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Ban on entry into Singapore eased for foreigners with HIV

First Published – 31 Aug 2015

SINGAPORE – For more than two decades, foreigners infected with HIV have not been allowed to set foot in Singapore. However, the ban on those entering on short-term visit passes was lifted on April 1, The Straits Times has found out.

The ban remains for long-term visitors, such as those looking to work in Singapore or those who want to accompany a child studying here, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed.

“The policy on the repatriation and permanent blacklisting of HIV-positive foreigners was recommended in the late 1980s when the disease was new, fatal and no effective treatment was available,” a spokesman said.

But the ban was lifted “given the current context with more than 5,000 Singapore residents living with HIV and the availability of effective treatment for the disease”.

The human immunodeficiency virus causes Aids, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

The Straits Times understands that foreigners here – excluding permanent residents or spouses of Singaporeans – found to be HIV- positive will be deported and put on a permanent blacklist.

The MOH spokesman added: “Lifting the short-term travel restrictions… poses very low additional risk of HIV transmission to the local population.

“However, the public health risk posed by long-stayers is not insignificant, hence the restriction on long-term visits has been retained.”

The rule is similar to immigration laws found in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, he added.

HIV attacks the body’s immune system and is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse, although it can spread in other ways, such as by sharing contaminated needles.

A spokesman for advocacy group Action for Aids said it welcomed the change, but restrictions should also be lifted for long-term visitors.

“People living with HIV or Aids are not criminals and should not be banned from entering the country,” he said. “(They) can and should be able to have fulfilling and rewarding lives, with loving relationships and be integrated as part of the community. Unfortunately, discrimination is still prevalent.”

Professor Roy Chan, who is on the governing council of the International Aids Society and is also the president of Action for Aids, added: “People living with HIV infection who are on antiretroviral therapy and are successfully virally suppressed are not infectious to other people.”

Antiretroviral therapy can reduce the virus to undetectable levels in the blood, enabling the immune system to recover and function almost normally.

A 56-year-old who is HIV-positive and declined to give his name said: “Some of my friends who are HIV-positive are worried about how to pack their medication and if they will be barred when they travel. We hope to be allowed into other countries, so we would want to accord the same treatment for people who enter our country.”

– The Straits Times

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Information provided by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Information can change without notice. Please check following website for latest updates.

All visitors to Singapore must:

  • hold a passport valid for 6 months at the time of departure,
  • hold an onward or return ticket,
  • have sufficient funds to stay in Singapore.
  • convince an immigration officer that they have ties (job, home, financial assets or family) that will take them back to their home country
Allowed to stay for 90 days

All European Union citizens


South Korea


United States

VISA Application Requirements for UK and Ireland

British and Irish passport holders do not require visas to visit Singapore for a stay of less than one month, if they have a passport valid for at least 6 months upon entry, a confirmed onward return ticket and sufficient funds for their stay in Singapore.

Nationals of Assessment Level I Countries

Citizens of the following countries may obtain a visa online or at the nearest Singaporean High Commission, Embassy or Consulate. Visa requirement does not apply to holders of diplomatic or official/service passports of these countries.

Georgia, Guinea, India, Myanmar, People’s Republic of China, Sierra Leone, Commonwealth of Independent States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Holders of Hong Kong Document of Identity and Holders of Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Travel Permit

Nationals of Assessment Level II Countries

Citizens of the following countries and territories must obtain a visa in advance at the nearest Singaporean Diplomatic Mission.

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen

Holders of Special Travel Documents

All Holders of Special Travel Documents/Certificate of Travel are to contact the Singapore High Commission in London for entry/visa requirements by calling +44 (0)207 235 8315 or by email to stating the type of travel document (eg, British Travel Document, UK Certificate of Travel) before making any travel plans to Singapore.

Visa Free Transit Facility

Nationals of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan may use a Visa Free Transit Facility which allows them to visit Singapore for 96 hours. Nationals of China and India can also transit, one time only, for up to 96 hours without a visa under the Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF) on either the outbound or return leg of the same journey. Transit passengers holding two separate tickets can transit without a visa, except when arriving or departing on a budget carrier.