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Singapore

If you’re travelling to Singapore, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security Status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Latest travel alert

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in locations including Singapore. Infection with Zika virus has been increasingly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where the baby is born with an abnormally small head and/or brain damage.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas. Irish Citizens are advised to follow the guidance of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an underlying global threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. The Singaporean Government has put in place extensive measures to combat terrorism and has arrested a number of terrorist suspects.

Crime

Singapore is a relatively safe city, but you should take basic safety precautions and be aware of the risk of street crime, particularly bag snatching.

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Singapore, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.

Driving

The rules of the road in Singapore are broadly similar to those in Ireland. Driving is on the left, and the roads are generally good. If you are involved in an accident, you should remain at the scene until the police have arrived.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and an international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in Singapore. The traffic police regularly carry out breath tests. Sentences can include a fine or imprisonment.
  • Be aware of Singapore’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Wear your seatbelts at all times

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Air travel

The Singaporean authorities will prosecute cases of air rage within their jurisdiction.

Sea travel

There have been attacks against ships in and around the waters of Singapore and the Malacca Straits. Be vigilant and take appropriate precautions. Reduce opportunities for theft, establish secure areas onboard and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Don’t get involved with drugs of any kind. There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Singapore. Consumption or possession of even very small amounts can lead to imprisonment. Singapore retains the death penalty for drug trafficking. 

Personal identification

A police permit is required for any outdoor public assembly or procession. You should avoid street gatherings and public demonstrations as they might be illegal. Filming an illegal public gathering is also forbidden, as is the wearing or displaying of any ‘cause related’ material without permission.

Always carry personal identification with you - you may be asked to show it during your stay by, for example, the police. We advise you to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and your arrival card, and keep the originals in a safe place.

Criminal offences

A wide range of offences, including ‘outrage of modesty’ (inappropriate behaviour by men towards women) and vandalism carry corporal punishment (the rattan cane).

‘Outrage of modesty’ (molestation) can result in a fine, imprisonment jail or corporal punishment. You should avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Scams involving false claims of molestation are thought to exist. Usually once the complaint is made by the victim and the accused is arrested the police will not allow the accused person to travel and their passport will be confiscated while investigations are carried out. This can take several months.

Approval from the Ministry of Manpower is required for a foreign national to give a talk on ‘racial, communal, religious, caused-related or political topics’.

The public display of national flags or national emblems is illegal except where a specific exemption has been granted.

Penalties for overstaying your visa include fines, imprisonment, corporal punishment (the rattan cane) and deportation depending on the length of overstay.

Male homosexual acts are illegal in Singapore, but in a statement to Parliament in 2007 Singapore’s Prime Minister stated that ‘The Government does not act as moral policemen’ and that ‘we do not proactively enforce’ the law on this issue. Openly gay and lesbian support groups and social venues exist.

Both public and private Jehovah’s Witness meetings are illegal in Singapore. It is also against the law to possess any Jehovah’s Witness publication, including a Jehovah’s Witness bible. Similar measures exist against the Unification Church.

On-the-spot fines are common, and can be given for a wide range of behaviours which are tolerated in Ireland. You will be fined for smoking in any public place or indoor restaurant, for chewing gum on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system or littering.

Thorough checks may be carried out on departing travellers’ vehicles and fingerprints may be scanned at border exit points.

The use of false ID is illegal.

There is zero tolerance for bribery. Any attempt to bribe or to otherwise prevent an official from carrying out their duties can result in arrest.

Natural disasters and climate

Practical advice

If you’re travelling to Singapore, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared.

Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions.

Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You don’t normally need a visa to enter Singapore for stays of up to 30 days for tourism, business discussions or social visits.

Passport Validity

If you’re travelling to or through Singapore, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your date of departure.

If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for Singapore, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Singapore.

Health

Health services in Singapore are top-class. Before you travel, you should, however, visit a doctor to check that you have any required vaccinations. You should also have comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Singapore, as treatment and medication can be extremely expensive.

Medication

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines available in Ireland are considered controlled substances in Singapore. You must apply for prior authorisation and a permit at least ten working days before your travel date from the Singapore Health Sciences Authority in order to bring any such medication into Singapore. For medicines that do not contain a controlled substance, you may bring up to three months’ supply into Singapore without prior approval, but must bring supporting documents such as a letter from your doctor or a copy of the prescription as proof that the medicines are for your personal use. For more information, please consult the Health Sciences Authority website. If you have questions please email hsa_info@hsa.gov.sg.

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is common in Singapore, with 4,000 to 5,000 reported cases every year. You should take adequate precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.

Yellow fever

Yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Air pollution

Singapore sometimes experiences high levels of air pollution (‘haze’), from land clearance fires in Indonesia. We advise all Irish visitors and residents to monitor the updates and advisories from the Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA)

Customs regulations

Importing certain controlled drugs and pirated copyright material is prohibited and there are restrictions on entering with items like replica guns, radio communications equipment, and weapons and ammunition (including empty cartridge cases and air guns). For more information visit the travellers section of the Singapore Customs website.