7-week wait for vehicle permits to enter S'pore amid surge in applications

LTA on Friday (April 8) said it has received about 76,000 VEP applications as at Thursday. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Motorists looking to drive into Singapore in foreign-registered vehicles will have to wait about seven weeks to get approval for entry permits, following a surge in applications.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday (April 8) said it has received about 76,000 vehicle entry permit (VEP) applications as at Thursday.

This is more than six times the weekly average before the land borders were closed in March 2020, said LTA.

Land borders between Singapore and Malaysia reopened fully on April 1 for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

"For the safety of all road users in Singapore, LTA performs thorough checks of supporting documents submitted for vehicle entry permit applications and renewals, including checking for valid vehicle insurance," said LTA.

"Based on current volume, the processing time is about seven weeks."

It has notified VEP applicants of the processing time when they apply.

LTA had last month advised travellers to plan at least two weeks ahead of their intended travel dates to allow sufficient time for VEP application and approval.

It added that it may take a longer time to process VEP applications during this period due to the expected increase in demand.

LTA urged leisure travellers to defer their plans to allow those who have to travel for work or to reunite with family to make their trips.

A valid VEP is required for anyone driving a foreign-registered vehicle into Singapore. The Autopass card, which is a stored-value card for these vehicles, serves as an electronic vehicle entry permit.

Motorists must apply for the VEP online via LTA's OneMotoring website and receive an approval e-mail before they travel.

The number of motorists driving between Singapore and Malaysia in the last two years had been minimal due to the pandemic and various restrictions.

But since April 1, travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are able to travel via the land borders between both countries without having to take any Covid-19 test or serve quarantine.

More people are crossing the borders as a result.

LTA previously said that motorists will not be allowed to apply for VEP/Autopass cards or update their road tax and motor insurance for their existing cards at Singapore's land checkpoints.

Those who are unable to present a valid Autopass card together with LTA's VEP approval e-mail will be turned back to Malaysia.

Malaysian Soh Foo Jiun, 37, a salesman, said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had been able to get approval for the vehicle entry permit within a day of submitting an application.

Since the latest VEP application window opened on March 31, he has applied for separate VEPs for three vehicles. The first one, submitted at 12.10am on March 31, was approved five days later.

But LTA told him in acknowledgement e-mails for two subsequent applications that he will have to wait between four weeks and five weeks to get approval. 

“I travel here for business, and most of my customer premises are not near to any MRT station so driving will be more convenient for me,” he said.

“The extended waiting time is a big problem. Most of my friends are still not able to get approval, so they have to postpone their trips.”

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