COVID-19: Foreign students, long-term visit pass holders must get approval before coming to Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
SINGAPORE - MARCH 24:  An airport staff wearing protective mask walks past an empty self check in kiosk at the departure terminal at Changi Airport on March 24, 2020 in Singapore. Singapore will not allow short term visitors to enter or transit through the country from March 24 to contain the spread of the imported COVID-19  infection.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — From 11.59pm on Sunday (29 March), all foreign students and long-term visit pass holders must obtain permission before they can begin their journeys to Singapore.

For long-term visit pass holders, as well as those who have been granted in-principle approval for long-term passes, they should apply for permission from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

As for foreign students holding student’s passes, as well as those who have been granted in-principle approval for student’s passes, they should obtain permission from the Ministry of Education (MOE). They should submit their application to their respective education institution, which will be forwarded to MOE.

MOE will take into consideration the course in which the student is enrolled, and prioritise entry approval for those studying in publicly-funded Institutes of Higher Learning.

Approval letter of entry is valid for 2 weeks

In a joint media release on Saturday by ICA, MOE and Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the authorities said that successful applicants will each be issued an approval letter of entry that is valid for two weeks.

They must produce this approval letter of entry to airline staff upon check-in at the departure airport, and to the immigration officer at the checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.

Applicants should not make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been given by ICA or MOE. If they arrive in Singapore without the approval letter of entry, ICA will not allow them to clear immigration, and will require them to fly out of Singapore within 48 hours, at their own cost. If they fail to comply, ICA will cancel their pass or rescind their in-principle approval.

Regulation inflow of people into Singapore

These new measures are an extension to the current MOM requirement for all new and existing work pass holders to obtain approval before commencing their journeys to Singapore.

MOM reminds work pass holders whose application for entry approval was rejected that they should not enter or return to Singapore yet, and apply again for the required approval.

Those who do not comply and fly to Singapore nevertheless will have their work pass revoked and be barred from future employment in Singapore.

The new entry-approval measures for long-term pass holders will help agencies to regulate the inflow of people into Singapore in order to mitigate the risk of importation of COVID-19 cases.

MOM said it will restrict the number of entry approvals for work pass holders to very small numbers.

Health and travel declaration before arrival

In additional to getting the entry approval, all travellers must also submit a health and travel declaration via the SG Arrival Card e-Service prior to their arrivals. They will be required to provide their health status and recent travel history, as well as personal particulars and contact details.

Anyone who makes a false or misleading declaration will be liable to prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. The penalty for providing false or misleading information is a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or six-months’ jail. For subsequent offences, the penalty is a fine up to S$20,000 and/or one year’s jail.

Upon arrival, all travellers will be placed on a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). Regular checks on those on SHN will be conducted through surprise house visits and phone calls, as well as leveraging web-based and mobile application surveillance solutions.

The government will not hesitate to take strong action against those who do not comply with the requirements of the SHN.

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