Travelling Overseas Guide: COVID-19 Travel Regulations & Costs You Need To Know
Yay, it’s finally THE time for Singaporeans to travel!
If you didn’t travel because you were apprehensive about the complex, expensive and constantly changing COVID-19 travel regulations, I feel you.
But now that countries are generally opening up and loosening travel restrictions, we made it a point to compile the latest COVID-19 travel regulations for popular destinations and costs you need to be aware of.
That said, you can also take advantage of the proximity of Johor Bahru for a short trip.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Note: This article is written based on information available as of 12 April 2022. You should always check the Singapore travel advisory issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), as well as the country you plan to visit for latest updates to travel restrictions and testing requirements. MFA also has travel guides, which include the appropriate foreign authorities’ websites/contacts, sorted by destination.
TL;DR: Budgeting Guide For Travelling in 2022
- Prices of PCR and ART Swab Tests
- Additional COVID-19 Testing and Entry Requirements (by countries)
- Tips And Travel Hacks
PCR And ART Swab Tests
There are two main tests that are commonly used to test for COVID-19:
- The Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR) is one of the most common COVID-19 tests in the world and is considered the “gold standard” of COVID-19 detection during the pandemic. This test is responsible for detecting COVID-19 genetic sequences, which can indicate if a person is currently infected by the virus — regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms or are asymptomatic.
- The Antigen Rapid test (ART) also involves using a nasal swab from the lower part of your nose or back of your throat. Despite its similarities, both the PCR test and ART work rather differently. The purpose of antigen tests is to look for proteins from the virus on the surface to determine the presence of pathogens.
Despite their similarities, both the PCR test and ART work rather differently. The purpose of antigen tests is to look for proteins from the virus on the surface to determine the presence of pathogens.
Before departing Singapore
You need to present a valid negative Pre-Departure Testing (PDT) unless you were tested positive for COVID-19 between seven to 90 days before your date of departure for Singapore.
Next, the timeframe for the validity of results is different in every country, and you will need to time it properly before booking a PDT in Singapore, which is usually 24 to 72 hours before departure.
Countries that require a PDT usually only accept a PCR result, with some countries specifying the particular PCR tests needed e.g., nucleic acid test (NAT) or reverse transcription (RT).
Make sure to check which type is required and go to a MOH-approved clinic.
ART and antibodies tests may not be accepted unless otherwise specified. Some countries may also require you to do a PCR or ART while travelling if you stay beyond a certain number of days.
For a smoother check-in process, you should also check if the clinic is able to provide a test certificate with a corresponding QR code. This QR code should link to your digital pre-departure test certificate.
PCR and ART Test Prices
|PCR / Express PCR|
(All Other Destinations)
|PCR & Serology IgM Antibody (China)||ART / Supervised ART|
Basic: $95 nett
Express: $265 nett
Acumed Medical Group
Basic: $110 nett
Express: $350 nett
Basic: $118 nett
Express: $268 nett
Raffles Medical Group
Basic: $115 nett
Express: $185 nett
DoctorAnywhere $155 nett
Healthway Medical $155 nett
Raffles Medical Group
|Raffles Medical Group
$30 (Notarised cert)
Acumed Medical Group
$33 (Notarised cert)
$35 nett (Notarised Cert)
|Home-based / Off-site||DoctorAnywhere|
Basic: $168 nett
Express: $258 nett
Basic: $145 nett
Express: $305 nett
App-Exclusive Price: $168
|DoctorAnywhere $198 nett|
Healthway Medical $258
$70 (Notarised Cert)
Healthway Medical Group
App-Exclusive Price: $70
Raffles Medical Group
Minmed: $12 nett (Notarised Cert)
+$10 for notarised memo when booking for Supervised Tele-ART
+$30 for recovery memo when booking for Supervised Tele-ART
Raffles Medical Group:
- $27 for a single PDT (Notarised Cert)
- $30 for a single ART test when overseas (Notarised Cert)
- $50 package for both PDT + Returning to Singapore + Notarised Cert
Note: Prices are valid as of 12 April 2022 based on MOH’s list of approved clinics – Minmed Clinic, DoctorAnyWhere, SpeedDoc, Raffles Medical, Healthway Medical, and Acumed Medical Group.
Arriving in Singapore after travelling
You must complete the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) with an electronic Health declaration three days before arrival in Singapore.
You will also need to take either:
- A PCR test at an internationally accredited or recognised lab/clinic/medical facility; or
- An ART that is administered by a trained professional; OR If you’re Singaporean or Permanent Resident; or
- A self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) remotely supervised by an approved ART provider in Singapore.
Ask for a non-handwritten PDT report that is in English (or accompanied by a notarised English Translation) containing the following details:
- Traveller’s name, and Date of Birth or Passport number (per the passport used to travel to Singapore); and
- Reflects the date and result of the COVID-19 test.
Do also ensure that you carry a printed copy of your test results as you may be asked to produce it at immigration for verification. This also applies to customers with digital health credentials.
Additional COVID-19 Testing and Entry Requirements (By Country)
These are the six main requirements that incur additional costs you need to know:
1. For Vaccinated, show a vaccination certificate; and/or
– 1b. If Unvaccinated, show proof of exemption or apply for exemption based on the country’s requirements for exemption;
– 1c. If Unvaccinated, show a negative COVID-19 PCR and/or ART result before travel or arrival (timeframe specific);
2. For Vaccinated, show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test before travel and/or a negative COVID-19 ART result before arrival (timeframe specific); and/or
3. Show proof of recovery from COVID-19 (if applicable, regardless of vaccination status, timeframe specific); and/or
4. Show proof of COVID-19 travel insurance (if applicable, regardless of vaccination status); and/or
5. Cost of Visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation application (if applicable, regardless of vaccination status); and/or
6. Cost of additional COVID-19 tests for selected countries, including On-Arrival tests (if applicable, regardless of vaccination status)
|Entry Requirements, On-Arrival & Additional Testings While You Are Abroad|
|Australia||- 1, 1b, 4 (4 only applicable for unvaccinated), 5, 6
- Additional costs: 5 (ETA at AUD20 i.e., ~SGD20) & 6 (2 ART tests on Day 1 and Day 6)
- To complete Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours before your departure
Note: Unvaccinated travellers will be required to undergo hotel quarantine on arrival if granted permission to enter the country. Mandatory to purchase travel insurance with minimum SGD30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment and hospitalisation costs, prior to travelling to Singapore. Should the COVID-19 treatment cost exceeds SGD30,000, travellers will have to pay for the excess.
|Belgium||1, 2, 3
- Fill out Passenger Localization Form within 6 months before arrival in Belgium
- Visa is not required for up to 90 days within 180 days from the date of initial entry within the Schengen region.
|Brazil||- 1, 1b, 2
- Visa is not required for up to 30 days
|Cambodia||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Travel Visa/T-Visa: USD36 in cash i.e., ~SGD49)
Authorised unvaccinated arrivals aged 12 or older must present a negative result from a COVID-19 RT-PCR or antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before travel. Required to quarantine for 14 days upon your arrival into the country – with the location designated by the Cambodian Ministry of Health, and undergo a Covid-19 PCR test on day 13 of your quarantine.
A deposit of $2,000 is to be paid upon arrival for a mandatory COVID-19 test and potential treatment services.
|Canada||1, 1b, 2, 5 (ETA at $7 CAD i.e., ~SGD7.60)
Singaporeans flying to Canada must enter their proof of vaccination, and their quarantine and travel information in the ArriveCAN app or website within 72 hours before arriving in Canada.
|England||1, 2, 3, 6 (On-Arrival Test)
Children aged 12 years and under who are unvaccinated but travelling with fully-vaccinated parents or guardians can enter Singapore. This includes children turning 12 years old in 2022.
If you’re fully vaccinated and you’ve recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months, you may be exempt from taking COVID-19 tests.
|France||1, 1c, 2
Note: Unvaccinated travellers are only allowed to enter France for compelling reasons and are required to also prepare (i) an entry certificate (ii) present a sworn statement attesting to the lack of COVID-19 symptoms and absence of contact with a COVID-19 case. They are also required to take ART upon arrival, self-isolate for 7 days and take a PCR test at the end of the isolation period.
|Germany||1, 2, 3
Note: Unvaccinated travellers are allowed entry into Germany from Singapore is only possible in exceptional cases and is conditional on there being an urgent need. Specific COVID-19 measures could vary between federal states and cities, so check local COVID-19 measures on top of national measures, and check the website of the specific federal state and/or city that you are travelling to.
|Iceland||All travellers from Singapore regardless of vaccination status are permitted to enter Iceland, provided they show no symptoms of COVID-19, and are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival.
|Indonesia||1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Additional costs: 4 (health insurance coverage of at least US$25,000 and can cover the needs for COVID-19 treatment); 5 (Visa applicable for Bali and Riau Islands, Tourism-only VoA fee is Rp. 500,000/US$35, ~SGD48)
Note: Unvaccinated travellers have to quarantine for 5 days.
They must also fill out the electronic Health Alert Card (e-HAC) through the PeduliLindungi application.
Should travellers not be able to furnish the above, they will be required to undergo a 5-day quarantine as well as a PCR or ART test at the end of the quarantine. Travellers are also required to fill out the Digital Passenger Locator Form.
|South Korea||1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Additional costs: 5 (ETA at KRW10,000); 6 (On-arrival PCR test from SGD134; ART tests on Day 6/7 if staying more than 8 days at ~SGD5).
Unvaccinated/persons whose vaccination is incomplete will need to undergo a quarantine and a monitoring period of 7 days.
|Philippines||1, 2, 4
4: Have obtained travel insurance for COVID-19 treatment costs with a minimum coverage of USD35,000.
No entry for Unvaccinated.
|Malaysia||1, 2, 4
4: Have obtained travel insurance with minimum coverage of US$20,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Malaysia.
|Maldives||2, 5 (Visa-on-arrival is issued at immigration and is free)
All travellers from Singapore regardless of vaccination status are permitted to enter the Maldives (96 hours prior to scheduled flight), provided they show no symptoms of COVID-19, and are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival.
|Morocco||1, 2, 6 (On-Arrival ART test)
No entry for Unvaccinated.
|Myanmar||1, 4, 5, 6
No entry for Unvaccinated. From April 17, 2022, all foreign arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Myanmar. On arrival, visitors must quarantine for 7 days, and take 2 COVID-19 PCR tests.
All visas have been temporarily suspended until 17 April 2022. Application processing fee is at US$50.00 (Tourist Visa) and US$56 (Tourist Visa Express).
Other COVID-19 requirements in Myanmar include COVID-19 insurance and a health declaration form.
|Nepal||1, 1c, 4, 5 (Nepal Tourist Visa fee for up to 15 Days is USD30)
The government of Nepal has made travel medical insurance mandatory for all visitors to the country. This insurance must include emergency assistance and COVID-19 medical repatriation. Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers are also required to show a pre-approved visa and undergo a gree COVID-19 antigen test on arrival, as well as proof of a hotel booking.
|Norway||1 (Notarisation required), 1c, 2, 6 (On-arrival PCR regardless of vaccination status)|
|Spain||As of 14 October 2021, all travellers from Singapore are allowed to enter Spain regardless of vaccination status. There is no requirement to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test, as long as the traveller remains in Singapore 14 days prior to travel, and flies directly to Spain.|
|Sweden||The ban on entry into Sweden from countries outside the EU/EEA will cease to apply on 1 April 2022. This also means that vaccination and test certificates will then no longer be required when entering Sweden.|
|Switzerland||1, 2, 3
Note: Unvaccinated travellers are required to self-isolate for 7 days on arrival at their own residence or government-approved accommodation by means of private transportation. During isolation, randomized compliance checks will be conducted by local authorities. At the end of this period, a PCR test will be administered and if a negative result is received, travellers will leave isolation. The test costs $125S.
|Thailand||1, 2, 3
- Application for a Thai Travel Pass is compulsory
- The COVID-19 travel insurance must have a minimum coverage of USD$20,000.
Vaccinated travellers are to do two COVID-19 tests on Day 1 & 5 under the "Test and Go" programme, or the "SandBox" programme, at a Safety & Health Administration certified (SHA+) hotel or facility.
Unvaccinated/persons whose vaccination is incomplete will be required to undergo the mandatory Alternative Quarantine (AQ) of 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Pattaya, Phuket, or Samui before they can travel to other parts of Thailand. The mandatory quarantine stay is 5 nights.
|Turkey||PDT is not required if there is (a) Proof of two doses of vaccinations (listed by WHO or Turkey) where the last dose was administered at least 14 days before arrival in Turkey; or
(b) Proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the last six months starting from the 28th day of the first positive PCR test result.
All visitors to Turkey are required to purchase medical travel insurance before they will be able to enter the country.
|The Netherlands||1, 2, 3, 6 (advised to do on Day 5, but not mandatory)
No entry for Unvaccinated unless for essential reasons.
|United States of America||1, 2, 3, 5 (ESTA: $14 USD i.e., ~SGD19)
No entry to Unvaccinated unless you meet the requirement for exceptions.
4: Travellers are required to have medical or travel insurance with minimum coverage of minimally USD10,000. covering COVID-19 treatment in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
Disclaimer: All travel requirements presented are based on information gathered from the respective country’s websites. As the COVID-19 pandemic situation remains dynamic, all travellers should do their due diligence to check the travel destination’s latest entry and testing requirements.
Tips and Travel Hacks
Use the checklist below to ensure you’re budgeting correctly:
- Check both requirements imposed by foreign authorities and requirements for returning to Singapore;
- Pre-Departure Tests to go overseas and back to Singapore: Factor at least $180 ~ $300 and you should try to get a notarised certificate where possible;
- Additional COVID-19 tests: Prepare cash for On-Arrival tests and any other tests too, in case places don’t accept credit cards;
- Additional budget for Visas or Electronic Travel Authorisation; (thankfully, Singaporeans can enter most countries visa-free if the travel period is not more than 30 days);
- Additional budget required for quarantine-stay (especially for unvaccinated persons);
- Budget for travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage.
Next, read up on travel hacks!
The rest of your expenses will be on flight tickets, food, accommodation and activities. Be sure to also check out Rail and Bus Passes on travel sites.
Lastly, don’t forget to check out credit cards for miles and lounge privileges so that you can redeem flights and/or enjoy free nice meals before boarding!