COVID-19 Update: Asia-Pacific

Despite other countries easing restrictions, the Asia-Pacific region has remained tightly restricted due to the surge in the Omicron variant.

Increase in Restrictions

With the sharp rise in Omicron cases throughout the Asia/Pacific region and globally, many countries across the region have scaled back the recent easing of restrictions for international travel. As Omicron continues to spread at an unprecedented rate, the increase in restrictions is expected to continue in the near term. As such, the APAC region continues to be the most restricted across the globe regarding the difficulty of international travel.

Read below to learn more about restrictions for specific countries.

Please note: Requirements for entry listed for countries below may not be all-inclusive. Please check with the World Fuel Services Trip Support team to obtain information on all necessary documentation, quarantine, and testing requirements for your desired countries of travel.

Popular Business and Tourist Destinations

Click the country to learn about their specific restrictions.

Singapore

Singapore recently suspended their Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) through January 20, 2022 and announced that there will be a reduction in travelers allowed to enter using the VTL starting on January 21, 2022. As such, those foreign travelers and visitors (short-term visitors and long-term pass holders) wishing to enter Singapore using the VTL as of January 21, 2022 must apply for Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) between 7 and 30 days prior to arrival into Singapore.

Only travelers from a small subset of countries including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States are allowed to enter via the VTL.

Travelers from Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan can apply for entry into Singapore via and Air Travel Pass (ATP) between 7 and 30 days prior to arrival. And foreign crew must apply for entry permission with the Civil Aviation Authority at least 5 days prior to arrival. Business Aviation operators who wish to operate into Singapore with VTL travelers must apply for approval with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore at least 7 calendar days prior to arrival.

All passengers arriving via the VTL or on an ATP must take a COVID test upon arrival and to self-isolate until they receive the results.

Indonesia

Indonesia currently only allows foreign travelers to enter via five airports: Jakarta/WIII, Jakarta/WIHH, Manado/WAMM, Bali/WADD, and Kijang/WIDN. However, if the purpose of travel is for tourism, only Bali/WADD, and Kijang/WIDN may be used. Foreign travelers (other than those arriving for tourism) holding one of the following travel documents are eligible for entry: 1) Diplomatic and Official Visa, 2) Diplomatic and Official Stay Permit, 3) Indonesia Temporary Residence Card (KITAS), 4) Indonesia Permanent Resident Card (KITAP), 5) Certain Visitor Visa types, and 6) Certain Limited Stay Visa types.

Foreign non-immigrant crew must hold either an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card or a traditional border crossing travel document. For arrivals into Bali/WADD and Kijang/WIDN for tourism purposes only, travelers arriving from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, or Norway are currently allowed entry.

In addition, these travelers must present proof of hotel reservation and payment and have international travel insurance with at least $100,000 USD coverage. They must also hold a tourist or limited stay visa. All foreign travelers arriving in Indonesia are subject to a 7-to-14-day quarantine with periodic COVID testing during their stay.

Malaysia

Malaysia remains pretty tightly restricted to foreign travelers. There is a Langkawi Travel Bubble that allows foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated and have a booked tour with a licensed tour operator to travel to Langkawi for tourism purposes.

Travelers must stay in Langkawi for at least three days prior to departing internationally. The rest of Malaysia is open only for essential purposes for foreign travelers with a MyTravelPass approval from Malaysia Immigrations.

Thailand

Quarantine-free travel to Thailand that was previously eligible via the Thailand Pass test-and-go sandbox has now been suspended until further notice. There is still a sandbox program in place in Phuket, which requires travelers to quarantine in a SHA+ hotel for at least 7 days and have an RT-PCR test done on arrival and on day 6 or 7 at the hotel.

Travelers who do not currently hold a Thailand Pass QR code and traveling to cities other than Phuket must quarantine for at least 10 days at an AQ hotel and have an RT-PCR test done on arrival and on day 8 or 9 at the hotel. It is also necessary to hold a travel insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $50,000 USD.

Only nationals of 63 countries are permitted to enter Thailand based on the Notification of Operation Centre for Measures on the Entry into and Departure from the Kingdom and Protection of Thai Nationals Abroad dated 30 October 2021.

Philippines

The Philippines has remained tightly restricted since the onset of COVID in 2020. Currently, the requirements to enter differ based on whether a traveler is arriving from what is considered a green, yellow, or red list country. For arrivals from a green list country, fully vaccinated travelers must present proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure from their origin, testing upon arrival, quarantine at a government-designated facility until the release of a negative result on day 3, and home/hotel quarantine until day 10.

Fully vaccinated travelers arriving from a yellow list country must present proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure from their origin, testing upon arrival, quarantine at a government-designated facility until the release of a negative result on day 5 of quarantine, and home/hotel quarantine until day 14. Travelers arriving from red list countries are limited to returning Filipinos only on repatriation flights and are subject to testing and quarantine.

Australia

Australia has recently begun to ease restrictions on international travelers. As of 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated, eligible visa holders, can now travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

It may also be possible to travel to Australia without a travel exemption for fully vaccinated travelers who are on the list of those who are automatically exempt, or if traveling under a safe travel zone arrangement. All others are still required to apply for a travel exemption.

Quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements vary depending on the state of arrival. For instance, in New South Wales, fully vaccinated travelers must go straight to their home or accommodation after arrival, get a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival, and can stop self-isolating upon receipt of negative test results.

Another rapid antigen test must be taken on or after day 6. Travelers are also asked not to visit any high-risk places until after day 7 and assume all test results are negative. Those who are not fully vaccinated must go into a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

New Zealand

New Zealand on the other hand continues to remain closed to most foreign, international travelers other than those on essential travel. Travelers to New Zealand from all countries, except eligible passengers from a quarantine-free travel zone, must complete a 10-day stay in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ).

Travelers are legally required to obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher confirming their place in a managed isolation facility before boarding a flight. The foreign-based crew are required to stay at a MIQ facility for the duration of their stay in New Zealand. If operating to New Zealand travelers should be fully vaccinated and have a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure.

Japan

Japan has recently suspended most cross-border travel for the majority of foreign international travelers other than those traveling for essential purposes. The foreign nationals eligible to apply for travel to Japan are short-term visitors (less than 3 months stay) for business or work purposes, and those who are applying for long-term stay in Japan.

The following are required for those eligible to apply for travel to Japan: 1) Designated application documents, including a written pledge as well as an activity plan, must be submitted from a receiving organization located in Japan to a Ministry in charge of the business, and 2) The persons must be screened by the Ministry in charge of the business in advance.

Those eligible to enter Japan must present a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours of departure, be tested again upon arrival, stay for 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief, and must refrain from using public transportation in Japan.

South Korea

South Korea has extended strict border controls through at least February 3, 2022, due to the rapid spread of Omicron. These controls include a mandatory 10-day quarantine at a government-approved facility for all permitted international travelers with the exception of passengers arriving from Singapore or Saipan who had already been approved under travel bubble arrangements.

New bookings for the quarantine-free travel from Singapore under these travel bubble arrangements has been suspended, however. Those travelers who have been permitted to enter South Korea must also present proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. There is also an outright ban on all passengers arriving from Ghana, Zambia, Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Botswana, Kingdom of eSwatini, Zimbabwe, Nigeria unless they hold a valid A-1, A-2, or diplomatic visa.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has arguably the most complicated COVID restrictions of any location in the world. One recent restriction that will be in effect until January 21, 2022, is that all passenger flights from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America are prohibited from landing in Hong Kong.

In addition, persons who have stayed in these places for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong. The Government has also announced that in view of the rapidly worsening global epidemic situation due to the Omicron variant, a series of measures will be implemented to further guard against the importation of cases, including: 1) Tightening the flight suspension mechanism with immediate effect, apart from the existing suspension criteria, if four or more passengers are confirmed with COVID-19 upon arrival in Hong Kong from the same location within seven days, flights from that location will be suspended for 14 days, 2) Shortening the lead time for specimen collection for pre-departure nucleic acid tests for persons boarding for flights to Hong Kong from 72 hours to 48 hours, and 3) With effect from December 21, 2021, Passengers from Group A places with enhanced surveillance are required to undergo compulsory quarantine at a quarantine center for the first four days, daily testing in the first seven days and to undergo testing on alternate days thereafter.

It is highly recommended to consult the World Fuel Services Trip Support team with specific testing and quarantine requirements for Hong Kong as these are fully dependent on the country of origin.

China

In China, all international business jet flights carrying passengers onboard will not be approved until further notice unless specific approval from the Foreign Affairs Office of the State Council or other equivalent departments from the State Council has been obtained by the operator. Those respective departments will then liaise with the Civil Aviation Authority of China directly to notify them of approval. The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current spread of the Omicron variant.

The above-mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be announced accordingly. The previous procedure of obtaining a CDC letter from the local, respective government agencies in China now only applies to flights arriving from Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau.

Foreign passengers who have received prior approval to travel to China must apply for a Declaration of Health Status with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate abroad by providing a negative nucleic acid Covid-19 test certificate. These travelers should also expect at least 14-day quarantine in their hotel upon arrival.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, strict border control measures will remain in force as there is a nationwide Level 3 alert in place due to testing capacity restraints and a lack of medical resources as the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan remains unstable. Border control measures are as follows: 1) Non-R.O.C. nationals without a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) are temporarily barred from entry. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for individuals who obtain entry permission for emergency or humanitarian reasons, and 2) Transit travelers are temporarily barred from entry.

Those measures will be adjusted by the Central Epidemic Command Center on a rolling basis based on the status of the pandemic at home and abroad and the effectiveness of COVID-19 control measures implemented in the community. Travelers who are able to gain approval to travel to Taiwan must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 48 hours or less prior to departure, and test again upon arrival.

They must also arrange a quarantined hotel or a room in a group quarantine facility at their own expense where they can undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers are also required to take a quarantine vehicle to their quarantine hotel or a group quarantine facility where they plan to complete the 14-day quarantine at their own expense after testing.

India

India is still allowing international business jet flights to operate but they have recently reimposed a mandatory 7-day quarantine for all international travelers regardless of their country of origin or vaccination status. All travelers entering India must fulfill the following requirements: 1) Submit complete and factual information in self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel, including the last 14-day travel details, and 2) Upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report. The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the origin location.


Travelers from higher-risk countries (Europe, United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Hong Kong, Israel, Congo, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Zambia) will be required to take a PCR test at the arrival airport and to wait for their test results before leaving or taking a connecting flight. If the test result is negative, they will be required to quarantine for 7 days and shall take an RT-PCR test on the 8th day after arrival in India.

Travelers will also be required to upload the results of the RT-PCR test done on the 8th day on the Air Suvidha portal. If the 8th-day result is negative, travelers will further self-monitor their health for the next 7 days. Other travelers not from higher-risk countries will be randomly selected for testing upon arrival.
 

Common Tech Stop and/or Tourist Locations

Click the country to learn about their specific restrictions.

Fiji

Fiji is allowing quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated travelers from Travel Partner countries which include American Samoa, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Greece, Guam, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.

Travelers must present proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to departure, have a confirmed booking at a Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) approved accommodation as well an approved airport transfer. They will also be required to take a PCR test 48 hours after their arrival.

During the 48 hours prior to this test, they can have quarantine-free travel around the island as long as it is with CFC-approved partners. They will be required to present a QR code to do so.

There are currently no restrictions for technical refueling stops in which nobody will leave the airport. However, for overnight crew rest, proof of a negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of departure will be required and a stay at a CFC-approved accommodation is required.

French Polynesia

In French Polynesia, home to popular tourist destinations of Papeete and Bora Bora, and sometimes used as a technical/refueling stop, it is mandatory for travelers over 12 to present proof of either 1) A negative result of an RT-PCR or antigen test, carried out within 24 hours prior to departure, or 2) negative result of an RT-PCR within 2 days and an Antigen Rapid test within 24hrs prior to departure.

They must also perform an RT-PCR self-test upon arrival. Another self-test will be required on day 4. Travelers who are fully vaccinated and having stayed for 15+ days in any of the French territories, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries on French Polynesia’s green and amber list do not require a compelling reason for travel.

They must visit the ETIS platform and obtain an ETIS receipt prior to travel as well as complete an online sworn statement. There are no quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers arriving from green or amber countries. For technical fuel stops where the crew will not leave the airport, there are no restrictions. However, if there are technical issues with the aircraft, COVID testing will be required. And any overnight rest stops are subject to government approval.

Kiribati

In Kiribati, home to Kiritimati (aka Christmas Island), technical stops for refueling have been common for shorter-range aircraft heading to the south Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand from North America for many years. However, the borders remain closed in Kiribati until further notice.

It is possible to request special approval from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs first before the Ministry of Transport will consider an application to land. Special Approvals are even required for Humanitarian Flights to Transport Essential Equipment, Medical Supplies and Medevac Operations. If approval is secured a Health Arrival Form must be filled out, and temperature checks will be conducted on all travelers upon arrival. Mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility will also be required.

Tech stops also require the same special permissions outlined above.

Guam

In Guam, travelers are subject to a possible 7-to-10-day quarantine upon arrival. However, there are a few avenues in which to request quarantine exemption. Fully vaccinated travelers who have received their final dose at least 14 days prior to arrival can apply for quarantine exemption by presenting a valid photo ID, a primary form of proof of vaccination, and a secondary form of proof of vaccination.

Alternatively, they may also provide a valid photo ID, single proof of vaccination, and either 1) proof of negative RT-PCR test taken with 72 hours of departure, or 2) proof of negative Antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure. It is also possible for travelers who have contracted and recovered from COVID with the previous 90 days to request exemption from quarantine. To do so they must present a valid photo ID along with either 1) A valid positive COVID-19 test result collected between 10 and 90 days prior to departure, or 2) A valid positive COVID-19 test result collected within 10 days prior to departure and subsequent clearance from a physician, clinic, or health department.

Those who do not receive an exemption must quarantine at a government-approved Quarantine Facility (QFAC). Then, subject to availability and at no cost to travelers, a COVID-19 viral test will be conducted on day 5 or 6 of quarantine, administered by DPHSS or another provider designated by DPHSS. If the test result is negative the individual will be released after day 7 of quarantine and must continue to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, as recommended by DPHSS.

For technical stops where crew and passengers won’t leave the airport, there are no restrictions. For overnight stops, the same rules apply as outlined above. Crew and passengers must seek quarantine exemptions.

 

Tight Restrictions Return

In general, the tight restrictions in the Asia/Pacific region seem to be returning to many countries in conjunction with the rapid spread of Omicron. With every new variant of COVID-19 that arises, any positive movement in the easing of these restrictions seems to quickly be rescinded by the respective government authorities.

As such, the ease of international travel to the region continues to lag behind that of much of the rest of the world. It is best to continually monitor the situation and consult the World Fuel Services Trip Support team regarding the latest restrictions as there is much fluidity to the situation.

Author

About the Author

Pete Bennett - Manager, Global Trip Support, Singapore

As Manager, Global Trip Support, Singapore for World Fuel Services, Pete Bennett oversees the day-to-day operations of the Singapore, Shanghai, and Mumbai Trip Support teams. Since joining World Fuel Services in 2004, he has been instrumental in the development of the International Trip Support department, having held positions as Operations Team Supervisor and Operations Floor Supervisor before being promoted to Trip Support management in 2009. He is currently based in the World Fuel Services Singapore office where he has been since July 2016. Pete holds an FAA Dispatch License and a Private Pilot Certificate.

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