Time flies, it has been almost ten months since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Singapore on 23 January 2020. With the number of locally transmitted cases remaining low and under control, business activities are progressively resuming.
To facilitate essential business travel in and out of Singapore, international Safe Travel Lanes have been implemented while protecting public health amidst the global pandemic. Here’s everything you need to know about fast lane departure to other countries for business purposes.
Where are the safe travel destinations for business travellers from Singapore?
When Singapore moved towards Safe Re-Opening after circuit breaker ended on 2 June 2020, the Singapore-China fast lane travel was created. This pilot Safe Travel Lane allows residents in Singapore and six Chinese provinces and municipalities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) to make essential business trips between the two countries.
Subsequently, Singapore has arranged for Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) with five other countries for short term business travel, listed as below:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Republic of Korea (ROK)
Do note that transit in countries not listed above are not allowed. The RGL is only applicable for official travel on direct flights between Singapore and the foreign RGL counterpart.
How long can I stay in the designated country/ region?
Your maximum business travel duration varies depending on your intended destination. See below table for quick reference:
|Country||Maximum period of stay|
|Brunei Darussalam||Aligned to that accorded to the passport holder prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
NB: For Singapore passport holders, the maximum period of stay is 30 days
|China||Assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Chinese authorities|
|Japan||Assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Japanese authorities|
|ROK||Assessed on a case-by-case basis by the ROK authorities|
What do I need to do prior to departure for my business trip?
Depending on where you are travelling to, departure requirements and application process may differ. Nevertheless, there are some similarities across all six RGLs, which are listed below for your easy reference:
- The Singapore resident ((i.e. Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass holders) must be sponsored by either a company or a government agency in the destination country for short-term business travel. The local host company or government agency will need to file an application on behalf of the applicant with the relevant local authorities.
- The local sponsor must provide the traveller’s flight and controlled itinerary details to the local authorities.
- A pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test is required before leaving Singapore at selected clinics after receiving the approval, within 72 hours before departure. The test result must be negative before traveller is allowed to travel.
- The traveller must have remained in Singapore for at least 14 days before departure.
What should I take note of when overseas?
Travelling during the pandemic can be a perturbing experience, as it increases your chance of contracting and spreading the virus. Stay safe with these handy tips:
- Take a COVID-19 PCR test (and a serology test if travelling to China) upon arrival;
- Wear a mask when in public places, so as to keep your mouth and nose covered;
- Keep a safe distance (at least one arm’s length) from others at all times, and avoid crowded places as much as possible;
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, or use a hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available;
- Practise good personal hygiene, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose prior to washing your hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick;
- Comply with any other local COVID-19 prevention and social distancing measures for the entire business trip duration.
What happens when I return to Singapore?
If you are returning from Brunei, China, Malaysia (except Sabah), ROK and Japan as a fast lane traveller, you can be exempted from Stay-home Notice (SHN). This is provided you undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, and practise self-quarantine until the test result is out.
However, if you are returning from Indonesia or Sabah in Malaysia, you will be subjected to SHN at a SHN-dedicated facility upon your return.
Travellers will need to bear the cost of the PCR test and any COVID-19 medical treatment if symptoms develop within 14 days upon return to Singapore. Retain the RGL approval letter if you are a Singapore citizen, Permanent Resident and Long-Term Pass holder, as it will serve as an indication of eligibility for government subsidies, MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plan at the hospital.
All set to travel?
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, with many countries in Europe and Americas experiencing second or even third wave of infections. Hence, you should stay abreast of the latest safe travel measures and developments if you really need to travel for essential business.
Stay safe wherever you go and don’t forget to purchase Tiq Travel Insurance by Etiqa if you really must travel.
Information is accurate as at 17 November 2020. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
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