VTL travel is tricky business, especially if it’s your first time.
There’s a ton of paperwork and paperwork to sort out, and you still haven’t gone past the wait (also the fear, if we’re being honest) of sitting on a plane after two years. If you’ve been planning a trip to South Korea, fueled by your latest Squid gaming obsession, faint-worthy K-Drama actors or more, you’ll need more than your heart, your passport, and your check-in baggage when you head to the airport this time.
Here’s an overview of everything you need before your flight to South Korea via VTL, and what to expect when you arrive.
What you will need to prepare before you fly to South Korea via VTL
- Passport: As with travel before the pandemic, you will need a passport valid for at least six months.
- Pre-departure PCR test: You will need to take a PCR test 72 hours before your departure at any licensed clinic, including Healthway Medical, SATA CommHealth. It can take up to 24 hours for results to be emailed, so be sure to book your test on time. If the copy the clinic sent you is not notarized, be sure to notify the document here. Print the notarized document with the QR code and make sure you have an electronic copy as well. It will cost between S $ 107 and S $ 150 depending on your clinic and other supplements.
- Notarized vaccination status: Only vaccinated travelers can travel via South Korea’s VTL, and you will no longer be able to rely on TraceTogether once abroad. Notarize your vaccination status here. Print the notarized document with the QR code and make sure you have an electronic copy as well.
- K-ETA Visa: In the past, Singaporeans did not need a visa to visit South Korea, but all visa-free travel to the country has been temporarily suspended. If you are traveling under South Korea VTL, apply for the visa here. It will cost S $ 12 and can be used for 2 years.
- Travel insuranceNote: You will need to talk to your insurer, as you will need an insurance policy that covers medical expenses related to COVID-19, with a minimum coverage of 30 million won (S $ 34,000).
- Reservation for the PCR test on arrival (Korea): South Korea requires travelers to take a PCR test upon arrival at Incheon International Airport upon arrival. One must reserve here before flying. Print your reservation once it has been confirmed. It will cost around S $ 200.
- Booking for the pre-departure ART test (Korea): Self-administered ART tests are not allowed, so you will need to have one professionally performed 48 hours before your flight at one of the approved medical facilities. here.
- Reservation for the PCR test on arrival (Changi Airport): When you return to Singapore, you will need to take another PCR test at Changi Airport and this can be booked and paid for before your flight here. At the time of writing, the test will cost you S $ 125.
- Additional PCR test in Korea on 6/7 days for travelers staying longer than 8 days: Travelers will need to take another PCR test on the 6/7 day of arrival if staying for more than 8 days. The list of medical institutions can be found here. You will not be rehired to isolate yourself after this test, and it will cost you around S $ 150 to S $ 200.
- Download the quarantine reports self-monitoring application: This app is similar to our local TraceTogether app.
- Supervised ART rests in Singapore on days 3 and 7: As part of Singapore’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the new Omicron variant, all travelers are required to take COVID-19 tests daily for seven days upon arrival. Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 are self-administered ART tests, and results can be submitted online using a link that will be sent to you. On days 3 and 7, ART should be performed in a supervised setting at a combined test center or rapid test center.
Essentials and tips when traveling
- Get a Korean SIM card: It’s an “optional” thing to have before you fly, which is why we haven’t included it in the checklist above. At the immigration counter, you will need to provide a Korean phone number as part of the card upon arrival, and those not staying in a hotel might not have access to a local phone number. It will also be useful to have a Korean SIM card to use for local contact tracing. Those taking a second PCR test on days 6/7 will need to leave a local contact number for notification of results. Therefore, although obtaining a SIM card is optional, it is strongly recommended that you do so for ease of movement. This Xplori SIM card has 5GB of data for up to 20 days and will only cost you S $ 14.90. Best of all, you can have it delivered to Singapore before you leave so you can use it right away.
- PCR test on arrival (Korea): It doesn’t matter whether you choose the East or West test center when you arrive, as travelers will be led by their friendly staff from the airport to the locations after you enter the arrivals hall. The timing of your booking should be reasonable – it took a little over an hour to go through the various checkpoints and collect our bags, which should give you a rough idea of ââwhen you need to book your test PCR on the website.
- Get a file: With so many documents required, you’d better have a file with everything in place.
- Health declaration form: Before returning to Singapore, you will need to declare your state of health electronically via this ICA link.
Traveling can be nerve-racking during this time, but with this South Korean VTL checklist, things should be a lot smoother on your next visit. Have a good trip and have a good trip.
All information provided here is correct at the time of writing. However, this is subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation..
(Hero and featured image credit: Ansel Huang via Unsplash)