The anticipated land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia, across the Causeway, will be launched on Nov. 29, according to a press release from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
This will be the same day as the air VTL between Singapore's Changi Airport and Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The first phase of the land VTL will be reserved for citizens, permanent residents, or long-term pass holders of the country they are entering.
Such travellers will ride on designated buses.
For example, a Malaysian citizen currently working in Singapore can use the land VTL to visit Johor, or a Singaporean citizen working in Malaysia can travel back to Singapore via the Causeway.
This means that using the land VTL for tourism, such as a Singaporean citizen currently in Singapore intending to visit Johor Bahru and returning, will not be allowed for the initial phase.
PMO said this is to prioritise those who have been working in either country to visit their families.
Singapore and Malaysia aim to progressively expand the land VTL to include more travellers, including general travellers, taking
into account the public health situation.
Subsequently, both countries will also work towards restoring travel through Tuas Second Link.
Trade & Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said that he has sought the understanding of workers who may not be able to purchase a bus ticket to travel home immediately, due to possible limited capacity in the initial phase of the launch.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said:
"Malaysia is Singapore’s closest neighbour and the two countries share deep and warm relations. The Causeway was one of the busiest land borders in the world before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our cross-border activities. The launch of the VTL (Land) is a big step towards reconnecting our people and economies, and will further enhance our bilateral relationship."
Here's what you need to know for someone intending to enter Singapore using this land VTL:
- Traveller must be a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident, or a holder of a Singapore-issued Long-Term Pass (i.e. Work Permit, Employment Pass, Student’s Pass, or Long-Term Visit Pass).
- In-Principle Approval Holders of a Singapore-issued Long-Term Pass and Foreign Short Term Visitors are not eligible to travel under the VTL (Land) arrangement currently.
- These travellers may wish to consider other Safe Travel Lanes for entry into Singapore.
- Travellers must have remained in Malaysia, any other VTL or Category I country/region as recognised by the Government of Singapore, and/or Singapore in the last 14 consecutive days before arrival in Singapore.
Travellers must test negative in a valid pre-departure Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test (ART) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), within two calendar days before departure for Singapore, taken at a laboratory or centre that is accredited or recognised by the Malaysia Ministry of Health.
The ART must be performed by trained professionals such as medical professionals and Government-recognised trained professionals at a laboratory or centre accredited or recognised by the Malaysia Ministry of Health.
Children aged two years and below in the calendar year are not required to undergo these tests.
All VTL travellers must have been fully vaccinated and present a digital proof of vaccination that is recognised by the Singapore authorities, issued in any VTL country or Singapore.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after he or she has received the full regimen of any World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing vaccines.
This is necessary to guard against forgery and verify that the certificate is issued by a trusted issuer and belongs to the VTL traveller.
Unvaccinated travellers who are aged 12 and below in this calendar year can travel to Singapore via the land VTL if accompanied by a fully vaccinated VTL traveller.
Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass Holders who have been vaccinated overseas (i.e. issued with foreign digital vaccination certificate outside of Singapore) are reminded to upload their vaccination certificate in the electronic health declaration card via the electronic SG Arrival Card, prior to arriving in Singapore.
Back on Nov. 18, Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said that a land VTL between his state and Singapore could be implemented as soon as Nov. 29.
In a press conference on Nov. 20, Gan said that this was "possible".
Hasni said he could "confirm" this after speaking to both federal and state authorities, and added that this route would be for long term pass holders, Malaysians working in Singapore and Singaporeans working in Johor Bahru.
However, for a Malaysian in Singapore who wishes to visit Johor, travelling by the air VTL route might be prohibitively expensive.
The cost of purchasing the air tickets, in addition to the PCR tests, will cost a few hundred dollars.
Sightings of buses with VTL signs have sparked excitement in netizens anticipating a drive back to Johor.
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Top image from Mothership