What Travelers Can and Can't Bring Into Singapore

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Singapore has strict laws for locals and visitors, and there are also rules governing what visitors can take into the country. Here's what you should know before you pack your bags.


A man walks inside Changi Airport, Singapore Photo © Getty Images/Whit Ng / EyeEm

Singapore is one of the world’s most stable and wealthy nations, and this prosperity has been built, to a degree, on the clinical enforcement of strict laws. This is why tourists need to know about the following laws that may affect them on their holiday to this beautiful, modern city-state.

Singapore's laws are tough

Finding a banana in my backpack was sufficient to give me anxiety as I waited to clear immigration at Singapore Airport on one of my many visits to this country. That sounds like a major overreaction, and it was. But it’s also a reflection of the intimidating reputation that’s built up around the severity of Singapore’s laws.

How could a tourist not be a bit rattled when they hear that, in Singapore, merely chewing gum is a criminal offense? This isn’t a myth either. Chewing gum is banned in Singapore – you cannot bring it into the country, it is not sold in Singapore, and chewing it carries a fine of at least $500. This is emblematic of how strict Singapore’s laws are.

Controlled and banned items

Aside from chewing gum, there are many more things you cannot legally bring into Singapore. They include firecrackers, pornography recordings, endangered wildlife, counterfeit goods and, just for good measure, cigarette lighters shaped like a pistol.

Then there are items that are controlled, which means you must apply in advance for a permit to take them into Singapore. Such as firearms, explosives, plants, pharmaceuticals, handcuffs, nightsticks, live birds or fish, and telecommunications and radio equipment.

Realistically, the only one of those items which tourists are likely to be carrying is pharmaceuticals. So be sure to check exactly which medicines you can and can’t bring into Singapore without a permit on this official website.

Singapore executes drug traffickers

Singapore imposes the death penalty for drug trafficking. You’ll be reminded of this startling fact by an announcement as your plane’s about to land in Singapore. Its laws dictate that anyone caught trafficking more than 500 grams of cannabis, or 15g of heroin, can be executed.

Do not, under any circumstances, use or bring into Singapore any drug other than alcohol, tobacco or basic medications. If that doesn’t suit you, then just bypass Singapore and instead head to nearby Thailand, which in 2022 legalized cannabis and now has a booming weed tourism industry.

Alcohol import allowances

Singapore is famously not a cheap place to drink. So, if you wish to save money on your holiday by bringing a couple of bottles of duty-free alcohol into Singapore, carefully follow its alcohol import laws. Firstly, you must be at least 18 years old to take duty-free alcohol into this country. Secondly, you must not be arriving from neighboring Malaysia. Thirdly, you must declare any liquor in your possession which is 0.5% alcohol content or stronger.

As long as you meet those requirements, you are free to bring in up to two liters of alcohol. But that amount must be apportioned according to one of the following five selections. One liter of spirits, plus one liter of wine. One liter of spirits, plus one liter of beer. One liter of wine, plus one liter of beer. Two liters of wine. Two liters of beer.

Cigarettes and vaping

Vaping is illegal in Singapore, with fines of up to $2,000. This country also isn’t keen on cigarette smoking. Singapore has the lowest rate of tobacco consumption of any country in Southeast Asia, due to a long campaign by its government to stamp out this unhealthy habit.

Smoking cigarettes is banned in a large number of public spaces, with fines of up to SGD $500 for breaking these laws. This helps explain why Singapore does not offer duty-free on cigarettes. Tourists landing at Singapore airport in possession of tobacco products must go through the red channel, declare these tobacco products, and then pay two separate taxes on them – duty and GST. The amount of tax will depend on the volume of tobacco.

Red or green channel at customs?

If you’ve repeatedly travelled outside your home country then this won’t be news to you, but it bears repeating. Singapore follows international conventions by having green and red channels (passageways) for passengers to pass through as they depart the baggage area to enter the arrivals hall.

Walk through the green channel if you know for certain you have nothing to declare. However, be warned that Singaporean customs officers may still inspect your bag. If you do have something to declare or are in any way unsure about the legality of items in your bags, pick the red channel.

Items you must declare include those that are controlled or restricted under Singaporean law or those that exceed your duty-free allowance. Surrender these items at the red channel, and you may escape punishment. Try to sneak them through the green channel, and you’re asking for trouble. Also, beware that any false declarations to customs officers carry a fine of up to SGD $10,000.

Goods and services tax refund

Like many countries, Singapore applies a Goods & Services Tax (GST) to many purchases made on its shores. The important thing for tourists to know is that, in some circumstances, you can claim this 8% tax back when you’re leaving Singapore.

That is thanks to its Tourist Refund Scheme, which applies to certain purchases of more than SGD $100. It makes sense to use this scheme if you’re buying any expensive items in Singapore, such as electronics or high-end souvenirs. Not included are things like hotel stays, meals or entry tickets for attractions.

The first step is to look for shops that have a “tax-free” sign outside, indicating they are part of this scheme. There are dozens of such businesses in downtown Singapore. Keep the receipt for this transaction and then, to get your refund, show it to staff at the Tourist Refund desks at Singapore Airport, before you fly out of the country.

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  • anonymous said

    You can,as long as you remove any batteries and make sure its small enough to fit(and make sure it is not a fake)

  • yunyun said

    hi.. can i bring ballons with pump in air one from malaysia to singapore by bus or ktm train?

  • Rocket said

    Can I bring little koala key rings in to Singapore

  • rohit parbhakar said

    Can I bring my 2 to hard disk with me into Singapore?

  • lidija said

    will be in transit in singapore on our way to bali
    can i bring my personal prescribed anitbiotics with me

  • Monica said

    Hi dear, please kindly tell me if I can bring in Singapore home dried mint leaves for tea? any specific quantity? I can't find anywhere if this is allowed or not :(. Thanks

  • Andrea Jahnke said

    I have a pain condition from a ruptured hamstring 7 years ago I am currently on morphine 20 mlgms a day. Will this be a problem with my travelling to Singapore for 7 days.

  • Kenneth said

    Can I bring ps4 to and fro the Singapore and Malaysia custom?

  • vhann said

    ill be flying tomorrow in SG ...im planning to bring like only 15 tabs of antibiotics is there going to be any problem?

  • Krishna said

    Hi, just to enquire, can i bring Some Fruits ,Coconut, Garland n prayers staff(mixture or prayer items) for prayers in Marshiling. Thank you

  • Gloria Munoz said

    can I bring: Goldsource STU-1000 Step Up/Down Voltage Transformer Converter - AC 110/220 V - 1000 Watt for american appliances?

  • sue houps said

    my son takes clonezapam, gabapentin and amatriptolene for back pain. can he take these into singapore?

  • naz said

    Hi. can i bring 5 unopened packs of cigarettes from Malaysia to Singapore via flight? Do i have to declare it? Should i go through the Red or the Green Channel?

  • maria luisa gonzales said

    can i bring 6 packs of cigarettes already open to prove that this is my personal use from manila to singapore

  • David Schion said

    Can I bring into Singapore hand tools, such as a voltage meter, screwdrivers, crinmping tools, etc. ?

  • Jake said

    hi I want to buy a tank shell, with no bullet just the casing (why not) and the seller is shipping it in from the US, would this cause any problems?

  • Raymond said

    Can I bring in 3 echevaria succulent leaves and a prickless cactus without soil? Filled with perlite (Horti)? not exceeding 100 grams.

  • Irma shahidah said

    Can i bring back my opened cigarettes from vietnam to singapore.? Its only 1 packed of cigarette

  • Jocelyn said

    Can i bring new shoes or electric items from jb?

  • Barry said

    Can you import saw logs into Singapore

  • Bridget cross said

    can I take a blood glucose monitor into Singapore

  • Leon said

    Hi i m Malaysian, i purchase an iphone X in Malaysia is for personal use, can i bring in Singapore? Will i still need to pay tax?

  • Kolawole Oyepeju said

    I have heard a lot of good and positive things about the country, and my conclusion is that it would only be difficult for criminal minded travelers and not for someone that went for legal purposes.

  • Russell Borja Pascual said

    can i bring 6 plastic bottles of hair grower shampoo to sg?

  • GunYinHuang said

    can i bring bouquet of flowers into singapore by jb custom??

  • Mansfield said

    Can I bring cod Liver oil 1000mg capsules, Also Glucosamine Sulphate 400 mg capsules, Tablets ordered by UK Doctors Finasteride 5mg one Daily
    Vitamin D3 50ng Would any or all be allowed into Singapore there for 4 Day s
    Thank you

  • Quek Heng Yu said

    Can I import magnets, carbon fibre sheets, electric motors, torchlights, blinking light earrings, touch sensors, the lego EV3 bricks, gyro sensors, switches and boost converter modules into Singapore?

  • hazmie said

    what if I bought a weapon like a baton but it has torchlight would be considered as weapons

  • Sylvia Wells said

    I have. 7 tablets of Diazepam from my doctor to help me on the plane and with claustrophobia is to
    His allowed please

  • Nalini said

    i am renting in Singapore. i want to bring my pots and pans and my electric cooker 1L size. is it allowed? i am from Johor

  • davechoy said

    Pots, pans and electric cooker no problem

  • Wee said

    Hi, can I bring in vehicle’s sport rim from Malaysia to Singapore ?

  • Hazel Teale said

    I am coming to Singapore and will have my medication as prescribed by my Doctor and one of them includes Codeine for extreme pain. Will this be allowed please??

  • Rose Lee said

    Can i bring in or courier over a homemade detox and herbal drinks for own consumption to singapore?

  • Thomas Bates said

    I an flying in to Changi on 2nd May at 6pm from Vientaine Laos. Flying out 3rd may at 10 pm to Australia. Will this be allowed.

  • leow yee kiat said

    can i post ginseng for my friend in singapore? will it be any problem if i post by courier service?

  • AT said

    can i bring in perfume that i bought in Malaysia?

  • Joy said

    Similarities of <a href=”https://www.cottoncare.com.sg/services/laundry-and-dry-cleaning/">laundry and dry cleaning</a> The laundry cleaning services include plenty of water for washing clothes with soap. Dry cleaning, on the other hand, includes original water and soap washing…!"

  • Dave said

    Can I bring a plant into Singapore (more specifically a cutting of a plant) from South Africa

  • Wendy said

    Can I bring cans food (sardines/tuna) product of Scotland/Italy, dry packages of rice vermicelle from Thailand and instant noodle from Japan into Singapore . Thanks.

  • Devagi said

    Can i bring the weight lost medicine malaysia to singapore coz i stay in Singapore

  • Jeremy Michaels said

    Can I bring 3 kilo’s of heroine in to Singapore?

  • Mike Nobles said

    How many cigarettes can i bring from U.S. to Singapore

  • Josephine said

    Hi traveling from Norway to Singapore 4 nights, can I take vitamin,perfumes and night cream to my luggage which will I bring in Singapore and then bring it to Phiippines for gifts for my relatives for 3 weeks visitation..is there a limit and need to declare..need to pay tax...? Thanks

  • Morten said

    I am going to dive in Indonesia, but staying in Singapore for some days. Can I bring a diving knife through custom in Singapore (suitcase)?

  • juicyj said

    can anyone help me my flight stop over is in changi airport singapore i heard that i cannnot bring my vape even if its just 2 hours stop over, what if i bring just a couple of my favorite e juice here in philippines both 30ml can i pass through security screening without any trouble????? Help me plssssss

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