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Singapore cityscape


Singapore Travel Guide

Key Facts

697 sq km (269 sq miles).


5,696,506 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

7,987.5 per sq km.





Head of state

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam since 2023.

Head of government

Prime Minister Lawrence Wong since 2024.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are standard. Many hotels have 110-volt outlets.

Once routinely criticised for being dull, Singapore has reinvented itself as one of Southeast Asia’s most modern and dynamic cities. Melding together a mass of different cultures, cuisines and architectural styles, the city-state is now studded with vast new showpiece constructions to complement its colonial-era hotels and civic buildings. Cutting-edge tourist developments continue to spring up. Shopping avenues and underground malls throb with life, as do the food courts, the riverside bars and the temple-dotted outlying neighbourhoods. It’s never going to be Bangkok, but it’s doing a fantastic job of being Singapore.

Chinese, Indian, Malay and European influences all flow through daily life here. Boring? Hardly. It’s true to say, however, that the former British trading post and colony still has a reputation for its cleanliness (it’s still panned for its seemingly petty regulations, such as the banning of chewing gum). Likewise, levels of serious crime are very low. It’s worth pointing out, too, that Singapore’s cultural mix has left it with a genuinely world-class food scene – and you won’t need to spend big to eat well.

Recent years have seen the city really pushing for recognition as an international tourist destination in its own right, rather than as a convenient stopover. Significant investment has resulted in developments such as Marina Bay Sands, the three-towered skyscraper that now stands as Singapore’s centrepiece; Resorts World Sentosa, which is home to a Universal Studios theme park; and Gardens by the Bay, a remarkable project complete with “supertrees” and two colossal plant domes.

More traditional attractions include the designer malls of Orchard Road, the exotic clatter of Chinatown and Little India and the elegance of Raffles Hotel, still standing proud more than 125 years after being built. On the subject of hotels, Singapore now offers one of the best spreads of high-end accommodation in the region: a sign, amongst other things, of its ambition to keep visitors flooding in. It’s likely to succeed.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Singapore set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Singapore High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Singapore. 

Passport validity requirements

To enter Singapore, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

If you are resident in Singapore, there is no minimum passport validity required. Apply for a renewal before your passport expires.

Dual nationality

Singapore does not recognise dual nationality beyond the age of 21. A citizen of Singapore is required by Singapore law to renounce any other nationalities before the age of 22 in order to retain their Singaporean citizenship.

Visa requirements

You can visit Singapore without a visa for tourism or business. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority decides who can enter Singapore and how long they can stay. The period of stay permitted is at the discretion of the immigration officer. It is normally between 14 and 30 days for British citizens.

Penalties for overstaying

Penalties for overstaying the time allowed include fines, imprisonment, caning and deportation depending on how long you have overstayed. When you leave Singapore, officials can take your fingerprints if they suspect you are involved in any crime.

Checks at border control

You must complete an electronic SG Arrival Card in the 3 days before you arrive in Singapore. This online form asks for travel details and a health declaration. It is illegal to submit a false declaration. Biometric information is also recorded and scanned when you enter and depart Singapore (iris, face and fingerprints).

Screening for drugs

You can be screened for drugs in your system on arrival in Singapore, including if you’re in transit. You can be charged with drug consumption even if the drugs were taken in another country, including countries where the use of that particular drug is legal.

You could be detained without trial and, if convicted, you could be imprisoned, caned or executed.

Ship’s crew

There are different entry requirements if you are crew working on ships, small vessels, or pleasure crafts arriving at one of Singapore’s ports or marinas.

Vaccine requirements

To enter Singapore, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk. If you arrive from one of these countries without a certificate, the authorities may put you in mandatory quarantine or refuse you entry to Singapore.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Singapore guide.


There are strict laws that prevent accommodation being used for short-term rental, including for tourists.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Singapore. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

It’s illegal to import controlled drugs. If convicted, you could be imprisoned, caned or executed.

The following items are also illegal to bring into Singapore:

  • vaporisers and e-cigarettes
  • tobacco products that are chewed or injected
  • chewing gum to sell
  • weapons and ammunition (including empty cartridge cases and air guns)
  • replica guns, including lighters shaped like a pistol or revolver
  • radio communications equipment

See the complete list of prohibited items on the Singapore Customs website.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.     

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Singapore

Terrorist attacks in Singapore cannot be ruled out.      


Protecting your belongings

Violent crime and theft are rare in Singapore. Take care of your passport. Leave valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Do not leave bags unattended.


Online scams and phone scams are common and may involve individuals pretending to be officials or bank employees.

Laws and cultural differences

Public offences

The public display of the national flags or emblems of other countries is illegal except where a specific exemption has been granted. It is illegal to use the Singapore flag and national symbols in ways considered disrespectful.

Police may give you an on-the-spot fine for littering. Acts of vandalism including graffiti carry harsh penalties such as fines, imprisonment and caning.

Disrespecting or intimidating a public official can be illegal. There is zero tolerance for bribery in Singapore and any attempt to bribe or otherwise prevent an official from carrying out their duties can lead to arrest.

Personal ID

Use of false ID is illegal in Singapore. Foreigners living in Singapore are issued with an official identity card.   

Outrage of modesty

You should avoid any action that could be interpreted as molestation. Penalties for convicted offenders include fines, imprisonment and caning.

Some scams involving false claims of molestation and extortion have been reported.

Alcohol laws and bans

The authorities do not tolerate drunk and disorderly behaviour. It is illegal to drink alcohol in a public place, besides restaurants, bars and licensed entertainment venues, between 10:30pm and 7am.

You could be arrested for:

  • being found drunk and incapable in public
  • fighting and becoming a nuisance in public
  • touching someone inappropriately (whether resulting from drunken behaviour or not)
  • driving while drunk
  • drinking outside of allowed hours and areas

Penalties for convicted offenders include fines, imprisonment and caning.

Geylang and Little India are ‘Liquor Control Zones’ (PDF). Drinking in these areas is banned all weekend, on public holidays and on the eve of public holidays.

Smoking and e-cigarette bans

Vapes and e-cigarettes are banned in Singapore. It is illegal to bring them into the country, including for personal use. Those found in possession of vapes or e-cigarettes will have them confiscated and could be fined.

You must be 21 or over to purchase, use, own, sell or supply tobacco products in Singapore.

Smoking is banned at all public parks, all beaches and along certain waterways. Orchard Road is a No Smoking Zone. Make sure you smoke in designated areas only.

Illegal drugs

There are severe penalties for all drug offences in Singapore, including possession. Trafficking (‘intent to sell’) is defined simply by possession of drugs above a certain amount. The Misuse of Drugs Act sets out the definitions and penalties, which could include detention without trial, a prison sentence, caning or a death penalty.

Arrests and detentions

If you’re arrested, you might not be allowed to speak with anyone, not even a lawyer while you are questioned.

Do not offer money to officials. You can face further charges or penalties for any attempt to bribe or prevent an official from carrying out their duties.

See our guides on Singapore’s legal and criminal system and being arrested or detained abroad to find out how we can help.

If you’re under police investigation, the authorities will take your passport and return it once the investigation is over. If you’re convicted, your passport will be held until you’ve served your sentence.

In most cases, you will not be allowed to leave Singapore while the case is open. There is no set timeline for investigations. You must be able to support yourself financially during this period.

The British High Commission cannot interfere in the criminal and legal process in Singapore.

Death penalty

A death penalty is a possibility for some offences, including murder and drug trafficking. Penalties for drug offences are severe and possession of even very small quantities can lead to a death penalty.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Singapore. However, the law does not recognise same-sex marriage and partnerships. This means, for example, that foreign residents cannot easily get a dependant’s pass for a same-sex spouse or partner. A child from a same-sex partnership may not be recognised as the child of one or both parents.

It is possible to change legal gender in Singapore, subject to medical procedures.

LGBT+ support groups and social venues exist in Singapore.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

National Service for British dual nationals and permanent residents

The following are liable for National Service:

  • all male Singapore citizens
  • all male dual nationals aged 20 and under
  • all male children granted Permanent Resident (PR) status as part of their parents’ PR application

Specific questions on National Service can be put to Singapore’s Central Manpower base, email:

For further information, see the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

Protests and public demonstrations

Avoid street gatherings and public demonstrations as they will be illegal if they do not have police permission. Foreigners who are not permanent residents are prohibited from attending outdoor demonstrations regardless of police permission. Filming an illegal gathering is forbidden. The wearing of ‘cause-related’ clothing and displaying ‘cause -related’ banners is prohibited in public.

It is illegal for foreign nationals to give a talk publicly on ‘racial, communal, religious, cause-related or political topics’ without a permit.


Both public and private Jehovah’s Witness meetings are illegal in Singapore. It is also illegal to possess any Jehovah’s Witness publication, including a Jehovah’s Witness bible. There are similar measures against the Unification Church and the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Singapore, see information on driving abroad and read the Singapore Highway Code.

You can drive with a UK driving licence for up to 30 days. After that you need a 1949 international driving permit (IDP) as well as your UK driving licence.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, minimum age and holding an IDP.

You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. If you’re staying in Singapore on a longer term pass or you’ve become a permanent resident, you must get a Singaporean driving licence.

Driving under the influence of alcohol carries serious penalties including imprisonment. The traffic police regularly carry out breath tests.

If you’re involved in an accident, you must stay at the scene if there has been damage or injury. You must provide contact details and inform the police within 24 hours.

Arriving or departing by car

If you are arriving in a car that is not registered in Singapore, visit the OneMotoring website to apply for a vehicle entry permit.

Vehicles leaving the country will be checked against police records.

Air travel

The Singaporean authorities will prosecute cases of drunken or antisocial behaviour by air passengers on any aircraft registered in Singapore. 

Sea travel

There have been incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around the waters of Singapore and the Malacca Strait. Set up secure areas on board and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 995 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Singapore, including :

  • Zika virus
  • dengue
  • chikungunya

Hand, foot and mouth disease is common in Singapore with more serious outbreaks from time to time. Young children are particularly at risk.

Air quality

From June to October Singapore can experience high levels of pollution (haze) from land clearance fires in Indonesia. The haze can cause disruption to local and regional air travel and may have an impact on public health. Monitor the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) updates and health advisories from the Singapore government.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Check to see whether you need approval from the Health Sciences Authority to bring in medication from the UK.

Not all medicines from the UK are available in Singapore. Make sure you have a prescription from your GP and check with a doctor in Singapore who may be able to issue a prescription for a local equivalent. See the HCI Directory for a listing of licensed healthcare institutions.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Singapore

Healthcare in Singapore is of a high quality and expensive. English is almost universally spoken in Singapore, so all hospitals, whether private or public, will have English-speaking medical staff.

Take enough medication for your stay and carry it in your hand baggage. Make sure you have travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and possible medical repatriation.

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Singapore.

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Singapore.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

If you need emotional support during your visit, you can call:

  • National Care Hotline: 1800 202 6868
  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800 221 4444
  • Mental Health Helpline (Institute of Mental Health): 6389 2222

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Singapore

Ambulance and fire: 995

Police: 999

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Singapore and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Singapore on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.