Have Vaccine, Will Travel: VTL & What You Need To Know

Can't wait to travel? Read this before you book those tickets.

By Leonard Lau        12 November 2021

These days, if you had a buck every time you hear “VTL”, you’d be a millionaire. When the conversation turns to vaccinated travel lanes, many travel-starved Singaporeans shriek and swoon like BTS fans.

Yes, dear soldier, you are one. You twitch nervously just thinking about Waikiki Beach, and almost pass out at the thought of a Munich cold beer. But before you purchase your plane tickets and book your hotel rooms, here are some dos and don’ts about VTLs.

Do take note that VTLs are only for the fully vaccinated. Travelling on it means you no longer have to be quarantined at your destination and upon returning home.

Don’t be mistaken: While in most instances you don’t need to take a designated VTL flight to your destination, to get home, you must take one so that you don’t have to be quarantined. So, be thorough and check the requirements from the country you’re visiting.

Do know the countries that have VTLs with Singapore. At the time of writing, they are South Korea, Brunei and Australia in the Asia Pacific region; Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK further in Europe; and then there’s the US and Canada. From November 29, much anticipated Malaysia, as well as Finland and Sweden will be added to the list.

Update as at November 10: The Council of the European Union has removed Singapore from a list of countries for which travel curbs should be lifted, which means Singaporeans could face stricter border restrictions. Check with the individual countries’ embassy websites for updates.

Update as at November 11: Travellers from Singapore will have to serve a 10-day self-isolation period upon arrival in Denmark. This isolation period can be shortened if the traveller’s Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test (that can be taken from the fourth day after arrival) produces a negative result.

Don’t be ignorant and get caught with your zipper down at immigration points in both your destination and at Changi. Therefore…

Do make sure you have done all the following: (1) Remain in Singapore at least two weeks before your departure; (2) take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at least two days before your flight at a clinic approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH); and (3) notarise your PCR pre-departure test certificate.

Don’t know what “notarise” means? Then check out the portal Notarise, which is where you can submit your pre-departure test for digital authentication and endorsement by MOH, or be issued your Vaccination HealthCerts for travel. These are designed for easy inspection and verification by border officials.

Do make sure you have travel insurance before flying off. One excellent choice is AIG Travel Guard – SAFRA members enjoy a discount (click here for more info).

Don’t start booking tours or tables at five-star restaurants right after arrival. Take some time to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs portal for the latest advisories regarding the country you’re in.

Do go to the embassy website of the country you’re visiting to be informed of the latest health requirements (if any) imposed on travellers from Singapore.

Don’t forget that you need to book a VTL flight back to Singapore, if you haven’t already done so. Besides this, you must take two PCR tests to re-enter Singapore – one 48 hours before your flight and the other upon arrival. The first test must be done at an internationally recognised or accredited medical facility. Your copy of the test must be in English (or with English translation); have your name, date of birth or passport number; and have the date and result of the test. As for the other test in Singapore, it will cost $160. To do all these…

Do register and pay for the tests via the Safe Travel Concierge site provided by Changi Airport. Once you’re done with both tests, remain self-isolated until the result is confirmed to be negative.

Don’t forget, finally, to stay safe, take every necessary precaution like a typical kiasi Singaporean, and enjoy your prison brea… uh, trip.

Do you have questions on the VTLs? Share them with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!