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How to visit Singapore if you are HIV +ve

Singapore has strict anti-HIV laws.

Update: From 1st April 2015, the travel ban on HIV +ve people visiting Singapore has been lifted.

Now, anyone who is HIV +ve can visit Singapore as a tourist or for medical treatment just like any other tourist.

There is no longer a need for special visas or applications.

However, the ban on HIV +ve people getting Work Permits, Employment Passes, becoming a Permanent Resident or Citizen still exists.

Anyone who is HIV +ve is not allowed to visit Singapore.

However, tourists and individuals coming in on Social Visits passes are not routinely screened.

If a person wishes to work in Singapore, become a Permanent Resident or become a Citizen, a HIV test is usually required.

Some HIV +ve people still want to visit Singapore. Some even for HIV treatment.

I wrote to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore to ask them exactly how a person who is HIV +ve can still visit Singapore.

This is their reply:

The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection (Non-AIDS) are classified as contagious diseases under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 137).  Foreigners suffering from AIDS or infected with HIV are ineligible for the issue of a Visit Pass. If they wish to visit Singapore, they may seek prior approval through ICA before their intended travel. An appeal for entry may be submitted through a local sponsor at the Visitor Services Centre, 4th Storey, ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road, Singapore 208718 for ICA’s consideration. The local sponsor may also mail the duly completed application forms, along with the relevant supporting documents (e.g. Doctor’s letter about medical condition, purpose of visiting Singapore etc), addressed to:

Director

Visitor Services Centre

Appeals Unit

ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road #08-00

Singapore 208718

The following documents are required for the application:

a) Application Form 14 & V39I (duly completed & signed); (Available for download at http://www.ica.gov.sg/e_services_overview.aspx?pageid=290 )
b) Photocopies of applicant’s passport pages showing the bio date page and signature of the passport holder;
c) Local sponsor’s Singapore Identity Card (I/C); and

d) Notice of refusal, if any.

Note: Local sponsor can be an individual Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident (SC/PR) aged 21 and above or a Singapore-registered company.

Please state clearly the reason(s) or purpose for the applicant’s entry and intended duration of visit on Application Form 14. The applicant may also include any other supporting documents that he/she deems relevant to substantiate his/her application.

Thereafter, his/her local sponsor will be notified by post on the outcome.

About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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Email: doctor@drtanandpartners.com

 

56 Comments

  1. Hi,

    If you are from Taiwan, would you be able to get a work permit if HIV positive back in 2014/15? Also, If you came as a foreign worker without HIV, but then became positive at somepoint.. how would authorities know.. is there annual medical check ups for foreigners of any kind?

    ALso what happen if you become hiv positive back in taiwan but only recently became positive and when u do your medical examination , is is negative , how would singapore ever know? I am refering to window period so u apply while negative, do ur medical examination and appears negative but still positive. what would happen?

    Does everyone coming to work in Singapore have to do a medical exam or have a certified medical examination?

    thanks Dr.

  2. Hi Dr Tan,

    I just diagnosed with HIV, will I continue to work in Singapore until my existing PR expired or how soon I will get advised to leave Singapore?

    For treatment, what is the minimum cost to bear (on monthly)? or any alternative medicine at lower cost if if ART treatment is far expensive within my financial ability . Also, is there any possibility for me to claim insurance on my HIV treatment under 36 critical illness.

    Last but not lease, do you have any details where I can refer in Penang, Malaysia on this matter?

    Thank you so much for the comments you have put on to all patients above which make me get view clearer~

    • Your first question should be directed to MOM/ICA. We are unable to give such comments.
      ART is usually between $2000 – $3000 per month. As far as I know, there is no “alternative” treatment. Check with your insurance company if it is covered.
      You may want to check this out yourself. We are not too familiar with Penang. We refer our patients to hospitals in Singapore.

  3. Hi Dr, im Nam from Vietnam, i will visiting singapore on 9 September 2016, could i check my cd4 at your clinic? And how many day will i have result? And the cost to check cd4? Could i take my result by email if i stay at singapore a few day? Thanks you so much

    • Yes you can. Costs:
      Consultation: $64.20
      CD4 Cell count: $128.40
      The result will take about a week
      We can email you the report

  4. Dr Tan

    I am from Kuala Lumpur Malaysian

    Last time ago I was refused entry into Singapore via express bus, reason being ineligible for the issue of a pass under your current immigration policies ( notice of refuse )

    I want to visit Singapore for few days for holiday and to meet with my friends.

    How I enter to Singapore for a visit holiday?

    Please advise me….

    • drtan

      I’m sorry. We are a medical clinic. You should be referring your questions to ICA.

  5. DerrickTan

    Hi Dr Tan,

    My friend was detected during his S-pass renewal. thus he was being sent back in 2014. there is a stamp behind his passport.
    So if he come to SG as a tourist. The airport immigration will not stop him even through there is a stamp behind his passport?

  6. RAJESH KUMAR

    If a person holding permanent residence status in singapore and got tested and found to be HIV positive.
    Then can he take treatment in singapore and still can maintain his PR status?Or he will be deported ?
    what will happen at the time of renewal of his re-entry permit etc?

  7. I am visiting Singapore for business meeting can I carry my medicine with me

  8. One of my very close blood relation is HIV positive and I am working in Singapore on work permit visa. I am planning to sponsor his tourist his tourist visa for a visit to Singapore. He would be staying in Singapore for less than 30 days. In view of the above, I have the following questions,
    1. As he is NOT visiting Singapore for HIV treatment, will it be required for him to carry a medical certificate from his doctors in his home land stating that his HIV status so that in case his pills are verified by Immigration, the letter can be shown?
    2. Is it required to get the prior approval from Immigration department before his visit?
    3. As I am sponsoring their Visit Visa and for some reason his HIV status is revealed while he is in Singapore, will there be any repercussions on my work visa (or) my visa will be denied when applied for extension?
    4. The details of his HIV status will it be captured against my passport (or) work permit ID, which might cause an issue in future?

    • You really should be putting these questions to ICA. We are just a clinic sharing information that we have. We are not in any position to advise you on immigration matters.

  9. Mr. Maher

    Good Day, Dr. Tan!

    I’m going to singapore on december. I am HIV +. May i ask if your treatment is free or if not how much?

    Thank you

    best

    • HIV Treatment is unfortunately not free in Singapore. It is very difficult to give you a cost because it depends greatly on what tests and medicines you need. As a rough guide, a full set of tests prior to starting medicines will costs about S$1000. Anti-HIV medicines will costs about S$1500 per month.

  10. Dr Tan, I just being informed by doctor I am hiv positive with cd 4 count 330. Recently I am not feeling well with dry cough and skin rash therefore went to consult doctor .I recalled 2 month ago I have a unprotect sex .,Will such incident can cause my cd 4 count drop till 330 just in in two months time ? Currently doctor advise me to start medication in view of my dry cough . looking for your early reply thank you Alfred

    • As a general rule, the CD4 does not drop so quickly. However, the CD4 might drop precipitously within the first few months of infection then rise later on. Also, if you have an infection other than HIV (Secondary infection for example Syphilis) the CD4 might also drop until this other infection has been treated. Regardless of your symptoms, the current WHO recommendation is to start ART as soon as a patient is diagnosed with HIV. We no longer wait for the CD4 to drop. Anyway, your CD4 is under 350 so even on the old guidelines, you will be recommended to start ARTs. As for your dry cough, you should get yourself investigated for lung infections due to your low CD4. You are welcome to visit us for treatment. From 1 April 2015, HIV +ve people are allowed to visit Singapore on a Tourist Visa.

      • Dear Dr. Tan,
        Seeking some info for my friend whom detected HIV + and planning on seeking treatment in Singapore, he is Indonesian.
        A little bit background of his status in Singapore; he was enrolled in one of University in Singapore and as you know part of the regulations he has to go through medical screening. Blood test result came out HIV +, therefore he has to withdraw from the school and leave Singapore before his Social Visit pass expired. He is back in Indonesia now and planning onto seeking treatment in Singapore, however we are worried that he might be refused to enter Singapore at the immigration check point although we know that starting 1st of April’15 Singapore has lifted the ban on HIV + foreigner entering Singapore.
        So back to the question, does he need to seek any approval first before entering Singapore, or he can simply come in as a tourist as per normal? (Notice: ICA has his record showing HIV +)

        Thank You and have a great evening.

        • No he does not need any special approval. He can enter Singapore just like any other tourist.

  11. Can I come on visitor visa and come to your clinic for treatment. And take meds as prescribed for long time .

    • Dr Justin Sim

      With the recent change in law you can come in on a visitor pass and seek treatment. You are welcome to visit us for treatment. From 1 April 2015, HIV +ve people are allowed to visit Singapore on a Tourist Visa.

  12. Hi dr tan, if I wanna visit Singapore with my medication along should I bring it in its original packaging or I can actually pack it into loose pill box because I find bringing in the whole original packaging is a little troublesome. And will the immigration officer question on my medicine?

    • Bring it in the original packaging. The bottle or box should also have a label on it bearing your name, your doctor’s contact and what medicine is in the bottle. Alternatively, you should have a letter signed by your doctor saying what meds you are carrying. Loose pills is never a good idea. Can you imagine what the immigration officer will think if he finds a bag of loose unlabelled pills in your bag??!!
      Immigration Officer “What is this?”
      You “Oh, just my medicines.”
      Immigration Officer “Looks like crystal meth to me.”
      You “Certainly not!”
      Immigration Officer “Prove it.”
      You “…….”
      See how bad it can go?

      • Thank you dr tan, do i need to apply or go through any special procedure when go through the custom?

        • Nope. If they see your pills they will see the label with your name and your doctor’s clinic contact and they will quietly put your pills back and wave you through. You smile and say thank you and walk off.

  13. Hi Dr. Tan,

    I have tried to visit Singapore. Thanks for the information and it make me feel better a lot!(Previously feel terrible that I cannot see my Singaporean friends again)

    Meanwhile, I need to check with you if there is any possibility that immigration is still holding the information (e.g. once after scan our information, the officer can see our status), or they have totally removed the information from the screen?

    I ask this because of upcoming my friend need my help to do something in Singapore. However, I worry that they may closely monitor our visit although they claim that we are free to go in as social visit. If frequent visit it doesn’t matter right? Or I still need to watch out if I need to frequently get into Singapore.

    Again, really a big thanks for your clinic from diagnosing my status until refering me to a support group in Malaysia and save my life. I even get into a study and I got my medicine for free the first 2 years!!!

    Looking for your reply soon 🙂

    Have a nice day.

    SL

    • Hello. I am very happy you are doing well in Malaysia. So the fact is the travel restriction for HIV +ve people into Singapore has been lifted as of 1st April 2015. However, HIV +ve people are still not allowed to work or become a PR or citizen of Singapore. Whether or not the immigration can see your status on the screen is something that I would not know. Given the fact that the travel restriction has been lifted, I would assume the same rules that apply to all social visit passes also apply to you. I also do not know in these rules, whether there are any limitations to how frequently you visit the country. Logically I do not think so.

  14. Doctor will Singapore ever lift HIV ban for work permits? 🙁

    • Dr Justin Sim

      This is very very unlikely to change in the near or far future.

  15. Dear Dr. Tan,

    My friend detected hiv in 2012 during his working permit renewal check up. Does it means clinic will report his case to MOM and ICA ?

    With the new rules as of April 15. Can he still come back to work in Singapore or maybe as tourist for 30 days ? Will he get any trouble in custome clearance ?

    Thanks

    Max

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Usually yes as the test will not be done anonymously so a positive and confirmed result will be flagged to the MOM. With the new entry rules for Singapore regarding HIV he can come back in as a tourist or visitor for the standard allotted time but he will not be able to work or reapply for a work permit. If he should be caught working while entering on a tourist visa, future visits to Singapore will likely be very difficult.

  16. Andrew

    Hi Doctor Tan,

    I am a foreigner working in Singapore and have been recently tested positive for HIV. I am not able to go back home til Septemeber. Is there any means to have my cd4 count and viral load tested anonymously? or are doctors obliged to report to MOM any foreigner that is positive for HIV?

    • Hi there. We are unable to perform CD4 count and viral load anonymously, meaning your name and ID have to be registered. Therefore, positive results will be reported to MOM.

  17. Dr Tan,
    I’m just wondering based on what I read, so someone who is hiv+ can now visit singapore as a visitor (usual 30days permit)?

  18. Daniel

    Regarding the lifting of the travel ban on HIV+ people to Singapore, I could not find the information on any official Singapore government website. Please could you advise where I can find documentation of the new law/regulation? Or is it information you assume to be true based on experiences of some of your patients?

    • drtan

      There is no official announcement. Because we are very active in the field and have an expansive network, we have access to such information from reliable sources. This information that we get is backed up by personal experiences of our patients.

      • Michael

        Hi Dr Tan,

        Went to Singapore September 2014 for short visit purposes but was refused entry by the immigration, they were looking for an “appeal letter”, which I am not aware of.

        With this latest dev’t, does it mean that I don’t need an appeal letter to show to immigration even if they have my health status on record?

        Thank you for your response.

        • That is right. With the recent rule change you will be able to enter Singapore like any other tourist. You will not be able to work here or become a PR though.

  19. Dr.Tan,
    My Malaysian friend has HIV and was sent back to Malaysia last October. After what I read from your post, can I confirm with you that my friend can really enter Singapore again? Have checked the MOM and ICA websites but no update in this matter. So my friend is afraid that he might be rejected at the custom. Please advise. Thank you and hope you can reply asap.

  20. as now the CD4 is 757, I just want to know about getting the pass back again because the company still waiting for me to get the pass approved from MOM

    • Dr.Tan,
      My Malaysian friend has HIV and was sent back to Malaysia last October. After what I read from your post, can I confirm with you that my friend can really enter Singapore again? Have checked the MOM and ICA websites but no update in this matter. So my friend is afraid that he might be rejected at the custom. Please advise. Thank you and hope you can reply asap.

  21. Dr Tan,
    i have tested after my s-pass is approved and i am HIV positive. now that the regulation to enter singapore as a tourist has been changed and i will be able to enter singapore even i am hiv patient. however, i have gotten a treatment and if i wish to work in singapore, is it possible for MOM to review back all my health history and i can do a medical check up again to prove that my hiv is undetectable? i called one of the doctor in singapore and they told me that it will be depending on your company, if they can wait one to three months, maybe the MOM and ICA will double check again my record and i can do another test to simply show them that i am treated now.

    how about your opinion?

    Regards,
    Edy

    • drtan

      I wouldn’t bet on it. As far as I know about MOM’s policies, it’s not how well treated or controlled you are, it’s the fact that you are HIV +ve. My opinion is that they will still NOT grant you the S-Pass. But you are asking the wrong people. You should be asking MOM. They are the ones who make the final decision on these things.

      • Dr Tan

        then how about entering to singapore?
        is that any difficulties if i want to enter singapore as a visitor?

        • drtan

          Not at all. As of 1st April 2015 HIV +ve people are no longer banned from visiting Singapore on a tourist visa. Many of my foreign patients who are HIV +ve and seeing me for HIV treatment have been coming into Singapore without any special approvals or passes. They just walk through immigration like any other tourist. Note that these are people who’s names have already been notified to ICA and MOM. And yet they are still able to travel freely into Singapore as tourists because of the new rules.

          • as now the CD4 is 757, I just want to know about getting the pass back again because the company still waiting for me to get the pass approved from MOM

          • is it possible dr Tan

          • drtan

            Like I said, according to what I know of the rules you still will not get your pass approved BUT you are asking the wrong person. I am not MOM and I don’t make the decisions. You should ask them.

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