Customs regulations in Singapore

Customs in Singapore
Updated 2022-06-01 08:59

Singapore strictly enforces its customs policies. Whether you're traveling to the country for a short period or moving for professional reasons, you need to acquaint yourself with the policies in place for the country.

Goods you can bring into Singapore

Most of the goods and products you bring into Singapore are taxable, whether you intend to use the goods for your personal consumption or plan to engage in commercial activities. Guidelines are in place to define whether the quantities you bring into the country are considered commercial.

Singapore follows a dual-entry channel system. When arriving in the country, you'll have the option of choosing one of two entry channels: either a Red Channel or a Green Channel. These channels are clearly indicated at the main entry points in Singapore (airport, land entry, and ferry terminal). The channels are manned by officials from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

The Red Channel

You need to proceed to the red channel if you're carrying dutiable goods that exceed the duty-free concession afforded to all travelers entering Singapore. For example, there are three options from which you can choose for liquor products. You can either bring 1 liter of wine and a liter of spirits, 1 liter of wine and 1 liter of beer, or 1 liter of spirits and a liter of beer, or 2 liters of wine or 2 liters of beer. You also need to go through the red channel if you're carrying goods that exceed your Government Sales Tax (GST) relief limit, controlled or restricted goods, and prohibited goods.

The red channel is located at examination counters for all modes of arrival except by land, where goods need to be declared at the Customs Examination Area.

If you're carrying goods above the prescribed limit, you'll be required to present a customs permit for the following imports:

  • More than 0.4 kg of cigarettes or other tobacco products
  • More than 10 liters of liquor products
  • More than 10 liters of petroleum in a spare container of a motor vehicle
  • More than 0.5 kg of investment precious metals for personal use
  • Goods for trade, commercial or business purposes whose GST exceeds S$300
  • Goods that are trade samples (excluding liquor and tobacco products) whose GST exceeds S$300

Also, note that as of 1 July 2020, all cigarette and tobacco products brought into Singapore intended for sale or distribution must comply with the Standardized Packaging (SP) requirements. If you bring any products in that don't comply, you'll need to dispose of them at the checkpoints in the airport.

The Green Channel

If you aren't carrying any declarable goods stated in the previous section, you can proceed directly through the Green Channel. ICA officials often carry out selective checks, so be sure to select the right channel.

If unsure about whether you can use the Green Channel, it's always better to speak to one of the officers on duty. If you're found to have breached the customs policies of the country, you can be fined and prosecuted in court; hardly the place you want to visit in a country that has so much to offer!

The fines that are imposed can be hefty and go up to S$5,000, and you risk prosecution in court.

Prohibited goods

It's a running joke that chewing gum is prohibited in Singapore. But in fact, this isn't a joke. Chewing gum is indeed not allowed in the country, but the list of things you aren't allowed to bring into the country is long and includes many items that travelers perhaps wouldn't expect:

  • Chewing gum (except oral dental and medicated gum)
  • Chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes
  • Obscene and pornographic materials
  • Cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape
  • Controlled drugs and psychotropic substances
  • Firecrackers
  • Counterfeit products
  • Endangered wildlife species

Useful links:

Singapore Customs

Duty-free concessions

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