What you need to know before booking a flight on the South Korea VTL, starting Nov. 15

Make sure you're eligible for the VTL before booking your flight.

Jason Fan | November 14, 2021, 09:27 PM

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For the people who have been craving their South Korea fix, you don't have to wait much longer.

Singapore's Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with South Korea will go into effect on Nov. 15, allowing you to visit the land of Squid Game without needing to undergo Stay-Home Notice (SHN).

But before you go ahead and book the next flight to see your favourite oppas, here's a few things you need to take note of.

Make sure you're eligible to fly under the VTL

Just because Singapore's VTL with South Korea will go into effect, doesn't mean everybody is eligible.

Be fully vaccinated (with the right vaccine)

In order to qualify for the VTL, you must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with any vaccine within the World Health Organisation (WHO) emergency-use list.

If you were vaccinated in Singapore, this shouldn't be a problem, given that all the vaccines administered locally are on the list.

However, if you were vaccinated overseas, you need to verify that the vaccine you took is on the approved list.

Image via ICA.

There is an exemption for accompanying children below the age of six, who will be eligible to travel to South Korea via the VTL, and will be exempted from quarantine.

Unvaccinated children aged six and above may enter South Korea, but would be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

Interestingly, those who are fully vaccinated and have recovered from Covid-19 infection may not use the VTL, as the individual may still test positive, even if he or she has recovered.

Image via Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

Take a designated VTL flight

You must also take designated VTL flights, on either Singapore Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, or Scoot.

Remember, it is not enough that you book a flight via these four airlines; if you book a non-VTL flight on any of these airlines, be ready to repent within your SHN in a hotel room.

14-day travel history must include only Singapore or South Korea

You must also remain in Singapore or South Korea for at least 14 days consecutively prior to your travel.

Yes, this means that there is no need for your trip to South Korea to be at least 14 days long.

However, this also means that if you have just returned from a trip to another VTL nation (like Germany), you will need to wait 14 days before you can fly to South Korea via the VTL.

Don't make the assumption that if you've recently visited another VTL country, you will be able to use the VTL to visit South Korea.

Foreigners need to apply for a special pass

If you're not a Singaporean or Permanent Resident (PR), you also need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP).

Applications must be made seven to 30 calendar days prior to the intended entry into Singapore, and applications are free.

Further details on how to apply for a VTP can be found here.

Prepare the necessary documents

Once you've ensured that you are eligible for the VTL, your preparation doesn't end here.

Apply for your K-ETA

First, Singaporeans need to apply for visa-free entry via the Korea Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA) website, at least 24 hours before your flight.

This will cost you 10,000 won (about $11.50) per person.

If your nationality is not eligible for K-ETA, you will need to apply for a visa.

Buy mandatory travel insurance

You will also need mandatory travel insurance, unless you are a South Korean national, a foreigner with an approved long-term visa, or a foreigner who holds a Quarantine Exemption Certificate, which is issued for humanitarian, public interest or import purposes.

Travellers must purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 30 million won (about S$34,000), for Covid-19 related medical or treatment expenses, and hospitalisation cost.

You must also carry a physical copy of the insurance policy when travelling to South Korea.

Get an electronic vaccination certificate

You must also prepare an electronic vaccination certificate.

Doing so is easy: Head over to Notarise.gov.sg, log in to your SingPass, and you will be able to generate one with a QR code.

If you want to play it safe, you can choose to print a physical copy as well.

Be ready to get swabbed at least four times

If you're keen to travel via the VTL, be ready to take multiple swab tests.

You will need to take a pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of departure, and get a physical copy of the negative result.

Infants and children under the age of six are exempted from this requirement.

Once you arrive at Incheon Airport, you will need to take another PCR test on arrival.

You are required to pre-book the test at Safe2GO prior to your departure, and carry a copy of the confirmed booking when entering South Korea.

Once you've taken the test, you may proceed to your accommodation in South Korea using taxis, private vehicles, or designated buses and trains for international travellers, in order to isolate and wait for your test results.

You are not allowed to take domestic flights until you receive the negative result for your on-arrival PCR test.

If you choose to stay in South Korea for eight days or more, you are required to take an additional test, at a designated clinic or hospital on the 6th or 7th day of arrival.

After taking the test, you are not required to isolate yourself, and may carry on with your activities within the country.

Two days before returning to Singapore, you must take another PCR test at a medical institution recognised by Singapore's Ministry of Health, and get a physical copy of the negative result.

A list of eligible institutions can be found here.

Finally, when you arrive in Singapore, you will need to take one last PCR test on arrival.

Pre-booking is necessary, and you may do so here.

All in all, you may expect to get swabbed at least four times (if your trip is one week or less), or five times (if your trip is eight days or more).

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