Planning a vacation now that borders have reopened? Here are the testing and other preflight requirements you need to know before heading to some popular destinations.
With Singapore reopening its borders under the Vaccinated Travel Framework and other countries doing likewise, there’s never been a better time to plan a vacation.
But while travel is gradually returning to normal, it’s not quite the same as pre-COVID days. Pre-departure or on-arrival COVID-19 testing may still be required, as well as vaccination certification, electronic travel authorisation and health declaration forms, among other things.
In this post, we’ll look at the pre-departure logistics for the countries most visited by Singaporeans prior to COVID. Keep in mind that the situation is fluid, and entry restrictions can change at short notice. For the most up-to-date information, always consult the respective country’s official government pages.
The information below is accurate as of 24 May 2022.
Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take a pre-departure test before entering Australia.
However, certain states and territories are enforcing on-arrival testing, namely:
- ACT (Canberra)
- NSW (Sydney)
- Queensland (Brisbane)
- South Australia (Adelaide)
Fortunately, on-arrival testing is done through self-administered ARTs, which means minimal hassle and no isolation time required. You can bring along kits from Singapore and do your testing at the airport once you’ve cleared immigration, satisfying the requirement immediately.
Apart from this, there are only two administrative tasks you’ll need to navigate:
- Complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours prior to departure
- Apply for an ETA (applicable to Singaporeans and nationals of other visa waiver countries)
An ETA costs AU$20, and is valid for unlimited entries within a 12-month period, up to three months each time.
Bali has scrapped all pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers. The only requirement is to purchase travel insurance with at least US$25,000 of COVID-19 medical coverage, as well as download the PeduliLindungi contact tracing app and create an account.
An e-Customs Declaration form can be completed before departure (within two days of arrival), but can also be done on the spot once you’re at Bali Airport.
Singapore citizens and citizens of ASEAN countries can enter Bali for 30 days without a visa. Should they wish to stay beyond this, they will need to purchase a visa-on-arrival for IDR 500,000.
Malaysia has scrapped all pre-departure and on-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers, regardless of entry point (i.e. it applies equally to air and land crossings). No travel insurance is required either; all that’s needed is to have your vaccination status verified in the MySejahtera app, and complete the in-app pre-departure form.
Fully vaccinated travellers to the Philippines must take a pre-departure ART within 24 hours of their flight, as well as purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of US$35,000 for COVID-19 medical expenses. Do note that unlike other countries, the Philippines requires that the ART be administered in a clinic. Tele-supervised ARTs will not be acceptable for travel.
A OneHealthPass declaration form must be completed prior to arrival. This generates a QR code which must be shown on demand.
Fully vaccinated travellers to South Korea must apply for a K-ETA, which costs 10,000 KRW (~S$11).
The following testing regime applies:
- Take a pre-departure PCR test within two days of departure (children under the age of six are exempt), or professionally-administered ART within one day of departure
- Take a further PCR test on arrival, which must be pre-booked in advance via safe2gopass.com. Isolation is required at a hotel or residence until a negative result is received, although travellers may use public transport and domestic flights to reach their final destination in South Korea while test results are pending
- A further self-administered ART must be done on Day 6 or 7 (this will be scrapped from 1 June), for travellers staying in South Korea for eight or more days. There is no requirement to report a negative test result.
Before departing, travellers must also register for a Q-Code, which is basically a way of recognising overseas vaccinations. This can only be done after receiving a negative pre-departure PCR test result, so you’ll be able to register within two days of departure.
Travel insurance is no longer a mandatory requirement, but I’d highly recommend purchasing it nonetheless.
Fully vaccinated travellers to Thailand are no longer required to take a pre-departure test. From 1 May 2022, they will also be exempt from on-arrival testing, with full freedom of movement from the time they land.
However, travellers will need to apply for a Thailand Pass, which involves submitting:
- Registration of trip details (flight number, port of arrival, date of arrival, estimated date of departure, purpose of trip)
- Passport copy
- Certificate of vaccination
- Proof of travel insurance (with min. US$10,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses)
Thailand Passes are currently approved within 48 hours, but from 1 June applicants can look forward to instant approval. This generates a QR code, which needs to be shown at check-in, as well as on arrival. An approved Thailand Pass can be used for entry up to seven days before and after the indicated date. For example, if your approval date is 15 May 2022, you may enter anytime from 8 May to 22 May 2022.
Vietnam has scrapped all pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 testing, regardless of vaccination status. Travellers will need to purchase travel insurance with at least US$10,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment, and download the PC-COVID contact tracing app.
For the sake of reference, the following countries have scrapped all pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated travellers:
- EU Countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden)
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Returning to Singapore
Returning to Singapore has, for all intents and purposes, reverted to pre-COVID conditions.
Fully vaccinated travellers and unvaccinated children aged 12 and below can enter Singapore without any pre-departure or on-arrival testing.There is no need to take a designated VTL flight, nor apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass, nor purchase travel insurance (not that this was required for Singapore residents in the first place, but still).
The only item on your to-do list is to complete the SG Arrival Card within three days before arriving in Singapore (Singapore Citizens, PRs and LTP holders entering via the land border from Malaysia do not need to complete this). This is a very straightforward affair, which involves filling up personal particulars and a simple health declaration.
Unvaccinated travellers who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents are barred from entering Singapore, with limited exceptions on compassionate grounds. Unvaccinated Long-term Passholders aged 18 and above (13 and above from 1 July 2022) will need to seek entry approval.
All unvaccinated travellers must take a pre-departure antigen/PCR test within two days of departure to Singapore, serve a seven-day SHN at home or in a hotel, and take a PCR test at the end of the SHN before being released into the community.
Many countries are reverting to ‘business-as-usual’ by scaling back their COVID-era restrictions and paperwork. This, coupled with Singapore’s scrapping of pre-departure testing, means it’s possible to travel to dozens of destinations and back without any swabbing necessary.
Assuming COVID doesn’t throw any nasty curveballs, regulations will only get simpler as time goes by, and perhaps some of the hold-outs (like Japan) will also see fit to reopen!
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