Singapore’s reopening is moving forward. After a month of vaccinated travel corridors including Brunei and Germany, from October 19th, eight more countries will be opened for vaccinated travel. The country is starting to reopen for more travelers, which is a positive sign for airlines and could be the start of the reopening of Asia.
Singapore expands vaccinated travel lanes
From October 18th at 23:59 local time, the following countries are going to join Singapore’s vaccinated travel lanes:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Travelers from vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) get to have an expedited, quarantine-free visit to Singapore. These eight countries join Brunei and Germany, which were added on September 8th at 23:59 local time. South Korea will join from November 14th at 23:59. No other countries have been added yet.
Passengers will need to present proof of vaccination to enter Singapore. This can include the EU Digital COVID certificate, a Smart Health Cards (SHC) issued in the United States and Canada on the CommonTrust Network, National Health Service (NHS) Covid Passes on the NHS mobile app, and vaccination status on the BruHealth app. Singapore will only accept digitally verified and authenticated proof of vaccination.
Traveling from a VTL country
Before flying to Singapore, passengers need to apply for a vaccinated travel pass (VTP). There are no restrictions on the purpose of travel under the VTL arrangement, but this is a requirement for non-Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Singapore will not allow travel from those who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. A VTP does not supersede a visa, so passengers who need a visa will need to obtain one separately. Passengers may also need to purchase travel insurance that includes a minimum of S$30,000 (~US$22100) of COVID-19 coverage.
Travelers must be coming from a VTL country on a designated VTL flight. Refer to each individual airline and itinerary to see if your flight qualifies. For example, from the United States, currently, only Singapore Airlines flights from New York and Los Angeles to Singapore are designated as VTL flights. More flights may change as airlines resume their operations.
Before you can travel on an eligible flight, travelers have to prove they have only been to one or more of the VTL countries or Singapore in the last 14 consecutive days. They should also not have been exposed to a positive case or show symptoms of the virus.
Pre-departure, travelers must provide proof of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of departure for Singapore. The test must be in English and state the passenger’s name and at least one other identifier, like a date of birth or passenger numbers, the negative result, and the date and time when the test was taken. It should also include the name of the testing institution.
Using the SG Arrival Card e-service, passengers then have to lodge their health, travel history, and accommodation declarations. This online form can be completed no earlier than three days before their date of arrival in Singapore. Travelers should also register and pre-pay for the on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test.
Upon arrival in Singapore, travelers will take a COVID test on arrival. After this, passengers have to remain in self-isolation at a residential accommodation or a nonresidential accommodation. Rules for self-isolation require passengers to be alone or with vaccinated household members sharing the same travel history, arrival date, and requirement. Travelers have to remain in a space that is an enclosed room with an en-suite toilet, so most hotels will count.
The result of the on-arrival test will likely be available within 24 hours. However, it could take longer or be a shorter period of time. Travelers who have been notified of their negative test results can see them online and are allowed to leave their accommodation and enjoy Singapore while adhering to all public health guidance.
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Transpacific travel starts to reopen
Transpacific travel was one of the first markets to shut down in early 2020. Singapore took a hard-line approach in the early days. Almost all entries were shut down, and those who were coming to the country faced testing and quarantine requirements. Tourism links were suspended, businesses had to do most of their work online, and families remained separated under this policy.
However, with the rollout of vaccinations, things have started to change. The country has recognized that it is time to accept a new normal and begin to live with the virus. Evidence has shown that vaccinations significantly reduce hospitalizations and death rates, which has been the impetus for Singapore to reopen. The country has vaccinated over 80% of its population.
Singapore released details that nearly 2,000 travelers entered Singapore under the VTLs with Brunei and Germany. Of those, only two positive cases were detected, both of which were found on arrival at the airport and had no community transmission or interaction.
Expect more schedules to come back
Traditionally, as countries have opened up, airlines have started to bring back their schedules. Schedules between the US and Canada to and from Europe, for example, have come roaring back to shy of 2019-levels with a recovery in routes and capacity is expected to continue through the end of the year and into next summer.
Singapore Airlines is expected to be one of the most significant beneficiaries in this. The airline has been operating a skeleton schedule through much of the 18-20 months, and even transit passengers have remained heavily suppressed given travel restrictions through much of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Europe, and the US – which are all major traffic flows the airline taps into.
As schedules recover, expect more VTL-endorsed flights to come back as well. Other airlines may also start to bring back their flights. United Airlines is the only major US airline that flies nonstop to Singapore from the United States. Others offer connections on their partners to Singapore.
Are you going to go to Singapore once its VTL list expands? Let us know in the comments!