The latest announcements see the removal of pre-departure testing for fully-vaccinated travellers from all countries/regions effective 26 April 2022.
Singapore has announced its most far-reaching moves yet to re-open the economy, borders, and community as it continues to go endemic with COVID-19. In a series of updates, workplaces see the 100% return of employees, group size restrictions are lifted, and in this article, we cover the most significant updates to border measures for incoming travellers to enter Singapore.
In a nutshell, the following border entry measures have been announced:
- Removal of pre-departure testing for fully-vaccinated travellers from all countries/regions effective 26 April 2022
- No entry approvals needed for work permit holders from 1 May 2022
- Onboarding programme for all non-Malaysian WPHs in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors
- Singapore-Malaysia border reopens fully: Bus and taxi services to resume
Each one of these measures are detailed below, scroll on for the updates.
Meanwhile, a few quick and handy guides to note:
- Click here for all border measures applicable for travellers arriving in Singapore from 26 April 2022, 0001 hours
- Click here for all the latest border requirements for Singapore on the SafeTravel website
- Click here for the latest guide to bringing in migrant workers into Singapore
Removal of pre-departure testing for fully-vaccinated travellers from all countries/regions effective 26 April 2022
In addition to zero quarantine and removal of on-arrival COVID-19 tests, effective 26 April 2022, 0001, fully-vaccinated (and well) travellers wanting to enter Singapore via air or sea will no longer be required to take a pre-departure test (PDT) before departing for Singapore.
For non-fully vaccinated travellers, entry requirements remain unchanged, i.e. all non-fully vaccinated travellers aged 13 and above who are allowed to enter Singapore are required to take a PDT [click here for accepted PDTs] within two days before departure for Singapore, undergo a seven-day stay-home notice (SHN, also known as quarantine), and take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test at the end of their SHN period.
Non-fully vaccinated long-term pass holders (LTPHs) and short-term visitors (STVs) aged 13 and above are not allowed to enter Singapore. The only exceptions to this are:
- LTPHs medically ineligible for vaccines;
- LTPHs and STVs with other valid entry approval (e.g. for compassionate reasons); and
- LTPHs aged 13 to 17, subject to the appropriate measures, i.e, they should complete the full vaccination regime after arriving in Singapore.
All LTPHs aged 13 and above arriving from 1 July 2022 will be required to be fully vaccinated prior to entry into Singapore, unless medically ineligible for vaccines.
No entry approvals needed for work permit holders from 1 May 2022
From 1 May 2022, fully-vaccinated non-Malaysian work permit holders (WPHs) no longer need to apply for entry approvals to enter Singapore. Non-Malaysian WPHs holding an in-principle approval letter (IPA) will need to undergo a two-day pre-departure preparatory programme (PDPP), if PDPP is available in their source countries (currently Bangladesh, India and Myanmar), before entering Singapore.
More details of the PDPP and the list of PDPP providers can be found here.
Onboarding programme for all non-Malaysian WPHs in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors
Non-Malaysian WPHs holding an IPA in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors are currently required to obtain entry approvals from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). From 1 May 2022, fully vaccinated non-Malaysian WPHs holding an IPA in the CMP sectors no longer need to apply for entry approvals to come into Singapore.
Instead, they (or their employers) will need to book a slot at the newly-launched Onboard centre to undergo onboarding upon arrival. This requirement will also be extended to WPHs from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan from 1 May 2022 as well. This simplifies the entry processes through a convenient one-stop service for such employers.
Employers whose WPHs are required to undergo the Onboard programme must ensure that they have booked a slot at the Onboard centre through a new booking system from 1 May 2022.
As such, the responsibility of employers include:
- Ensuring that their WPHs are fully vaccinated,
- Ensuring their WPHs undergo the two-day Pre-Departure Preparatory Programme (PDPP) in countries where the PDPP is available, before entering Singapore;
- Ensuring their WPHs report to the Onboard centre immediately upon arrival to complete the residential onboarding programme, including the Settling-In-Programme (SIP), for up to four days.
Singapore-Malaysia border reopens fully: Bus and taxi services to resume
Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA), together with the public transport operators, will resume the operation of cross-border bus services from 1 May 2022. As such, Singapore bus operators will reinstate cross-border bus services between Singapore and Johor Bahru. These include Services 160, 170 and 170X operated by SBS Transit, Service 950 operated by SMRT Buses, and Services TS1, TS3, TS6 and TS8 operated by Transtar Travel.
Cross-border taxi operations will also resume from 1 May 2022. Commuters travelling to Johor can either board a taxi at the Queen Street taxi terminal or book one through taxi companies with licensed cross-border taxi drivers. LTA is working closely with its Malaysia counterpart Agensi Pengangkutan Awam Darat (APAD) to resume cross-border taxi services.
Seeing how things were expecting to shape up, LTA has shared that since the start of April 2022, bus operators have been recruiting, redeploying and training their drivers and conducting route familiarisation after a two-year hiatus (these services have not been operational since March 2020).
As such, with the reopening, the operating hours of Services 160, 170, 170X and 950 will be the same as pre-COVID, these services will operate between 5.20am and 12.30am. The frequency of the bus services will also be similar. Services 160, 170 and 950 will operate at intervals of up to 20 minutes during peak hours and intervals of up to 25 minutes during off-peak hours, while Service 170X will operate at intervals of up to nine minutes during peak hours and up to 17 minutes during off-peak hours.
Commuters can also check LTA’s MyTransport.SG app or operators’ websites for bus operating hours and arrival timings.
At present, fully vaccinated travellers may cross the borders (i.e., Causeway and Second Link) via private vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles. All fully vaccinated travellers, and non-fully vaccinated children aged 12 and below, are permitted to enter Singapore without the need to undergo border health measures, such as testing and quarantine.
With the resumption of cross-border bus services, the existing Vaccinated Travel Bus Services operated by Transtar Travel and Handal Indah will cease on 1 May 2022.
Minister of Transport, S Iswaran has talked about these next steps in the reopening process, saying: "Our partners in air, land and sea transport are working hard to scale up their manpower and operations to manage higher traveller volumes, especially during the upcoming May Day-Hari Raya Puasa long weekend, and the June school holidays. This will take time and I seek the patience and understanding from all Singaporeans and travellers."
Photo / 123RF