The Singapore-China Fast Lane: Key Features
- The Singapore-China fast lane came into operation on June 8, 2020, which allows for essential business and official travel between Singapore and six provinces in China.
- The initiative is essentially a ‘travel bubble,’ which enables travelers to cross borders with minimal or no quarantine.
- Travelers will have to undertake a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 before flying as well as after arrival to their destination.
- The Singaporean government is looking to expand the fast lane concept to Canada and South Korea.
On June 8, 2020, Singapore and China opened its ‘fast lane’ initiative, which allows for essential business and official travel between Singapore to six provinces in mainland China.
This latest scheme involves creating a ‘travel bubble,’ and enables citizens and residents to cross borders with minimal or no quarantine required. An early example of this being implemented has been the corridor established between China and South Korea on May 1; Australia and New Zealand are in talks to set up a corridor in June.In addition to the fast lane with China, Singapore is in discussions with Canada and South Korea. Travelers going through this corridor will have to undergo stringent health checks prior and post arrival in Singapore or China, and their work itinerary will be closely monitored.
Singapore began easing lockdown restrictions from May 5, although health check measures still apply to all businesses, such as maintaining social distancing and the wearing of masks and observing good hygiene.
What are the fixed destinations under the fast lane?
The fast lane facilitates travel between the provinces of Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Zhejiang and Singapore. The scheme is open for citizens and residents of both countries and is primarily aimed at those needing to make essential business and official travel between the two nations. If deemed successful, the arrangement will be expanded to other provinces in China.
How to apply for the fast lane travel
Residents from China traveling to Singapore must be sponsored by either a Singaporean company or a government agency in Singapore, which will file the application on their behalf for a SafeTravel Pass.
An approval letter will be issued to the applicant if they are successful and this letter will be needed when applying for the visa (unless the applicant already has an existing valid visa). Travelers can check the status of their visa application through the visa e-service website. Furthermore, the traveler will have to submit a pre-trip health and travel history declaration via the online SG Arrival Card.
Singapore residents who need to travel to China must also be sponsored by a Chinese company or a government agency in China. They will make the application on behalf of the traveler, and if approved, they can apply for a visa at the nearest PRC embassy in Singapore.
Pre-departure health checks
Approved applicants will need to undertake a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 at least 48 hours before flying from either country. Applicants flying from China to Singapore must have remained in one of the six registered provinces at least seven days before departure. As such, upon arrival in Singapore, the traveler must present the SafeTravel Pass, a negative PCR result, a valid visa (for those that require it), and a return ticket.
Post-arrival health checks
Travelers arriving in Singapore will have to take another PCR test, at their own expense. The host company or government agency will transport the traveler to their declared accommodation to undergo self-isolation while waiting for the results. If the results turn out to be positive for the virus, the traveler will undergo medical treatment at a designated hospital, also at their own expense.
Travelers should also install the TraceTogether app, which is designed to support the government’s contact tracing capabilities.
The process is similar for Singaporeans travelling to the six prescribed provinces in China. They will have to take a PCR test upon arrival, at their own expense, and while waiting for the results they will have to self-isolate at a government appointed facility.
If the traveler is COVID-19 positive they will undergo medical treatment at their own expense.
Travel itinerary strictly controlled
Travelers must abide by the strict itinerary provided by their host company or government agency for the first 14 days. This includes not taking public transport with the exception of taxis, private car rentals, or company transport. Visitors must also adhere to the latest health regulations of the country/region they are travelling to.
Singaporeans that need to travel between the six fast lane provinces will need to obtain permission from the relevant provincial/municipal government whereas those who wish to travel outside of the six provinces will firstly need to stay in the said province(s) for 14 days.