Moving to Singapore

Country Guide

Country Guide: Singapore

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

Updated: August 31, 2017

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport (photograph and personal information pages)
  • Declaration of facts form
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Copy of the owner of the goods’ employment pass / green card (both sides)
  • Goods and services tax relief form (GST)
  • Supplementary Customs declaration form
  • Wine and liquor declaration form
  • Exemption permit (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • A duty exemption will be given to goods if all documentation as requested above is in order.
  • Goods should be in the owner of the goods’ possession and used for more than 3 months.
  • Shipment must be imported into Singapore within 6 months of the owner of the goods’ first arrival into Singapore.
  • If shipment arrives more than 6 months after owner of the goods’ employment pass (EP) into Singapore, shipment is subject to 7% goods and services tax (GST) on the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value.
  • Returning Singaporean residents should be away for more than 6 months to get 7% GST relief.
  • Embassy, high commission, Consulate or accredited trade organization in and owner of the goods who have been accorded diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities by the Singapore Government are eligible for duty exemption and GST relief on all goods that are for the personal or official use of the owner of the goods or organization; an exemption permit is required to cover the import of such goods but the organization and its authorized claimants have to be first registered with Customs.
  • A failure to declare all items or pay taxes due may result in prosecution, fines, and/or imprisonment.
Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Certificate of compliance
  • Original commercial invoice
  • Insurance papers
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • Owner of the goods’ passport
  • Inward declaration permit
  • Customs in-payment permit
  • Customs duty payment receipt
  • Temporary certificate of entitlement
  • Manufacturer’s letter confirming the date the automobile was manufactured

Specific Information

  • Certificate of compliance from exhaust emission control standard is required for all new and used vehicles.
  • Autos and motorcycles are subject to very high duty and registration fees; importation highly discouraged.
  • Must be registered in owner of the goods’ name for continued use and not for resale.
  • Left-hand drive vehicles are prohibited.
  • Vehicles more than three years old cannot be imported.
  • Boats are duty-free, but must be for the owner of the goods’ use and not for resale.
  • Dismantled vehicles are not permitted.

Please do not load motor vehicle into shipment first. The cost of register vehicle for use on roads is significant. It is strongly advised that transferee contact agent as well as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for specific information.


Documents Required

  • Import license from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA)
  • Reservation for quarantine (if applicable) must be made prior to import

Specific Information

  • If ownership of an animal cannot be verified from birth to 6 months for that animal, it will be quarantined.

IAM Note: There are many requirements regarding the importation of pets into Singapore. It is strongly advised that transferee contact agent as well as the AVA for specific information.

Restricted/Dutiable Items
  • Intoxicating liquors
  • Tobacco products
  • Motor vehicles
  • Petroleum products
Prohibited Items
  • Liquors and cigarettes marked with the words “SINGAPORE DUTY NOT PAID” on the labels, cartons or packets
  • E-cigarettes
  • Chewing gum, chewing tobacco, and imitation tobacco products (except approved oral dental and medicated gum by the Health Sciences Authority)
  • Shisha
  • Smokeless cigars, smokeless cigarillos or smokeless cigarettes
  • Dissolvable tobacco or nicotine
  • Any product containing nicotine or tobacco that may be used topically for application, by implant or injected into any parts of the body
  • Any solution or substance, of which tobacco or nicotine is a constituent, that is intended to be used with an electronic nicotine delivery system or vaporizers
  • Nasal snuff (with effect from 1 August 2016)
  • Oral snuff (with effect from 1 August 2016)
  • Gutkha, khaini and zarda (with effect from 1 August 2016)
  • Weapons, gun, ammunition of any kind, cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape
  • Narcotics, controlled or non-branded drugs, and psychotropic substances
  • Endangered species of wildlife and their byproducts
  • Firecrackers or counterfeit currencies
  • Obscene articles, pornographic books, materials, publications on video tapes / discs and software
  • Reproduction of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes
  • Seditious and treasonable materials
  • Animals and birds and their by-products
  • Endangered species of wildlife and their by-products
  • Plants
  • nasal snuff
  • Arms and Explosives
  • Bullet-proof clothing
  • Weapons, Kris, spears and swords
  • Prerecorded cartridges and cassettes
  • Films, video tapes / discs, laser discs, CD-ROMS, and video games
  • Medicines, pharmaceuticals, and poisons
  • Telecommunications, radio communication equipment, and toy walkie-talkies
Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for Singapore

Wikipedia Entry for Singapore