June 12, 2020

Singapore-China: Creation of fast lane for essential travel

As Singapore considers the safe reopening of the country’s borders following the circuit breaker period, it is exploring the possibility of “fast lane” agreements with a select few other countries and regions. This will enable Singaporeans and its residents to complete essential activities overseas and for foreigners to enter Singapore under controlled measures ensuring public health requirements.

What has changed?

The Singaporean Ministry of Foreign affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry have issued a joint statement announcing the Singapore-China fast lane for essential travel. The fast lane will facilitate essential travel between six Chinese provinces (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) and Singapore. It is expected that the fast lane will be extended to other Chinese provinces over time.

Residents from Singapore seeking to enter China via the fast lane process will require sponsorship from either a company or government agency in China, who will apply on the individual’s behalf to the local provincial or municipal authorities. This is currently open to government agency sponsored individuals and will be opened up to company sponsored applicants at a later date. Once approved, the applicant will receive an invitation to apply for a visa from the PRC Embassy in Singapore and be required to submit a health certificate to the Chinese authorities.

Equally, residents from China seeking to enter Singapore via the fast lane process will also require sponsorship from either a company or government agency in Singapore, who will apply on the individual’s behalf for a SafeTravel Pass. This is currently open to government agency sponsored individuals and will be opened up to company sponsored applicants at a later date. Once approved the applicant and sponsor will be issued an approval letter with which a visa requiring national can then apply for an entry visa through the normal channels. If the applicant holds a visa already, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. Those applicants who prior to Covid-19 did not require a visa for Singapore, will also not require a visa for the fast lane process. On receipt of approval, all applicants will also have to provide pre-travel health and travel history declarations via the SG Arrival Card prior to entering Singapore.

For either country, approved applicants will be required to complete strict pre-departure health checks and follow guidelines in relation to where they have been resident prior to travel and to carry the required entry documents for their arrival. Following said entry, they will also be required to complete further medical checks and follow rules in relation to quarantine and requirements for transport between places of work and residence.

Further to abiding by the public health measures post arrival into either Singapore or China, the individuals will need to adhere to an itinerary controlled by their company or government for the first 14 days. Those individuals arriving and needing to travel between any of the 6 Chinese fast lane provinces within the first 14 days, will need to obtain advance approval from the provincial government of the next destination before they can enter.

Who is affected?

The above will apply to all Singaporean and Chinese nationals, and legal residents of these jurisdictions, who need to complete essential travel between these fast lane locations.

For further information on the Singapore China fast lane, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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