How to Import Goods to Singapore

ashbiha March 4, 2021 0 Comments

Popular with traders both locally and internationally, Singapore is connected to ports over 600 in 120 countries. Singapore is rated as one of the easiest places to start or run or start a business in a few hours.  Importing goods to Singapore can be a confusing process for people who just don’t understand trading but want to understand the concept of it. This article is here to serve you the exact purpose as it is presented in a way for everyone to understand the Import process in Singapore.

Here are the steps one needs to follow and check before deciding to Import goods into Singapore:

Import Goods to Singapore

Step 1: Activate Your UEN

If anyone wishes to import goods to Singapore, the company must have a valid UEN from Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). 

Step 2: Activation of customs account

If the company has already been registered with the (ACRA) Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority then the owner/director/partner whose documentation is also registered with ACRA, can initiate the company’s Customs Account. Furthermore, They can sign up via e-Service to receive notifications and alerts using SingPass.

Here is the link to sign up: 

Step 3: Check for controlled goods

Check whether your goods fall in the controlled goods category. 

Import Goods that fall into the controlled category need proper authorization such as an Advance Notification license and/or certificate approval from the Authorities (CA) before they are imported into Singapore.

List of goods that are prohibited or controlled are listed here

Step 4: Import procedure for importing goods to Singapore

Now assuming your goods are not in the controlled or prohibited category, Goods are broadly classified as dutiable and non-dutiable. Check where your goods fall.

Dutiable and Non-Dutiable Goods

Dutiable goods, which incur both GST and duty.

Non-dutiable goods incur GST only.

GST grant is given only for non-dutiable goods imported by parcel post or air freight to a total CIF value not exceeding S$ 400.00

Step 5: Permit application for importing goods to Singapore

There are two ways 

Number 1:

You can appoint a local freight forwarding agent, registered as a TradeNet® user with the Singapore Customs to help with the documentation Customs and help you make them as your Declaring Agent.

Number 2:

Any institution or entity which is registered with a TradeNet® account can submit and help obtain approval for their applications through the same.

For a small business or home business if the import frequency is less it’s better to go with option 1.

For the list of trade net providers in Singapore you can check here 

Step 6: Paying Duties

All payment regarding duties has to be made to Singapore Customs through Interbank GIRO (IBG). If your company’s import is on a low frequency then you can choose to organize with your appointed Declaring Agent to do everything regarding your duties. If not, you can register your company for an IBG and permit your Declaring Agent to use that IBG for duties regarding your Customs Permit via the Authorisation of Declaring Agent e-Service. 

For more information on IBG application with Singapore Customs, Please visit

After following all the procedures and successfully getting permission to import goods to Singapore, one should keep all the documents connected to the import of goods for at least five years, starting from the date of customs permit approval. If requested, those documentations must be presented to the Singapore Customs in either physical or digital form.

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