You need to move from Thailand or somewhere else to Singapore? Siam Relocation’s expert team is here to handle all your logistic and relocation needs. Our decades of experience in this domain give us credit to take care of your move. In this article, you will find reliable information about the customs, the best methods of transportation, our appropriate services and about your future life in Singapore.
Summary (Click on the subject you are looking for):
- 1.1 Customs process
- 1.2 Taxes exemption
- 1.3 Vehicle importation
- 1.4 What duties and taxes will I pay for my personal effects?
- 3.1 Moving insurance
- 3.2 Moving with your pet to Singapore
- 3.3 Packing service
- 3.4 Warehousing service
As you probably know it, when you travel from a country to an other with your personal belongings, it is mandatory to go through customs and thus clear your goods. Of course, Siam Relocation is used to working with customs and can offer you to deal with the custom clearance of your goods.
The first thing to know regarding Singapore customs process is that you may have to pay for two different taxes. The first one is the duty, payable only for dutiable goods. In Singapore, dutiable goods belong to four categories:
- Intoxicating liquors, including spirits, wine, beer, ale, stout and porter
- Beverages and liquors consumed for health reasons and used for cooking are dutiable if the alcoholic strength by volume exceeds 0.5% (eg shandy, bottled alcoholic cocktail drinks, D.O.M., Yomeishu, samsoo and rice wine)
- Tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars
- Motor vehicles, including motorised bicycles
- Motor Spirits and Diesel products, including gasoline, petrol, motor fuel and automotive diesel fuel
*The second is the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It applies to all goods imported into Singapore. They all are subject to a 7 per cent GST.
You may also pay both for some goods you import for local consumption (tobacco for instance). The custom process in Singapore is well defined.
There are two ways to declare your goods when entering Singapore’s territory. They are called the Red and the Green Channels. You will find these systems in any major entry checkpoints in Singapore.
The Red Channel. You should proceed to the Red Channel if you are carrying dutiable goods exceeding your duty-free concession, goods exceeding your GST relief (cf. 1.2), controlled, restricted or prohibited goods.
You will find the Red Channel easily, unless you enter Singapore by car. If you do, you must declare all dutiable, taxable, controlled or prohibited goods to the checking officer at the Customs Examination Area before immigration clearance.
Once at the Red Channel, you will only need to inform the officer of your declarable goods, produce them and produce the relevant permit if you have one.
How do I know if I need a permit?
You need a permit for clearance if you are carrying :
- More than 0.4 kilogrammes of cigarettes or other tobacco products;
- More than 10 litres of liquor products;
- More than 10 litres of petroleum;
- More than 0.5 kilogrammes of investment precious metals for personal use;
- Goods for trade or commercial use the GST on which exceeds S$300; or
- Goods clearly marked as trade samples (excluding liquor and tobacco products) the value of which exceeds S$400
The Green Channel is to choose when you have nothing to declare. Then the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority officers will briefly take care of you and your goods.
Good and Services Tax reduction may be given on importation of used furniture’s merchandises and individual objects for:
- Citizens of Singapore and Singapore’s permanent residents living abroad and come back to live in Singapore
- Foreigners who transfer their residence or who come to Singapore to immigrate
The Good and Services Tax Reduction is submitted the following.
That this person convinces the customs officer that:
- He changes the place where he lives in Singapore;
- He is the proprietor of the imported items, individual objects and domestic animals;
- Items and individual objects belong to him and exploited over the last three months and
- Items and individual objects are transported by maritime or air transport.
- Items, individual objects and domestic animals are transported within six months of arrival in the country
- An agreement is made not to prompt of items and individual objects within three months from the date of importation.
Travelers can benefit from a GST relief on goods destined for their personal use. But the amount of the relief depends on the time the traveller spent out of Singapore.
*Please note that merchandises don’t qualify for Goods and Services Tax reduction
The importation of intoxicating liquor, tobacco items, motor vehicles, personal plane, vessels, yachts and commercial merchandises by all people, independently of their residency status, will result in the Good and Services Tax and duty (if any).
A Customs-In-Payment (Duty and Goods Service Tax) license is needed for importing merchandises that can be taxed, but an In-Payment (Goods and Service Tax) licence is needed for importing merchandises that cannot be taxed.
First, used cars can’t be imported to Singapore if they are more than three years old (from the date of its first registration in a foreign country). The only exception is for classic cars (cars at least 35 years old from their registration date). You can’t import a left-hand drive vehicle either.
*Second, import duties on vehicles are a bit high: 20% of Open Market Value for cars and 12% for Motorcycle and Scooter.
Finally, the administrative procedures to import a vehicle are really complex and long. Your vehicle would go through mechanical inspection at the Land Transport Authority in order to see if it complies with the 52 (or even more) standards requirements. These requirements concern emissions, special brakes, no hydrocarbon refrigerants in air-conditioning systems, minimum of 70 percent light transmittance for safety glasses, …
And this mechanical inspection only is one of the 10 big steps for importing a car in Singapore. Most expats make the choice not to take their car with them.
Customs contact in Thailand
Customs contact in Singapore
Our customs broker inform you
Prohibited & restricted items
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Sea freight is very common for a transport to Singapore as it is a huge hub of international trade and transportation. Singapore port is one of the biggest in the wold in terms of traffic.
Sea freight presents the advantage of a cheaper cost if you want to ship a relatively big volume, more than 3 cubic meters in general (depends on many other factors). Sea freight also is the greener freight mode. Yet, it is obviously longer than airfreight.
The Port of Singapore
The port of Singapore is currently one of the world’s three busiest ports in terms of shipping tonnage. Also, because of the Strait of Malacca, the Port of Singapore sees a fifth of all transported containers in the world every year and about half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil. Cargos from all countries of the world stop at Singapore as their destination or just a transit point.
By sea, the estimated moving time is about 4 to 6 days from Thailand to Singapore, excluding pick up time at origin and delivery time at your address. It obviously depends on your location in Thailand and other factors.
Sea freight rates
Sea freight rates are very variable, depending on many factors. For instance, according to whether you ship a big volume or a small one, you will not choose the same container type.
We advise to choose a FCL (Full Container Load) if you ship more than 15 cubic meters and a LCL (Less than Container Load) if you ship less than 15 cubic meters. Of course, our experts will help you to choose the best solution in order to fit your needs.
*According to your needs, we can provide you with a packaging and/or loading service which also has consequences on the total price.
Why choose us?
SIAM Relocation provides dedicated services to best respond to your specific needs and has been doing so since many years. Our moving consultants are experts and want the best solution for you.
From Asia, choosing air freight transport to Singapore is obviously really common. Singapore is not only a maritime hub but also an air one.
Choosing air freight over sea freight always Is the good choice when you only want to ship a small volume of goods. Indeed, sea freight for small volumes includes additional charges like bunding/unbundling charges at port as you have to share your container with other shipments. For this reason, we advise to ship by air if your parcel does not exceed 3 cubic meters.
Singapore Changi Airport
Changi Airport is the major civilian airport for Singapore and an air transportation hub in Southeast Asia. It has the reputation to be a very good airport in terms of service, cleanliness, etc. it has been ranked best airport of the world by Skytrax the five last years so you have nothing to worry about, it is a very operational airport.
By air, the average transit time from Thailand to Singapore should be of 3-5 hours, depending on your departure airport. So you can count 2-5 days for the entire delivery, from the pick up address to the delivery address. Once more, this only is an estimation.
*Note that the flight does not include the whole logistics process, some parcel could be stuck in customs for X or Y reason.
Air freight rates
Air freight rates are highly sensitive to weight and volume matters, meaning that the price really are inclined to vary according to what you ship. More, your shipment will have to go through custom clearance at the arrival and so what you ship will determine your expenses.
Why choose us?
SIAM Relocation has a long experience in air freight transportation and is used to working with the best agents for years. Please contact our moving consultants and they will work to find out the best solution to your needs.
Let’s see together how air freight are calculated. The most important aspect that you have to understand is the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight. Once you get it, you can understand your air freight quotations.
*If the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight of your box, the carrier will quote based on this weight. You can use online chargeable weight calculators to make it easier, now that you understand how it works.
Thanks to a good road network and efficient transportation, Thailand can easily be linked to Singapore. There are advantages to road freight. First, it is quite cost effective, you can benefit from a quite direct delivery from the truck whereas a plane or a cargo almost always has to go through warehousing. With road freight, you can easily locate your goods, and follow the trip with precision, you also have a driver to communicate with.
Phet Kasem Road or Thailand Route 4 is one of the major highways in Thailand. It goes from Bangkok to the border with Malays
ia in the south of Thailand. From there, the AH2 continues the path, going through Kuala Lumpur and until Singapore.
From Bangkok and via Phet Kasem Road, you may count 4 or 5 days to see your goods arrive in Singapore. This is an estimation of transportation time which excludes pick-up and delivery at place.
Road freight rates
Many sizes exist for moving trucks, between 12 and 50 cubic meters storage capacity. Your choice will have big consequences on the final price of your freight. Yet, road freight should be less expensive than sea freight and air freight if you live in the south of Thailand and move to Singapore.
Why choose us?
SIAM Relocation is now a reference in road freight transportation thanks to its experience and is used to working with the best agents for years. Customs matters have no more secrets for our experts. Please contact our moving consultants and they will work to find out the best solution to your needs.
The greatest advantage of the railway transport is that it is the most dependable mode of transport as it is the least affected by weather conditions such as rains, fog etc. compared to other modes of transport.
The rail transport is better organised than any other form of transport. It has fixed routes and schedules, as other modes of transport but statistically, trains are more regular. Its service is more certain, uniform and regular as compared to other modes of transport.
Singapore Train Stations
There are two main train stations in Singapore. One is located in the North of the country Woodland’s train station. It is at the border that parts Singapore from the Malaysian region of Johor.
The second one is located in the Marina Bay and is called Marina South Pier. The rails cross the city of Singapore to get there.
The train travelling time should be of 2 or 3 days (often 48-72 hours), without taking pick up and delivery processing time into account.
Rail freight rates
Compared to other freight modes, rail freight can turn out to be more economical for transporting heavy goods. But your total price will highly depend on your location and proximity to a train station that can link the main rail roads.
Why choose us?
Rail freight transportation has no secret anymore for Siam Relocation thanks to its experience. Please feel free to contact our moving consultants. They will work to find out the best solution to your needs.
SIAM Relocation has been dealing with relocations for a long time and always with the same perspective: the client comes first. That is why, through years of operations and observations, we decided to create specific offers in order to better fit your needs.
When you are transporting goods on international areas, there is always a risk of delay, damage, loss or theft during transit. Consequently, we advise you to make an arrangement before the problem happens. It is called an insurance (“cargo insurance”, “freight insurance”, “maritime insurance”). SIAM Relocation has a strong international network that will provide you the best protection possible.
Insurance generally cover damages caused by bad weather, inadequate storage of shipping company or fumigation services. Obviously, it will vary according to the insurance you subscribe to. Some cover piracy, others don’t.
To subscribe to insurance, you can go through a specialist insurance broker, a general insurance company, your bank or us, SIAM Relocation.
*Our consultants are here to make sure you choose the service you need. feel free to contact him!
All animals must be inspected by Thailand’s government vet before leaving the country. For this reason, exactly three days before your departure, you must go to the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Custom and Animal Quarantine Office. Your animal has to be up to date about its vaccinations. During this inspection, you will need several documents:
- A rabies certificate, with all the contact details in English of the vet who made it. The pet must also have undergone a blood serology test to check for rabies antibody levels at least 30 days afterthe rabies vaccination. The test result must be at least 0.5 IU/mL.
- A copy of your valid passport
- Your flight details
- Your pet’s micro-chip number if your animal has one
*Then, once at the office, you will have to fill in an export request form.
*That was what you have to do regarding Thailand. But Singapore also has its requisites.
The following dog breeds are not allowed in Singapore :
Pit Bull, including American Pit Bull Terrier (also known as American Pit Bull and Pit Bull Terrier), American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, crosses between them and other breeds. Akita, Boerboe, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tosa, Perro De Presa Canario, crosses of any of these breeds.
As for cats, forbidden breeds are 1st to 4th generation Bengal or Savannah cat crosses.
You should also check that your pet is allowed at your intended residence at Singapore, referring to the Housing Development Board rules.
The most common packing materials are packing boxes. They can be of different size and very resistant if your cardboard is of good quality. Pack smartly if you are on a tight budget. Prefer the good boxes for important and sturdy items.
Bubble wrap will be very useful to take care of delicate items like glass or any item that you wan to treat with care and avoid all damages.
Wooden boxes are often used for packaging when a large packing sized is required, when a high strength is needed for heavy loads. They can be used for a longer time than cardboard boxes and can stay long in a warehouse, resisting the humidity for example.
A warehousing service can be useful to you if you have an emergency, a setback or whatever could disturb your relocation. For instance, if you have to quit Thailand a few days before your goods are shipped to Singapore, you can stock them in our warehouse.
Please take note that we also have a service specialized in commercial moving for companies, associations and government agencies. We have proven experience in those logistics needs as our team is diversified into several department: packing team, customs broker, operations team, warehousing team.
In order to adapt our offer to the customer, to his needs but also to his budget, we created three moving packages : from the simple package to the complete package.
We know how Singapore immigration restriction policies can be strict, and so about the visa system.
For short term residence, you have different options, depending on your status. For instance, if you are involved in a student exchange, you can become a Student Pass holder. Holiday passes are delivered for short term visits, as well as Social or Business visas.
For long term residence, you may need to become a Permanent Resident of Singapore. As a foreigner, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence if you are a/an:
- Spouse of a Singapore citizen (SC)
- Singapore permanent resident (PR)
- Unmarried child aged below 21 born within the context of a legal marriage to, or have been legally adopted by, a SC or PR
- Aged parent of a SC
- Holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass
- Student studying in Singapore
- Foreign investor in Singapore.
To know the exact procedures to follow to obtain the status, you must of course refer to ICA website.
Yet, the Permanent Residence application process can take up to 6 months so, while waiting for the process to be completed, you should be prepared either to renew your tourist visa (which lasts 90 days) or to apply for a Long Term Visit Pass.
For a foreigner, it can be very interesting to work in financial or oil sector in Singapore. Indeed, Singapore is a huge financial centre and also the third largest oil refining and trading centre.
Finance and banking industries are the two sectors where opportunities are the most important. Electronics, shipping and information technology industries are also potential sectors. However, the trend is good despite the global economic issues.
Starting a business in Singapore can be as profitable as difficult. The economy is flourishing but in order to live decently, you need a good income that you may not be able to perceive from your start-up at the beginning. More, Singapore laws are quite strict and can act as chains for some business developers.
Many people consider that life in Singapore is like a dream because the city is supposed to be perfect where life can be at its best. As an Asian city, Singapore is a clean and efficient city which charm comes mostly from the period of the British colonization. People can live in a well-developed and cutting-edge environment. Thanks to its position in Asia, the country has been developed into a very important finance and trade centre in Asia. Considering GDP per habitant, Singapore in nowadays the fifth wealthiest country. Moreover, in terms of foreign exchange trading centre, Singapore has the fourth largest in the world.
The laws in Singapore are very severe but deeply respected by its population. We thus may think that Singapore is an authoritarian state, it is kind of but a very pleasant aspect is that the city is kept well ordered, clean and safe.
*Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Tao and Christianity are the main religions in Singapore.
Cost of life
The very high standards of Singapore are not inexpensive. The Mercer Survey carried out in 2012 revealed that Singapore is still among the ten most expensive cities where you can live in the world. The city even reaches the 6th position (8th the previous year). If an expatriate expects the same life as in it home country, he will be surprised by the high price in the city concerning real estate, whether he want to buy or rent. Alcohol is highly taxed, which means that going out in Singapore and spending time in bars is very expensive.
However, groceries and food are quite cheap, and you will be able to eat at a low price if you agree to eat in shopping mall food courts and local hawker stalls.
Opportunities can be found for highly educated people or people with a strong professional experience. However, the competition is hard because Singaporeans are also well educated. Before moving to Singapore, its better if you can transfer your own company or have a secure job in Singapore before moving. Your Network will be a very strong advantage and most people find a job thanks to someone they know and not through job advertisements.
Here are some precious contacts that you must know if you are to live in Singapore.
Fire Engine / Ambulance: 995
Non-Emergency Ambulance: 1777
Police Emergency: 999
Here are the best real estate companies in Singapore. They can be of a great help to guide you through your relocation.
Huttons Real Estate Group
Orange Tee Real Estate Agency
Frasers Centerpoint Limited
City Developments Limited
+(65) 6253 0030
+(65) 6471 8888
+(65) 6276 4882
+(65) 6877 8228
+(65) 6738 8660
Here are some visa agencies to help you with your administrative procedure.
You will find below four of the most famous international schools in Singapore.
Australian International School
Canadian International School
Chatsworth International School
+(65) 6775 5344
+(65) 6664 8127
+(65) 6467 1732
+(65) 6737 5955