Singapore And South Korea Plan Travel Corridor

A bilateral quarantine-free corridor is on the schedule for travel between Singapore and South Korea. This scheme is set to go into effect from November 15th, allowing vaccinated travelers to fly back and forth without any requirement to isolate upon arrival.

Singapore Korean Air
Singapore and Seoul are major East Asian business hubs and will benefit greatly from a travel corridor. Photo: Eternal Dragon via Wikimedia Commons

A joint “Vaccinated Travel Lane”

It was being discussed in 2020 but will finally happen late in 2021. Announced on October 8th, Singapore’s Ministry of Transportation outlined details for its travel corridor with South Korea on its website. Citing successful vaccination campaigns, the agreement was initially announced via a video conference between Singapore’s Minister for Transport, S Iswaran, and the South Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Noh Hyeong Ouk.

Most excitingly, the new agreement will not have any restrictions on the purpose of travel or requirements for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship. The move will be part of Singapore’s “Vaccinated Travel Lane” (or VTL) scheme and is set to begin on November 15th.

“Singapore and the Republic of Korea enjoy strong and multi-faceted ties, especially in the sectors of trade and investment, infrastructure, and tourism. The jointly launched VTLs will be the first of its kind between two major aviation hubs in Asia and build on these longstanding relations to safely revive cross-border air travel and people-to-people flows.” -Singapore Ministry of Transportation

The two countries do indeed have strong relations, commemorating 45 years of diplomatic ties in 2020. Indeed, before COVID-19, the Singaporean Ministry noted that Singapore and South Korea were among each other’s top travel destinations, with a total of 64 weekly passenger services carrying 1.6 million passengers annually.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 (2)
Singapore Airlines will be the main Singaporean carrier operating direct service to Seoul. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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The fine print

By now it should go without saying that any reopening of travel will not translate to a direct return to a pre-pandemic style of flying.

Indeed, under this VTL, only fully vaccinated travelers will be able to travel between Changi Airport and Incheon International Airport. Additionally, travelers will be subjected to COVID-19 PCR testing in place of quarantining upon arrival.

This scheme will also see the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination certificates of the two countries, allowing fully vaccinated travelers with proof of vaccination issued in either Singapore or South Korea “to enjoy vaccination-differentiated safe management measures in both countries.”

Korean Air (SuperM Livery) Boeing 777-3B5(ER) HL8010
Korean Air is the largest air operator in South Korea, having recently acquired legacy rival Asiana. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Singapore has been well on its way to reopening its borders to the world as 83% of its population has now been fully inoculated. According to Bloomberg, September saw Singapore open up corridors with Germany and Brunei. It already allows quarantine-free travel from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. However, the majority of these locations have yet to reciprocate for travelers coming from Singapore.

Are you excited about this new travel corridor? Do you have any plans to travel between the two countries? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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