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Singapore

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Singapore. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the news and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months, even if you're transiting. If it doesn't, you might be refused entry to or exit from Singapore. See Entry and exit.
  • Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. See Laws.
  • Singapore has strict laws, for assault and offences relating to drunkenness, men behaving inappropriately towards women, and using inappropriate language and inappropriate touching. Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, and caning. See Laws.
  • Terrorism is a threat in Singapore. Enhanced security measures are in place. See Safety and security.
  • Smoke haze is usual from June to October, but can occur at any time of the year. See Health.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia. If you arrive in Singapore and your passport is valid for less than six months, you could be refused entry into, or exit from, Singapore – even if you're just transiting. The Australian Government can't intervene in decisions made by airlines or Singaporean immigration officials.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception.  If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Australian High Commission for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Visas

You won't need a visa for tourism or business if it’s for less than 90 days. However, your passport must be valid for more than six months. For employment or study, you'll need to apply for a visa before you travel.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of Singapore for up-to-date information.

For immigration clearance at Singapore, you may have to show:

• a passport with at least six months validity

• evidence of sufficient funds for your intended stay

• a confirmed onward or return flight ticket

•  a valid visa to enter your next destination

• a yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable).

Singapore has severe penalties for illegal immigration and visa overstay, including fines, imprisonment and caning.

Other formalities

You may need to present the credit or debit card used to purchase your ticket at the airport check-in counter, or risk being refused boarding. Contact your airline for their requirements

You'll need to scan your thumbprints each time you arrive and depart Singapore. This doesn't apply to  children younger than six years. If you  register  your thumb prints on  BioScreen at the immigration counter on arrival, you can use automated self-clearance technology for departure.

If you're carrying medication that is controlled in Singapore, you'll need an import permit to show on arrival. Permits may be needed for medication available over-the-counter in Australia. More information: Health Science Authority of Singapore

If you intend to work, you must have a valid work visa. More information: Ministry of Manpower

Money

The official currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD).

You can easily exchange Australian dollars for SGD in Singapore. Declare amounts exceeding SGD20,000 or foreign currency equivalent on arrival.

ATMs are available across the country. Hotels, restaurants and shops accept international credit cards.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Unauthorised public demonstrations are illegal. A police permit is needed for a public gathering of more than four people. If you're travelling as a group of five or more people, be careful to not obstruct others or prevent their right of way.

A police permit is also needed for an assembly or procession of two or more people in a public place to which members of the public are invited.

Public demonstrations are permitted only at Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park. Non-permanent residents need a permit to participate in any activity at Speakers' Corner. Penalties can be severe.

More information: Singapore Police Force

Crime

Violent crime against tourists is rare.

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and street theft occurs at the airport, tourist destinations, hotels and on public transport. Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in tourist areas and on public transport.

Scams

Property rental scams occur. Con artists have posed as landlords on property websites offering fake rental properties. You can get details of a rental property, including the owner, from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore or the Singapore Land Authority.

  • Research the property and other party before committing to a property rental or purchase contract.
  • Avoid making large payments in cash.
  • Use only accredited property agents.
  • Request all parties (including landlords and agents) attend when signing tenancy documents.

Travellers and residents have been targeted by unscrupulous retailers of mobile phones, electrical goods and cameras. You can register complaints via the Singapore Tourism Board website. If you live in Singapore, approach the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Singapore. Attacks could be indiscriminate and may affect locations frequented by Westerners.

Singapore has enhanced security measures in place. These include strong border controls, security and police surveillance, and restrictions on access to some public venues. Ministers have issued public warnings about the seriousness of the terrorist threat. A number of suspected terrorists have been arrested.

Possible terrorist targets include commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, markets, places of worship, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas and transport hubs such as train stations. Premises and symbols associated with the Singapore Government are also possible targets.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.

If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Road travel

Road and driving conditions are comparable to those in Australian capital cities.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's licence

To drive you must be at least 18 years old and have an Australian driver's licence. To continue driving after a 12-month stay, you'll need to get a Singaporean licence. If you're a permanent resident, you'll need to get a Singaporean licence within three months of getting residency.

More information: Singapore Government

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet and protective clothing.

Taxis

Metered taxis are freely available from official taxi ranks and are a safe and convenient means of transport. Rideshare apps are legal and are widely used.

Public transport

Singapore's highly efficient rail network (Mass Rapid Transit) operates throughout the island between 05:30am and midnight. There is also an extensive network of public and private bus service.

More information:

Sea travel

A number of international cruise lines stopover in Singapore.

More information: Cruises

Piracy occurs in the coastal areas around Singapore. If you're travelling by boat, take appropriate precautions.

More information:

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. 

More information:

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

If you're arrested, you may be detained while police investigate. Investigations and court hearings can take several months. Police will likely hold your passport, and you won't be allowed to leave Singapore.
You won’t be able get a replacement passport until legal matters are settled.

Drug laws

The presence of illegal drugs in your body, including as detected in blood and urine tests, is an offence. You can be prosecuted for consumption of drugs even if they were taken outside Singapore.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty and caning.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

Serious crimes, such as murder, abduction and weapons offences, can attract the death penalty. Corporal punishment (including caning) can be imposed for crimes including rape, rioting, extortion, visa offences and vandalism.

Singapore has strict laws for assault and offences as a result of being drunk, men behaving inappropriately towards women, and using inappropriate language or inappropriate touching. Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, and caning.

Crimes that disrupt social, racial or ethnic harmony attract severe penalties. The behaviour which constitutes 'disrupting harmony' is broadly defined, and includes racial insults or otherwise promoting ill-will and hostility between different races or classes. People intending to speak publicly on racial, communal, religious or political topics must apply for a Miscellaneous Work Pass from the Ministry of Manpower website.

Singapore has strict laws and penalties for actions that are either legal or are minor offences in Australia. This includes smoking in public places or indoor restaurants, spitting, chewing or importing gum (including chewing tobacco), littering and jaywalking.

The following activities are also illegal and can result in serious penalties, including detention or imprisonment:

  • being drunk, behaving badly or using offensive language during a flight to Singapore, in transit in Singapore or on an airline registered in Singapore
  • importing vaporisers, such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars, and refills into Singapore, even for personal consumption
  • driving under the influence of alcohol
  • consuming alcohol in public places between 10:30pm and 7:00am
  • drinking alcohol in Liquor Control Zones (specified areas in Geylang and Little India) in breach of additional restrictions (that apply on weekends and public holidays)
  • homosexual acts between men
  • shoplifting and theft
  • entering or transiting through Singapore with weapons, military souvenirs, replica weapons or ammunition (including empty cartridges)
  • working without a valid work pass – see Entry and exit
  • taking photos of official buildings where there are signs prohibiting photos
  • importing pirated copyright material
  • importing printed and recorded material considered 'obscene' or prohibited – this may include material that is legal in Australia.

The Singapore Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification Church have been deregistered. Followers can practise their religion, but cannot participate in public meetings, engage in missionary work or distribute religious publications.

Police investigations can take more than a year, during which time you may be required to stay in Singapore, as your passport could be held by authorities. Beware of scams in this field.

If you're working in Singapore, your work pass may be revoked if you break domestic law.

More information:

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Local customs

Standards of behaviour are generally conservative. Public displays of affection may cause offence. Homosexual acts between men are illegal. There is no specific law against homosexual acts between women, but there are local sensitivities.

  • Take care not to offend.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Dual nationals

Singapore doesn't recognise dual nationality for people over the age of 21.

Male citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 16 and 50 are required to do two years of national service and more periods of training.

If you're a dual Australian-Singaporean citizen or want to get permanent residency, familiarise yourself with national service requirements before deciding to travel to or live in Singapore.

More information:

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities and care throughout Singapore is comparable with or exceeds that in Australia. The cost of medical services in Singapore is much higher than in Australia.

Many places will require an upfront payment or confirmation from your insurer on payment before any medical care is given.

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some prescription medications available in Australia may be controlled in Singapore, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. Restrictions may also apply to some medications available over the counter in Australia.

If you intend to bring personal medication into Singapore that contains a controlled substance, apply for prior approval at least ten working days before you arrive in Singapore. The Singapore Health Sciences Authority website contains a list of controlled substances and information about applying for prior approval (email: HSA_Info@hsa.gov.sg). If your medicine is illegal in Singapore, consult your doctor in Australia about alternatives before you travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Keep your medicines in their original packaging. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information:

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

There is limited transmission of Zika virus. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas. The Department of Health's Zika virus bulletin includes other advice on how to minimise Zika virus risks. There is no vaccination available for Zika virus.

Outbreaks of other mosquito-borne illnesses (including dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Japanese encephalitis) can occur.

The risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses increases during the wetter months (from November to March and from July to September).

Many areas are regularly 'fogged' to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses. The 'fog' consists of toxic chemicals. Avoid travelling into areas immediately after fogging has taken place.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including always insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel
  • discuss your travel plans and other vaccination needs with your doctor before you travel
  • if you are pregnant, defer non-essential travel to Zika-affected areas.

More information

Smoke haze

Smoke haze occurs from June to October. Monitor the haze situation and any health warnings issued by the Singapore Government. Seek medical advice as appropriate. Singapore's National Environment Agencywebsite provides updates when smoke haze occurs and contains more information about related public health issues.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is common with more serious outbreaks occurring occasionally. Outbreaks usually start in March or April and peak in May but can continue until August to October. It mostly affects children under the age of 10 years, but adult cases (particularly young adults) are not unusual.

The illness is characterised by fever as well as blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people.

  • Take normal hygiene precautions including careful and frequent hand washing.
  • Check Singapore's Ministry of Health website for more information, including on disease prevention.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

There are special passenger screening arrangements for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) at Changi Airport.

If you arrive from an affected country (including Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, and Jordan), you may be screened for symptoms of MERS. If you display symptoms of MERS, you may be taken to hospital in Singapore for assessment. If authorities suspect you're infected with MERS, you may be required to remain in hospital.

You may also be placed in quarantine by health authorities if you have come into contact (within two metres for thirty minutes or more) with a symptomatic person.

More information: 

Natural disasters 

Earthquakes in the region can affect Singapore.

The monsoon season is from December to March and from June to September. Strong winds and heavy rain occur during these months.

If there is a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, weather reports, other local sources of information, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • check with tour operators before travelling to affected areas.

Singapore is a major aviation hub. Flight disruptions occurring in many parts of the world, including due to volcanic ash plumes, may impact on flights. Contact your airline or travel agent for the latest flight information.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: 995
  • Medical emergencies: 995
  • Criminal issues: 999 or contact local police.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime. 

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance contact:

Australian High Commission, Singapore

25 Napier Road
SINGAPORE 258507
Phone: (65) 6836 4100
Fax: (65) 6737 7465
Website: singapore.highcommission.gov.au
Email: consular.singapore@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australian in Singapore
Instagram: @AusHC_SG

Check the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Business travellers

Specific information for business travellers can be found on the Austrade website Doing Business in Singapore. It outlines the current business situation and business culture, and provides information on establishing a business in Singapore.

Additional information