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Travellers Masthead

Customs Clearance Procedure

Singapore operates the Red and Green Channel system at all entry checkpoints in order to expedite clearance of travellers.

If you are arriving by air, sea, bus/coach or rail, you will see the Red Channel signs above or at the examination counters in the Arrival Hall at the respective checkpoints. If you are arriving by car, you will see the Red Channel directional sign located along the route after immigration clearance.

The Red Channel and examination counters are manned by Immigration & Checkpoint Authority (ICA). ICA officers conduct checks on person, baggage and vehicles entering Singapore, and may refer trade and customs matters to Singapore Customs for follow up.


When to use the Red Channel

Red Channel

Proceed to the Red Channel if you carry:
  • Dutiable or taxable goods exceeding your duty-free concession or Goods and Services Tax (GST) relief;
  • Controlled or restricted goods; or 
  • Prohibited goods

There are four broad categories of dutiable goods in Singapore.  They are:

  • 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%, such as Shandy, bottled alcoholic cocktail drinks, D.O.M, Yomeishu, samsoo and rice wine.
  • Tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigar and shisha.
  • Motor vehicles, including motorised bicycles
  • Petroleum products, including gasoline, petrol and motor fuel.

In general, all goods imported into Singapore are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST).

You are required to pay the duty and GST in order to bring in dutiable and taxable goods exceeding your duty-free concession or GST relief into Singapore, regardless whether the goods were purchased overseas or in Singapore.

With effect from 01 October 2012, the importation of investment precious metals (IPMs) into Singapore will be exempted from Goods and Services Tax (GST) if they meet the IPM Qualifying Criteria. The GST exemption permit must be declared prior to the importation of IPMs and presented for clearance at the Red Channel at the checkpoints upon arrival in Singapore.

For more information on duty-free concession and GST relief, please click here.

For more information on controlled and prohibited goods, please click here.

For more information on GST exemption for investment precious metals (IPMs), please click here.

At the Red Channel, please:

  • Inform the checking officer any of the above-stated goods that you carry; and 
  • Produce the prohibited or controlled goods or IPMs together with the permit or authorisation from the relevant authorities, if any.

You need to present a Customs permit for clearance if you have (but not limited to):

  • more than 0.4 kilogrammes of cigarettes or other tobacco products;
  • more than 10 litres of liquor products;
  • more than 10 litres of petroleum in a spare container of a motor vehicle;
  • more than 0.5 kilogrammes of investment precious metals for personal use;
  • goods for trade, commercial or business use the Goods & Services Tax (GST) on which exceeds $300; or
  • goods clearly marked as trade samples (excluding liquor and tobacco products) the value on which exceeds $400

For more information on permit requirements, please click here or contact us at (+65) 63552000 or email to customs_documentation@customs.gov.sg. For the list of declaring agents to declare, please click here.  


When to use the Green Channel

Green Channel

Proceed to the Green Channel if you are not carrying any of the 3 types of goods stated above. However, the officers may still conduct selective checks at the Green Channel.

If in doubt, always ask the checking officers at the Red Channel.

It is your responsibility to make an accurate and complete declaration of all goods exceeding your duty-free concession and GST relief in your possession, including goods you are carrying for or on behalf of other persons.

If you did not make a declaration at the Red Channel or pay the taxes due, you can be prosecuted in court and fined up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to three years. For more information on Customs offences, please click here.

If you are unsure of the duty-free concessions or GST relief, please enquire at the Red Channel or Singapore Customs Tax Payment Office.



Last reviewed on 15 April 2014
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