictions for Singapore, which includes a negative pre-departure test for unvaccinated travellers.
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.
Singapore is closer than ever to pre-COVID travel protocols, with this removal of SHN requirements for all travellers, including those who have not been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Pre-departure testing will still apply for these travellers, as will a requirement to hold travel insurance for unvaccinated visitors.
Mask wearing indoors is also being axed across Singapore, including at Changi Airport and on selected flights to and from countries with no on-board mask mandate.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)