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     Customs: Relocating to Singapore

    Taking up residence in Singapore


This pamphlet provides a guide to returning Singaporeans and  persons transferring residence to Singapore on how to declare and clear their used household articles and personal effects imported in consignments.  These effects, other than liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles, may be exempted from payment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) upon importation.  Customs duty and GST are leviable on the import of liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles.


Under the Goods and Services Tax (Imports Relief) Order 1994, a person transferring residence to Singapore may be granted GST relief on his used household articles and personal effects (excluding liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles) subject to the following conditions:

that such person satisfies Customs that

  - he is changing his place of residence from outside Singapore

  - he is the owner of the articles and effects imported; and

  - the articles and effects have been in his possession and used for a period of not less than 3 months

that the articles and effects are imported within 6 months of his first arrival in Singapore; and

that such person gives an undertaking not to dispose of the articles and effects within 3 months from the date of importation of such articles and effects.

For returning Singaporeans, they must have resided in a foreign country for not less than 6 months to qualify for GST relief on their used household articles and personal effects.


Upon being notified of the arrival of the household and personal effects by the shipping, airline or forwarding agent, the owner will have to arrange with a local freight forwarder to prepare a joint TDB Inward/Customs GST Relief Declaration on his behalf.  The declaration is lodged electronically through the TradeNet System.  The forwarder will normally need the bill of lading/air waybill and packing list to prepare the declaration.

To prove his transfer of residence to Singapore, the owner should submit a completed ‘Declaration of Facts’ (obtainable from the local freight forwarder or the Customs Service Centre), together with photocopies of the following supporting documents to Dy Head Permits & Manifests Section, Documentation Branch:

·         extract of passport particulars;

·         employment pass;

·         entry permit; and

·         bill of lading/air waybill.

However, if the employment pass is still being processed by the Immigration Department, Customs will accept a  copy of the application for employment pass duly received by Immigration.  Alternatively, the owner may furnish a letter from his employer confirming his employment together with the undertaking from his employer to pay  Customs the GST involved in the event that the employment pass is not approved or that the employment is not been taken up.

In the event that the owner is not in Singapore, his employer or next-of-kin could also give a letter of undertaking to Customs to pay GST if the owner is subsequently established to be not eligible for GST relief.  The owner should complete the “Declaration of Facts” and submit it together with the supporting documents to Customs for subsequent verification on his arrival.

Submission Of Supporting Documents

All documents in support of the application for GST relief including the completed “Declaration of Facts” may be submitted either by hand to the Customs Service Centre at 2nd Storey, Revenue House, Newton Road or by fax at No. 2509606.  These documents should be submitted for processing before the import declaration is submitted through the TradeNet System.

Dutiable Items

GST relief is not extended to liquors, tobacco products and motor vehicles.  If such items are included in the consignment of personal effects, the owner must inform the forwarder who is preparing the import declaration.  This can be done by including detailed description of the items in the packing list.  The forwarder will then arrange with Appraisement Section, Documentation Branch for assessment and payment of the Customs duty and GST on the items.

Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited from entry into Singapore:

·         Liquors and cigarettes marked with the words ‘SDNP’ or SINGAPORE DUTY NOT PAID on the labels, cartons or packets

·         Cigarettes with the prefix ‘E’ printed on the packets

·         Chewing gum

·         Chewing tobacco and imitation tobacco products

·         Cigarette lighters of pistol or revolver shape

·         Controlled drugs and psychotropic substances

·         Endangered species of wildlife and their by-products

·         Firecrackers

·         Obscene articles, publications, video tapes/discs and software

·         Reproduction of copyright publications, video tapes, video compact discs, laser discs, records or cassettes

·         Seditious and treasonable materials

Controlled Items

Import of the following items is under control.  Approval must be obtained from the respective controlling authorities before the items are allowed entry into Singapore.  If any such item is included in the consignment, the owner must inform his forwarder who will include them in the import declaration.



Animals, birds and their



Agri-food and Veterinary Authority

(Import and Export)


Arms and explosives

Bullet-proof clothing

Toy guns, pistols and revolvers

Weapons, kris,


and swords  

Singapore Police Force

Arms & Explosives Branch





Pre-recorded cartridges and cassettes,


books and


Films, video, tapes/discs, laser discs,



video games  

The Films & Publications Department





Director of Medical Services

Drug Administration Division

Telecommunication and

radio communication equipment

Toy walkie-talkies


Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore

Licensing Department  


Taking Delivery Of The Goods

After obtaining the approved Joint TDB Inward Permit/Customs GST Relief Certificate, the owner may then take delivery of his goods.  The owner may engage a local forwarder to collect the goods on his behalf.  Goods imported by sea will be collected from the PSA port area while those coming in by air, from the Changi Air Freight Centre.

At  the  entry  point,  the  owner or his representative must produce the goods, the approved Joint TDB Inward Permit/Customs GST Relief Certificate and supporting documents to Customs for clearance.

Further Information

This pamphlet is designed as a guide and does not contain a complete list of customs procedures and requirements.  The list of prohibited, controlled, restricted or taxable goods is not exhaustive.  Information in this pamphlet is valid at the time of printing.

If you need further information, please call the Customs Tele InfoPlus at No. 6355 2000.


Singapore Customs is committed to providing a high standard of service to the public.  They welcome feedback on the quality of their services.  You may

*         Call our toll-free line at 1800-253 3866

*         Write to:

          Director-General of Customs & Excise

          #10-01, 55 Newton Road

          Revenue House, Singapore 3079