Singapore Travel Tips

Visitors above 18 years of age arriving from any country (except Malaysia) who have spent more than 48 hours outside Singapore are allowed duty-free concessions of the following (a) 1 litre wine (b) 1 litre spirit and (c) 1 litre of beer. All these items must be for personal consumption only. There are no duty-free concessions on cigarettes or other tobacco products.

You are prohibited from bringing in:

  1. Cigarette lighters in the shape of a pistol or revolver, toy coins, obscene materials, endangered animal species and any items made from these animals.
  1. Controlled drugs such as heroin, cannabis, etc. Please note that drug trafficking is a capital offence in the Republic.
  1. Unauthorised reproductions (pirated & illegal) of copyright publications, CD-ROMs, videotapes / disks, video games, records or audio tapes / discs, seditious or treasonable material, motor vehicles, petroleum products, firecrackers and non-medical chewing gum are also not allowed.

When leaving the country, remember to declare any dutiable goods at exit points. You need export permits for items such as ammunition, gold and certain drugs.

For further clarification, call the Singapore Customs Call Centre at (+65) 6355 2000 or visit www.customs.gov.sg.

Smoking
Smoking in Singapore is prohibited in public transport systems, lifts, cinemas, concert halls, air-conditioned restaurants, government offices, shopping centres as well as in ticket and taxi queues. First-time offenders pay a maximum fine of $1,000.

Smoking is however allowed in clubs, pubs, discos, bars as well as other alfresco dining outlets. Please think of others when you light your cigarette.

Goods & Services Tax (GST)
There is a 7% GST levied on all goods imported into Singapore. GST is calculated based on the Cost, Insurance Freight (CIF) value of the goods plus all customs duties payable. Vacationers other than holders of work permit, employment pass, student’s pass, dependant’s pass or long term pass, will be given a GST rebate on the total value of new articles, souvenirs, gifts and food preparations (excluding liquors and tobacco) based on the following:

* S$50 if traveler has been away from Singapore for less than 24 hours.
* S$150 if traveler has been away from Singapore for 24 hours or more but less than 48  hours.
* S$300 if traveler has been away from Singapore for 48 hours or more.

If you have goods exceeding your GST/duty-free allowance, the excess items can be brought in only on payment of the GST and customs duty. GST and customs duty have to be paid on any goods that are imported for commercial, business or trade purposes and also on goods carried on behalf of other persons.

As a visitor to Singapore, you can claim refunds of the GST under the Tourist Refund Scheme. This scheme applies for purchases made using cash, any major credit card or cheque and only if you have purchased a minimum of:
* S$100 in shops displaying the Tax Free Shopping logo
* S$300 in shops displaying the Tax Refund logo

When you shop at these stores, ask for the Global Refund Cheque or GST claims forms from the sales assistant. Your passport requires you to check your eligibility for a refund before it is completed and a duplicate handed to you.

Seeking rebates is an easy process at 24-hour GST Refund Counters at Changi Airport’s Terminals 1 and 2. Take note though, that GST/duty-free allowance is for your personal consumption. It is an offence to sell or give it away.

The Global Refund Hotline is (+65) 6225 6238.