Singapore has opened up our borders (selectively) and we are seeing some hopes of travel with the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) that are slowly rolling out. Among the VTLs, South Korea is one of them and we jumped at the chance of traveling almost immediately when the news was released.
Tickets booked, luggage packed, PCR tests taken. We were ready for our first vacation after two long years. We had waited so long for this surreal moment! Traveling in pandemic times meant many more procedures and restrictions, and the new norm may be daunting, but hey, we aren’t complaining! At least we get to travel!
This new norm is probably here to stay for a while, and if you are still unsure of what to expect for your next flight out via the Singapore – South Korea Vaccinated Travel Lanes, here’s what we can share from our recent experience when we flew SIN>ICN, and then ICN>SIN.
With all the required tests and documents to prepare, The Singapore – South Korea is perhaps the most complicated VTL route. Here’s our Singapore & South Korea VTL Guide which includes useful tips and important things that you must take note of before, during and after your trip.
SINGAPORE > SOUTH KOREA
Here’s a checklist of the important things that you need to remember for your trip:
- Apply for K-ETA
- 14 days travel history in Singapore and/or South Korea only
- Print out your Notarised vaccination certificate
- Travel insurance policy
- Pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of your flight
- Book a non-stop flight to South Korea
- Take PCR test on arrival in South Korea (advanced booking on Safe2GoPass required)
- Take PCR test/Antigen Test on department in South Korea (advanced booking on Safe2GoPass required)
- Advance booking of your on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport
- Complete your SG e-arrival card 3 days before arrival in Singapore
Tip: Please print a copy of all the important documents and bring them along with your passport everywhere you go to.
APPLY FOR K-ETA
You also must apply for a K-ETA at least 24 hours before your flight to South Korea. Do note that everyone needs your own K-ETA (including children), you cannot just apply 1 K-ETA for the entire family. It costs around 10,000 KRW (around S$11.27) per person.
The results for the K-ETA will usually be received within 24 hours of application. We got the approval very quickly, but there’s no harm to just apply for the K-ETA earlier.
K-ETA is valid for 2 years once issued.
14 DAYS TRAVEL HISTORY IN SINGAPORE AND/OR SOUTH KOREA ONLY
In order to qualify for the Singapore & South Korea VTL without quarantine, you must make sure that you have spent the past 14 days in Singapore and/or South Korea only.
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT A COPY OF YOUR NOTARISED VACCINATION CERTIFICATE
If you are vaccinated in Singapore, please use the Notarise portal to download a notarised copy of your digital vaccination certificate as it comes with a QR code and it will be very useful when you are trying to prove your vaccination status in South Korea. Please print out a copy of your vaccination certificate and bring it along with your passport everywhere you go to.
South Korea is super strict and you need to show your vaccination status when you are dining out or entering shopping malls and shops.
Children who are under the age of 6 who are unvaccinated are able to travel to South Korea and be exempted from quarantine. Children who are over the age of 6 who are unvaccinated may still travel to South Korea, but will be subjected to quarantine for 10 days. Please refer to Embassy of South Korea’s website for more details on this.
Most staff at restaurants/shopping malls will just check the hard copy of your vaccination certificate, but the stricter ones will require you to use their app ‘COOV’ to scan the QR code.
Tip: set the language of ‘COOV’ app to Korean and click on the first button (as shown above) to scan the QR code of the notarised copy of your digital vaccination certificate so that the verification of your vaccination status will appear in Korean.
TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH COVID-19 MEDICAL EXPENSE COVERAGE
Travellers taking the Singapore – Seoul VTL are required to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000,000 KRW (around S$33,799) for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs. Make sure to check that the travel insurance policy has Covid-19 medical expense coverage.
And please print and carry a physical copy of the insurance policy when you are in South Korea.
PRE-DEPARTURE PCR TEST WITHIN 48 HOURS OF YOUR FLIGHT
Travellers from Singapore to South Korea are required to take a pre-departure PCR test within 48 hours of your flight. For example, if your flight is on 20 Jan 2022 at 2300hrs, you may take the test on 18 Jan from 0000hrs onwards.
Please refer to this list of MOH-approved Covid-19 Test providers in Singapore to find a clinic for your PCR test. Children aged 5 and below need not take the PCR test.
There are many clinics that provide Covid-19 PCR tests at home and they will send someone to do the PCR tests at your place.
We booked our PCR test at home 48 hours before our flight and we got the test results 24 hours later. We highly recommend doing this as it really saves you the hassle of travelling to a clinic and queuing up just to do your PCR tests.
BOOK A NON-STOP FLIGHT TO SOUTH KOREA
It goes without saying but you need to book a non-stop flight to South Korea from Singapore on Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines or Scoot.
And for those of you who are travelling on a VTL for the first time, you can simply book any non-stop flight from Singapore to South Korea. But you have to book a VTL flight back from Seoul to Singapore and the airlines will highlight those flights via the VTL labels.
TAKE PCR TEST ON ARRIVAL IN SOUTH KOREA
Book an on-arrival PCR test at Incheon Airport via Safe2GoPass before departing from Singapore. Do print out a copy of the email confirmation from Safe2GoPass so that you can show them to the staff when you are at Incheon Airport’s testing centre.
You can see the schedule of the time it takes for the test results to be out on Incheon Airport’s website.
After taking the test, you may proceed to your accommodation in South Korea using taxi, private vehicle, designated bus or train for international travellers to isolate and wait for the results to be out. Public transport would not be allowed starting from 20 January 2022 due to tightened measures.
You will get the results via email and once you have received a negative result, you are free to go out. But until then, you are required to stay at the hotel/accommodation while waiting for the results.
We took our PCR test at Incheon Airport at around 3.30pm and we got our negative test results by 5.30pm when we got to the hotel. So even if you are only reaching South Korean after 3pm, your test results should be out in the evening (instead of 8am the following morning) and you won’t have to waste the first night of your trip.
If you are planning to travel to other parts of South Korea, please note that you are not allowed to take domestic flights until you receive the negative result for the on-arrival PCR test.
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TAKE SELF-ADMINISTERED ART ON DAY 3 AND 5
Travellers entering South Korea from Singapore will have to carry out a self-administered ART on days 3 & 5 (your arrival day is counted as day 1) of your trip. For example, if your arrival day is 20 Jan 2022 (day 1), you will take the ART on 23 Jan 2022 (day 3) and 25 Jan 2022 (day 5).
Remember to bring along some ART test kits before travelling to South Korea. You have to take a photo of the ART result together with your passport for self-recording.
TAKE PCR TEST ON DAY 6 OR 7 IF YOU ARE STAYING IN SOUTH KOREA FOR 8 DAYS OR MORE
If you are staying in South Korea for 8 days or more, you will be required to take a COVID-19 test at a designated hospital/clinic on the 6th or 7th day of your arrival. You won’t have to isolate and can continue with your activities after taking the PCR test.
Refer to this list of medical institutions that provide PCR testing.
VERIFICATION OF VACCINATION STATUS WHILE IN KOREA (NEW)
As of 14 Jan 2022, the vaccination certificate issued to someone who has received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine is considered to be valid for 6 months (180 days) from the date of administration of the 2nd dose.
For example, if the 2nd dose was taken on 10 July 2021, the vaccination certificate would be valid till 06 January 2022, 2359hrs. However, if you have received a booster shot (3rd shot), the vaccination certificate would be valid from the date of administration of booster shot and would not have an expiration date.
Under the tightened measures in South Korea, VTL travellers who completed their primary series of vaccination more than 6 months ago would not be allowed to visit certain public areas and facilities including restaurants if they did not receive a booster shot.
TL;DR Take your booster shot before travelling to South Korea if possible.
SOUTH KOREA > SINGAPORE
14 DAYS TRAVEL HISTORY
In order to travel from South Korea to Singapore on the VTL, you must have spent the past 14 days in Singapore, South Korea, and/or any other VTL country designated by Singapore.
APPLY FOR VTP (not applicable for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents
Short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will need to apply for a VTP between 3-60 days before their intended arrival in Singapore. No fee is applicable.
A VTP is not required for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents.
TAKE PRE-DEPARTURE ART-PCR 2 DAYS BEFORE FLIGHT
All VTL travellers must take a pre-departure ART/PCR within 2 days of their flight from South Korea to Singapore. The test must be taken at an MOH-recognised institution.
We did our pre-departure ART at Incheon airport and we booked our test 3 hours before our flight. Do take note that the results for the antigen test will take an hour and you will need to wait for the results to be out and get the test centre to print out the certificate before you can check in.
Please go earlier so that you won’t miss your flight. We chose to do it at Incheon Airport as it is more convenient and accessible and we did not want to go through the hassle of finding a test centre in the city during our trip.
Like what you did with the on-arrival PCR test at Incheon Airport, book an pre-departure ART test at Incheon Airport via Safe2GoPass before departing from Seoul. Do print out a copy of the email confirmation from Safe2GoPass so that you can show them to the staff when you are at Incheon Airport’s testing centre.
FILL UP THE SG ARRIVAL CARD ON ICA’S WEBSITE
Reminder to fill up the SG arrival card with electronic healthy declaration on ICA’s website before flying back to Singapore, it will save you a lot of time when you are clearing the custom at Changi Airport.
TAKE A DESIGNATED VTL FLIGHT TO SINGAPORE
Book a VTL flight back from Seoul to Singapore and the airlines will highlight those flights via the VTL labels.
ON-ARRIVAL PCR TEST AT CHANGI AIRPORT
The on-arrival PCR test (S$125/pax) at Changi Airport was super efficient. You can prebook and prepay for it online before landing in Singapore. Remember to print out a copy of your booking and receipt for a smooth process.
You will have to self-isolate until negative result is received. We took our test at 10.30pm upon arriving at Changi Airport and we got our test results via email around 4 hours later at 2.35am.
DAY 2 TO 7 SELF-TESTS
VTL travellers entering Singapore after 23 Jan 2022, 2359 hours via both air and land checkpoints will only be required to do unsupervised self-administered Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) from Day 2 to Day 7 of their arrivals if you need to leave their place of residence or accommodation.
There is no need to submit your results, but you need to be tested negative before going out.
Prior to this, the current testing regime requires VTL travellers to conduct unsupervised self-administered ART on Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 and supervised ART on Days 3 and 7 from their arrival in Singapore.
Have a safe and fun trip to South Korea!
Thanks for this, but I think you may have an error in the Art tests on day 3 and 5, as if the 23rd is day 3, then 20th would be day 0, not day 1.
Hi can you please reveal where did you order the home based PCR test ? Thanks