Singapore expands VTL scheme; streamlines arrival process

Singapore will expand its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme to include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Hong Kong, and Indonesia’s Batam and Bintan from February 25, as well as with Israel and Philippines from March 4.

The VTLs with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were supposed to start in early December, but were deferred due to Omicron. Starting from 10.00 on February 22, travellers from these three countries can apply for the VTL pass to enter Singapore.

Singapore has simplified arrival processes for Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers and non-Vaccinated Travel Lane travellers

Singapore’s unilateral opening arrangement with Hong Kong will be replaced by a VTL starting February 25.

These new VTLs will join 24 others that are in operation.

Vaccinated travellers will also soon be able to fly into Singapore from all cities in Thailand, beyond Bangkok where there is an existing VTL, without quarantine.

At the same time, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will lift the 50 per cent cap on the daily number of VTL travellers entering Singapore by air, and progressively restore the quota from 5,000 to 15,000 by March 4.

Entry procedures will also be simplified. Singapore will cease the seven-day testing regime as well as on-arrival PCR test for VTL travellers. The only test needed is a supervised ART at any designated test centres in Singapore within 24 hours of the traveller’s entry.

Steps are taken to simplify the current border restrictions for non-VTL travellers from 23.59 on February 21. These include travel history requirements reduced to seven days from 14, and stay-home notice duration standardised at seven days.

The government will also revise its border risk classification system.

Category 1 countries and regions are deemed to be of lowest risk of Covid-19 infections.

The second is a General Travel category consisting of countries that Singapore has started VTLs for, together with non-VTL countries and regions. VTL travellers from countries in this category will have quarantine-free travel, while those from non-VTL countries have to undergo a seven-day stay-home notice.

The third is a new restricted category, which will include countries that warrant stricter border measures owing to developing Covid-19 situations. There will be no new restricted countries/ regions in this category for a start.

Furthermore, CAAS will remove departure test requirements for all passengers transferring or transiting through Singapore from 23.59 on February 21.

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