Singapore now offers 96-hour Visa Free Transit for Indians

Singapore has been one of the biggest draw for Indians, and a long standing hub for Indian passengers to transfer to Japan/Australia as well as the North American continent who chose to fly west. However, it always sounded odd that they could not enter the country unless they had a separate visa for Singapore. I remember back in 2013, I could not organise a visa in time, and I was at the lounge for the whole 15 hours I was in Singapore. A client of our mileage redemption service recently flew Singapore Airlines Suites Class from Australia to India, however, he needed a separate visa as well for Singapore.

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But this has been changed as of October 2016. The new rules notified by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority now allow for a 96-hour Visa Free Transit Facility for Indians, on one leg of their trip (outbound or return) when travelling from India to a third-country by air. To be admitted Visa Free, here are the requirements for Indian passengers:

  • You need to have a valid onward air ticket with journey commencing within 96-hours of arrival.
  • You need a valid visa/long-term pass (with a validity of at least 1 month from the date of entry into Singapore) issued by the any of the following countries:
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Japan
    • New Zealand
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America
    • Germany
    • Switzerland
  • Single Journey Visas (SJV) issued by the above countries are also acceptable when transiting through Singapore on the onward or return leg of the same journey. For those on the return leg of the journey, i.e. after the SJV has been utilized, the following conditions must be met:
    • The traveller travels directly from the country that issued the SJV, on route through Singapore, directly back to the home country; and
    • The traveller has not returned to their home country since the SJV was last utilized.

How does this work?

So if you have long term residency or visas (such as the US B1/B2) on your passport, you should be able to go through to Singapore without a visa when travelling to any country. Let us say, you are doing a Mumbai-Singapore-Seoul trip and you would like to enter Singapore for a 2 night halt, you could flash your 5-year or 10-year American visa (B1/B2 at the least), and go into Singapore.

However, if you have a single visit visa to Japan, then you can only do, for example, a Mumbai-Singapore-Tokyo trip, and stop at Singapore on one of the legs of your journey.

It does strike me as odd that instead of the entire Schengen Zone, Visa Free Transit is offered only against long term Visa issued specifically by Germany and Switzerland.

Another point to remember, the 96 hour transit cannot be extended under any circumstances, so don’t bank on that if you need to stay longer.

Here is the exact notification from the ICA. You can use this privilege with any carrier and not just Singapore Airlines.

Bottomline

This is great news for us, because this means that Indians can now plan a journey to/through Singapore while going to other countries, and this should add to the attractiveness of Singapore as a transit destination.

Will you be considering utilizing the Singapore Visa Free Transfer Facility in the future?

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Comments

  1. I am Indian Passport holder studying in china, i want to go back to India via Singapore transit about 30hrs, so i need visa or i can get VFTF there.

  2. I am travelling to Jakarta via Singapore in May 2017. I have a five hour lay off. I have to check in afresh since I am travelling by different airlines. I have a valid US B1/B2 visa till Feb 2027. Will I be eligible for Visa free Transit facility or do i have to take a Visa.

  3. Does it apply to return trip from US to India via Singapore? I have a 33hr layover at Singapore while coming from US to India.

  4. Dear All,

    I am currently in Australia on Australian Visa (valid for 4 years) and will be visiting India in Feb’17. I wish to visit Singapore in transit for 2 days. I have gone though the policy on ICA website and also had a talk to ICA customer care executive (they said it is upto Immigration officer to grant VFTF). I have doubt as there is a lot of confusion and what to be sure of my entry in Singapore.

    It will be great if someone can please share there recent personal experience on VFTF in Singapore.

    Thanks
    Jayant

    • Hi Jayant,
      did you end up using the VFTF in singapore? how was your experience?

      thanks
      mayank

      I am travelling in two weeks too. so wanted to know someone’e personal experience.

  5. Hi Ajay
    Cant thank you enough for introducing me to the world of right credit cards, points, miles & 10X !
    Was wondering if below is my situation, is it ripe to avail the 96 hour VFTF facility ?

    1. I have a Type C UK visit visa valid till end march 2017
    2. Indian passport with enough blank pages valid for the next 5 years
    3. Looking to transit via Singapore from Vietnam
    4. With a valid return ticket to India
    5. With Singapore hotel bookings in place

    I believe I can avail…but looking for reiteration from the MFFE’s (More Frequent Flying Experts) πŸ™‚

    TIA

    SS

    • @Rajiv, like I said before, there was a maybe we will let them in policy before, now this is a definitely policy. You can do an internet search and find the old policy still plastered on a lot of travel agent websites. However, this is the ICA website.

  6. This wording of this information is wrong. The facility has been available since ever. I have used it twice in the past, 2006 and 2010. I think it used to be 72 hours but now it’s 96. 2006 was when flying to China and 2010 was when flying to New Zealand. China doesn’t seem to feature in the list above.

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