Coronavirus travel restrictions in Asia: PCR Test, Health Certificate, and Travel Quarantine Rules

Are you Fit to Fly? Before you leave for essential business travel, make sure you take precautions, such as proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Check out our article to learn more about travel restrictions, requirements, and the benefits of a negative COVID-19 test in Asia. (Research dates to 07/08/2020)

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Now that some countries are slowly relaxing their travel restrictions, passengers are able to resume some form of essential travel. To contain the spread of COVID-19, various countries in Asia have specific requirements for travellers.

For example, the most common travel requirement is proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test.

What is a PCR test? 

According to The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a PCR  (polymerase chain reaction) test for COVID-19 detects nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 (the strain of coronavirus causing COVID-19). The samples collected for the test include deep throat saliva samples, and nasal and throat secretions collected with swabs.

As we explained in our last article, government COVID-19 testing cannot clear you for international travel. Fortunately, with Evercare’s PCR test, you can obtain medical certificates valid for international travel under special arrangement. 

Which country requires the submission of a health certificate or a proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test? What are their travel quarantine rules?

China

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? According to China’s Civil Aviation Administration, all persons (including Chinese nationals) must have proof of a negative COVID-19 result.

Chinese passengers should upload results on the health QR code mini program on WeChat. 

Foreign passengers should apply with the Chinese Embassies or Consulates for the Health Declaration Letter with negative test results of COVID-19.

 Travellers* who are entering Guangdong (GD) via the Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge control points would be required to present a hard copy of a valid proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued by one of the testing institutions recognised by the HKSAR Government.

*Excluding persons who received prior approval by GD for performing essential official and business duties and cross-boundary goods vehicle drivers who would continue be subjected to the prevailing policies applicable to them

When to take it? The negative test result for GD would be valid within 24 hours from issue time of the report.
Self-Isolation Policy All persons may be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a designated facility at their own expense.


Macau

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? All arrivals into Macau (including Hong Kong residents) 

Note: According to the Macau Tourism Office, Visitors from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are prohibited from entering Macau if they have visited a foreign country 14 days prior to arriving in Macau.

When to take it? The test must be issued within the last 24 hours
Self-Isolation Policy All persons may be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a designated facility at their own expense.


Japan

PCR Test required? Yes, for foreign nationals
Who should take it? All persons arriving from this list of countries and regions (which includes Hong Kong) into Japan must undergo a PCR test.  Foreign nationals re-entering Japan should obtain a certificate of pre-entry test results. Such health certificate should be presented in this format (Word) Word, and should be filled and signed by a medical institution.

According to Korean Air, PCR saliva tests will also be conducted upon arrival by the airport quarantine authority.

When to take it? 72 hours before departure; upon Arrival
Self-Isolation Policy All nationals arriving from all regions are requested to wait 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief and to refrain from using public transportation.


Singapore

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? All fast-lane business travellers from mainland China under the Fast Lane agreements.*

*Fast Lane covers the following regions: Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang

Passengers must submit health declaration upon arrival.

When to take it? No more than 48 hours prior to departure

All arrivals and departures, regardless of nationality, must undergo the Covid-19 Test at their own expense after entering the country before the end of the 14-day stay-at-home order.

Self-Isolation Policy Inbound passengers who have stayed in Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam for the past 14 consecutive days, upon arrival in Singapore, do not need to make a 14-day stay-at-home order at government-designated hotels and facilities. It can be executed in different locations according to different status:

Singapore citizens and permanent residents can make a stay at home;

Long Term Pass (LTP), including Work Pass, Student Pass (STP), Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), Dependent Pass holders, can choose to live in their own or family members ( Rent), or stay in a hotel at your own expense.

All other tourists who are not from the above 10 countries and regions must still make stay-at-home orders at government-designated hotels and facilities after entering the country.

All those who make a stay-at-home order must stay in the above-mentioned different locations for the entire 14 days and are not allowed to go out.


Malaysia

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? According to the Hong Kong Consulate General for Malaysia, all travellers to Malaysia (Malaysians and non-Malaysians) need to present a negative PCR Covid-19 test* for entry into Malaysia.

*Test result must be in English

When to take it? 3-days validity to the date of departure to Malaysia.
Self-Isolation Policy Mandatory 14-day quarantine at a facility designated by the Malaysian government at their own expense.


Philippines

PCR Test required? Yes, upon arrival
Who should take it? According to Phillippine Airlines, all passengers will be required to undergo a RT-PCR test at their own expense.
When to take it? Upon arrival
Self-Isolation Policy 14-day quarantine at own expense (except for OFWs – government will subsidise the cost)


Indonesia

PCR Test required? Highly encouraged
Who should take it? According to Air Asiaforeigners entering the country must have a valid health certificate* in English indicating free of respiratory illness, and are highly recommended to have negative PCR tests results that is issued by health authority in respective countries.

Guests flying to Bali and Lombok are strongly advised to present negative COVID-19 PCR tests prior to arrival.
*Passengers should request medical institutions to add the word “PCR” to the medical institution when issuing the health certificate, and the test results are negative, so as not to be denied boarding and entering Indonesia)
When to take it? Test must be valid for a maximum of 7 days on the date of arrival.
Self-Isolation Policy Mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities conducted by the Indonesian government or self-quarantine under supervision of the Indonesian health authority.

Passengers without a medical certificate with a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test result are subject to medical screening and quarantine for 14 days at their own cost. 


Thailand

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? The local government announced that starting from July 1st, the entry of foreigners from five regions will be relaxed, including business travellers and experts and technicians from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong, with a daily limit of 200 people.

Thailand requires passengers from ‘Disease Infected Zones’, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, to submit a health certificate with a negative COVID test

Passengers can choose between Thai, English and Simplified Chinese. After filling the form they must print the certificate and bring it to the airport.

This does not apply to nationals of Thailand.

When to take it? At most 72 hours prior to departure.
Self-Isolation Policy Two weeks of quarantine at own expense.


Korea

PCR Test required? Yes
Who should take it? Passengers with a Re-Entry Permit issued by Korea (Rep.) who left Korea (Rep.) after 1 June 2020 must have a medical certificate.
Chinese nationals travelling to South Korea for business purposes must have proof of a negative test for COVID-19.
When to take it? According to Korean Air, the test must be taken 72 hours prior to arrival.
Self-Isolation Policy Koreans and long-term foreigners staying in Korea must be quarantined at home for 14 days; foreigners who stay for short-term stays such as tourism* must be quarantined at designated facilities for 14 days.

Foreigners who stay for a short-term stay must submit a 14-day quarantine consent form for designated facilities when receiving a boarding pass. The cost of the quarantine facility is at their own expense (100,000 won/day).

*The following foreigners are exempt from home isolation/facility isolation:

  1. Holders of A1 (diplomatic), A2 (official), and A3 (international agreement) visas (only for themselves, excluding family members);
  2. Those who have obtained the approval of the Korean Embassy in a foreign country before entering the country, have reasonable visits for important business purposes, academic purposes (international conferences), other public welfare or humanitarian purposes, and have issued an Isolation Exemption Certificate.


Disclaimer: Though there are some circumstances where
essential travel is required, we are not endorsing leisure travel due to health and safety reasons. We are not an authoritative source on immigration requirements. To check your eligibility to travel, please check IATA Travel Centre and consult the relevant embassy of the country you are visiting and the airline you are travelling with. 

If you want to travel safely and get PCR-testing in the comfort of your home, click here to learn more about the process and get started.