After months of discussions, speculation and dashed hopes, Australia and Singapore will finally launch a two-way quarantine free travel bubble later this month for vaccinated travellers in both countries.
Since 1 November 2021, vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can already fly to Sydney or Melbourne from overseas without having to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. But Singaporeans can’t yet travel to Australia.
This is changing, with Australia joining Switzerland and around a dozen other countries on Singapore’s list of “Vaccinated Travel Lane” countries this week. Fully vaccinated Australians can now fly to Singapore on designated “VTL” flights and will only need to isolate on arrival in Singapore until receiving a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.
From 21 November 2021, Singaporean citizens will also be allowed to fly to NSW or Victoria under a quarantine-free arrangement.
The Australia-Singapore travel bubble will work in a similar way to the short-lived trans-Tasman bubble, except that travellers will need to show proof of vaccination and get pre-flight COVID-19 tests.
How Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) works
Singapore currently has VTL arrangements with the following countries:
- Brunei (one-way only)
- South Korea
- Finland (from 29 November 2021)
- Indonesia (from 29 November 2021)
- Malaysia (from 29 November 2021)
- Sweden (from 29 November 2021)
- Qatar (from 6 December 2021)
- Saudi Arabia (from 6 December 2021)
- UAE (from 6 December 2021)
There are no specific requirements when departing Singapore on any flight to a VTL country. But to access quarantine-free travel to Singapore under the VTL arrangement, you would need to use a designated VTL flight to Singapore and meet certain requirements:
- Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine/s recognised by the WHO at least two weeks ago
- Provide a COVID-19 vaccination certificate issued by Singapore or any VTL country (such as an Australian International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate)
- Get a negative COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Antigen test within 2 days before flying to Singapore
- Get a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport and self-isolate until receiving a negative result from that test (this costs SGD160 and you should pre-pay for this before flying)
- Visitors to Singapore must have travel insurance with at least SGD30,000 (approx. AUD29,600) for COVID-19 treatment and hospitalisation costs
- Visitors to Singapore also need to apply in advance for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)
- Use the TraceTogether contact tracing app while in Singapore
Previously, only pre-departure PCR tests were accepted for travel to Singapore and the swab had to be taken within 48 hours before departure. The relaxed requirements with professionally administered Rapid Antigen Tests now accepted, which can be taken any time up to two calendar days before departure, makes things easier for travellers.
Designated VTL flights from Australia to Singapore
Singapore Airlines and Scoot VTL flights from Australia to Singapore commenced on 8 November 2021. You’ll find these lists on the website for each airline:
Qantas is currently selling tickets from Melbourne to Singapore from 22 November 2021, and Sydney to Singapore from the following day. All Qantas flights to Singapore will be VTL flights.
Jetstar’s upcoming Melbourne-Singapore and Darwin-Singapore flights will also be VTL flights.
Singapore Airlines is even currently offering sale fares from Sydney and Melbourne to Singapore for around $500 return.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Predictions of when international flights may resume/bans lifted