Features

Visiting Singapore with the VTL

28 Feb 2022 by BusinessTraveller
Drone shot featuring Orchard Road from Ngee Ann City l Courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board

Background

Singapore introduced the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) in August 2021. The VTL programme permits fully-vaccinated customers to travel quarantine-free to Singapore, provided they meet several criteria, and are tested both before departure and after arrival in Singapore

The programme started with Germany, Brunei and Macao, and has now been extended to 30 countries. These are:

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, Philippines, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Greece and Vietnam will be added on March 16.

How to apply

You cannot apply if in the seven days prior to departure for Singapore you have travelled to, or transited through a non-VTL or non Category 1 countries/regions (Hong Kong, Macao, Mainland China, Taiwan).

As an introductory piece of advice – be prepared and have all your information to hand. As an example, don’t start the process until you know where you are staying since you need this information to complete the online forms. Also, don’t just pick a hotel and hope for availability. When I was planning my last trip at the end of 2021, many hotels were not available on websites to book and it was not clear whether they were closed or were not available for people flying in from overseas.

Step 1

Make sure you have downloaded the vaccination certificates in print and from the NHS Mobile App. These need to include the QR code. As the UK app has only 30 days validity, don’t do this too early.

Step 2

Investigate flights. The flight needs to be an approved VTL one. From London Heathrow, for instance, two of Singapore Airline’s three daily flights are VTL (the airline also has a VTL flight from Manchester to Singapore). British Airways also has some VTL flights to Singapore from London Heathrow.

The airline’s website will indicate which flights are VTL and which flights are not (for an example from Singapore Airlines, see below).

VTL-SIA-flights

Step 3

Apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP). This is relatively easy and can be done up from three to 60 days prior to your trip. The pass itself is now valid for 13 days from your chosen date of entry. It requires the uploading of your NHS Covid Pass. Annoyingly, the NHS pass when downloaded from the NHS app appears with both QR codes on one PDF.  As QR codes need to be uploaded separately you will need to spend some time editing the pdf to split them.

Once this has been done, my approval came through in minutes. Make sure you print and save a copy for inspection on arrival.

Step 4

There is a requirement to have SG$30,000 of medical insurance to cover if should you become ill with COVID whilst visiting Singapore. Travel insurance is offered from a number of providers and is relatively good value. My policy was with AIG and cost SG$14.52 for 5 days. Again, print and save a copy.

Step 5

Download the Singapore Government’s ‘Trace Together’ App. It is a mandatory requirement to have downloaded it and have it switched on during the duration of your stay. Download before you depart and switch it on when you land in Singapore.

Step 6

There is no longer a need for a PCR arrival test at Changi Airport. You need to set up an account with the Safe Travel Concierge. Travellers will need to do a supervised self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART)/Lateral Flow Test at a Quick Test Centre (QTC) or Combined Test Centre (CTC). The test costs $SG125/£68, with details of centres on the Ministry of Health’s website.

You must take a taxi or private transport to and from the test centre. You will not be allowed to wait for your results and are required to return to your hotel/accommodation and self-isolate until you get your result. This should be within two hours by SMS although it can take up to 12 hours by email if you do not have a local mobile. If you get a phone call it means you have tested positive.

My experience from when you were required to take a more complicated PCR test was that the result came through in under five hours.

NOTE: There is no longer a need to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART)/Lateral Flow Tests during your stay in Singapore.

Step 7

Book and take a pre-departure PCR test or professionally administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART)/Lateral Flow Test within 48 hours of your flight departure from London. Not all providers are approved so double check or go with the one recommended by your airline (often with a discount code).

Step 8

Check if you need any tests for returning to the UK. At various times in the past two years it has been everything from a Lateral Flow Test to a Day 2 PCR test. You may also need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form.

Step 9

Singapore no longer operates paper Arrival Forms. Up to 3 days prior to departure you must complete your electronic Arrival Form with Health Declaration.

Step 10

Take a look at the Singapore Governments Safe Travel checklist to make sure you have not missed anything or the rules have changed in the time it takes you to get this far!

Julian Gregory

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller July / August 2022 cover
Business Traveller July / August 2022 cover
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls