SINGAPORE - From Monday (Nov 29), Singapore and Malaysia will allow quarantine-free travel at the Woodlands land checkpoint. This comes after nearly 20 months of border restrictions since last March.
The authorities said on Wednesday that up to 2,880 people will be able to travel each day, with 1,440 travellers in each direction.
Here is how it works:
1. Who can make the trip
Travellers have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders (work permit, employment pass, student's pass or long-term visit pass) of the country that they are entering.
This means that those coming into Singapore must be Singapore citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders. The same rules apply for Malaysians in Singapore who want to go home.
This is to give priority to those who have been working in either country to visit their families. More than 100,000 Malaysians continue to work here despite the border restrictions.
General travel could resume from around mid-December.
2. No self-driving, only buses
Travellers must use one of the 64 daily designated Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) bus services between the two countries to avoid quarantine.
Those who walk or drive will still be subjected to prevailing border control measures, which currently include a seven-day stay-home notice.
The bus services are split evenly between Transtar Travel going between Woodlands temporary bus interchange and Larkin Sentral bus terminal in Johor Baru, and Handal Indah going between Queen Street Terminal and Larkin Sentral bus terminal.
Buses will run from 7.30am to 9.30pm everyday. People are encouraged to turn up about an hour early to facilitate clearance.
A bus from Larkin Terminal in Johor Baru arriving at Queen Street Terminal in Singapore during the VTL land exercise on Nov 23, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
3. Only the Causeway at Woodlands will be open
The two countries are working towards restoring travel through Tuas Second Link. The authorities on both sides are also working towards allowing quarantine-free travel in the future for those who want to drive or bike between the two countries.
4. One Covid-19 test to enter Singapore, two to go to Malaysia
Those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore must test negative in a pre-departure polymerase chain reaction or professionally administered antigen rapid test (ART), which must be done within two calendar days before departure for Singapore.
The same applies to those travelling from Singapore to Malaysia, but there will also be an additional on-arrival ART at Larkin Sentral bus terminal.
Children aged two years and below in the calendar year do not need to be tested.
Those entering Singapore under the VTL must have been in Malaysia, any other VTL or category 1 country or region as recognised by the Government, or Singapore, in the last 14 days.
5. Tickets on sale from Thursday
Bus tickets will go on sale at 8am on Nov 25 on both bus companies' websites for Transtar Travel and for Handal Indah.
Tickets will be released for sale 30 days ahead, and will cost $15 from Singapore to Malaysia and RM20 (S$6.50) from Malaysia to Singapore for adults.
Child tickets will cost $8 and RM10 (S$3.30).
An important point to note is that they must be booked three days prior to the date of departure.
6. Documents needed
First, all VTL travellers must have been fully vaccinated and be able to show digital proof recognised by the Singapore authorities. Only those who are aged 12 and below are exempted from this criterion, but they must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated traveller.
All travellers must also submit the SG arrival card that includes an electronic health declaration via the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website or through the SG arrival card mobile application.
This should be done three calendar days before departure, and is free of charge.
Those who have been vaccinated overseas will be asked to upload their vaccination certificate during this submission.
7. Additional requirement for Singapore long-term pass holders
In addition to the above documents, long-term pass holders must also apply for a vaccinated travel pass on the SafeTravel website at least three days before arriving in Singapore.
Singapore citizens and permanent residents need not apply for this.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.