Last Friday, the Singapore government announced that it will be allowing general travel to Brunei and New Zealand starting 1 Sep 2020. While many of you might have been overjoyed upon hearing the news, what does this really mean for you? Can you already book your flights to Brunei and New Zealand for your year-end vacay? If you've been itching to go on a grand trip this year, we've rounded up all you need to know in this article!
Can I pack my bags and plan for my trip now?
The short answer is... not at the moment! The government has said that while those from Singapore are allowed to travel to Brunei and New Zealand from 1 Sep, the arrangements are not two-way. More details will also be announced regarding the reciprocal green lane arrangements between Singapore and both countries.
What are the current border restrictions for Brunei and New Zealand?
The Singapore government has also advised those who intend to travel to these two countries to plan ahead and check the entry requirements for both countries. We did a check and unfortunately, both countries still impose travel restrictions on arrivals.
BruneiSince 24 Mar 2020, the Bruneian government has imposed an entry ban on ALL foreign visitors (non-Brunei citizens/non-Brunei permanent residents, including transit passengers (till further notice). Currently, all visitors
arriving into Brunei will be required to undergo a 14-day self-isolation period and must have a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) test result.Find out more here
If you're interested to travel to Brunei, do keep a lookout for updates on these pages:
According to New Zealand's immigration website, the New Zealand border is currently closed to almost all travellers wanting to enter the country by air or sea. Some exceptions will be made but it only applies to those who have a "critical purpose" for travel. On top of that, all arrivals will be tested for COVID-19 and a 14-day managed quarantine or isolation is mandatory. Find out more here.
As much as we need a getaway right now, unfortunately, leisure travel does not count as a "critical purpose" 😅
So, while this new arrangement is a step in the right direction, you'd have to wait a little longer to plan your trip. There are also many details that need to be ironed out. Before you decide to go on your trip, it's essential to know whether you'll have to serve
a stay-home notice (SHN) or quarantine once you arrive at your destination or if you'd need to take a COVID-19 test.
What about travellers coming in from Brunei and New Zealand?For travellers coming in from Brunei and New Zealand, they will not have to serve SHN when they arrive in Singapore, provided that they have remained in their respective countries in the last 14 consecutive days. Instead, they will have to take a COVID-19 test at the airport and will only be allowed to go if their test results are negative.
Before travelling, they will also need to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) 7-30 days prior to their travel date to Singapore. This will start on 1 Sep 2020, for travel from 8 Sep onwards. They will also need to cover their own medical costs if they get COVID-19 while in Singapore.
As of now, citizens and residents of Brunei are still restricted from leaving the country, unless they have received permission from the Prime Minister's Office. As for New Zealand, the government is also sticking to its advice for residents not to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders returning from these countries also won't need to serve SHN and will undergo a COVID-19
test upon arrival.
What happens if I'm a Singaporean and get COVID-19 while overseas?
You will be eligible for government subsidies as well as MediShield Life & Integrated Shield Plan coverage for your COVID-19 treatment. That's if you show symptoms within 14 days of your return to Singapore and require hospital admission for a suspected infection. However, you will need to comply with the travel advisories. Currently, Singaporeans and Singapore residents are still advised to defer all other forms of travel overseas.
Are Malaysians and Indonesians allowed to travel to Brunei and New Zealand?
Currently, both Malaysians and Indonesians are not allowed to leave their countries, unless under special circumstances.
We hope we have given you a clearer idea of whether you can start planning your trip to Brunei and New Zealand. While Singapore has allowed its residents to travel to both countries, you'd still have to wait for them to open their borders. We hope that the time will come soon! In the meantime, do check out our guides on Brunei and New Zealand: