Updates on Student Exchanges for AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021)

**Important Update on COVID-19**

18 May 2021 (Latest): The COVID-19 situation still remains very fluid, with epicentres of the pandemic shifting around the world, and new variants of the virus emerging with ever-greater frequency. Despite vaccinations being rolled out to varying degrees of success in many countries, it appears the road to pre-pandemic levels of international travel will be much longer than expected.

In response to recent developments, Singapore has revised the entry requirement policies and tightened border control measures. In view of this potentially impacting exchange students' ability to receive an Entry Approval (EA) and Student's Pass (Visa), the University has made the difficult decision to suspend the inbound exchange programme for AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021) for all countries/regions except for China and Hong Kong.

The following pre-arrival steps are for students who have been nominated by partner universities in China and Hong Kong.

Pre-arrival Steps


Step 1 (May 2021): Secure at least three (3) modules (courses) from the initial exchange application submitted This may be more difficult in AY2021/22 Semester 1 due to limited outbound exchanges and fewer modules being available to visiting students. Kindly note that students who are unable to secure at least three (3) modules at this stage will have their application deemed unsuccessful. NUS is unable to accede to any appeals given the limited number of modules and the strict timeline for immigration matters.

Step 2 (mid-Jun 2021):  Receive Acceptance Letter (email) from NUS Registrar’s Office which includes information on application of on-campus housing, Student’s Pass (Visa), and Entry Approval. This is contingent upon securing three modules in Step 1. Students can apply for on-campus housing from 28 June onwards, and do not have to wait for their Entry Approval application outcomes before applying. As of 7 June 2021, travelers from China (except for Guangzhou) and Hong Kong do not need to serve SHN. Thus, it is best for exchange students to apply for housing as early as possible to ensure they have already secured a room when they arrive in Singapore.

Step 3 (mid-Jul 2021): Receive housing application outcome. This may be more difficult in AY2021/22 Semester 1 as there are limited spaces given social-distance requirements. Students should research off campus options just to be safe. For information on off-campus housing options, please refer here.

Step 4 (mid-Jul 2021): Receive Student’s Pass (Visa) application outcome from Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). This may be more difficult in AY2021/22 Semester 1 due to strict border control measures. Student’s Pass approval cannot be guaranteed by NUS.

Step 5 (mid-Jul 2021): Receive Entry Approval (EA) application outcome from Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA). This may be more difficult in AY2021/22 Semester 1 due to strict border control measures. Entry Approvals cannot be guaranteed by NUS. In the event of a rejection, students can attempt a second or third application, if feasible*.

The EA will indicate the travel period in which students can arrive in Singapore. Please take note of the last day students can arrive in Singapore, given the latest quarantine or Stay-at-Home Notice (SFH requirements.

*Last day to clear arrival immigration in Singapore to serve quarantine (SHN) subsequently on campus or at a dedicated facility:
For students requiring 21 days of SHN: 19 July 2021
For students requiring 7 days of SHN: 2 August 2021

Arrival Steps


Step 6 (mid-Jul to early-Aug 2021, depending on SHN requirement): Complete swab test within 72 hours before outbound flight(s) to Singapore depending on travel history and departure destination as well as air carrier’s requirements. (A negative test result will be required when boarding the flight(s).)

Step 7 (mid-Jul to early-Aug 2021, depending on SHN requirement): Arrive in Singapore and complete 7-day or 21-day quarantine depending on travel history and departure destination (As of 2 July 2021, arrival from all countries or regions except Brunei, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and New Zealand are required to do a 21-day quarantine on arrival. Travelers arriving from or with travel history to Australia are required to serve a 7-day SHN.)

Step 8 (Aug 2021): Arrive on NUS campus to start exchange. First day of term is 10 Aug 2021.

 


Thank you for your understanding in accommodating these difficult and uncertain circumstances. The FAQs listed below will help answer some of the most pressing questions you may have. If you require any further assistance, do consult your home university study abroad office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students from partner universities of NUS who have been nominated for exchange for AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021)



I am interested in continuing with the exchange programme despite the many administrative hurdles on the horizon. When should I confirm my travel itinerary?

Although the University has not officially suspended exchange in AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021), a good amount of risk still remains when making any financial commitments at this time. Students are strongly encouraged to withhold from making any non-refundable transactions until at least they have received their Student’s Pass (Visa) confirmation as well as their Entry Approval. Purchasing your airline tickets prior to receiving your Student’s Pass and Entry Approval is extremely risky as the University cannot guarantee your application for either immigration document will be successful.

When should I apply for on-campus housing?

Students will receive more information on how and when to apply for on-campus housing in their Acceptance Letter, which will be released in mid-June 2021. The first round of housing applications will start on 28 June 2021; but in view of the non-refundable housing application fee, students should only submit their housing application after obtaining their Entry Approval. For more general information on the housing application process, please refer here.

Is on-campus housing guaranteed?

On-campus housing is very limited at NUS, especially during these times of social-distancing, therefore the University cannot guarantee placement into our student residences. For AY2021/22 Semester 1, only UTown Residences (UTR) and Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR) will be open to exchange students.

In view of the limited on-campus housing for AY2021/22 Semester 1, does NUS have any resources to help students secure off-campus housing options?

NUS Office of Student Affairs has prepared this webpage for off-campus housing resources. Students are strongly encouraged to look for off-campus accommodation as soon as possible to increase their chances of securing a place. One good option could be MDIS Residences @ Stirling where arrangements have been made for more rooms to be made available to exchange students.
 

What are the current border control measures imposed by the Singapore government? Are there any requirements I need to take note of should I proceed with my nomination for AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021)?

Immigration policies and border control measures change regularly and often with little to no warning. Although the University will keep students and partner universities updated on important policy changes, it is ultimately up to the nominated student to following the guidance of Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) as much of the requirements are based on personal travel history.

More information regarding the latest measures for entry into Singapore can be found via the following online resources:

SafeTravel website
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority - Border Control Measures
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority - Arrival Card & Health Declaration
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Are the current border control measures applicable to fully-vaccinated travellers?

We are hoping that border control measures and quarantine requirements will eventually be relaxed or lessened for fully-vaccinated travellers, but so far this has not been the case. Travellers from the majority of countries are required to serve a 21-day quarantine at a government-appointed facility/hotel, no matter their vaccination status. As immigration matters and border control measures can change very frequently, students are strongly encouraged to keep an eye on the latest travel advice from Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA): https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/arriving/overview.

If I would like to withdraw from the exchange programme, how would I go about doing so?

If you wish to withdraw from the exchange programme for AY2021/22 Semester 1, please indicate so on this online form by 23 May 2021 23:59 [Singapore time (GMT 8+].

Can I defer my exchange to NUS to AY2021/22 Semester 2 (Spring 2022)?

Exchange in AY2021/22 Semester 2 corresponds to a new application cycle. Your home university will need to re-nominate you and if nominated, you will need to put in a new application for this exchange period. Please check with your home university’s International or Study Abroad Office to see what options are available to you.

 

My home university has agreed to re-nominate me for exchange to NUS in AY2021/22 Semester 2. Will I need to submit another online application?

Yes, a new exchange application will need to be submitted. NUS will share the updated application information and timeline with your home university in August 2021. The application portal for AY2021/22 Semester 2 exchanges will be open from 1 September to 1 October 2021.

Can I do a virtual exchange or read online courses with NUS instead?

Unfortunately, NUS is not planning to offer a virtual exchange option at this time.

Can I choose to come to NUS on a non-exchange / fee-paying basis?

Applying as a non-exchange / fee-paying student could be possible, but only for AY2021/22 Semester 2 as the application deadlines for Semester 1 (Fall 2021) have already passed.

 

Please note the uncertainties over border control measures and the difficulties in obtaining a Student’s Pass (Visa), Entry Approval and on-campus housing are also applicable to non-exchange students.

 

Please check with your home university’s International or Study Abroad Office to see what options are available to you; and if you are interested in pursuing the non-exchange option in AY2021/22 Semester 2 (Spring 2022), please refer to this webpage for more details.

Students from partner universities of NUS who are considering an exchange for AY2021/22 Semester 2 (Spring 2022)

What are the chances of NUS suspending student exchanges with my home university in AY2020/21 Semester 2 (Spring 2021)?

Unfortunately it is too early to advise on the status of the exchange programme in AY2021/22 Semester 2. If border control measures have been relaxed or lifted by early-November 2021, it is likely that NUS will be able to host exchange students. Partner universities will be updated regularly regarding the status of the programme.

Can I defer my exchange to NUS from AY2021/22 Semester 1 to AY2021/22 Semester 2?

Exchange in AY2021/22 Semester 2 corresponds to a new application cycle. Your home university will need to re-nominate you and if nominated, you will need to put in a new application for this exchange period. Please check with your home university’s International or Study Abroad Office to see what options are available to you.

Can I do a virtual exchange or read online courses with NUS instead?

Unfortunately, NUS is not planning to offer a virtual exchange option at this time.