Coronavirus: Strict rules for Singapore, Malaysia border travel

All travellers must have documentation to show that the authorities of the visiting country had approved the trip.
All travellers must have documentation to show that the authorities of the visiting country had approved the trip.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

They include swab test and 7-day stay-home notice for work pass holders on longer stay

Applications for cross-border travel between Singapore and Malaysia for long-term pass holders and travellers on essential business and official visits will start on Aug 10.

But those travelling under the two schemes meant for short-and long-term visits would have to abide by strict precautionary measures before, during and after their visits.

For example, work pass holders entering Singapore under the scheme that requires them to stay here for longer periods of at least 90 days will be required to take a Covid-19 swab test and serve a stay-home notice (SHN) of at least seven days.

This is shorter than the usual 14-day SHN period.

Shorter-term visitors who plan to stay in the destination country for up to 14 days must also adhere to a controlled itinerary for the duration of their stay.

They will also not be allowed to use public transport in Singapore or Malaysia for the duration of their stay, except for private-hire cars, taxis or company transport.

All travellers must also obtain approval for the trip from the authorities of the destination country through applications made by employers, companies or government agencies.

All visitors must also be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival.

Details on the requirements, health protocols and application processes involved for entry and exit into Malaysia and Singapore were posted on the website of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority yesterday.

They follow an earlier agreement between Singapore and Malaysia on July 14 to start discussions on how cross-border travel can be facilitated for long-term pass holders as well as essential business and official travellers.

The resumption of cross-border travel between the two countries will take place under two schemes: the reciprocal green lane for travellers on shorter visits, and the longer-term periodic commuting arrangement.


These schemes are not available to students or tourists.

The periodic commuting arrangement scheme allows for longer-term work and business-related travel, with visitors having to remain in the destination country for at least 90 days before returning for home leave.

Travellers under this scheme can only do so via the two land border crossings at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.

Those entering Singapore are required to serve an SHN of at least seven days and take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test.

The employee can commence work only after serving the SHN and testing negative for the coronavirus infection.

If tested positive for Covid-19, he will be treated here.

Singapore citizens and permanent residents returning to Singapore for home leave after working for at least 90 days in Malaysia under the periodic commuting arrangement can apply for a waiver of SHN.

The other scheme, the reciprocal green lane, allows short-term travel for essential business or official purposes between the two countries for up to 14 days.

Such travellers can travel only via airports that have available non-stop flight routes between Singapore and Malaysia, or via the land checkpoints.

Travellers must also take other measures prior to their arrival in Singapore or Malaysia.

These include taking a pre-departure Covid-19 PCR test at accredited laboratories within 72 hours before departure and obtaining a certificate of having tested negative for Covid-19.

This certificate must be presented in the country of arrival.

Another swab test will be done on the traveller upon his arrival.

After the swab test, travellers must remain in isolation until negative test results are released.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 will undergo treatment at their own cost.

Those visiting Malaysia or Singapore under this scheme must also adhere to a controlled itinerary for the duration of their stay, and would not be allowed to use public transport, except for private-hire cars, taxis or company transport.

They must also download and use contact-tracing applications, TraceTogether in Singapore and the MySejahtera app in Malaysia.

More information on the schemes is available here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2020, with the headline 'Strict rules for S'pore, Malaysia border travel'. Print Edition | Subscribe