This article is correct and updated as of 14 Jan 2022.
Singapore and Malaysia share a deep connection. Many of us have friends and family across the border, and we travel frequently for work and leisure. Therefore, there was immense interest when the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) began on 29 November 2021. For the first time in 2 years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, we are now able to travel across the border again without having to be quarantined.
I had the privilege of travelling to Kuala Lumpur for a short work trip last week. Like many people, I was faced with the uncertainty, anxiety, and fear of travelling overseas in the Covid-19 era. And indeed, I faced many hiccups along the way. I decided to write this article to describe my experience, list down some important things you need to do during your VTL travel to Singapore/Malaysia, in the hope that your journey will be a smoother one than mine.
The article will be divided into the following sections:
- Pre- Travelling Preparations from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Leaving Singapore – Flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
- Arriving in Kuala Lumpur International Airport
- ART Tests, Day 2-6, Malaysia
- Pre- Travelling Preparations from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
- Leaving Malaysia – Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
- Arriving in Changi Airport, Singapore
- ART Tests, Day 2-7, Singapore
- Test Summary and Prices
- Practical Tips
- Useful Links
Singapore to Kuala Lumpur: Pre-Travelling Checklist
Before your VTL travel, you will need to make some preparations.
1. You Have to Be Vaccinated. Download your Digitally Verified Vaccination Certificate
You need to be fully vaccinated with 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccines (It is called a Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) for a reason).
You also need to download a digitally verified vaccination health certificate for registration on MySafeTravel. Download the certificate from Notαrise. It should be 3 pages long and include the QR codes to your vaccinations.
2. Remain in Singapore/and or Malaysia For the last 14 Days before travelling
3. Book Your Flights – Early
Not surprisingly, VTL flights to Kuala Lumpur are in high demand, and it is advised that you book them at least two weeks in advance. There are also less flights options available compared to before. The six airlines which provide VTR flights between Singapore and Malaysia are AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (SIA). You will need to purchase a return air ticket to be eligible for VTL travel.
4. Buy Travel Insurance
Travellers to Malaysia need to purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs. You must carry with you an electronic or physical copy of the insurance policy. The same is true for travellers coming to Singapore from Malaysia – the minimum insured sum is SGD $30,000.
5. Pre Departure PCR Test – Book Early.
VTL travellers are required to undrergo a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours of departing from Singapore. The clinics where you can do the test are listed here.
Price of pre-departure test: around SGD $130.
It is advised that you do your test at least 30 hours before your departure as the results take 24-36 hours to be released. This means that you have a very short time window do to your test – between 48hrs and 30 hours before you depart Singapore.
Having said this, I received my test results in 7 hours, but to be safe, please get your test done at least 30 hrs before. Some clinics also offer an option for rapid tests where you get your results within 4hours, but it costs a lot more (up to $350). Also, book your test early as many clinics are full.
During your test, bring along your:
- Identity card (for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Long-Term Pass Holders) or Passport
- Flight booking details showing the departure timing
6. Download MySejahtera app
Download the MySejahtera app on Apple Store or Google Play and register your profile on the app. It is best to do this when still in Singapore so that you are properly set up. Children aged below 12 years old who are travelling with their parents/legal guardians can be registered as dependents of the parents/legal guardians in the MySejahtera app.
8. Register Your Trip on MySafeTravel
This is a new requirement implemented in Jan 2022. Do this only after you have registered for MySejahtera app and have your travel insurance, as you need to enter the details. You need to go to MySafeTravel to register your trip. Please note that the site recommends that you register at least 7 days before your trip, but at the same time, you can only start registering 7 days before (wut?!). You first need to register first before you can enter your trip (please get your phone ready for OTP).
The submission will require you to upload a copy of your travel insurance, and the QR code of your latest Covid-19 vaccination (which is available on your digitally verified vaccination certificate. — Please see (1). ) You also need to open your MySejahtera app to retrieve some information.
Some Important tips:
Open up your MySejahtera app, and go to Profile.
MYSJ ID = your mobile
ID / Passport = check which one u fill in previouslyplease update the MYSJ ID section correctly
Please enter the details correctly, otherwise the submission may be rejected, following which you have to appeal (which adds more time to the process). You wil receive a confirmation email when your vaccination certificate is accepted.
Please note that you will have to return to MySafeTravel again to upload your pre-departure PCR test results when you get them.
To submit your pre-departure test results, click on “check status”, then “submission status”, then upload the cropped QR code of your negative pre-departure PCR test. Don’t sweat it if you cannot upload your test result though. Several of us were unable to do it due to a glitch in the system. We still managed to clear customs (Phew!).
7. Pre-Purchase On-Arrival Covid-19 PCR Test (KLIA)
You are required to undergo a PCR test on arrival to KLIA, and test negative. You can purchase the test when you land in KLIA, but it is better to pre-purchase the test to minimize waiting time. You can purchase the test online here, or download the Doctor2U Mobile App (Apple, or Google Play) and purchase the test inside the app. You will need your pre-departure negative PCR test results to pre-purchase the test.
At The Airport – Flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
You have to proceed to the counter to verify the documents. I flew Jetstar and online check-in was not available. Be there at least 2 hours before your flight. Please have these documents ready:
- Passport, or Electronic Visit Pass [e-Pass] (for foreigners) which proves that you have remained in Singapore and/or Malaysia in the last 14 consecutive days before departing for Malaysia
- Digital vaccination certificate issued by Singapore, or any other valid vaccination certificate (electronic or physical copy) accepted by Malaysia under the VTL. You can obtain the vaccination certificate from Healthhub.
- Click on “login to Healthhub” on your Trace Together app
- You will be directed to login via Singapss
- Take a screenshot of the vaccination record, or download a copy.
- Pre-departure Covid-19 PCR test certificate, taken within 48hrs of departure.
- Travel insurance – electronic or physical copy.
- Return Flight Tickets (except for Permanent Residents of Malaysia and holders of Long-Term Passes)
- Health Declaration Form (Malaysia) – to be filled up on the plane
Arriving at KLIA, Kuala Lumpur
You are required to have a negative PCR test before you can leave the airport. On arrival, you will be directed to take your PCR test, before you clear customs or collect your checked-in luggage.
If you have pre-purchased your test, you can go directly to the counter and present your proof of purchase and proceed to have your PCR test done.
Price of PCR depends on whether you opt for Quick or Regular test:
1.5Hrs – RM 470 (non- Malaysian), RM 370 (Malaysian)
3 Hrs – RM 350 (non- Malaysian), RM 250 (Malaysian)
Once your PCR test results is out, it will be sent to your email and phone via Whatsapp. (for me, my Whatsapp link did not work). Show the results to the staff, and they will ask you to scan a QR code using your MySejahtera app, which gives you the green light to leave the test station and proceed to clear immigration and baggage collection.
Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Day 2 – Day 7, Malaysia
You are required to undergo ARTs for 5 more days from Day 2 to Day 6 after arrival in Malaysia. Of these,
Day 2,4,6 ARTs can be done yourself, after which you can submit the results on your MySejahtera app.
Day 3 and Day 5 ART tests have to be , done at a clinic. Price of professional ART test is RM 49-100. You can find the list of clinics in Malaysia offering the test here.
Kuala Lumpur to Singapore: Pre-Travelling Checklist
These are the things you need ready before flying from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
1. Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) – For Non Singaporean Citizens/PR
You need to apply for a VTP to enter Singapore if you are not a Singaporean or Permanent Resident of Singapore, 7 to 60 days before your intended travel date. You do not need to apply if you are travelling from Singapore to Malaysia on a round trip. Apply here.
2. Pre Departure PCR Test
VTL travellers require a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test performed within 48 hours of departing from Malaysia. The test can be done at an internationally accredited or recognised laboratory, clinic, or medical facility recognised by the Ministry of Health of Malaysia or the Singapore Ministry of Health. A PCR negative test result can be accepted for one or more flights, as long as the test had been taken within 2 days before departure for Singapore.
Price of pre-departure test: around RM200. You can find the list of clinics in Malaysia offering the test here.
3. Download Trace Together app
Download and register for the Trace Together app, if you are entering Singapore for the first time since the pandemic, and haven’t already done so. This is required for check-ins to enter any place in Singapore.
4. Safe Travel Concierge, Sign up and “Add Trip”
Sign up for Safe Travel Concierge, which is needed for your entry into Singapore,
It is needed to book your on-arrival Covid-19 PCR test, and for your Health Declaration Form. After you sign up, add your current trip. Please note that this is a website, not an app.
5. Pre-Purchase On-Arrival Covid-19 PCR Test (Changi Airport)
You are required to undergo a PCR test on arrival to Changi Airport, and test negative. This can be pre-purchased through the Safe Travel Concierge. You will get the QR code for the test after you pay.
Price: SGD $125
6. Fill in SG Arrival Card
Fill in the SG Arrival Card. You can also find this on the Safe Travel Concierge, under the “Safe Travel Checklist” section. This is required before you are allowed to clear Singapore customs, to be submitted 3 days before your arrival in Singapore
At The Airport – Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
You have to proceed to the counter check in. I flew Jetstar and online check-in was not available. Be there at least 2 hours before your flight.
Please have these documents ready:
- valid VTP (electronic or physical copy) for the specified period of entry into Singapore;
- a valid digitally verifiable vaccination certificate issued by Malaysia, or any other digitally verifiable vaccination certificate accepted by Singapore under the VTL;
- a valid negative pre-departure COVID-19 ART or PCR test result certificate (electronic or physical copy) in English
- a valid visa (for visa-required visitors)
Arriving at Changi Airport, Singapore
After clearing immigration and collecting your checked-in luggage, you will be directed to do your PCR test.
Show the QR code of the pre-purchased PCR test to the officer, and you are ready to get your test done. After taking your test, you will need to go directly to your place of residence in Singapore via private car while awaiting the PCR test results (up to 24 hrs, although my results were ready in 5hrs). You can only resume activites after you receive your negative PCR test results
Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Day 2 – Day 7, Singapore
You are required to undergo ARTs for 6 more days from Day 2 to Day 7 after arrival. Of these,
Day 2,4,5,6 ARTs can be done yourself, after which you can submit the results here,
Day 3 and Day 7, you will need to perform supervised ARTS at a Combined Test Centre (CTC) or Quick Test Centre (QTC). List of locations here.
PCR and ART Test Summary, and Prices
In summary, if you stay in Malaysia for more than 8 days, or in Singapore for more than 9 days, you will need to undergo a total of 4 PCR tests and 11 ARTs. If you stay for shorter, then you do not need to do the full list of ARTs.
As an example, If you are travelling from Singapore to Malaysia, you will require, in this order:
Air ticket prices are variable, and can range from SGD $100 (Jetstar) to SGD $200 (Singapore Airlines) for an economy class seat. Hence you will need to factor in the costs of tests to your travel.
Book everything Early
This includes air tickets, and your PCR/ART tests.
Air tickets – book at least 2 weeks, preferable 1mth in advance
Tests – Clinics are incredibly full and it can be very difficult to get a slot Book at least 3 days in advance. I had difficulty getting a pre-departure PCR test. Worse was the supervised ART test. I booked a day before and there were no more slots left.
Pre-Purchase Arrival PCR Tests
While you can purchase the tests at the airport, pre-purchasing them means that you can get the tests done the moment you touch down, and potentially clear immigration faster
Pre-Register/ Fill in Apps and Forms
Register for your contact tracing apps before you fly. I did not register for MySejahtera until I landed in KLIA, which was a mistake. People also often miss out filling in the SG Arrival Card, which will result in delays as you have to do it on the spot at immigration.
It may seem like a small thing, but remember to active roaming services, so that you can obtain SMS One Time Pins (OTP) when overseas if required. I forgot to do so and could not get MySejahtera app to work, resulting in a delay at the airport.
It is also advised to get data roaming (which is very inexpensive these days) as you need your phone to check into places all the time.
Be Prepared for Delays
Clearing immigration may take longer than before. Be sure to be at the airport early (2 hours before even for budget airlines). Be patient when things do not go as planned. For example, I was stuck in KLIA on arrival for 2 hours. My PCR test results took longer than expected to be released, and the soft copy was corrupted, requiring me to get a hard copy from the staff. All these added to the total time taken to leave the airport.
Day 3 and Day 7 supervised ARTS
- 1. Book early – Slots are all very full, and it is near impossible to book the day before. Book for Day 3 test the moment you land.
- 2. You can only book 1 test at a time. Meaning you can only book for Day 3 when you land, and book for Day 7 after you have done the Day 3 test.
I made the mistake of trying to book for Day 7 first, and cannot get my Day 3 test in time. Please note that there is a lock out period of 30min after you make a booking, before you can cancel it and rebook.
In the end I had to walk into a clinic as there were no more slots. The clinic allowed me to perform the test only if I paid double the price – i.e SGD $30 for the test. They also could not upload the test results which caused some inconvenience.
Despite all The Prep and Tests, Enjoy Your Trip!
Would I do it again? The answer is YES. Despite the tests and hiccups, it was an exhilarating, experience. The purpose of my trip to Kuala Lumpur was to to teach doctors about Belotero filler injection techniques. Teaching has always been one of my passions, and before the pandemic, I used to travel regularly across the region to teach. The VTL was a good opportunity for me to start teaching overseas again.
I will be travelling to KL again next month, to give talks on some topics I am passionate about, including Ultherapy, and combination therapies for anti-aging. At least I will be less stressed then, having experienced the whole VTL process. I hope this article can help you feel more confident in your travels to Malaysia too!
- Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air) Overview
- Malaysia VTL FAQ, by My Travel Pass Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia
- Clinics in Singapore offering Pre-Departure PCR Test
- Authenticate Vaccination Certificate & Pre-Departure Cert
- Booking of Arival PCR at KLIA
- MOH Covid-19 Malaysia List of Clinics Offering Tests
- Safe Travel Concierge
- Booking of Arrival PCR at Changi
- SG Arrival Declaration
- List of Combined Test Centres/ Quick Test Centres for Supervised ART
- Submission of Self-ART
- Booking of Supervised ART
- Payment for Supervised ART