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Travel & living abroad

Asia and Oceania

Singapore

Flag of Singapore
Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 27 October 2010

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Local Laws and Customs section (use of false ID and bribery is illegal). The overall level of the advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in Singapore.


(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country

Travel Summary

  • You should not become involved with drugs of any kind: possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty.

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • The offences of “outrage of modesty” (molestation) can result in a fine, jail or corporal punishment (the rattan cane). Travellers are advised to avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Scams involving false claims of molest are thought to exist.

  • There is a risk from Dengue fever in Singapore. You should take normal precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. See the Health section.

  • Around 450,000 British tourists visit Singapore every year (Source: Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority). Most visits to Singapore are trouble-free. 89 British nationals required consular assistance in Singapore in the period 01 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident: deaths (10 cases); hospitalisations (18 cases); and arrests, for a variety of offences (21 cases). During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (127 cases).

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See General - Insurance

  • You should ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after the conclusion of any trip to Singapore and other countries within South East Asia.

Safety and security

Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. The Singaporean Government has put in place extensive measures to combat terrorism and has arrested a number of terrorist suspects. For further information see Terrorism Abroad.

Safety and Security - Crime
Violent crime is rare. You should be aware of the dangers of street crime, particularly bag‑snatching. 

You should:

  • take particular care of your passport;
  • leave tickets and unneeded cash/travellers cheques in the hotel safe or at (hosts') home;
  • when going out, avoid carrying valuables with you, and be aware of your surroundings;
  • not leave possessions in unattended vehicles.

See Victims of Crime Abroad.

Safety and Security - Local Travel

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
Road conditions in Singapore are generally good. If you are involved in an accident, you should not leave the scene until the police have attended.

A foreign driving licence can be used in Singapore for as long as it is valid.  But if you are staying in Singapore for longer than one year or become a Permanent Resident you should get a Singaporean driving licence. These are more readily recognised by the Singaporean authorities. For further information see http://driving-in-singapore.spf.gov.sg/.

See Driving Abroad

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Air Travel
The restrictions on the carriage of liquids, aerosols and gels in aircraft cabins, implemented across the EU in 2006, also apply in Singapore and is rigorously enforced.  For more general information see Airline Security.

Safety and Security - Local Travel - Sea Travel
There have been attacks against ships in and around the waters of Singapore and the Malacca Straits.  Mariners are advised to be vigilant and take appropriate precautions; reduce opportunities for theft; establish secure areas onboard; and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities. See River and Sea Safety

Safety and Security - Political Situation
Singapore Country Profile

Local laws and customs

The mandatory death penalty exists in Singapore for certain capital offences, including murder and drug trafficking. There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Singapore. Trafficking is defined by possession of drugs above a certain amount (e.g. 500g in the case of cannabis).

Penalties for visa overstayers include fines, imprisonment and corporal punishment (the rattan cane) and deportation depending on the length of overstay. A wide range of offences such as “outrage of modesty” (inappropriate behaviour by men towards women) carries corporal punishment (the rattan cane). Travellers are advised to avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Scams involving false claims of molest are thought to exist.

Under the Public Order Act 2009 a police permit is required for any outdoor public assembly or procession.  You should avoid street gatherings and public demonstrations which might be illegal. Filming illegal public gatherings is also forbidden, as is the wearing or displaying of any ‘cause related’ material without permission. The approval of the Ministry of Manpower is required for a foreign national to give a talk on ‘racial, communal, religious, caused-related or political topics’. For more details see http://www.spf.gov.sg/licence/frameset_PP.html  

Male homosexual acts are illegal in Singapore. However, in a statement to Parliament in 2007 the Prime Minister stated that 'The Government does not act as moral policemen' and that 'we do not proactively enforce' the law on this issue. Openly gay and lesbian support groups and social venues exist.

Both public and private Jehovah’s Witness meetings are illegal in Singapore. It is also against the law to possess any Jehovah’s Witness publication, including a Jehovah’s Witness bible. Similar measures exist again the Unification Church.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Singapore, and the traffic police regularly carry out breath tests. Sentences for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol can include a fine or imprisonment. The Singaporean authorities will prosecute cases of air rage within their jurisdiction.  

On-the-spot fines are common, and can be given for a wide range of behaviours which are tolerated in the UK. You will be fined for smoking in any public place or indoor restaurant, for chewing gum on the Mass Rapid Transit (MTR) system or littering and in the past measures have been taken to ensure the cleanliness of public toilets.

You should be aware that thorough checks may be conducted on departing travellers' vehicles and fingerprints may be scanned at border exit points.

The use of false ID cards (e.g. false driving licences) is illegal.

There is zero tolerance for bribery. Any attempt to bribe or to otherwise prevent an official from carrying out their duties can result in arrest.

Local Laws and Customs - Dual nationals and Permanent Residents
Singapore does not recognise dual nationality beyond the age of 21. If you are male and a citizen of Singapore, or you hold Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) status you are liable for national service from the age of 16 up to 50. Male children granted Permanent Resident status as part of their parents’ SPR applications are also liable for national service. For further information see the following websites for Singapore - Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

See our Your Trip page.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements - Visas
You do not normally need visas to enter Singapore for up to 30 days stay for tourism, business discussions or social visits. Women who are more than six months pregnant no longer need to obtain permission before travelling; however the final decision on the length of stay permitted rests with the immigration officer on arrival. Prior entry clearance is required for women intending to give birth in Singapore. Applications can be made at the nearest Singapore visa issuing office. For further information contact the High Commission for the Republic of Singapore in London.

Entry Requirements - Passport validity
Singaporean immigration authorities require that you have at least six months' validity on your passport beyond your departure date from Singapore. Likewise, if you are intending to transit Singapore to neighbouring countries, you should ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months. You may be refused entry or be turned away by airlines if your passport does not meet this requirement. You should check that departure tax is included in the cost of your airfare.

Entry Requirements - Customs Regulations
You should be careful to comply with Singaporean customs regulations. Importation of controlled drugs and pirated copyright material is prohibited and there are restrictions on entering with items such as replica guns, radio communications equipment, and weapons and ammunition (including empty cartridge cases). For more information we recommend that you visit the travellers section of Singapore Customs government website before arrival.

Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. They may want to see birth certificates, a letter of consent from the other parent or some evidence as to your responsibility for the child. For further information contact the High Commission for the Republic of Singapore in London.

Health

Healthcare in Singapore is of a high quality and expensive. Local hygiene standards are high. You should take enough medication to cover your stay and carry it in your hand baggage. Not all UK prescribed drugs are available in Singapore. Some over-the-counter medications (e.g. Ibuprofen) need a prescription.

For entry into Singapore a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers (over one year of age) who, within the preceding six days, have been in or have passed through any country where yellow fever is endemic (most tropical African and South American countries - please see http://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=95&secid=94 for details).

Singapore periodically suffers from smoke haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia.

Dengue occurs in Singapore and clusters of chikungunya cases have also been reported. Dengue and chikungunya are transmitted by mosquitoes. There are no vaccinations against these diseases but there are preventative measures that you can take, as advised on the National Travel Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website. For up to date information on the local dengue hotspots please see the website of Singapore’s National Environment Agency at: http://app.nea.gov.sg/cms/htdocs/category_sub.asp?cid=239

Outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) occasionally occur and young children have been particularly at risk of being infected. The World Health Organisation has advised that there is no cause for alarm and that you should take normal precautions and be vigilant about washing hands.

The Singaporean Ministry of Health has stated that, in the first ten months of 2009, the number of Singaporeans newly-infected with HIV was 378. The Ministry also states that the rate of HIV infection in Singapore is around 0.1% to 0.2% of the population, a level similar to that generally found in developed countries. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Singapore and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

See our Travel Health and Eat and Drink Safely pages.

General

General - Insurance
You should get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See Travel Insurance page.

If things do go wrong when you are overseas see When Things Go Wrong.

General - Money

The local currency is the Singapore Dollar. Major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and department stores. Credit card fraud is not a major problem in Singapore, but you should check your statements carefully. Keep your credit card company’s telephone number to hand: your card may be stopped if they think it has been stolen or cloned.

General - Registration

Register with the FCO's LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.

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Contacts

Singapore, British High Commission

Address:

British High Commission
Singapore

100 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247919

Fax:

(+65) 6424 4250

Office hours:

Office hours, Monday-Friday:
08:30-13:00 / 14:00-17:00 (Local time)
00:30-05:00 / 06:00-11:00 (GMT)

Public opening hours ›

Website: http://ukinsingapore.fco.gov.uk/

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