Singapore is an amazing place. This booming city-state manages to juggle its image as a skyscraper-clad mecca 21st-century living and its multicultural, traditional values, (manifesting in the smorgasbord of food). But how has COVID-19 effected all of that?
We’ve created this in-depth guide to Singapore to give you all the information about the situation in the Red Dot. This article will include details on who can currently travel to Singapore, what things look like on the ground, and what travel restrictions and New Normal measures are in place.
This guide has everything YOU NEED TO KNOW for travelling to Singapore in 2020.
A message from Will, the OG Broke Backpacker
Amigos, let’s face the facts: travel isn’t what it was. Things have changed.
We strive at The Broke Backpacker to be the best source of up-to-date and relevant information in the travel-sphere. All the information here was sourced, checked, double-checked, and published on 19/11/2020. While the information was correct then—and we will outline any changes and updates that we do make in the future—it’s important to respect the immense changeability of this topic.
If you’re going to be travelling amongst the coronavirus world, you need to, do your own research and do it hard. No one blog or website is a sufficient source, and even if it was, it might all just go tits up anyway.
This information changes more often than I fart in a day. Tread with caution.
And if you do see some misinformation, please leave a (constructive) comment so that we can patch it up! We really do appreciate your support and input in these weirdest of times.
Who Can Travel to Singapore Right Now?
Previously under a strict travel ban, Singapore is gradually reopening its borders. The city-state has implemented Safe Travel Lanes to facilitate international travel through its borders.
Currently, the list of countries eligible to enter Singapore is as follows:
*Only these countries may travel to Singapore for any purpose, including tourism, but must apply for an Air Travel Pass (see Extra Documentation and/or Services Required section).
**May only enter Singapore for business or official reasons, or for commuting, based on a reciprocal Green Lane system.
***May enter Singapore based on either Air Travel Pass or Green Lane systems
As of 2nd June 2020, passengers are gradually being allowed to transit through Singapore. Stringent measures are in place, however. Only individuals on repatriation flights may transit through Singapore, and must stay in designated transit areas at Changi Airport.
Travellers from all other countries may travel to Singapore, but only with a valid approval letter for entry. This may be for essential travel only.
Can Americans travel to Singapore?
No, unfortunately American tourists may not travel to Singapore.
Travellers from the U.S. who have an approval letter or a Safe Travel Pass (see below) will be approved entry into Singapore’s borders. In general, however, U.S. citizens will not be permitted to travel to Singapore, unless for essential reasons or if they are a permanent resident of Singapore.
What are the COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Singapore?
There are currently strict measures in place regarding Singapore’s entry requirements. All travellers, whether for business or tourism – and even returning residents of Singapore – will be subject to entry requirements, which are detailed below.
All visitors to Singapore must take a COVID-19 test on arrival. Any test results taken prior to travel will not be accepted.
Travellers are required to register online and pay for an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test. It costs S$300 (around US$222).
When arriving at the airport, visitors will undergo the pre-booked test. The results of this test will be available within 48 hours. During this time, individuals must self-isolate at their accommodation.
Children aged 12 years or younger are not required to take a test on-arrival.
Those awaiting the results of the COVID-19 test mentioned above must self-isolate. This must be done at your accommodation. Only private means of transport, such as a taxi or hire car, may be taken to your place of quarantine; public transport may not be used.
The duration of quarantine will last up to 48 hours. Visitors will be notified when a test result becomes available. If negative, visitors may finish their quarantine.
Hotels currently accepting Air Travel Pass or Green Lane visitors to Singapore can be found here. Other accommodation may be used; however, it must be non-residential and must be an individual room with an adjoining bathroom.
Travellers who are neither Air Travel Pass nor Green Lane visitors will be required to quarantine for a 14-day period on arrival. Some visitors may be required to wear an electronic tag to enforce quarantine.
Travellers who are entering Singapore as a short term visitor must apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP). This is a mandatory entry requirement for all individuals, including children. It is free of charge.
The ATP includes individuals’ details such as travel history, accommodation, and health, and can be filled in online here.
Applications must be submitted between 7 and 30 days before entry into Singapore. Processing of applications takes around three working days.
You’ll then receive an ATP approval letter, which you must present in either electronic or physical form at the airport.
Note: accommodation for short-term visitors must be booked in advance.
Visitors to Singapore are also required to download the TraceTogether app. It must be downloaded and registered with your mobile number and other personal details. At the time of check-in, this app must be already downloaded and activated.
Failure to complete any of the above processes may result in being denied entry to Singapore.
Travellers from countries who are not Green Lane or Air Travel Pass visitors must complete an application form to enter Singapore. If successful, this will result in a valid approval letter for travel. You can access it here.
The situation regarding visas in Singapore has not changed in light of COVID-19. Visa-free travel remains in place for some countries, as does the visa application for others. This is provided your country is a Safe Travel Lane, and you meet Singapore’s entry requirements.
However, visa applications may be made only after receiving an Air Travel Pass approval. It is advised that the ATP is completed as early as possible so that a visa can be approved in time for travel.
Many countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Singapore, including all European Union member states. There are a number of countries that must apply for a visa. You can check the visa status of your own country on this site.
Mandatory insurance is not required to enter Singapore’s borders; however, it is highly recommended you get adequate travel insurance for any trip to Singapore currently. This is due to costs relating to healthcare, testing, and accommodation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
See more information in our insurance section.
Singapore’s Travel Restrictions – On the Ground in Singapore
Singapore is currently in the midst of Circuit Breaker measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The nation is working for a gradual reopening, with different phases in place that will slowly loosen restrictions on everyday life. New Normal guidelines include:
- Avoiding crowded areas
- Social distancing (one metre)
- Using contactless payment where possible
- Washing hands or using sanitiser
Wearing a mask in Singapore is compulsory. From 14th April, everyone is required to wear a mask in public. Masks must be kept on at all times except when eating or drinking.
Failure to do so will result in fines of S$300 (around US$222) for first offences. Repeat offences can result in increased fines and/or prosecution.
With low case numbers, the New Normal in Singapore has less stringent measures in place than European countries, for example. Other restrictions in Singapore include limiting gatherings to five people only. For a full list of temporary measures, see here.
What Tourist Services Have Reopened in Singapore?
Singapore is tentatively reopening as the country gears up to enter Phase 3 of its Circuit Breaker measures by the end of 2020. That means many more services and cultural venues are open for business, while there are still limits on capacity, and some establishments remain closed.
Services now reponed include:
- Cultural attractions
- Malls and shops
- Hawker centres
Limitations on the above services include: no loud music or TVs in restaurants; social distanced seating at hawker centres; observance of mask-wearing at parks and all public areas; reduced capacity in shops and malls. Other restrictions include shorter opening hours.
Still closed are nightlife establishments such as bars, theatres, and nightclubs. Large-scale events such as concerts and specific exhibitions are at present unable to resume.
Now, while travel insurance is not a mandatory entry requirement for ___, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. You really shouldn’t ever be travelling without insurance, and that goes double for the pandemic!
Keeping yourself covered against coronavirus mishaps is a complex subject, however, Americans get it easy. Our favourite insurance provider World Nomads just got favourite-r! They’re covering against COVID-related incidents and will also count for countries where corona coverage is a requirement.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Is there a backup option? Sure is—SafetyWing Travel Insurance! SafetWing is the cheap, long-term insurance for cheap, long-term travellers. And now, they’ve stepped up to the plate covering travellers and digital nomads against the scourge… at a bargain!
And if neither of those two choices are right for you? Well, in that case, I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend doing your own research on the top travel insurance companies and finding one right for your trip.
And Keep Smiling
Singapore is still there. It hasn’t vanished, though it may feel like it at the moment. Strict entry requirements and tight border controls currently mean that Singapore can seem a far off dream.
For those lucky enough to be able to travel to Singapore right now, a relatively relaxed state of affairs awaits – as does some of the best food in the world. We’re not jealous at all, or whatever.
But we hope the rest of the world will be able to travel to Singapore again one day. For now, though, all we can do is daydream about travelling to Singapore (and maybe plan a trip for fun).