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I am an Indian national living in the United States of America under a non-immigrant (F1) visa. I am travelling to India later this year. My round trip to India has Singapore layovers on both the outbound and inbound legs. I was wondering if I could use the 96-hour VFTF for both the legs. I am aware that earlier Indians were allowed the VFTF on only one leg of a round trip. But checking the ICA's website I find that there is no such requirement (at least not immediately evident to me).

Layovers are 9 hours and 45 minutes while going to India and 4 hours and 35 minutes while returning. I am flying with Singapore Airlines.

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I've known about the VFTF for a few years and I've never heard of it applying to only one leg of a journey, unless the qualifying visa is single entry. In that case the restriction is that it can only be used to travel directly from that country to your home country via Singapore after it has been used.

Travellers with Single Journey Visas (SJV) may still be granted VFTF on the return leg of their journey (i.e. after the SJV is used and no longer valid), but you must:

  • Travel directly from the country that issued the SJV, en route through Singapore, back to your home country
  • Not have returned to your home country since you last used the SJV.

With respect to your multiple entry student visa, no such restriction exists. You can use it for travel as long as it still has one month before its expiry date.

The airline should not deny you boarding in this case. Timatic, the database which airlines use to verify passenger travel documents, states:

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Nationals of China (People's Rep.) and India with a confirmed onward ticket for a flight to a third country within 96 hours under the Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF). They must:

  • have a residence permit issued by Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, USA or United Kingdom valid for a minimum of 1 month from the arrival date, and
  • have documents required for the next destination.
  • Well, I myself am travelling to India via Singapore later this year and I have a nearly 10-hour layover where I plan to explore Singapore. I read this other post which kinda mentioned this concept. I went to ICA's website and since I couldn't find this there I wrote the answer there but thought it would be prudent to ask this question explicitly in this forum anyway so that neither I nor anyone travels under any sort of incorrect information – Arnab Sanyal May 27 at 9:33

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