How to pick the right travel scheme for business visitors

WHILE Singapore has set up Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) with several countries to facilitate business travel, the more recent Air Travel Pass (ATP) scheme is another option that businesses can consider for overseas business visitors. Here is a breakdown of the key factors to consider and compare between the two schemes.

Q: What kind of travel is permitted under each scheme?
A: The ATP can be used for any purpose including business travel, but applies only to inbound travel from the approved countries/cities.

The RGL permits travel only for business and official reasons. However, because it is a bilateral agreement, it can also be used for outbound travel from Singapore to the partner country.

Q: Which countries/cities do the schemes apply to?
A: The ATP allows inbound travel from Australia (excluding New South Wales), Brunei, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and Vietnam. The currently deferred travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong is included under this scheme.

Brunei and China also have RGLs with Singapore. However, the Singapore-China RGL only applies to the provinces of Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang, while the ATP can be used by visitors from any part of China.

RGLs have also been set up with the following other countries: Germany, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia (suspended until Jan 14, as Indonesia has temporarily banned all international visitors amid concern over a more contagious strain of the coronavirus).

Q: How long can one stay in Singapore under the two schemes?
A: The maximum duration of a trip under the ATP will be generally aligned to how long the person would be allowed to stay in Singapore prior to the pandemic, based on their passport. For example, Australian passport holders can stay in Singapore for 90 days without a visa, and Taiwan citizens can remain in Singapore for 30 days.

The RGL strictly allows for a maximum of 14 days per trip.

Q: What are the health precautions involved?
A: Under the ATP, travellers must have stayed in the country of departure for the last 14 consecutive days before they depart for Singapore. Upon arrival, they must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and remain isolated for one to two days to await the test results.

Travellers under the RGL must test negative on an initial PCR test taken within 72 hours before their departure for Singapore, and take a second PCR test upon arrival in Singapore. Similarly, they must remain isolated for one to two days to wait for the test results.

Q: What restrictions on movement apply after travellers test negative for Covid-19?
A: All travellers must use the TraceTogether app or device, with exemptions under the ATP only for children travelling with parents or guardians and those with disabilities and/or special needs that prevent them from using the necessary devices.

The ATP permits travellers to move about freely and use any form of transport once they test negative on their on-arrival PCR test.

On the other hand, travellers who enter via the RGL must continue to adhere to the detailed 14-day itinerary that they submitted when applying for entry. They also are not allowed to use public transport, and must commute using private hire cars, taxis or cohorted company transport.

Q: What are the requirements and costs involved?
A: Application is free for both schemes.

When applying under the ATP, travellers must obtain a valid visa (if necessary), register and make payment for the on-arrival Covid-19 PCR test and provide proof that they have booked suitable accommodation for the one to two days of isolation. Their outlay would be S$160 for the test and the cost of their isolation accommodations.

The same requirements apply for the RGL, with a few additions:
- proof of accommodation for the entire stay (up to 14 days);
- a detailed 14-day itinerary; and
- proof of departure arrangements, such as a return ticket.

Travellers under the RGL would need to prepare S$160 for the PCR test and secure accommodation for the isolation period and the rest of their stay.

Q: What are the timelines for application and validity?
A: ATP applications should be submitted seven to 30 days before the intended date of entry. The pass will be valid for eight days (the intended date of entry and up to seven days afterward).

RGL applications should be submitted two to five weeks before the intended week of entry, and the SafeTravel Pass will be valid for that seven-day week.

Q: Where do I apply for these schemes?
A: The ATP is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. The website for application is https://capels.caas.gov.sg/atp

The RGL is administered by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. The website for application is https://eservices.ica.gov.sg/STO/

Related infographic: Business travel with the ATP