April 26, 2021
By Emily Lim
The travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong will begin on 26 May 2021. The much-awaited announcement will be gladly received by many travellers, especially since plans for a quarantine-free travel bubble between the two countries were put on hold in November 2020 after Hong Kong experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Since then, Hong Kong has managed to get COVID-19 cases under control – reporting an average of 11 new cases each day and its highest daily average last reported on July 30 last year. In Singapore, its highest daily average was last reported on April 26 last year.
On April 26, when the travel bubble was announced, there had only been a handful of locally-transmitted infections in Singapore since November 2020. In the recent weeks, however, the number of daily infections have increased and there are currently 133 hospitalised cases (as at 10 May 2021).
The number of cases currently are “by and large” within the agreed range with both governments are closely monitoring the outbreak. The timing of the announcement (26 April 2021) also gives travellers sufficient time to be fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Connect@Changi facility is also an important effort by Singapore to reopen its borders for business travel in a safe and controlled manner. Connect@Changi is the first facility of its kind in the world and the first phase of the development opened in February 2021 (more details here).
Are you looking to travel to Singapore from Hong Kong, or the other way round soon? Here is all you need to know about the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) arrangement.
Under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) arrangement, foreigners who are short-term visitors may seek entry into Singapore by applying for an Air Travel Pass (ATP). If you are a Singaporean Citizen, Permanent Resident (PR) or Long-term Pass holder, you are not required to apply for an ATP.
Singaporean citizens and residents may enter via the returning citizen and PR lanes. Long-term Pass holders, however, should seek entry approval depending on their pass type (Work Pass Holder, Student’s Pass or the SC/PR Familial Ties Lane).
Under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) agreement, only those who have remained in Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 days before travel are eligible. This 14-day period does not include compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong or Stay-Home Notice in Singapore.
Travellers are also required to monitor their health status before departure to Singapore. You should not travel to Singapore if you:
If the 7-day moving average of daily unlinked cases in Singapore or Hong Kong exceed 5, the air travel bubble will be suspended for at least 14 days, says the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. The suspension will take effect in 2 days. The air travel bubble can resume the next day if:
If you are a foreigner planning a short-term visit to Singapore, you can apply for an ATP here at no charge. Applications must be submitted between 7 and 30 days before your intended date of entry into Singapore.
Once your ATP application is approved, you will receive an Entry Approval Letter via email. Your ATP is valid for single entry into Singapore anytime from your intended date of entry and up to 7 calendar days after.
For visitors who require a visa for travel to Singapore, you must separately obtain a valid visa after your ATP is approved and before boarding your flight to Singapore. You may check the validity of your visa here.
Currently, the ATB flights are operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. You may refer to the relevant airlines’ websites for flight details and schedule. The number of flights will be allocated equally between both countries’ airlines.
From 26 May to 9 June 2021:• Singapore to Hong Kong: 1 flight per day, with up to 200 travellers per flight;• Hong Kong to Singapore: 1 flight per day, with up to 200 travellers per flight
From 10 June 2021 onwards:• Singapore to Hong Kong: 2 flights per day, with up to 200 travellers per flight;• Hong Kong to Singapore: 2 flights per day, with up to 200 travellers per flight
If you are travelling under the ATB arrangement, you must travel on these designated flights. Transit and non-ATB travellers are not allowed on these flights.
First, you will need to have a flight ticket from Hong Kong to Singapore on one of the flights designated under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) by both Singapore and Hong Kong Governments. It is important to note that having a flight ticket does not guarantee you ATP approval. Similarly, having ATP approval will not guarantee a flight ticket on a designated ATB flight.
Before departing to Singapore, travellers must complete a COVID-19 PCR test at a testing facility recognised by the Hong Kong government and test negative within 72 hours of their scheduled departure. The negative test result certificate must be in English with the following information:
The Hong Kong Government also requires travellers to be fully vaccinated (completed two doses) at least 14 days before entry into Singapore. Prior to your flight to Singapore, you are required to submit your health and travel history declarations via Singapore’s electronic arrival card service.
You will also need to have travel insurance with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for Covid-19 related medical and hospital treatment. Keep a copy of your travel insurance with you as it will be checked upon entry to Singapore.
You will also need to register and pre-pay for an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at Changi International Airport before leaving Hong Kong. You will be notified of your test results within 48 hours and the cost of the test is S$160 (with GST) per person.
Under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB), travellers from Hong Kong can enter Singapore quarantine-free. However, you will need to pre-book accommodation for 1-2 days while waiting for your on-arrival test results. The accommodation must be:
You must also download and register your profile on the TraceTogether app on a mobile device that is compatible. For those who do not own or prefer not to use a mobile phone, you may collect a physical TraceTogether token.
When checking in for flight at Hong Kong International Airport, you will be required to present the following documents to the airline staff:
The first entry requirement upon arrival at Changi Airport is to take a COVID-19 PCR test. If you need to purchase a SIM card or visit the money changer, you should do so within the airport transit area.
This is because, after the test, you are required to head straight to your pre-booked isolation accomodation to await your test results within 48 hours. You must immediately take private transportation, taxi, or private hire car to travel from the airport to their declared accommodation. All transportation and accommodation costs are to be borne by the visitor.
During immigration clearance at Changi International Airport, you will need to present the following documents:
In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, there are health and safe distancing measures to adhere to. You are required to wear a mask at all times and can only remove it when eating or drinking. All your information must be uploaded on the TraceTogether app, and you must check in and out of each location you visit using the locations SafeEntry QR codes.
Do ensure that the Bluetooth mode on your mobile is turned on at all times to enable TraceTogether’s functions. These apps must remain installed and data retained for at least 14 days after leaving Singapore for easy contact tracing should you test positive for COVID-19.
Under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB), any person, irrespective of nationality, who has remained in Singapore and/or Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure is eligible to travel between the two countries. This 14-day period excludes compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong or Stay-Home Notice duration in Singapore from their last travel overseas.
However, the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) is not applicable to workers (work permit or S Pass) in construction, marine shipyard and process sectors for travel from Singapore to Hong Kong. For eligible travellers, It is not a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling from Singapore to Hong Kong.
Before departing Singapore, travellers must take a pre-departure COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and obtain negative results within 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of their designated ATB flight. The PCR test should be taken at an institution recognised by the Hong Kong Government.
Once the COVID-19 PCR test results are obtained, travellers must fill in and submit the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration Form within 48 hours prior to arrival in Hong Kong and get the relevant QR code. Travellers are also required to book and pay for the post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at Hong Kong International Airport.
In order to facilitate contact tracing, travellers from Singapore need to download and install the LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) app on their mobile devices prior to leaving Singapore for Hong Kong.
During the duration of their stay in Hong Kong, travellers are required to scan the LHS QR codes displayed at the relevant premises they visit, and retain their LHS app visitation records for 31 consecutive days after leaving Hong Kong.
As borders open to travellers in 2021, countries are continuously assessing ways to manage risks of cross-border transmissions. In order to ensure your travel plans go smoothly, keep up to date with travel restrictions and entry requirements for the countries you plan to visit.
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