A Guide To Travelling Out Of Singapore During The Pandemic

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Even since the outbreak of COVID-19, travel restrictions have been implemented among countries from all over the world. With more and more cases being reported daily, there is a lot of uncertainty and stress regarding travel not just within Singapore but overseas.

As we move towards the new normal, travelling will be possible again – albeit with the fulfilment of some requirements, such as getting a pre-departure COVID-19 swab test (PDT).

If you are travelling out of Singapore soon, use this step-by-step guide to make your journey a safe and smooth sailing one.

Step 1: Research border regulations and requirements at your intended destination. 

The first thing to do is check if you are eligible to enter the country. Such information is usually found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Singapore) website or the official ministries’ websites of the country you are travelling to.

You should be able to find the country’s latest border regulations and other useful information regarding the procedures that need to be done (e.g. visa application).

Step 2: Submit applications for planned travel arrangements.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any active travel bubbles or corridors between Singapore and foreign countries for those who want to travel for leisure. While it is strongly recommended to defer all non-essential travel, you are allowed to travel out of Singapore for short-term, work-related purposes.

If you do have to travel for work purposes, you will have to visit the ICA government website for detailed application processes to countries such as Brunei, Mainland China, or Malaysia. Otherwise, you will have to apply separately to your destination country’s immigration ministry regarding your travel destinations or transits, if any.

As for those who intend to travel for long-term school or work reasons, you can also seek support from the institution or company to guide your travels.

Step 3: Study the procedures for post-arrival.

All countries will have their own set of procedures upon arrival that may include testing for COVID-19, movement restrictions and mandatory quarantine measures. Being clear on the post-landing operations will help you prepare in advance and avoid any unnecessary disruptions.

Step 4: Complete a COVID-19 swab test.

Before you are approved to board your flight, you will need to have a recent negative COVID-19 test result and an authorized PDT certificate as part of the pre-departure procedures.

To get the required test results, you can arrange a COVID-19 test at any private hospital or an approved test provider. Here are the two tests that are accepted by most countries:

  • COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test (costs between $135 to $200)

The test requires acquiring a nasopharyngeal swab sample to amplify and look out for the genetic SARS-CoV-2’s RNA code. The entire process is longer and more expensive than other COVID-19 tests.

The PCR test result will be available within 24-48 hours; hence it is recommended to take this test at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure flight. This is so that you can be notified of the results before your departure.

  • COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART, costs between $20 to $50)

True to its name, this test provides faster results within 15 to 20 minutes. It’s a less-invasive swab or saliva test that is a passable alternative for some countries such as the US or New Zealand.

However, do note that countries like Australia do not accept this test, and others such as mainland China will require negative results from both the ART and PCR test.

For COVID-19 ART tests, it is recommended to test at least one hour before departure.

An important thing to note is that you or your sponsor will be liable for the costs of any COVID-19 tests done. In addition, you may be required to fill up various forms, install a mobile application, or present a vaccination certification as part of the pre-departure process.

Once your test results are ready, PCR pre-departure test (PDT) results are issued in the form of a digital PDT certificate through email that you need to digitally authenticate and endorse. In case of an emergency, you can declare your travel status and receive the appropriate information and advisories at the eRegister service provided by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If you wish to quickly book an appointment for both the PCR or ART test, you can now do so via the MYCLNQ app or on our website here.

Step 5: Getting ready for your flight

Depending on your destination’s regulations, you may require several things including valid proof of payment for the post-arrival COVID-19 test, a pass issued by their government, or completed health and travel-related declaration forms.

To prepare for your check-in, you should at least have the following things:

1. A soft or printed copy of your negative COVID-19 test result

2. Valid visa

3. Valid boarding pass

4. Proof of destination’s accommodation

Once you have thoroughly gone through the steps and checked off everything in the list, you’re all set! Should you have any concerns regarding the COVID-19 swab test, don’t worry! With the prevalence of telehealth in Singapore,  you can now consult our online doctors for a hassle-free and seamless experience.

Simply download the MyCLNQ app to access a wide range of telemedicine services today!

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