COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: : 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 five million inhabitants 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’s Fact Sheet on Singapore for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Singapore, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your trip. If you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), we can keep you up-to-date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
The U.S. Embassy
27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508
Telephone:  6476-9100
Facsimile:  6476-9340
Emergency after-hours telephone:  6476-9100.
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: To enter Singapore, you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your intended stay. If you plan on regional travel beyond Singapore, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date you plan to enter such areas. You do not need a visa for tourist or business visits of up to 90 days. For further information concerning visas and entry requirements for Singapore, you may contact the Embassy of Singapore at 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel: (202) 537-3100.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Singapore.
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.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Stay up to date by:
Threats of Terrorism: In 2001, plots were uncovered whereby Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda, identified several Singapore government and private targets associated with the United States for possible attacks. These plans were disrupted, and the JI organization in Singapore was largely dismantled. While there have been no attacks against U.S. facilities or citizens in Singapore or against Singaporean government facilities, extremist groups in Southeast Asia have launched attacks in neighboring countries and U.S. citizens traveling in the region should closely monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs website for the latest Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. The Department of State remains concerned, however, that terrorist groups in the region could conduct attacks against locations where Westerners are known to congregate. Terrorist groups do not distinguish between official and civilian targets, and U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Singapore and neighboring countries should therefore exercise caution and remain vigilant about their surroundings, particularly in areas where U.S. citizens and other Westerners live, work, congregate, shop, or visit.
CRIME: The crime rate in Singapore is generally low. Even so, you should exercise caution when in congested areas and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded shopping malls and markets, at the airport, and while traveling on public transportation. To avoid falling victim to credit card fraud, you should not carry multiple credit cards on your person, 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.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, as not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy. We can:
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.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. While you are traveling in Singapore, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. If you break local laws in Singapore, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not in Singapore. In Singapore, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. In Singapore, you can be arrested for jaywalking, littering, or spitting. 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 also some things that might be legal in Singapore but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
Mandatory Caning Sentences: Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses. Authorities in Singapore may also impose caning for immigration violations and other offenses. Singaporean authorities do impose these sentences on foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. Males over the age of 50 and women are not subject to caning.
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. They do not distinguish between drugs consumed before or after entering Singapore in applying local laws. In Singapore, detained U.S. citizens have been surprised when they were arrested for violations that would not have resulted in arrest in the United States.
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.
Carrying Firearms: There are very 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 thereof. This definition also includes any bomb or grenade and any component thereof. The unlawful possession of any arm or ammunition, including a single bullet in your luggage as you transit the airport, could result in imprisonment and caning. If you are convicted of committing a crime with an arm, you could receive punishment which could result in the maximum penalty of imprisonment for life and caning.
Engaging in sexual conduct: 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. If you are convicted of facilitating or abetting the prostitution of any woman or girl, you 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, you face 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 with the intent to, or the knowledge that it may, 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. Scams involving a claim of outrage of modesty are thought to exist, and male travelers should be very cautious when frequenting popular nightspots.
Arrest notifications in Singapore: If you are arrested in Singapore, authorities of Singapore are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Embassy may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the Embassy of your arrest.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Singapore customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning controlled items you might be carrying while transiting Singapore (temporary importation or exportation) such as: weapons, ammunition, 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 and ammunition, including a single bullet, includes many items which may not be considered to be weapons in the United States, such as dive knives, kitchen knives, handcuffs, and expended shell casings. You may be arrested for carrying any of these items without permission. All baggage is x-rayed at every port of entry, so checked baggage will also be inspected for regulated items.
Dutiable Goods: Generally, there are four types of dutiable goods in Singapore: alcoholic beverages, tobacco, gasoline, and motor vehicles. If you enter Singapore at any port of entry you 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 your dutiable goods exceed the GST relief or duty-free concession. You will be liable to prosecution if you proceed to the "Green Channel" for customs clearance but have items that are subject to payment of duty and/or GST.
U.S. 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. For additional information, please visit the U.S. Council for International Business website, and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol web page on Traveling with Samples.
Cash: Automated teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful in Singapore, and they are the best method of obtaining cash. There are also facilities for changing money at the airport and at many large commercial centers and shopping malls. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Transfers from commercial services such as American Express and Western Union are generally efficient.
Surrendering Your Passport: Police officers, hotels, or your employer may ask you to surrender your passport in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds; you should carefully consider whether you wish to surrender your 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 employee). However, at check-in, some hotels may legitimately ask to see the passport for identification/registration. In those cases, the passport is immediately returned to you.
Dual Nationality: 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. If you are a male U.S. citizen who automatically acquired Singaporean citizenship at birth, you are liable for Singapore national service (NS) once you reach the age of 18. You may require Singaporean government approval for travel abroad as you approach national service age, and your travel may be restricted when you 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.
You may renounce Singaporean citizenship only after you have completed at least two years of national service. U.S. citizens are subject to this law. To determine if there will be a national service obligation, you should contact the Ministry of Defense in Singapore. For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website for information on dual nationality, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel. 65-6373-3127), or visit Singapore’s National Service Pre-Enlistee information page.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals do not enjoy full rights in Singapore. The Penal Code criminalizes any “act of gross indecency” between two men and prescribes a sentence not exceeding two years for those found guilty under this law. While the Singapore government has stated that it will not enforce this section of the penal code, the law remains on the statute books. Same-sex unions are not recognized in Singapore. LGBT individuals may find difficulty gaining employment in certain sectors of the civil service. The LGBT community organizes closed-door events regularly. However, the government is wary of issuing permits for open air events that openly champion LGBT issues, except for events held at the Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
Accessibility: While in Singapore, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what they find in the United States. Singapore's Ministry of Community Development, Youth, and Sports (MCYS) is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and implementing programs and services in the disability sector. The country has established a comprehensive code of standards for barrier-free accessibility, including facilities for persons with physical disabilities, in all new buildings and has mandated the progressive upgrading of older structures. Singapore allows guide dogs for the blind in public places and on trains, but the laws do not cover buses and taxis. Currently, 100 percent of public trains and 37 percent of buses are wheelchair accessible. All major pedestrian thoroughfares have curb cuts. All primary and secondary schools in Singapore are equipped with basic handicap facilities such as handicap toilets and first-level wheelchair ramps. Approximately 20 percent of all primary and secondary schools are equipped with full-handicap facilities.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH 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. Hospitals may require a substantial deposit before admitting you into the hospital for any major medical treatment. The U.S. Embassy cannot provide a letter of guarantee for payment. 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 occasional outbreaks of mosquito-transmitted illnesses, such as dengue fever and the viral disease Chikungunya. For the most current health information regarding disease outbreaks in Singapore, visit the CDC’s website.
If you visit Singapore during a pandemic such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, you should expect that the Singapore government may order you to quarantine if you exhibit symptoms or have had contact with someone who has exhibited symptoms. Also, you should expect that you may be subject to quarantine if you were seated within several rows of a potentially infected person on a plane or public area or have recently traveled to countries more affected by the pandemic. You should also expect to encounter screening in public facilities such as the airport, hospitals, and museums. Please visit Singapore's Ministry of Health website for the most up-to-date information on infectious diseases in Singapore.
During the summer months, Singapore frequently experiences haze and air pollution caused by forest fires and the burning of agricultural waste in neighboring countries. Air pollution during these periods can reach levels considered hazardous to health. Please visit the website of Singapore’s National Environment Agency for the latest information on air pollution level.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. Medical evacuation insurance is also recommended. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Singapore, you 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 completely 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. All bus stops and trains have panels indicating all routes and stops. You should consider using these forms 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.
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 via e-mail ; and Los Angeles - 5670 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1550, Los Angeles, CA 90036, tel: 1-323-677-0808, fax: 1-323-677-0801, or via e-mail. For general visitor information, please visit STB’s website.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: 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.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Singapore dated February 14, 2013, to add a section on LGBT Rights and update the secion on Medical Facilities and Health Information.