Singapore international school for global students

Shipping and Removals in Singapore

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Shipped items at Singapore's harbour
Singapore has one of the world’s finest and busiest harbours, which is well-equipped to handle both personal and professional shipments efficiently and effectively.

That said, prior to packing up one's home and shipping it to Singapore, either by sea or by air, take some time to decide if this is a necessity. A good deal of furnished accommodation is available in Singapore, and the city-state claims a consumer society - which means one can buy whatever one needs at very competitive prices. So think carefully about shipping over white label goods and appliances.

What’s more, given the transient nature of the expat community, there’s plenty of opportunity to procure used goods in great condition from those repatriating to their country of origin.

It’s cheaper to ship by sea, though, it does take longer. Time associated with shipments varies according to the destination from which goods are being shipped.

It’s recommended that expats employ the services of a professional shipping company, as these organisations are familiar with the logistics involved in the shipping process, and can advise in regard to documentation and duties.

Banned items in Singapore

Expats importing their goods to Singapore should note that the nation has a relatively long list of prohibited items. These include:
  • Chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products
  • Obscene articles, publications, video tapes/discs and software (this included pornography and media that contains violent material).
  • Reproduction of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes
  • Seditious and treasonable materials

Importing household goods to Singapore

Those expats shipping their household goods to Singapore can do so duty-free; that said, cars, liquor and tobacco are subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST).

In order to ship items duty-free they have to meet certain criteria, such as:
  • The goods being shipped have been owned for more than three months
  • They are being shipped to Singapore by air or by sea, not by road

To be successfully exempt from import duties it’s necessary to submit a Personal Effects Exemption Declaration. Additionally, one will also need to submit a completed "Declaration of Facts", along with a copy of one's passport, one's employment pass, one's entry permit, and a bill of lading/airway bill. If the employment pass is still being processed, customs will accept a copy of the application for employment pass as received by the Ministry Of Manpower.

Lastly, be sure to bring an inventory of all items one is shipping. Do not give the customs officials original documents, make copies for them, and simply show them the originals if they ask for them.

Importing a car to Singapore

Expats planning to import their car to Singapore will need to apply for a GST payment permit and a duty permit. Duties are levied at 20 percent of the assessed value of the car, and GST is 7 percent of the cost, insurance and freight value. Expats are also required to submit a number of documents that customs can use to evaluate the cost, ownership and performance of the car.

Documents required for importing a car

Expats must ensure they have the following paperwork in order:
  • Form SC-A-012
  • Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading
  • Freight and Insurance Papers
  • Bills/Receipts relating to other charges
  • Documents relating to exhaust emission test, windscreen test, etc
  • Vehicle Data Card
  • Vehicle's registration and/or de-registration documents (if previously registered)
  • A manufacturer's letter confirming the date of manufacture of the vehicle

Shipping pets to Singapore

Expats who simply can’t survive sans their furry friends may nonetheless want to think twice about shipping their pets to Singapore. Cats and dogs are subjected to a mandatory 30 days of quarantine upon arrival in the country, no exceptions allowed. The only animals not subjected to this quarantine are those from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.

1). Step 1 – Reserve quarantine space. Do this 3 months before departing to avoid complication. Make the reservation with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) by submitting the completed reservation form, vaccination records, and the anticipated date of arrival.

2). Step 2 – Wait for confirmation. The AVA usually confirms receipt of one's request within three working days, and then sends a formal confirmation of quarantine space availability one month prior to one's departure.  
3). Step 3 – Apply for one's import license. Once one has received the quarantine space confirmation, apply for an import license through e-CliPS – this should be done within 30 days of departure. For cross breed or mixed dogs it’s necessary to attach a coloured photo of the dog’s face and body. 

All cats and dogs shipped to Singapore must have an ISO standard microchip, no other forms of identification, like tattoos, are acceptable. Furthermore, they must have an appropriate vaccination record and they must have received a treatment for external parasites between 2 and 10 days prior to their departure, and one for internal parasites within four days prior to export.

Expats shipping dogs to Singapore must obtain the appropriate license before retrieving them from quarantine.

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