Travelling may sound like loads of fun, but it often comes with its fair share of administrative errands. Some common requirements include digging up travel documents and applications for travel visas. We get it: dealing with visa requirements before your vacation can feel like untangling headphone wires in the dark. This could be the case even for more experienced globetrotters or wanderlusts. 

In this article, we seek to provide you with valuable travel tips—more specifically, information on pre-flight travel approvals required for several countries such as Australia, New Zealand and more. From Electronic Travel Authorities (ETAs) to Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), we hope that it helps turn your epic travel woes to wows. Here’s to hassle-free travel experiences!

1. Australia: ETA

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Did you know? All travellers entering Australia are required to hold a valid travel authorisation. Don’t let the sound of that deter you though. 

An ETA, or electronic visa, is designed precisely to make the application process simple and convenient. This significantly simplifies the application procedure. It’s essentially the golden ticket you need to enter Australia. 

Unlike traditional visas, having a digital entry pass also means that you can get your travel documentation sorted from the comforts of home rather than in-person. 

Singapore is one of the eight countries whose citizens are eligible for this. The ETA, if granted, will be valid for one year, allowing you to visit the country multiple times for up to 90 days per visit! 

To apply, simply download the Australian ETA mobile app that’s available both on the App Store and Google Play Store. The app is easy to use, and the application for a visa through it will only cost you AU$20 (S$18)! Upon submission, it typically takes the next 24 hours for you to be notified of the processing results. 

Alternatively, you can hop onto the official website and fill in the online form, detailing information such as your nationality, passport number, length of visit and more. Take note that applying for the visa via the website will cost you more money than via the app. This option is strictly for those who would rather not download the application onto their phones.
 

Pro-Tip: Do visit the official websites of such visa applications, instead of third-party platforms which may charge you additional service fees for your application. If you’re unsure, click on the official links listed on Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for the official webpages of visa applications.

2. Canada: ETA

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Just like Australia, Singapore citizens are required to apply for a Canada ETA if they wish to enter Canada for visits lasting up to 90 days. This could be for reasons like tourism (holiday), medical, business or transit. Before travelling to Canada, you’ll also need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least three months past the expected departure date. 

The application can be easily completed on the official site. If there are no errors in personal details, and once your credit card payment of fees (CAD$7, ~S$7) have been verified, you’ll directly receive the visa through e-mail. 

Here’s a tip! One mistake that commonly occurs during the application stage is name-related issues. According to their site, it’s stated that travellers should ensure that the name input on the form matches exactly to the one given in your passport. Your name should also only be spelt using English characters. 

With the ETA, you’ll get to then enter and immerse yourself in the beauty of Canada. You know what that means: Time to enjoy poutine, hockey, and maybe even hotcakes with some delicious oozing maple syrup! 

3. New Zealand: NZeTA

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New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes naturally beckon visitors, but what you’ll need as a gateway to this paradise is the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). Obtaining this is mandatory. In fact, if you’re travelling from Singapore to New Zealand as a family, each member would be required to apply for the NZeTA separately (including minors). 

Thankfully though, the NZeTA application process is rather straightforward too as it can be done 100% online. Like Australia and Canada, you do not need to attend any physical interview nor visit the embassy. 

All you need to do is apply through the form on the official website, or the mobile app that’s available on App Store or Google Play.

Singaporeans are permitted to stay in New Zealand for up to 3 months, and the process for approval could take up to 72 hours. With that in mind, do remember to apply for it well in advance! 

If the NZeTA is requested via the mobile app, fees would cost NSD$9 (~S$7). The website form will cost NZD$12 (~S$10). Once that is approved, you’ll receive a confirmation email, with an authorisation that’s linked to your passport. 

On top of the NZeTA, Singaporean passengers travelling to New Zealand must also pay for the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) priced at NSD$35 (~S$29). This is primarily used to sustain tourism and conservation projects of New Zealand. Think of it as your direct contribution to protecting the wondrous nature and infrastructure of the country. This only has to be paid once whilst the NZeTA remains valid. 

4. United States of America: The ESTA

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Here’s a fun fact: Since 1999, Singapore has been part of the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). 

Due to this implementation, Singapore Citizens are permitted to utilise an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). 

Bypassing conventional visa procedures, you’ll have the option to apply for the ESTA. Just like the others, this can be easily completed through an official online form consisting of a set of personal details and questions. This would cost you approximately USD$21 (S$28).

Once that’s approved, you’ll be granted entry into the borders for up to 90 days with tourism, business and medical purposes in mind. Naturally, such an implementation helped to greatly boost tourism and business prospects between Singapore and the United States.

5. India: eTV

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Being one of the most popular destinations in Asia, India has managed its steady flow of tourists into its grounds through its visa: the e-Tourist Visa, or the e-TV. The process of getting an eTV, however, is a little more manual compared the ones on this list. Application for an eTV can be done online via the Government of India’s official website

However, there must be a physical collection of your eTV from the Indian Visa Application Centre, which is located at the offices of BLS International. You can also apply for your visa directly at these locations too.

With the collection of your visa comes an application processing payment of S$14.29 (not including surcharge), which must be paid in cash only.

 

Address:
BLS International (Anson Road): 10 Anson Road, #30-08, Singapore 079903
BLS International (Little India): Sim Lim Tower, 10 Jalan Besar, #14-02, Singapore 208787

Opening hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm (visa submission cut-off time at 1:00pm)

6. Bhutan: e-Visa

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Travelling to Bhutan from Singapore is now possible thanks to Drukair, Bhutan’s national carrier. Its flights connect from Changi Airport to Paro International Airport (via Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, India) twice a week, so making your way down there is a lot easier than you might think.

However, its visa requirements may prove to be hefty for some. Unless you’re a citizen of India, Bangladesh, or the Maldives, a visa is required if you’d like to pay a visit. The visa application process itself will cost you US$40, and you can apply online here

However, with each night you stay in Bhutan, a US$100 Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) is required to be paid per traveller. You can make payment for the SDF alongside your visa, with the total amount calculated based on your Bhutan itinerary. Sure, it is pricey—but the sights and sounds of Bhutan’s environment are truly priceless to behold in person.

 

There you have it, travellers! It’s said that the Singaporean passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world. Perhaps, that’s because citizens are allowed entry to a significant number of countries without needing to obtain a visa at all. 

There are a number of countries where travel visas are required for Singapore passport holders. For the latest list and information, do check on individual country pages on the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. As such visa applications require processing time, do cater for sufficient time for your applications, just in case you need to resubmit your application before the start of your trip.

It’s good to note, however, that even if visas aren’t required, most countries require an arrival form not unlike Singapore’s arrival card. Air stewards will usually hand out immigration forms during the flight, but if you’d like to get through immigration faster, it always helps to check if there are online arrival forms to fill up in advance—or even better, if you can sign up for e-gate access like in Malaysia and Taiwan. 

We hope that this has been helpful for your future journeys. If still you're uncertain, however, do check official sources for any updates. With that, pack those bags and get ready to explore the wonders of the world!


 

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