With the recent establishment of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, those of us in Singapore will be able to travel, quarantine-free, to a total of 11 countries – Brunei (closed for leisure travel), Canada, Denmark, France, Germany Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, the United States, and South Korea (from November 15 onwards).
As much as we’re all thrilled to travel overseas again, travelling will not be as easy of a process as it was pre-pandemic. With all the extra regulations implemented to ensure the safety of all travellers, the whole process to travel overseas can get understandably confusing for some. If you intend to travel using the VTL scheme and are in the midst of researching how it works, here’s a comprehensive guide on quarantine-travel to save you all the hassle and stress.
How the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme works
The VTL scheme applies to all those who are considered fully vaccinated, meaning that two weeks must have elapsed since you’ve received the full regimen of any vaccines on the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing (which includes Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).
Under the VTL scheme, fully vaccinated Singaporean/PR travellers will no longer need to quarantine at the destination country and upon return to Singapore. Instead, you will be required to take a number of Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests, depending on the regulations set by your destination country and Singapore.
While it is generally not required by most countries (with the exception of South Korea) to take a designated VTL flight to your intended destination, it will be mandatory for you to take a designated VTL flight back to Singapore in order to be exempted from quarantine upon arrival.
VTL flights available
To keep things simple, here’s a checklist of the obligatory tasks that you need to complete before your departure from Singapore:
- Ensure that you’re fully vaccinated (reflected in your HealthHub app)
- Remained in Singapore for at least 14 days prior to departure
- Take a Covid-19 PCR test within 48 hours of your departure at MOH-approved clinics
- Notarise your PCR PDT (Pre-Departure Test) certificate
Upon receiving a digital PCR-test results certificate issued to you by the clinic, you will need to digitally authenticate and endorse this certificate via https://www.notarise.gov.sg/ before you travel. This indicates that your result and certificate was legitimately issued and authenticated by MOH.
After notarising this certificate, a QR code of your digitally authenticated and endorsed test certificate will be e-mailed to you within 15 minutes. For those who have presented your NRIC at the clinic, your SingPass app will also have this QR code stored in your account. Present this QR code to foreign immigration and customs authorities to verify the authenticity of the digital certificate.
Arriving at your travel destination
Besides the mandatory pre-departure tasks, it also strongly recommended for you to check the MFA website for the latest advisories applicable to the country that you’re visiting, as well as to visit the embassy website of your destination country to keep yourself informed on the relevant health requirements imposed on travellers from Singapore (e.g. PDT or vaccination certificates).
Heading back to Singapore
As mentioned above, to complete the VTL scheme, you will need to book a VTL flight back to Singapore. Additionally, you will also be required to take 2 PCR tests to re-enter Singapore – one to be done 48 hours before departure to Singapore and the other done upon arriving in Singapore.
The pre-departure test to Singapore must be taken at an internationally recognised or accredited clinic, laboratory or medical facility. You should also obtain a copy of the test result that meet the following conditions:
- Is in English (or accompanied with an English translation),
- Contains the traveller’s name, Date of Birth/Passport number, and
- Reflects the date and result of the PCR test.
The on-arrival test in Singapore will cost $160 (including GST) each, and you are strongly advised to register and pay for the relevant tests via the Safe Travel Concierge (STC) website provided by Changi Airport. After this test, you must remain self-isolated until the result is confirmed to be negative. In this time, you should not take the public transport and avoid coming into contact with other household members who do not have the same travel history, arrival date and self-isolation requirement.
Children under 12
Children under 12 are ineligible for vaccination, and thus, have to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult who is also travelling under the VTL scheme. This is generally the guideline for the other countries, with the exception of South Korea, who does not allow children or people who are unvaccinated to travel under the VTL.
This information is valid as of October 20 2021.