Singapore and Malaysia to Launch Land VTL on November 29
This story was first published on November 8, 2021, and updated on November 29, 2021.
Cross border travel is officially back on the agenda after Singapore and Malaysia successfully launched a land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) on November 29 and now, it looks like the scheme might be expanded.
At a joint press conference with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on November 29, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that they were aiming to expand the land VTL to include general travellers from mid-December.
Discussions are also underway to pilot a sea VTL to allow port calls between Singapore cruise ships to Malaysian ports.
Mr Ismail was in Singapore to witness the launch of the land VTL at Woodlands Checkpoint with PM Lee. This is Mr Ismail’s first official visit to Singapore as prime minister.
PM Lee added that the expansion of the scheme will take into account the current public health situation before any decisions are made.
“We are all watching anxiously the new Omicron variant, to see how it will behave. But even if Omicron disrupts these plans, our goal will still be to have more open borders between Singapore and Malaysia, and after some time we will be able to make further progress,” he said at the Istana.
As a result of Omicron, all travellers entering Singapore from Malaysia via the land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) are currently required to take an on-arrival antigen rapid test (ART).
Currently, as part of the first phase of the land VTL, travellers will need to use designated VTL bus services; they have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country they are entering.
All travellers are required to submit the SG Arrival Card with Electronic Health Declaration via the ICA website or through the SG Arrival Card mobile application that can be downloaded for free.
Travellers also must be fully vaccinated, and unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
Travellers entering Malaysia via the VTL-Land from Singapore need to register here. Long-term pass holders entering Singapore from Malaysia are required to register here. Note that registration is compulsory before tickets are purchased.
There will be 32 land VTL designated bus services entering each country per day. Bus tickets will go on sale 30 days ahead. Travellers are also required to purchase their bus tickets at least three days prior to the date of departure.
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong said: “We will continue to work with Malaysia to expand the VTL (Land) arrangement to more travellers in the coming weeks.”
News of this VTL was announced earlier in November when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, spoke on the phone on November 8, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“The Prime Ministers recognised that Covid-19 has disrupted people to people connections between the two countries, and separated families for many months,” said the office.
“Given the significant progress that both countries have made in vaccinating their respective populations and managing the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Ministers agreed that it is timely to progressively resume cross-border travel between both countries, in a safe manner,” it continued.
With this VTL, fully vaccinated travellers can travel between Singapore and Malaysia without needing to serve a quarantine or stay-home notice. They will simply need to take two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. One will be done before departure and the second will be done upon arrival.
They will also need to have remained in one or more of the VTL countries in the last 14 days before they can depart to Singapore on designated flights.
This news comes shortly after Singapore announced that it would be officially be extending its VTL scheme to Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Turkey in December.
Singapore has, to date, announced 27 other vaccinated travel lanes with countries such as Germany, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, the United States and South Korea.