This is the most comprehensive guide for international travel into Singapore via VTL (Air) you will need.
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[Update: The MY-SG border will fully reopen on 1 April 2022. However, according to the Singaporean government, for Malaysian short-term travellers, travel insurance is still mandatory.]
Now that borders are starting to reopen, travelling overseas for work or leisure or family is once again a possibility.
In fact, I just returned from travelling to Singapore on a whim to stretch my tourist legs and catch up with old friends!
However, even with the VTL, new restrictions and SOPs have been put into place. There’s a bunch of new rules to follow, and let’s face it – it can be a little overwhelming.
But don’t worry, this is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide you will need to travel between Malaysia and Singapore by VTL (Air).
Do note that the Vaccinated Travel Lane requirements is different for travellers arriving by Air and by Land!
Here’s what you need to do:
Flying From Malaysia to Singapore
T-3+ days: usual pre-travel preparations and apply for VTL
- Check passport validity.
- Ensure you are fully vaccinated with a minimum of two doses.
- Ensure you have Covid-19 Vaccination Digital Certificate (in MySejahtera app).
- Book flight tickets and hotel in advance. You will require a destination address to apply for the VTL.
- Note: not all flights are VTL-approved. Some are regular or transit flights that still require quarantine. For quarantine-free travel, make sure your flight is VTL-approved.
- Apply for the Singaporean VTL (Air) pass here. This pass is valid for travellers 3 to 60 days after the date of application. It will be valid for 13 days after date of entry. (This means you must apply for the pass at least 3 days before your flight date!)
- Buy Covid-19 insurance (up to S$30,000) as it is required. (TuneProtect Travel Easy coverage costs upwards of RM50 for a 3-day trip.)
- Take your pre-departure Covid-19 tests. Singapore accepts both the PCR test or the professionally-administered ART test (also known in Malaysia as the RTK or swab test).
- PCR tests can cost anywhere from RM100-RM200. It is best to notify the health facility that you are taking the test for travelling purposes.
- ART tests are a much cheaper and faster option, with results usually available within the hour.
- Obtain your PCR test results (must be negative, obviously).
- Download VisitSingapore app, which will have your VTL Pass QR Code. (You will need this to check in on the flight.)
- Download TraceTogether app, which is Singapore’s equivalent of MySejahtera. You would want to download and sign up beforehand as it requires a TAC code sent to your Malaysian phone number. Sign up until the last step, which will require you to wait until you arrive in Singapore before you actually activate it. Do not close this app if you can help it.
It’s best to have a folder to keep all the documents you need, with physical copies printed out if you can. Make sure you have these before heading to the airport:
- PCR test results (Must be negative)
- VTL pass (Print out copy from email and have QR code on VisitSingapore app ready)
- Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (QR code on MySejahtera)
- Travel insurance
- Flight tickets
- Hotel booking
Now you’re ready to depart from Malaysia and head into Singapore!
Arriving In Singapore
Congratulations, you’ve reached Singapore! At this point, while Changi Airport has really good free wifi, it’s best to have your roaming ready to go as TraceTogether requires internet connection (unlike MySejahtera), and you would likely need to use a Grab.
- Follow the signs and head over to arrivals. Along the way, you will see signboards with a big QR code to submit your electronic Health Declaration Card (eHDC). Fill it in before you reach immigration.
- Pass through immigration with your passport as usual.
- Activate the TraceTogether app. If your app is still on the last step, it’s just a simple matter of activating it immediately. However, if you have accidentally closed your app, you will need to redo the sign-in process and have your roaming on so you can receive the OTP code with your Malaysian number, unless you plan on using a Singaporean number while there.
But wait, there’s more! VTL travellers will need to take an on-arrival supervised Antigen Rapid Test (ART) within 24 hours. Luckily, the process is quite easy!
- Follow the signs or go to this website to find a drop-down list of Quick Test Centres. You might need to do a bit of Googling to figure out which ones are on the way or convenient for your travel itenerary, otherwise just take a Grab to whichever is on the way to your hotel.
- Book your supervised ART appointment. You should be able to get the earliest available appointment without much problem.
- Head over to the Quick Test Centre of your choice. This is when you should already have internet roaming as you will need it for TraceTogether.
- The supervised ART test costs $15 (approx. RM45). This must be made in cashless payment, which means you must have a credit card or international ewallet to make the payment.
- The ART test is quite fast and you should receive your test result within half an hour (ours cleared within 5 minutes).
- However, expect the whole process to take about an hour including travel time.
If your result is negative, congratulations! Go explore Singapore to your heart’s content now!
Ready to return to Malaysia yet? There are a couple of things you should do beforehand as well.
The process to return is similar to entering Singapore, though there are some extra steps.
Flying To Malaysia From Singapore
You should already have all the appropriate documents such as travel insurance, but all travellers including Malaysian citizens must do a couple of extra things.
- Take a PCR test 2 days before your return flight. This costs anywhere from S$100 – S$200 (approx. RM300-RM600). Just like Malaysia’s PCR tests, most have a 24-hour waiting period, though there are rapid tests which gives you results within 4-6 hours.
- An ART test is not accepted for VTL (Air) unless you are a post-Covid traveller.
- Register for the MySafeTravel pass. You may register for the pass up to 7 days before you return to Malaysia. (This is basically the Malaysian equivalent to the Singaporean VTL Pass.)
- Have Covid-19 travel insurance up to RM100,000. Your previously purchased travel insurance should cover the return trip as well.
- Pre-purchase the on-site Covid-19 PCR test for all arrivals including Malaysian citizens. There are 2 options: the Regular PCR test which will set you back RM250 and 3 hours, or the Quick PCR test which will set you back RM370 and 1.5 hours.
- Unlike Singapore, travellers must sit in a waiting lounge and receive their negative PCR test results before they are allowed to leave the airport. Hence, it is recommended to take the Quick PCR test if you are in a rush.
If you are travelling for a short-term stay such as a 2-day trip, you cannot use the results of the post-arrival ART test in Singapore as the pre-departure PCR test to return to Malaysia.
This means that even if you have a short trip such as a 2-day or 3-day trip, you may need to take the 5-minute post-arrival ART test (for entry into Singapore) and the 24-hour pre-departure PCR test (for return to Malaysia) on the same day.
Only day-trip travellers do not require a PCR test for the time being.
However, with the announcement of the endemic phase coming into effect on 1 April 2022, travellers can look forward to a slightly more relaxed travelling experience.
As announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysian borders will open once again for international tourists and departing Malaysians alike.
All fully vaccinated travellers will no longer require quarantine periods. However, a PCR test is still required before arrival into Malaysia, though only a RTK test is required after arrival.
And if you’re hyped for the next place to go, check out this list for quanrantine-free travel!
However, travel insurance including Covid-19 coverage is still mandatory for travel in all countries.
Like previously mentioned, it’s not that expensive– we got Tune Protect travel insurance for the Singapore trip, but it also works with any airline heading into any country since it fulfills all international travel requirements.
That’s right– even if you’re travelling somewhere expensive like Europe or the US, Tune Protect is one of the most afforable travel insurances you can get to set your mind at ease and make the trip smoother.
Not only does Tune Protect cover medical expenses related to (touchwood!) Covid-19 hospitalization, there is added benefits such as quarantine allowance and hospital income.
Even if your trip gets disrupted due to Covid-19 such as flight cancellations, you would be covered! Or if you’re travelling and something happens, Tune Protect can help get you home with their emergency overseas evacuation and repatriation coverage.
And if the worst happens, your family will also get money for compassionate visits and a bereavement allowance.
If you’re thinking of travelling, why not keep yourself, your family, or your whole travel group protected with Tune Protect? Just visit their website here and start travelling!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.