Changi Airport News Travel

India mandates PCR tests for transit passengers through Singapore Changi Airport

All passengers travelling from Singapore to India now need a negative pre-departure PCR test, even if they are in transit from a 'low risk' country like Australia.

Update: India is scrapping pre-departure PCR testing for travellers from (and through) Singapore on 13th February 2023. See here for details.

Last week India introduced a surprise requirement for all international arriving travellers from six Asian countries, including Singapore, to once again have a negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure, a mandate first dropped way back in February 2022.

The policy change came about “in the context of the evolving trajectory of COVID-19 in some countries, especially China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan”, according to health officials in India, leaving many bemused how Singapore made it to the list, with cases here at their lowest level in over a year.


Indeed Singapore was recording daily COVID-19 case totals some 12 times higher than it is now back in February 2022, when India dropped the pre-departure test requirements for travellers from the Lion City!

Adding to the confusion, the news was announced only 24 hours after the Indian High Commission officially denied reports that travellers from Singapore would be included in the list of those requiring a pre-departure test to travel to India – which turned out to be completely false.

Transit passengers are now included

Originally, transit passengers were not included in the remit, with airports in India happily telling travellers there was no need to be tested if they were originating in a non-high risk country, and merely passing through the transit area of an airport in a high risk country en-route to India.

Singapore Airlines had the same travel advice on its website, with no tests required, for example, when flying from Sydney to Delhi via Singapore with the carrier.

That situation has now changed, with India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare clarifying that transiting in one of the high-risk countries like Singapore, even without clearing immigration, means the pre-departure PCR test requirement is imposed on the traveller.

“As per revised guidelines, a mandatory requirement for pre-departure RT-PCR testing (to be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey) has been introduced for passengers in all international flights from [high risk] countries.

“This will also apply to transiting passengers through the [high risk] countries irrespective of their originating countries before coming to any Indian airport.”

India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

In other words, any transit though Singapore Changi Airport now triggers the requirement for a pre-departure PCR test when travelling to India as your final destination, even when originating in non-high risk countries like Australia, Indonesia and the USA.

For example if you are travelling from Sydney to Bengaluru on the non-stop Qantas QF67 flight, you will not be required to have a pre-departure PCR test, but if you opt for the Singapore Airlines itinerary from Sydney to Bengaluru via Changi (SQ212 then SQ510), you will require a pre-departure PCR test.

Australia’s current COVID-19 infection rate is double that of Singapore, but that’s (sadly) irrelevant!

All Singapore – India passengers on SIA will need a pre-departure PCR test, even if they are simply transiting at Changi. (Photo: Duc Huy Nguyen / Shutterstock)

This will be an expensive addition to trip costs, particularly for families, with a PCR test in Sydney including a certificate for travel purposes typically costing around AU$80-100.

In the USA, also a low risk country on India’s classification, the impact can be even worse with PCR testing costing upwards of US$180 (S$240)!

The pre-departure PCR test rule now effectively applies to all passengers travelling on board flights operating from high risk countries to India, regardless of their original origin point (if they transited in a high risk country).

Singapore Airlines has already updated its Travel Advisories page to reflect the new policy.

Source: Singapore Airlines

Latest process

The mandatory pre-departure PCR test has to be conducted within 72 hours of departure to India at the first embarkation point, and has been applicable to those arriving in India from 10am on 1st January 2023.


It applies to those aged 12 or above arriving from and transiting through the following countries:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Affected passengers must complete the Air Suvidha Form prior to departure, including the requirement to upload the negative RT-PCR test certificate (max. 1MB).

While Delhi Airport runs the Air Suvidha system, it is mandatory for all travellers from high risk countries when arriving at any airport in India on an international flight.

The new entry restrictions apply to all international arrivals at any airport in India. (Photo: Bengaluru Airport by Kartabya Aryal)

A random 2% of international travellers (aged 12+) will also undergo a PCR test on arrival in India, which applies to all international arrivals, even from low risk countries.




This additional imposition on transit travellers originating in non-high risk countries but travelling via a high risk country en-route to India will see all those using Singapore Airlines via Changi affected, in addition to those using JAL or ANA via Tokyo and Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, all popular stopover points particularly for those flying from the USA and Australia.

The requirement applies even if you remain wholly inside the transit area at these airports, and regardless of how long or short your connection is.

This will add significant cost for travellers originating in these countries, with some eye-watering PCR test bills typically charged overseas, unlike the wide range of S$50-100 options here in Singapore itself.

(Cover Photo: Changi Airport Group)



  1. Thanks for the info. We are flying YVR-SIN-MAA next week. Am I right in saying we need a negative PCR test result within
    72 hours of our first flight? ie from Vancouver? Thanks!

  2. This is absolutely nonsensical! As an Indian, traveling in the US now, I have been following the developments back home. After seeing news reports of the New Year celebrations in major cities of India, there’s probably a better case for RT PCR negative certificates from departing air travelers from India than the other way around.

  3. Simple solution to a nonsensical government action. DON’T go to India. See how quickly the stance will flip once tourists dry up.

  4. This seems to be another sadistic pleasure idea sitting in cosy corridors of power in India either it should also apply to the Indians also going abroad or it should be withdrawn.

  5. Idiots sitting in power. If you are originating from non high risk country eg Australia and you did a test within 72 hrs of departing Australia, how would the test capture if you catch something while transmitting high risk country.
    Can someone with normal IQ working under these idiots explain that the test are useless as they were done before transiting high risk country

    1. Totally agree with this …this is really a nonsensical idea …they could do a test on arrival in Indra if they want…why should we pay an additional cost

  6. We are flying YVR-SIN-DEL and staying in Singapore for 23 hours (thus leaving the airport) will we need another COVID test from Singapore or will the original one done in Vancouver be suffice? (Our test in Vancouver will cover us for the duration of the trip including the layover in SIN)

    Tried calling Singapore Airlines and even they seemed confused!

  7. We are departing from Australia to India and transiting in Singapore for a few hours. Is the test to be taken 72-hours prior to my flight leaving Australia OR 72-hours prior to my flight departing Singapore to India? Can’t find any information to clarify this.

    1. The test to be taken 72-hours prior to your flight leaving Australia, departure from your originating country. Not to be counted from Singapore, as I understood.

    2. Please read the last 3 lines.
      Do I Need an Air Suvidha?
      After the nearly 2-year travel ban, India has reopened the country’s border and welcomed international tourists again. Travelers, however, still must meet some entry requirements, one of which is the necessity to complete the self-declaration form before the trip.
      Currently, travelers arriving from high-risk countries (China, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Japan) who plan soon to visit India must remember to complete the Air Suvidha Self-Declaration and have it ready to show during the border control.
      Those who are unable to present the confirmation of the Air Suvidha may be denied entry to India. Every traveler needs to have a separate self-declaration form, no matter their age, nationality, or vaccination status. It is possible to submit a group declaration form. Moreover, parents or guardians must complete the Air Suvidha declarations on behalf of any child traveling to India. Completing the form is also mandatory for transit passengers (arriving from high-risk countries), excluding those who will not be passing through immigration clearance.

      I’m an Australian transiting through Singapore before arriving in India. Do I need to complete the Air Suvidha Form and provide an RT-PCR test result?
      According to the latest changes (1st Jan. 2023) in Indian entry restrictions, all international passengers flying from high-risk countries are required to have an RT-PCR test produced 72 hrs prior to departure and submit the Air Suvidha Declaration. These requirements also apply to passengers transiting through high-risk countries (Singapore, China, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand) regardless of the country where their journey starts before coming to any airport in India. Please, however, note that passengers transiting through high-risk countries who will not be crossing immigration are exempted from the requirement to fill out the Air Suvidha and provide a negative test report.

  8. Whole thing is bullshit. I am double vaccinated and double bolstered. Indian government should have some intelligent course of action than this nonsense. Who knew such great minds come from there but idiots impose policies. Regardless of leaving airport or transiting in Singapore- one is to take PCR test before departing USA? Science is lost these people

    1. You took a shot proven to not work. Pcr test is a scam. So ask yourself. Who is the real idiot here. Even though Indian government is full of morons. I hope you don’t get sick from the vaccine even though you fell for their covid vaccine scam.

  9. Hi Andrew, we will be travelling from Bali to Singapore and then from Singapore to India a day later. Are we allowed to submit a PCR test result from Bali (that will still be within 72 hours before our flight from Singapore)?

      1. You are not a transit passenger, so you need to take PCR in Singapore. There’s express PCR option in clinics, you can get results within 4 to 6 hours.

  10. Has anyone travelled recently from the US or Canada or Austrlia via Singapore and had to take the test how was your experience i have a trip planned for April. Dont need another added expense

  11. Can anyone who went out in Singapore confirm if the test was needed 72 hours before point of origin(not Singapore) or from the Singapore flight time? Thanks

  12. We flew from YVR to DEL via SIN and exited Changi during our 24 hour layover. We had a PCR test done in Vancouver given our itinerary was all the way thru to India and then did another one at Raffles Medical upon landing at the airport. Since our bags were checked thru to DEL and we had our boarding passes in hand already, we simply went straight thru security the next day at Changi and nobody checked if we had a refreshed test results (we understood that if we left the airport, the test done in Vancouver would be void for onward travel to India) Maybe the Air Suvidha form we completed with the test results from Singapore were visible to the customs officer in Delhi? We’ll never really know I guess.

  13. Thanks Sunny for the prompt response .

    A Singapore airlines agent on email said I cannot exit the airport if my transit isn’t greater than 72 hours though no website states this.
    So I called Singapore air and they that is not the case, as long as I have a transit visa I can g out and they also said my USA Covid test is enough even for the second leg if it’s within 72 hours .

    1. Did you fill another air suvidha form for the Singapore to india leg? From your response I guess not but want to be sure.

    2. Did you avail any transit visa for Singapore ? If so was it the transit free visa service for Indians ?

    3. How much did the Covid test in Singapore cost and how long was the turnaround ?

    Thanks again for the detailed responses. Hoping this clarifies for others too!

  14. Thanks Sunny for the detailed response.

    I had a few follow up questions.

    A Singapore air agent through online chat told me I am ineligible to go out if my transit is less than 72 hours. So I ended up calling them and they confirmed there is NO such rule and I can go out as long as I have a transit visa, and they even clarified my original US based Covid test is valid for the Singapore india leg as long as it’s within 72 hours.

    1. Can you please confirm you did not fill out a second air suvidha for the Singapore india leg with the new result form Singapore ?

    2.How did you transit out – did you need a transit visa and if so was it a visa free transit facility for Indians with a valid USA/Canada/Schengen visa ? I have used this multiple times in the past for shorter layovers without any issue but want to confirm if anyone has used it recently. long did your raffles test take for the results and what was the cost?

    Thanks again for the prompt responses!

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