Customs in Singapore

Customs in Singapore
Updated 2020-05-08 11:35

Singapore strictly enforces its customs policies and whether you are travelling to the country for a short period or moving for professional reasons, you need to acquaint yourself with the policies in place in 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 as commercial. Singapore follows a dual-entry channel system, and when arriving in the country, you will 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 are carrying dutiable goods which exceed the duty-free concession afforded to all travellers entering Singapore. For example, there are three options from which you can choose for liquor products. You can either bring 1 litre of wine and a litre of spirits, 1 litre of wine and 1 litre of beer or 1 litre of spirits and a litre of beer or 2 litres of wine or 2 litres of beer. You also need to go through the red channel if you are carrying goods which 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 are carrying goods above the prescribed limit, you will 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 litres of liquor products
  • More than 10 litres 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 $300

The Green Channel

If you are not 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 is always better to speak to one of the officers on duty. If you are 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 SGD 10,000 and you risk imprisonment for a period of up to three years.

Prohibited goods

It is a running joke that chewing gum is prohibited in Singapore. In fact, this is not a joke. Chewing gum is indeed not allowed in the country, but the list of things you are not allowed to bring into the country is long and includes many items which travellers would perhaps not 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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