Re-opening business travel with fast lane agreements – What you need to know about the Singapore-China fast lane initiative
For over a decade and longer than anyone can ever remember, business travellers have always felt the need to move, to travel. The sudden eruption and extent of COVID-19 severely disrupted the norms of business travel, which will change shape regardless of post-pandemic recovery.
With so much uncertainty at this moment, every announcement which signals a positive movement towards restoration of business travel is welcomed. One such piece of news which brought some cheer to Southeast Asia recently is the implementation of the Singapore-China fast lane agreement. In addition, similar travel discussions are currently ongoing for Singapore to pilot travel agreements with other countries including South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Canada; while China has already signed fast lane agreements with Germany, France, South Korea, UK and Japan.
What is the Singapore-China fast lane initiative?
The Singapore-China fast lane initiative allows for essential business and official travel between Singapore to six provinces and municipalities in mainland China, including Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang. Before companies and travellers start taking to the road (and air), it is important to consider the requirements and understand the parameters and steps for application of this initiative. Here we break it down for you.
Who is eligible?
Opened for citizens and residents of both countries, this initiative is primarily aimed at those needing to make short-term essential business and official travel between the two countries. Applicants must apply for a Safe Travel Pass, which is sponsored by either a company or government agency from the traveller’s native country. With a limit on a number of trip approvals from both countries, priority will be given to essential business travellers, technical personnel for critical operations and government officials.
What are the conditions under fast lane travel? (applies to travellers from both countries)
- Travellers must do a Covid-19 swab test 48 hours before departure, and another swab test upon arrival at the destination airport. If tested positive for COVID-19, short-term pass holders will be accorded the necessary medical treatment at his/her cost.
- Upon entry into the country, the traveller must remain in isolation in accommodations at a non-residential address they have sourced themselves and declared, for one to two days until the test result is known.
- Travellers are only allowed to move around in private hire cars/taxis or transport provided by their company (mass public transport such as public taxis, trains and buses are not allowed).
- Contact tracing protocols: It is mandatory for travellers arriving into Singapore to download Singapore’s TraceTogether app; while travellers into China will have to use the country's local Health QR code throughout the duration of the stay. It is compulsory for the host company or government agency to provide a device with the tracing app or QR code installed should the traveller not have an app-compatible device.
- Travel itinerary by the host company or government agency needs to be strictly abided by the traveller throughout the duration of their stay.
DEPARTURE FROM SINGAPORE
Documents required for boarding the flight from Singapore:
Compulsory documents include negative COVID-19 PCR test result, a valid visa and a Letter of Invitation. Traveller needs to verify the latest requirements with his/her local host company or government agency for any other additional requirements among the six provinces/municipalities.
Procedures upon arrival in China:
Fast lane travellers to Singapore will be subject to one PCR test and one serology test upon arrival.
Intra-travel within China:
Travellers can only travel between the six adjacent fast lane regions within the first 14 days upon arrival. However, relevant Letters of Invitations approved by the respective provincial/municipal authorities of the next destination needs to be obtained.
After 14 days, inter-provincial/municipal travel for the non-fast lane regions within China will be allowed for a fast lane traveller from Singapore, as long as he/she adheres to the same domestic travel restrictions imposed on residents in China to move between those provinces/municipalities concerned.
Returning to Singapore:
Travellers do not have to take another PCR test in China before returning to Singapore.
DEPARTURE FROM CHINA
Travellers must have remained in any of the six fast lane regions (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) for seven days prior to departure for Singapore and undergone a pre-departure PCR test in China at least once within 48 hours before departure,
Documents required for boarding the flight from China:
Valid SafeTravel Pass, a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, a return air ticket, and a valid visa (for visa-required passport holders) for pre-boarding checks.
Procedures upon arrival in Singapore:
Fast lane travellers from China must take a PCR test and remain isolated in a declared self-sourced hospitality accommodation for one to two days until their test results are released. Transportation from the airport to the declared accommodation will have to be provided by the host company or government agency subject to prevailing health measures. Travellers will bear the costs of the post-arrival PCR test in Singapore and stay in the declared accommodation.
Travellers to Singapore must use the TraceTogether app, take their temperature twice daily, report their health status to the host company or government agency, and adhere to prevailing public health requirements for the duration of their stay in Singapore.
Returning to China:
Travellers do not need to be tested again in Singapore before returning to China. However, they must adhere to the prevailing COVID-19 prevention and control measures of the Chinese government upon arrival back in China.
For application details and other questions, please reach out to your FCM Account Manager or Travel Consultants.