Air Travel Bubbles, Air Travel Passes & Reciprocal Green Lanes: Where Can I Travel Overseas Right Now?
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Air Travel Bubbles, Air Travel Passes & Reciprocal Green Lanes: Where Can I Travel Overseas Right Now?

profileKenneth Fong
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As Singapore progressively reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have implemented special travel arrangements and eased border measures to facilitate travel while safeguarding public health.

With the recent in-principle agreement of the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble.

It seems like leisure travel might be a possibility again.

But that’s going to take a while.

With all the unilateral opening, reciprocal green lanes, and different travel arrangements in place…

Where else can we travel to right now?

SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star Thinking Hard
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Let’s find out!


TL;DR: Where Can I Travel Overseas Right Now?

Since international border restrictions and control measures are ever-changing.

It’ll be hard for me to pin down exactly where you can travel to.

So… the best thing I can do for you is to summarise ALL of Singapore’s COVID-19 measures for inbound travellers.

Meaning if you do find yourself going overseas to any of these countries, these are the things you need to take note of when returning to Singapore:

Travel History In The Last 14 Days InWith Effect From?Residents
(Singapore Citizens & PRs)
Long-Term Pass Holders &
In-Principle Approval Holders
Short-Term Visitors
(including for leisure)
Australia
(excluding Victoria State)
8 OctoberCOVID-19 PCR Test upon arrivalCOVID-19 PCR Test upon arrivalAllowed entry under Air Travel Pass

COVID-19 PCR Test upon arrival
Vietnam
Brunei Darussalam8 September
New Zealand
Hong Kong SAR14 October7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Not allowed entry unless with valid approval letter for entry

7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period

Note: to be updated once in-principle agreement for two-way Air Travel Bubble is confirmed
Macau SAR1 September 7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Not allowed entry unless with valid approval letter for entry

7-day SHN at own accommodation

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Mainland China
Malaysia (excluding Sabah)14 October
Taiwan
Indonesia19 October14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Negative COVID-19 swab test taken 72 hours before departure

14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Not allowed entry unless with valid approval letter for entry

Negative COVID-19 swab test taken 72 hours before departure

14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Philippines
India23 September14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

Serology test during SHN period
(might still need to take COVID-19 PCR test)
Negative COVID-19 swab test taken 72 hours before departure

14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

Serology test during SHN period
(might still need to take COVID-19 PCR test)
Not allowed entry unless with valid approval letter for entry

Negative COVID-19 swab test taken 72 hours before departure

14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

Serology test during SHN period
(might still need to take COVID-19 PCR test)
All other countries or places (including Victoria State and Sabah)-14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period
Not allowed entry unless with valid approval letter for entry

14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities

COVID-19 PCR Test during SHN period

What Will I Be Charged Upon My Return to Singapore?

Singapore Citizens and PRs who last left Singapore from 27 March 2020 (despite the prevailing travel advisory) will have to bear the cost of their COVID-19 tests as well as their stay at dedicated SHN facilities (if required).

The COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test ($300 inclusive of GST) is chargeable for ALL travellers.

The cost incurred for staying at a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) Designated Facility ($2,000 inclusive of GST) is also chargeable for all travellers (if required).

There will be no additional cost for the serology test for travellers returning from India.

Previously, Singapore Citizens, PRs, and Long-Term Pass Holders who travel out of Singapore on or after 27 March 2020.

And develop COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of their return to Singapore cannot use government subsidies or insurance coverage (eg. MediShield Life, Integrated Plans or private insurance) to pay for their inpatient medical bills.

However, as of 20 October 2020, MOH has announced that these individuals can now use government subsidies or insurance coverage to seek COVID-19 treatment.

Word of advice?

It’s not a great idea to travel right now since you’re gonna have to pay through the nose just to return to Singapore.

So… Can I Travel Overseas For Holiday?

Not yet.

And realistically, I’d say we can expect leisure travel to be a possibility only in 2021 after the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble becomes official.

As you can tell from my summary of COVID-19 measures, the Singapore Government hasn’t officially given the green light for Singaporeans to go on leisure travel yet.

Hence the myriad of SHN measures and COVID-19 PCR swab tests for everyone.

Also, the majority of these border measures are to accommodate travellers who

  • Have to go overseas for essential business and official travel
  • Are returning from overseas because they have family abroad or were on exchange and etc.

Even though we’ve unilaterally opened our borders to Australia (excluding Victoria State), Brunei, New Zealand, and Vietnam.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that these countries are accepting Singapore travellers with open arms (read: still need to observe quarantine upon arrival) either.

So, for leisure travel to really happen, we’ll need a climate which allows us to do away with lengthy quarantines and costly COVID-19 swab tests.

And that is only possible if we set up more Air Travel Bubbles with multiple countries in due time.


Singapore Border Measures and Travel Restrictions

You’ve seen it on the news and heard everyone talking about how Singapore is easing her border measures and making special travel arrangements.

Air Travel Bubble, Reciprocal Green Lane, Fast Lane, Air Travel Pass, Periodic Commuting Arrangement…

WHAT THE HECK DO THEY ALL MEAN?!

SpongeBob SquarePants Nervous Sweating
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Relax.

I gotchu bruv.

Entry to Singapore Under SafeTravel SchemesAir Travel Pass
(Unilateral Lifting of Border Restrictions)
Periodic Commuting ArrangementSafeTravel Pass
(Fast Lane or Reciprocal Green Lane)
What For?For short-term visitors (including for leisure)For Singapore and Malaysia residents with valid work passes to enter for workFor essential business and official travel
CountriesAustralia (excluding Victoria State)MalaysiaBrunei Darussalam
Brunei DarussalamChina
- Chongqing
- Guangdong
- Jiangsu
- Shanghai
- Tianjin
- Zhejiang
New ZealandIndonesia
VietnamJapan
Malaysia
Republic of Korea

Basically, all of the various border measures grant entry into Singapore under different SafeTravel schemes.

But they’re really only for visitors on essential business and official travel.

OR if you’re a foreigner (from countries which Singapore unilaterally lifted border restrictions for) coming into Singapore under the Air Travel Pass.

Air Travel Pass

The Air Travel Pass is for foreigners who are short-term visitors (including for leisure) to Singapore.

Countries under this scheme include:

  • Australia (excluding Victoria State)
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • New Zealand
  • Vietnam

Travellers can apply for an Air Travel Pass at no charge and it must be made between 7 and 30 calendar days prior to their intended date of entry.

Periodic Commuting Arrangement

The Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) allows Singapore and Malaysia residents, who hold valid work passes, to enter the country for work.

The only country under this scheme is Malaysia.

Travellers under the PCA will have to serve a Stay-Home Notice and undergo a COVID-19 PCR test before the SHN period ends.

After at least 90 days in their country of work, they may return to their home country for a short-term home leave.

And then may re-enter their country of work to continue work for at least another 90 days.

Reciprocal Green Lane

The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) or Fast Lane allows short-term cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes.

Countries under this scheme include:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Republic of Korea

Travellers under the RGL scheme will have to apply for a SafeTravel Pass and:

  • undergo pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test
  • abide by a pre-declared controlled itinerary
  • download and use TraceTogether for their stay

Singapore and Hong Kong’s Bilateral Air Travel Bubble

If you’re looking forward to leisure travel, this is your best (and only) bet.

So far, Singapore and Hong Kong are the first in the region to have reached an in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral Air Travel Bubble (ATB).

The key features of the bilateral Air Travel Bubble are:

  1. No restrictions on travel purpose
  2. Travellers will need to test negative for on mutually recognised COVID-19 PCR tests
  3. Travellers will not need to adhere to any quarantine, Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements or controlled itineraries
  4. Travellers will be required to travel on ATB-dedicated flights
  5. Can be scaled by adjusting the number of ATB-dedicated flights in response to the developments in the COVID-19 situation

Besides that, we don’t know when will they make this ATB official.

FYI: if you’re thinking of booking a flight to Hong Kong, airfares have jumped 40 per cent after the announcement


How Much Does The COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction Test Cost?

Regardless of the SafeTravel scheme or whichever country you were in before you return or visit Singapore.

All travellers (including Singapore Citizens and PRs) have to undergo the COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test.

And will only be allowed entry if you test negative for COVID-19.

FYI: you’ll have to undertake the COVID-19 PCR test at your own cost.

The cost?

COVID-19 PCR Test Cost
Source: Changi Airport Group

Yep.

That’s $300 per traveller mind you.

How Much Does The Stay At A Dedicated SHN Facility Cost?

Depending on which country you return from, you might need to pay for a 14-day stay at a dedicated SHN facility out of your own pocket.

These facilities are usually dedicated hotels identified by the government and will cost $2,000 inclusive of GST.

You do not need to make a booking for rooms at SHN dedicated hotels prior to returning to Singapore as they will be assigned to you upon your arrival.

Transportation will be provided to take you straight to the hotel.

And your COVID-19 PCR test will be scheduled a few days before the end of your SHN period at a designated community testing facility.

profile
About Kenneth Fong
Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
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