Singapore has one of the world’s finest and busiest harbours, which is well-equipped to handle both personal and professional shipments efficiently and effectively.

That said, before packing up their home and shipping it to Singapore, either by sea or by air, expats should take some time to decide if this is a necessity. A good deal of furnished accommodation is available in Singapore, and the city-state is home to a consumer-focused society, so it's easy to buy whatever one needs at very competitive prices.

What’s more, given the transient nature of the expat community, there’s plenty of opportunity to procure used goods in great condition from those repatriating to their country of origin, or moving elsewhere.

While it’s cheaper to ship by sea, it does take longer. The time associated with shipments varies according to the destination from which goods are being shipped.

It’s recommended that expats employ the services of a professional shipping company, as these organisations are familiar with the logistics involved in the shipping process and can advise expats about documentation and duties.

Shipping personal goods to Singapore

Expats shipping their household goods to Singapore can do so duty-free; that said, cars, liquor and tobacco are subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST).  

To ship items duty-free, certain criteria must be met, such as:

  • The goods being shipped have been owned for more than three months
  • The goods are shipped within six months of one’s first arrival in Singapore
  • The goods will not be disposed of within three months of arriving in Singapore

To be successfully exempt from import duties, it’s necessary to submit the required forms and documents ahead of time.

Useful links

  • For further information regarding the shipping and importing of goods, personal belongings or even pets, we recommend visiting Singapore Customs, the official website of the branch of government that handles trade and revenue.

Shipping pets to Singapore

Shipping pets to Singapore requires careful planning and compliance with specific regulations set by the National Parks Board’s Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS). Understanding the process is crucial for a smooth transition for your furry friends.

Breed restrictions

Singapore imposes strict breed restrictions for both dogs and cats. Certain breeds, including pit bulls, Akitas, Boerboels and others, are not allowed. For cats, first- to fourth-generation Bengal or Savannah cat crosses are prohibited unless they meet specific cross-generation requirements. It’s essential to verify the breed of your pet and ensure compliance with these restrictions.

Immunisations and health checks

The health and safety of pets are paramount. Dogs and cats need to be vaccinated against common diseases, and those from countries with rabies risks must have rabies vaccinations and serology tests. The requirements differ based on the country’s categorisation, so it’s important to check the latest guidelines. A thorough health check is necessary to ensure your pet is fit for the journey.

Import licences

An import licence is required for bringing pets into Singapore. This licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue, and the application process involves specific documentation and adherence to timelines.

Dog licences: For dogs, obtaining a dog licence before applying for an import licence is necessary. The licensing process considers various factors, including the dog's age and sterilisation status.


Depending on the country of origin, quarantine may be required for dogs and cats. The duration varies based on the rabies risk category of the exporting country. Booking a quarantine space in advance is crucial due to high demand.


Upon arrival, pets must undergo inspection at designated border control offices. Scheduling an appointment for inspection is vital to avoid additional fees. The inspection ensures that all health and safety standards are met.

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Expat Health Insurance

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