Asia and Oceania

Singapore Flag of Singapore

Still current at: 11 June 2008
Updated: 06 June 2008


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Health section (updated figures for Hand, Foot and Mouth disease).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

(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.

  • Around 500,000 British tourists visit Singapore every year (Source: Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority).  Most visits to Singapore are trouble-free.  The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Singapore in 2007 were: replacing lost or stolen passports (130 cases); dealing with hospitalisations and deaths, mostly from natural causes (30 cases); and dealing with arrests, mostly for drugs and immigration offences.

  • There is a risk from Dengue fever in Singapore.  You should take normal precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.  See the Health section of this travel advice for more details.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain 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 the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

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.

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.
Police permission is required for certain kinds of public gatherings in Singapore.  You should therefore avoid street gatherings and public demonstrations, which might place you at risk.
 
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.

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 you should get a Singaporean driving licence or an annually-renewable International Driving Permit.  These are more readily recognised by the Singaporean authorities.
 
For further information see Driving Abroad.
 
Air Travel

The revised aviation security measures that came into effect for all passengers departing from UK airports in November 2006 are also being implemented in Singapore.  For more details about this please see:  DfT – Airline Security Update

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.
 
For more general information see River and Sea Safety

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 (eg 500g in the case of cannabis).
 
A wider range of lesser offences such as “outrage of modesty” (inappropriate behaviour by men towards women) carries corporal punishment (the rattan cane).
 
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Singapore, and the traffic police regularly carry out breath tests.  Sentences can be up to 10 years in prison.

The Singaporean authorities will prosecute cases of air rage within their jurisdiction.  The maximum sentence is seven years imprisonment, and corporal punishment (the rattan cane).
 
You should be aware that thorough checks are being conducted on departing travellers' vehicles at checkpoints in Singapore.  This includes the scanning of fingerprints.
 
On-the-spot fines are common.  You will be fined for smoking in any public place or indoor restaurant,  for chewing gum on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system or littering.

Don't smoke in any public place or indoor restaurant.  It is banned.  Failure to observe this regulation attracts an immediate fine.  Don't chew gum on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.  It is forbidden and the penalty can be a heavy on-the-spot fine.  Don't litter.  The penalty is an on-the-spot fine.

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 application are also liable for national service.  For further information see the following websites: Immigration and Checkpoints Authority at: Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

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.  However, women who are 6 or more months pregnant must obtain permission to enter before travelling.  Prior entry clearance is also required 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.

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.  Check departure tax is included in the cost of your airfare.
 
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 the Singaporean government website: www.customs.gov.sg before arrival.
 
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 both high quality and high cost.  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 (eg Ibruprofen) need a prescription.

Dengue fever is common to Singapore where cases have increased in recent years.  2005 saw the highest number of recorded Dengue Fever cases (over 14,000) in a single year while there were over 8,000 cases in 2007.  There have also been a very small number of fatalities, but these were due to other complicating factors.

For up to date information on the local Dengue fever hotspots please see  Singapore's National Environment Agency - http://app.nea.gov.sg/cms/htdocs/category_sub.asp?cid=239.
 
Singapore periodically suffers from smoke haze caused by forest fires in Indonesia.

An intestinal virus, a variant of hand, foot and mouth disease, is affecting Singapore. In June 2008, reports indicated that there had been over 14,000 cases since the beginning of the year. Children are at particular risk from the virus. The WHO advise that there is no cause for alarm and that you should take normal precautions and be vigilant about washing hands.

In the 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 5,500 adults aged 15 or over in Singapore were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 0.3% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  
 
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see the 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
 
For further information on endemic diseases, like malaria, health outbreaks and vaccination requirements for Singapore you should check the websites of NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

For more general health information see the Travel Health

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)


There have been no reported cases of avian influenza (bird flu) in Singapore during the current series of outbreaks.  But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed cases elsewhere in the region.
 
You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Influenza, which gives more detailed advice and information.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain 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.

Registration

Register with our 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. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found on the here.

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 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.

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Singapore, British High Commission

Address:

British High Commission
100 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247919

Telephone:

(65) 6424 4200
(65) 6424 4244 Commercial

Fax:

(65) 6424 4218 Chancery
(65) 6424 4250 Management
(65) 6424 4356 Commercial
(65) 6424 4264 Consular
(65) 6424 4230 Defence
(65) 6424 4344 Regional Training Centre
(65) 6424 4263 Pensions

Email: commercial.singapore@fco.gov.uk

Email: Singapore-Consular@fco.gov.uk

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Fri: 0030-0500 / 0600-1100

Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0830-1300 / 1400-1700

Website: http://www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/singapore



 

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