Singapore will begin allowing vaccinated travelers from a handful of countries (including the U.S.) to enter the city-state with almost no quarantine as soon as next week, according to Safe Travel Singapore, reversing more than a year of strict lockdowns with no international travel. But that doesn't mean you'll have a free pass to enter Singapore.
Americans and residents from nearly a dozen other countries can enter Singapore starting Oct. 19, 2021. Just 3,000 travelers will be able to enter the city-state daily through the country's vaccinated travel lanes. Applications for those spots open up today, Oct. 12, 2021 for Americans.
But there's a twist. While countries throughout Europe and across the globe has accepted Americans' standard Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) card as proof of vaccination, Singapore will not – at least not currently.
Instead, you'll have to prove your vaccination status using Smart Health Cards on the CommonTrust Network, a platform that's currently only available in a handful of states, including California, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, and Virginia, among others. Travelers from other states may be able to get a compliant Smart Health Card from a pharmacy like CVS Health or from their health care providers.
And that's not all it will take to enter Singapore. According to Safe Travel Singapore, Americans must do the following before being allowed entry:
- Prove they are fully vaccinated through Smart Health Cards on the CommonTrust Network. (Note: A physical CDC card is not enough proof of vaccination. Visitors must use the pre-approved apps)
- Provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure.
- Fill out a health declaration through the SG arrival card within three days of travel.
- Take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore and stay in self-isolation until they receive a negative result. Note: Visitors have to register and pay for their on-arrival test prior to their departure. (Singapore officials say test results are made available within 24 hours.)
Read more: How to Spend 24 Perfect Hours in Singapore
Though it may be complicated, Singapore's reopening to travelers is a positive sign for travel to a continent that remains largely off-limits to foreign travelers. Prior to Singapore's announcement, only Thailand had cracked open its borders to tourists with a successful “Sandbox” program that allowed visitors into popular tourist areas like Phuket and Koh Samui. After a delay, Thailand is set for a broader reopening come Nov. 1.
Travelers from other countries will be able to head to Singapore as the city-state reopens, too. Visitors from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the U.K. will also be able to register to enter the country starting Oct. 19. South Koreans can head for Singapore beginning Nov. 14.
But not just any airline can fly into Singapore as part of this program. It's restricted to Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air France, Scoot, Lufthansa, and Royal Brunei Airlines.
Singapore's looming reopening is a positive sign for travel to Asia, though there are still plenty of hoops to jump through before being allowed in to start eating your way around hawker stalls.
Proving vaccination isn't as easy as it looks, requiring more than just a CDC vaccine card to enter the country. And then there's additional testing requirements before departure and upon arrival, including quarantining for up to 24 hours while you await your results from a test after landing.
Still, it's a promising sign for international travel to one of the most electric cities in the world.