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Getting here and advice about your stay

Entry requirements

Entry rules in response to coronavirus 

Due to COVID-19, Singapore's entry requirements are constantly being changed and updated in order to be in line with the country's guidelines during the pandemic. For more information see guidance from the FCDO at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore/entry-requirements, for up to date guidelines for entering Singapore.

Visas

For tourism, business or social visits, you do not normally need a visa if you plan to stay for up to 90 days. You may also be eligible to enter Singapore with the enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) under the Frequent Traveller Programme.

If you are more than six months pregnant, you no longer need permission before travelling, however, it is up to the immigration officer on arrival to decide how long you can stay. If you plan to give birth in Singapore, prior entry clearance is needed. You can apply at the High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in London at: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/london/. Alternatively, contact DIT in Singapore at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-singapore#contact-us if you are not in the UK.

Passport validity

Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months before travelling to Singapore or if you plan to transit Singapore to neighbouring countries. If your passport does not meet this requirement, airlines may turn you away.

If you have a damaged passport or have pages missing, your entry will normally be refused. Refusal of entry can lead to significant cost and a long stay at the airport.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check with the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website to see whether you will need a yellow fever certificate: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/196/singapore#Vaccine_recommendations

Arriving from the Middle East

You may be subject to screening for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) if you are arriving from a Middle Eastern airport. If you show symptoms, you may be quarantined or face further testing.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Singapore, and must be valid for at least six months. When entering or transiting Singapore on an ETD, you do not need a visa.

[Source – FCDO Foreign travel advice: Singapore, gov.uk]

 

Money

The currency in Singapore is the Singapore Dollar (S$).

Most hotels, restaurants and department stores accept major credit cards.

Make sure you check your statements carefully, even though credit card fraud is not a common occurrence in Singapore.

[Source – FCDO Foreign travel advice: Singapore, gov.uk]

 

Local laws and customs

Death penalty

For certain offences such as drug trafficking and murder, punishment can be the death penalty. Possessing over a certain amount of drugs is classed as trafficking. In Singapore there are severe penalties for all drug offences, the definitions are set out in the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Drunk and disorderly conduct

Make sure you drink responsibly and know your limits as in Singapore it is a serious crime to be drunk and disorderly.

Depending on the severity of the crime, convicted offenders may face the following charges:

  • fines of up to S$5,000 (around £2,500)

  • up to 15 years imprisonment

  • caning

Drinking in public places

It is illegal to drink alcohol in public places between 10:30pm and 7:00am, you can only drink between these hours if you are in:

  • a restaurant

  • a bar or cafe

  • an outdoor area on private property, such as a condominium or chalet

  • an outdoor event that has a permit

Geylang and Little India are designated ‘Liquor Control Zones’. It is prohibited to drink in public places during the weekends, public holidays and on the eve of a public holiday in these areas.

If you do drink in these areas you could be fined up to S$1,000 (around £500). If you have repeated this offence, you can be fined up to S$2,000 (around £1,000) or face up to three months imprisonment.

E-cigarettes and smoking

Vaporisers such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars and refills cannot be brought into Singapore. The items will be confiscated and you may face a fine or imprisonment.

You must be over 20 years old to purchase, use, possess or sell tobacco. Those not complying with this law will face a fine. Smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas when visiting Orchard Road.

Visa overstay

If you overstay your visa, you may be subject to a fine, imprisonment, corporal punishment (caning) and deportation, depending on how long you have overstayed.

Outrage of modesty

Avoid any action that can be deemed as molestation. Penalties for convicted offences include a fine, imprisonment and/or corporal punishment (caning). Be aware that scams involving false claims have been carried out.

Retention of passports during police investigations

Your passport will be confiscated by the authorities if you are subject to a police investigation. Once the investigation has been concluded, this will be returned to you. If you are convicted, it will be returned after you have carried out your sentence.

Investigations can take from a few days up to months, depending on the crime committed. Usually, you will not be able to leave Singapore while the investigation is taking place. Be aware that the British High Commission Singapore cannot interfere with proceedings and cannot negotiate the release of your passport.

Dual nationals and permanent residents

Singapore does not recognise dual nationality for anyone over 21.

The following are liable for National Service:

  • all male Singapore citizens (including dual citizens below 21)

  • all male children granted permanent resident (PR) status as part of their parents’ PR application

If you have any specific questions regarding National Service issues, contact the Singapore Central Manpower Base at: contact@ns.sg

For further information, see the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority website at: https://www.ica.gov.sg/enteringanddeparting/visitor/ftp or the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) website at: https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/portal/mindef/national-service/discover-ns.

Others local laws

If you disrespect a public servant, the police will treat it seriously.

All outdoor public assemblies or processions require a police permit. It is best to avoid street gatherings and public demonstrations as they could be illegal. Filming gatherings and wearing/displaying ‘cause related’ material is prohibited without permission.

If you are a foreign national and want to give a talk on racial, communal, religious, cause-related or political topics in Singapore, you must receive approval from the Ministry of Manpower.

It is illegal to publicly display the national flag or emblem unless specific exemptions have been made.

Same-sex sexual acts are illegal, however openly gay and lesbian support groups are available. See the FCDOs advice for the LGBT community when travelling: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-foreign-travel-advice

Jehovah’s Witness meetings, both private and public, are illegal in Singapore. It is illegal to possess any Jehovah’s Witness publications, including the Jehovah’s Witness bible. Similar laws exist against the Unification Church.

Not all behaviour tolerated in the UK is tolerated in Singapore, and can lead to on-the-spot fines. Smoking and littering can lead to fines in some public places. It is illegal to bring chewing gum into Singapore unless it is for medical purposes.

Fingerprints may be scanned at border exit points and checks may be carried out on departing traveller’s vehicles.

It is illegal to use a fake ID.

Bribery is prohibited. Any attempt to bribe or prevent an official from carrying out their duties will often result in arrest.

You can be fined, imprisoned or caned for acts of vandalism, such as graffiting.

The renting of short-term accommodation carries a number of strict laws.

[Source – FCDO Foreign travel advice: Singapore, gov.uk]

 

Safety and security

Crime

Be aware of bag snatching and street crime. Make sure you keep your passport in a safe place at all times. If possible, leave any valuables in a hotel safe, and do not leave them in unattended vehicles.

Violent crime is a rare occurrence in Singapore.

Road travel

Singapore’s road conditions are usually good. Remain at the scene if you have been involved in an accident and wait until the police arrive.

You can drive in Singapore with a UK driving licence if you have a short term visitor pass. You will need to apply for a Singaporean driving licence if you plan to stay long term or become a permanent resident.

There are serious penalties if you drive under the influence of alcohol, this includes a fine or imprisonment. Breath tests are regularly carried out by the traffic police.

Air travel

Cases of air rage within jurisdiction will be prosecuted under the Singaporean authorities.

Sea travel

Be vigilant and take precautions when travelling in and around the waters of Singapore and the Malacca Straits as attacks on ships have occurred. Ensure you reduce the risk of theft by establishing a secure area onboard. Report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.

Terrorism

It is likely that terrorist attacks will be carried out in Singapore.

The UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice about staying safe abroad and what to do if a terrorist attack occurs, see: https://www.counterterrorism.police.uk/staysafe/

Find out more about the global terrorism threat at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reduce-your-risk-from-terrorism-while-abroad.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Extensive measures have been put into place to combat terrorism and a number of suspected terrorists have been arrested.

UK interests and British nationals have a heightened risk of attack globally from individuals/groups motivated by, and linked to, the hostility in Iraq and Syria.

[Source – FCDO Foreign travel advice: Singapore, gov.uk]

 

Health

Check the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s (NaTHNaC) advice on their TravelHealthPro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries at least eight weeks before travelling to Singapore. See the NHS (Scotland)’s FitForTravel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx and the NHS Choices’ website at: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/ for further information.

You can find general information about travel vaccinations, as well as a travel health checklist on the NHS website. You may want to consider contacting a health advisor or pharmacy for further information regarding preventative measures or advice on how to manage pre-existing medical conditions.

Medicines that can be used in the UK may have a different legal status and regulations in Singapore. If you plan to travel with a prescription or over-the-counter medicine, the NaTHNaC has guidance on how to travel with medication: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/43/medicines-abroad. You can also contact the British High Commission Singapore to get advice on the legal status of certain medication: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-high-commission-singapore#contact-us.

In Singapore, some prescribed and over the counter medicines available in the UK are considered controlled substances. In order to bring any such medication into Singapore, make sure you apply for prior authorisation and a permit from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority at least ten working days before you intend to travel. You can bring up to three months supply of medicines that do not contain a controlled substance without prior authorisation. You must, however, bring supporting documents such as a doctor’s note or a copy of your prescription to prove they are for personal use. For more information, please consult the Health Sciences Authority website at: https://www.hsa.gov.sg/. If you have any enquiries contact them at: hsa_info@hsa.gov.sg

Although travel is enjoyable, it can be challenging, so ensure you look after both your mental and physical health when abroad. More information regarding travelling with mental health conditions is available on the FCDO travel and mental health guidance page at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-advice-for-people-with-mental-health-issues or from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/85/travelling-with-mental-health-conditions

Singapore’s healthcare is expensive and of high quality. Carry medication in your hand luggage and take enough to last you your stay. Not all medicines prescribed in the UK are available in Singapore, and some over the counter medications will need a prescription. Make sure your travel health insurance is adequate and you have accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and that your travel insurance also covers costs for medical repatriation.

In Singapore, June to October can experience high levels of pollution, known as haze, from Indonesian clearance fires. This air pollution may have an impact on public health and regional air travel. Monitor local information and ask for medical advice regarding precautions you should take. Monitor the Singapore Government’s Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) for updates: http://www.haze.gov.sg/

Dengue fever and chikungunya virus can occur all year round. Take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitos.

Singapore has been classed as having a risk of Zika virus transmission by the UK health authorities. 

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is also common in Singapore.

Call 995 and ask for an ambulance if you need medical assistance. Contact your insurance/medical assistance immediately if referred to a medical facility for treatment.

COVID-19

Singapore is affected by the global outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19. Make sure you comply with all screening measures that local authorities have put into place, see: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore/coronavirus, for more information.

For more information when travelling during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see the UK Government’s advice at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.

FCDO Foreign travel advice

If you are travelling to Singapore for business, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website has travel advice to help you prepare for your visit overseas and to stay safe and secure while you are there.

For up-to-the-minute advice please visit the FCDO Foreign travel advice pages on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore.

Travel insurance

Make sure you have comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel, as well as accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

[Source – FCDO Foreign travel advice: Singapore, gov.uk]


 

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