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 their home and shipping it to Singapore, either by sea or by air, expats should take some time to decide if this is a necessity. A good deal of furnished accommodation is available in Singapore, and the city-state is home to a consumer focused society, so it's easy to buy whatever one needs at very competitive prices.
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, or moving elsewhere.
While it’s cheaper to ship by sea, 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 expats in regard to documentation and duties.
Importing household goods to Singapore
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, certain criteria must be met, such as:
The goods being shipped have been owned for more than three months
The goods are shipped within six months of one's first arrival in Singapore
The goods will not be disposed of within three months of arriving in Singapore
To be successfully exempt from import duties it’s necessary to submit the required forms and documents ahead of time.
For further information regarding the shipping and importing of goods, personal belongings or even pets, we recommend visiting Singapore Customs, the official website for the branch of government that handles trade and revenue.
Are you an expat living in Singapore?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Singapore. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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