Countries now open to Singapore travellers: Your guide to Covid-19 tests, vaccine requirements, and costs

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Travel bubbles have come and burst, but Singapore finally has its own fast track to quarantine-free travel.

Kicked off from Sept 8, 2021, the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) allow travellers from Germany and Brunei to enter Singapore without serving a stay-home notice.

For those of us feeling the wanderlust, that just means one less hurdle in the way of our hassle-free, budget-friendly travel plans.

But VTLs aren't the limit of our travel dreams. Since mid-2021, Europe has been reopening to leisure travellers from selected low-risk non-EU countries, including Singapore.

For fully vaxxed tourists, neither quarantine nor on-arrival testing is needed - though it's a different story when returning home, of course.

Whether you're making jet-setting plans or simply indulging your travel fever, we've put together your ultimate guide to destinations opening to vaccinated Singapore travellers - certs, Covid tests, and costs involved.

Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Under the new Vaccinated Travel Lane arrangements, fully vaccinated travellers from Germany and Brunei won't need to self-quarantine upon arrival in Singapore.

Instead, you'll simply need to:

  • Travel on designated VTL flights
  • Remained in your country of departure and/or Singapore for 21 consecutive days
  • Undergo a battery of Covid-19 PCR tests.

"Fully vaccinated" here refers to those who've received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or other vaccines listed under the World Health Organisation's (WHO) emergency use list, including Sinovac.

One caveat on Brunei is that the country isn't actually open to leisure travellers just yet - only essential travel is allowed.

Germany, on the other hand, is now allowing unrestricted entry to travellers from Singapore, regardless of your purpose or vaccination status.

Here's a breakdown of the steps involved to Germany and back:

From Singapore to Germany

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Upon arrival in Germany, fully vaxxed folks who can present proof of vaccination will not need to undergo Covid-19 testing.

Unvaccinated persons must instead present a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test, carried out no more than 72 hours before entry.

There are no designated VTL flights from Singapore to Germany - all outbound flights are fair game.

At this time of writing, a round trip between Singapore and Frankfurt in economy class is priced from $959++ on Singapore Airlines and $960++ on Lufthansa - though prices can more than double depending on the day you pick.

Meanwhile, a round trip between Singapore and Munich in Singapore Airlines' economy lite will set you back around $958++.

For more information on Germany's entry restrictions, see here.

From Germany to Singapore

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If you're returning to Singapore from Germany, you'll need to hop on one of the designated VTL flights run by Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.

For Singapore Airlines, SQ325 is the designated flight from Frankfurt to Singapore, running three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

There's a designated Munich-to-Singapore flight as well, SQ331, which operates twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa offers twice-weekly VTL flights from Frankfurt to Singapore on Thursdays and Saturdays, under the designation LH778.

Before departure for Singapore, those vaccinated in Singapore can simply flash their HealthHub vaccination status to the airline at check-in.

Upon arrival, travellers must undergo four Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests in lieu of a stay-home notice.

This begins with a pre-departure test within 48 hours of your departure flight, priced from 128€ (S$203) in Germany.

A $160 on-arrival test at Changi Airport follows, after which you'll need to take private transport directly to your accommodation. Two more post-arrival tests are required on Day Three and Seven at a designated clinic, starting from around $125 per test.

All told, you can expect to splash out at least $600 on testing.

For registration for on-arrival PCR tests in Singapore, see here.

ALSO READ: Goodbye Singapore, guten tag Deutschland: TikToker shares what it's like flying in Covid-19 times

Countries open to non-essential travel from Singapore

Canada

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Dreaming of rugged mountains and falls? As of Sept 7, 2021, Canada is offering a fully vaccinated traveller exemption for all foreign nationals.

This exemption allows fully vaxxed persons entering Canada to skip both quarantine and a Day-8 testing requirement, regardless of your country of departure or purpose of stay. Here's the step-by-step breakdown:

From Singapore to Canada

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To qualify as fully vaccinated, you must have received one of only four vaccines currently accepted by Canada: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

Once you've confirmed your flight details, you'll need to submit your travel information and proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN up to 72 hours before your flight.

You'll also be asked to enter a suitable quarantine plan in ArriveCAN, in case you fail to qualify for quarantine exemption.

Upon arrival in Canada, travellers must present a negative result from a pre-entry Covid-19 molecular test, taken within 72 hours before departure.

A PCR test in Singapore should cost you between $125 to $200.

Besides this, you may be randomly selected to take an on-arrival Covid-19 test provided and paid for by the Canadian government.

Waiting for test results isn't required, however - you can travel on to your final destination after.

For more information on Canada's fully vaccinated traveller exemption, see here.

From Canada to Singapore

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Singapore classifies Canada as a lower-risk Category II country.

That means travellers who have remained in Canada for the last 21 consecutive days are required, upon entering Singapore, to serve a stay-home notice of only seven days.

And unlike Category III and IV travellers, your SHN can take place in the comfort of your home, a self-sourced hotel, or a serviced apartment - no need to fork out a few grand on a dedicated facility.

Before hopping on the flight home, you'll need to take a PCR test by an accredited facility within 48 hours before your departure (from CAD 160 [S$170]).

Upon arrival in Singapore, a second PCR test ($160) awaits you before you head off for your seven-day SHN. Finally, a third PCR test on Day Seven (from $125) is mandatory to round off your trip.

From departing to re-entering Singapore, that adds up to around $600 for testing throughout your journey.

For more information on Singapore's Category II travel measures, see here.

ALSO READ: 6 things to take note of if you're planning to travel to Brunei or Germany via the new Vaccinated Travel Lane

Europe

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Europe is reopening to tourism in a big way, with many states now welcoming non-EU and fully vaxxed folks for non-essential travel.

While not all travellers are exempt from quarantine, Singapore makes the ranks of many countries' green zone and low-risk lists.

This translates to a blessedly quarantine-free vacay (until you arrive back home, of course).

Drawing on the Singapore Multi-Ministry Taskforce's list of Category III regions, we've put together a non-exhaustive guide to European countries currently open to leisure travellers from Singapore:

From Singapore to Europe

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Austria: Singapore is considered a safe country with low incidence rate, meaning that no quarantine is required for tourists who can show either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 PCR test result within the past 72 hours. For more information, see here.

Belgium: As a "green zone" country, fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore do not need to undergo Covid-19 testing or quarantine upon arrival. For more information, see here.

Denmark: Singapore is on the list of "yellow" countries, which allows entry to Denmark for any purpose with proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Those who are fully vaccinated are also exempt from isolation, pre-arrival and on-arrival testing. For more information, see here.

Finland: Fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore can enter Finland without testing or quarantine restrictions. For more information, see here.

Italy: Singapore is a low-risk country under "List D". Travellers who can present both proof of vaccination and a negative result for a molecular or antigenic test taken in the 72 hours prior will not need to undergo a five-day quarantine. For more information, see here.

Luxembourg: Singapore is among the countries exempt from a ban forbidding entry by third-country nationals. Travellers must present a vaccination cert, as well as a negative Covid-19 result from either a nucleic acid amplification test or a rapid antigen test. No quarantine is necessary, and free PCR tests are available upon arrival. For more information, see here.

Malta: Malta classifies Singapore as a red zone country. Those travelling from Singapore and fully vaccinated will only need to present a vaccination cert and public health declaration form for entry. Unvaccinated adults who present a negative PCR test result still face a 14-day quarantine. For more information, see here.

The Netherlands: No self-quarantine is needed for travellers from "safe countries", including Singapore. Entry to the Netherlands requires either a proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. For more information, see here.

Sweden: Singapore is among the countries exempt from Sweden's current ban on non-essential travel. Regardless of vaccination status, travellers from Singapore can enter quarantine-free upon proof of a negative Covid-19 test no more than 48 hours before arrival. For more information, see here.

Switzerland: No quarantine or Covid-19 test is required for fully vaccinated travellers from countries without variants of concerns, such as Singapore. Unvaccinated persons can enter with proof of either a PCR or antigen test result, with no quarantine obligations. For more information, see here.

One caveat on vaccination: at the moment, most EU countries only recognise four vaccines approved for use by the European Medicines Agency, i.e. AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

If you'd like to check whether your vaccine is accepted by your travel destination, this handy tracker by VisaGuide.World can tell you.

From Europe to Singapore

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While entering Europe is relatively easy for Singapore travellers, getting back home is a whole different beast.

With the exception of Germany, Singapore currently classifies European countries under Category III and IV, which comes with more stringent quarantine and testing requirements.

Before hopping on the flight home, you'll need to take a PCR test by an accredited facility in the 48 hours before your departure, followed by a second PCR test ($160) upon arrival in Singapore.

Next stop, quarantine. A 14-day stay-home notice is mandatory, either at a dedicated SHN facility (from $1,300 per pax for two adults) or at your own accommodation under certain criteria. To get to your SHN venue, you'll need to utilize designated transport services at your own expense (from $200).

During your SHN, three ART self-swab tests are required on Days Three, Seven, and 11 - every traveller must fork out $40 for four test kits prior. 

Finally, there's a third PCR test on Day 14 (from $125) to round off your trip. That adds up to well over $2,000 for the whole process of re-entering Singapore.

For more information on Singapore's Stay-Home Notice requirements, see here.

This article was first published in City Nomads.