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Travel Security Advice for Singapore




Singapore is a small, stable, highly developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government.  Tourist facilities are modern and widely available.  Singapore's resident population of over 4.8 million inhabitants (including permanent residents and foreign workers) comprises 75% Chinese, 14% Malay, 9% Indian and 2% others.  English is widely spoken.  Criminal penalties are strict and law enforcement rigorous; see sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Special Circumstances, and Criminal Penalties below for further details.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Singapore for additional information.


U.S. citizens living or traveling in Singapore are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State travel registration website, so that they can obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.   


A valid passport is required.  U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or social purposes, and their stay is for 90 days or less.  Travelers to the region should note that Singapore and some neighboring countries do not allow U.S. citizens to enter with fewer than six months of validity remaining on their passport.  Female U.S. citizens who are pregnant when they apply to enter Singapore for a social visit are no longer required to make prior application through the nearest Singapore overseas mission or to provide documentation from a U.S. embassy concerning the nationality the child will acquire at birth.  Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100.  Visit the Embassy of Singapore’s website for the most current visa information.

Singapore has imposed travel restrictions on persons with HIV/AIDS.  Please inquire directly with the Embassy of Singapore before you travel.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.


In 2001, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda, planned attacks in Singapore against government and private targets associated with the United States, Singapore and other countries.  These plans were disrupted, and the JI organization in Singapore was dismantled.  On February 27, 2008, suspected JI leader Mas Selamat Kastari escaped from detention in Singapore. However, on April 1, 2009, he was re-captured by the Malaysian Police in Skudai, Johor, Malaysia. He remains in custody in Malaysia.

Singapore continues to present a tempting target for terrorist groups.  Extremist groups in Southeast Asia have demonstrated the desire and capability of conducting attacks against government and private sector facilities.  The Department of State remains concerned with the possibility that these groups could conduct attacks against locations where Westerners areknown to congregate.  Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets, and Americans residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise caution and remain vigilant about their surroundings, particularly in areas where Americans and other Westerners live, work, congregate, shop or visit.  

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.


Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon.  Petty crimes, including pick-pocketing and purse or briefcase snatching, occur in tourist areas, hotels, and also at the airport.  Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city.  Visitors should practice standard precautions to avoid falling victim to credit card fraud: do not carry multiple credit cards on your person; do not allow credit cards to be removed from your sight; avoid giving credit card information over the phone and use only secure internet connections for financial transactions.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. 


If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State list of embassies and consulates ).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Singapore is: 999 for police response and 995 for fire/emergency response.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.


While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  

There are strict penalties for possession and use of drugs as well as for trafficking in illegal drugs.  Trafficking charges may be brought based on the quantity of illegal drugs in a subject’s possession, regardless of whether there is any proven or demonstrated intent to distribute the drugs.  Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses.  Singapore police have the authority to compel both residents and non-residents to submit to random drug analysis and do not distinguish between drugs consumed before or after entering Singapore in applying local laws.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore's strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States.  These include jaywalking, littering and spitting.  Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses.  Caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses.  Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore and may result in heavy fines and prison sentences.

There are no jury trials in Singapore.  Judges hear cases and decide sentencing.  The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases; legal assistance may be available in some other cases through the Law Society.

There are strict penalties for those who possess or carry arms, or who commit crimes with arms.  Singaporean authorities define “arm” as any firearm, air-gun, air-pistol, automatic gun, automatic pistol and any other kind of gun or pistol from which any shot, bullet or other projectiles can be discharged or from which noxious liquid, flame or fumes can be emitted, and any component part thereof.  This definition also includes any bomb or grenade and any component part thereof.  The unlawful possession of any arm or ammunition could result in imprisonment and caning.  Any person convicted of committing a crime with an arm could receive punishment which could result in the maximum penalty of imprisonment for life and caning.

Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  In Singapore, local law prohibits causing or encouraging prostitution of, or engaging in sexual relations with, a female below the age of 18.  An indecent assault against anyone, male or female, regardless of age, is also prohibited.  Those convicted of facilitating or abetting the prostitution of any woman or girl could be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years and a fine or both.  If the crime involves a female below the age of 16, the offender faces an additional charge carrying a possible sentence of imprisonment of up to three years and a fine or both.

Singapore enforces strict laws pertaining to the propriety of behavior between people and the modesty of individuals.  The Singaporean law “Outrage of Modesty” is defined as an assault or use of criminal force on any person intended to, or knowing it to be likely to, outrage the modesty of that person.  Penalties may include imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, caning, or a combination thereof.  Men are sometimes accused of inappropriately touching other people, often women, resulting in their prosecution and punishment under this Singaporean law.

Please see our information on Criminal Penalties


Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import and export of items such as weapons, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, pornographic material, videotapes, CDs, DVDs and software.  Singapore customs authorities’ definition of "weapon" is very broad, and, in addition to firearms, includes many items which are not necessarily seen as weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs and expended shell casings.  Carrying any of these items without permission may result in immediate arrest.  All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so checked baggage will also be inspected for regulated items.

Generally, there are four types of dutiable goods in Singapore: alcoholic beverages, tobacco, gasoline, and motor vehicles.  Travelers entering Singapore at any port of entry must approach an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer at the "Red Channel" for payment of duty (e.g. alcohol and tobacco) and goods and services tax (GST) if you have dutiable goods which exceed the GST relief or duty-free concession.  It is an offence to proceed to the "Green Channel" for clearance if you have items that are subject to payment of duty and/or GST.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, DC at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100, or visit their website for specific information regarding customs requirements.  You may also visit Singapore Customs’ website Singapore customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA carnet headquarters in the United States are located at the U.S. Council for International Business , 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036. For additional information, please call 1-212- 354-4480, or send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the website for details.

Please see our Customs Information page.

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash.  Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep.  Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient.

Americans may be asked by police, employers or hotels to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds.  Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g., an employer, or hotel employees). 

Singapore does not recognize dual nationality beyond the age of 21, and it strictly enforces universal national service (NS) for all male citizens and permanent residents.  Male U.S. citizens who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship are liable for Singapore national service (NS) once they reach the age of 18.  Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore Government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach sixteen-and-a-half years of age.  Under Singaporean law, an individual who acquires Singaporean citizenship at birth retains that status even after acquiring the citizenship of another country, including U.S. citizenship.

Males may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after having completed at least two years of national service.  U.S. citizens are subject to this law.  Dual nationals, Singapore Permanent Residents, and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation.  For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website for our dual nationality flyer, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel. 65-6373-3127), or visit Singapore’s National Service Pre-Enlistee information page. 

Please refer to our Dual Nationality page for more information.


Good medical care is widely available in Singapore.  Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash and generally do not accept U.S. health insurance.  Recipients of health care should be aware that Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and in certain circumstances physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient's consent.

Despite vigorous mosquito eradication efforts, Singapore has had recent outbreaks of illnesses that are transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever and the viral disease Chikungunya.   For the most current health information regarding disease outbreaks and Singapore, visit the CDC’s website

Information on H1N1 influenza (commonly referred to as swine flu) can be found at the U.S. Government pandemic influenza website.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.


The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad. Important questions are whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page .


While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Singapore has a highly developed and well-maintained road and highway network.  Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road.  Motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings.   Public transportation and taxis are abundant, inexpensive and reliable.  Visitors should consider using this form of transportation.  The Automobile Association (AA) of Singapore provides roadside assistance, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours.   In addition, closed circuit cameras monitor all major roads.  As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced, and failure to follow them may result in criminal penalties.  

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

For specific information concerning Singaporean driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).  STB has two offices in the United States: New York - 1156 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 702, New York, NY 10036, tel. 1-212-302-4861, fax: 1-212-302-4801, or e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and Los Angeles - 5670 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550, Los Angeles, CA 90036, tel: 1-323-677-0808, fax: 1-323-677-0801, or e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it For general visitor information, please visit STB’s website.

Visit the website of Singapore’s Land Transport Authority responsible for road safety.


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page .


Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.


Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State list of embassies and consulates .

The U.S. Embassy

27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508
Telephone: [65] 6476-9100
Facsimile: [65] 6476-9340
Emergency after-hours telephone: [65] 6476-9100

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Singapore dated January 16, 2009 to update sections on country description, entry/exit requirements, threats to safety and security, special circumstances, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety and road conditions.

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has advice for Singapore HERE......

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)............


The SW Team.......


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