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How to Easily Ship a Parcel from Singapore to the USA?
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Both the USA and Singapore share bilateral trade relationships, thereby enhancing investment opportunities between both these countries. However, there is a methodical approach you need to follow if you wish to export from Singapore to the USA so that your goods don’t get stuck due to customs delays. Read on to know everything you need to know about the customs rules and shipping process prepared by DHL Express to send your parcel with ease.

Customs rules for the USA


  • All textile shipments require a complete description, including fabric content (cotton, wool, etc.), made for gender (man/woman/boy/girl), knit/woven, and individual value per item. All textile samples must be marked to qualify as duty-free. Complete name and address of the manufacturer are required for all textile and apparel products.

Chemical and non-hazardous goods

  • Both the AWB and invoice must state 'Not restricted article as per IATA regulations.' If the shipper fails to do so, the shipment will be held back until the shipper or consignee is contacted for identification.
  • An MSDS is also recommended and should be imaged.

Foodstuff (including grain)

  • The import of meat and meat products is unacceptable.

  • To import milk (liquid/powder) from a cow, goat, etc. a USDA Import Veterinary Permit is required.
  • Other foodstuffs may require an import permit from the USDA, Food and Drug inspection. An additional delay of 2 - 5 days can be expected.
  • Honey requires proper labeling, including a certificate of origin.
  • Shippers are also required to register with the FDA and provide prior notice for all food shipments. Exceptions are made on homemade food to an individual with a value less than USD800. Prior notification fee is USD10. FDA entry preparation fee is USD23. Additionally, all commercial imports require a consignee's tax ID number. For further details, please visit -
  • Fresh Dates are prohibited from entry into the USA. Refer to the link below for more details-
  • Cotton products and tomato products, from cotton and tomatoes grown through forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, whether in whole or in part and regardless of where the products are produced are subject to US Customs detention and may either be seized, exported, or destroyed. Importers will have an opportunity to provide evidence that the cotton and tomatoes were not grown through forced labor.

Animal products

  • A Fish and Wildlife agency must require an import/export license for all commercial shipments. 
  • Consignee tax ID and Power of Attorney (POA) may also be required. 
  • The commercial invoice should include a detailed description of the commodity's name, its genus name, source of the wildlife, and the country of origin of the wildlife. 
  • Do not forget to attach a CITES document on the outside of the package. For further information, visit here:

Drugs (in pharmacy with or without prescription)

  • The import of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications is strictly controlled. For commercial shipments like B2B, the invoices must include:
    • A precise description of the product including its dosage, form, generic name, derivation, and chemical composition.
    • Packaging from the largest to the smallest (must be applicable to product).
    • Specific quantity for each level of packaging.
    • Country of origin/production.
    • Complete name and address of the manufacturer.
  • Import of non-prescriptive OTC medication is prohibited by (B2C/C2C) individuals.
  • Importation of prescribed medications by individuals is limited to a 3-months (90 days) supply if all of the following conditions are met:
    • Effective treatment is not available in the US.
    • Documentation from a doctor (including the name and address) responsible for the treatment, confirming that the drug is for personal use and includes the drug name (trade/generic), dosage, quantity, and the condition being treated.
    • SSN for the US citizens for proof of foreign citizenship (passport & number), including their period of stay in the US.


  • A detailed description along with the end-use of the cosmetic item is required. Additionally, the manufacturer's full name and physical address must also be provided.
  • To prevent clearance delays, the manufacturer’s registration or establishment number and a cosmetic registration number is recommended. For further information, read from the link here:

Mobile phones, accessories, and component

  • As per IATA Regulations, lithium batteries that are suspected or known to be defective are not permitted to be shipped through air.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 with damaged or defective batteries are prohibited for shipment through air until further notice from the FAA, EASA, and the airline community. The ban covers the new Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices, including the newly manufactured ones from the factory and old Samsung Note7 devices recalled from retailers or distributors and customers.

Parts, machine, and electronics

  • To import motor vehicle parts, the manufacturer’s name and address along with each part of the vehicle are required on the invoice.


  • Shipments that exceed over USD2500 will require a footwear detail sheet. If it is made of endangered species, the shipment will require a Fish and Wildlife clearance in addition to customs clearance.

Tobacco and tobacco products

  • A consignee’s Power of Attorney is required. Cuban-made cigars are prohibited for import into the US. 
  • All cigars must be properly labeled with country of manufacture as per U.S. Customs regulations. Cigars not properly labeled will be considered of Cuban origin and subject to seizure. 
  • Cigarette shipments consigned to unlicensed individuals are prohibited and will be automatically returned to origin. Tobacco or products containing tobacco from Malawi are prohibited and will be detained at all US ports of entry.
  • Manufacturer, ingredient list and warning labels, and Consignee Tax ID required. POA is also required for values over USD$5,000. For additional info:
  • Effective March 26, 2021, all e-cigarettes, vape devices, products, and accessories are prohibited for import and export to and from the United States (Shipments transiting through the US are NOT prohibited).

Medical/ Dental Supplies & Equipment

  • In addition to general requirements, the following is needed for face masks, gloves, gowns, and other similar PPE: Failure to provide the minimum requirements will result in shipments being returned.
    • Manufacturer’s name and address,
    • Fabric details (i.e. paper, cotton, etc)
    • Device listing number
  • For test kits/ SWABS, the shipper must provide the manufacturer’s name, address, device listing number, and emergency use authorization ("EUA") approval number. 
  • Hand sanitizers are generally considered over-the-counter (OTC) drug products and all drugs are regulated by the FDA. Additionally, the shipper should also provide the following:
    • Manufacturer’s name and address
    • Active ingredients in the drug (Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride)
    • Packaging details, including the container type (i.e. bottles, jars, etc). 
    • The size of the container should be mentioned in ounces or liters and the number of such containers. 
      Failure to provide the minimum requirements will result in shipments being returned.
  • If you are a commercial shipper, then you need to provide: 
    • MDL (Medical Device Listings)
    • 510k if applicable
    • FDA registration of the consignee
    • Detailed description and end-use of the items
    • Valid Tax ID or SSN
    • A POA is required if the shipment is USD 5,000 and over.

Plant products

  • Some plants and trees fall under Fish and Wildlife protection and require a CITES certificate. For more details, follow the link here:
  • All plants and plant products are subject to USDA APHIS commodity import approval (including possible inspection and/or permit). Plant/plant products without approval are subject to seizure or Return to origin (RTO).
  • Importers should obtain the necessary permits prior to import and include the permit along with the shipment paperwork.

Eyeglasses & Contact lenses

  • Sunglasses, spectacles, spectacle lenses and frames, and magnifying spectacles require FDA clearance. For that, the consignee’s Tax ID number and Power of Attorney are needed.

  • Lenses for spectacles and sunglasses sold in the US must comply with impact-resistant lens regulations. For further requirements, follow the link over here:
  • Prescription eyewear, frames, and sunglasses for commercial use require an IRS or SSN with the full name including the middle initial and address of the consignee. In case the consignee doesn't have an IRS, an SSN can be provided.
  • All Non-US residents can request a family member or friend to provide their US SSN information, including their home address to act as the US importer on their behalf.

    FDA requirements include the following:
    • Manufacturer’s full name and address 
    • FDA registration (DEV)
    • US Importer's FDA Registration (DII)
    • Medical Device Listing (LST)
    • Impact Resistance Certification for eyeglass lenses (IRC or Drop Ball Test)
  • Prescription eyewear for personal use requires SSN with the full name, including the middle initial and address. If the consignee is not a US resident, they may use a family member or friend's US SSN information, including their home address to act as the importer on their behalf. 

    FDA requirements include the following:
    • Manufacturer’s full name and address 
    • FDA registration (DEV)
    • US Importer's FDA Registration (DII)
    • Medical Device Listing (LST)
    • Impact Resistance Certification for eyeglass lenses (IRC or Drop Ball Test)

Personal Effects

  • A CF3299 (declaration for free entry of personal effects) should be completed prior to the importation of personal effects over USD 200. For used personal effects, the consignee’s phone number, flight details, arrival date, passport number, and/or SSN are required regardless of value.


Antiques and Work of Art

  • Original work of art such as drawings, paintings, collages, pastels, decorative plaques, sculpture/statues, etc. will require the artist name on the invoice, the year it was produced, the edition (e.g.1/12, if applicable), and the title of the artwork.

Ship, parts of gib, bearing

  • A pre-approval by the destination gateway must first be obtained. Also, additional charges for transportation and delivery to the vessel might also be required. If additional charges accrue, a written charge-back authorisation will be necessary.

  • The AWB and Commercial Invoice should contain the name of the master vessel, port and berth it’s docked at, date of ship arrival and departure, CTC on the ship, phone number of port or ship, and the description of the content, stating "ship spares" or "ship stores".


  • Requires FDA clearance.

Shipping process from Singapore to the USA

Follow these steps if you want your shipment to reach the USA from Singapore safely and smoothly.

  1. Create a DHL Express Air waybill (AWB).
  2. Prepare a shipping invoice.
  3. Pack your shipment.
  4. Call up for your shipment collection.

Important notes:

  • While you are at it, remember that all shipments entering the US with a value of over USD 2,500 will require a phone number and email address of the consignee or importer on the invoice and AWB.

  • If an individual’s HTS is valued over USD 2500 (Canada is exempt from this limit) or has a US export license regardless of the price, an Electronic Export Information (EEI) has to be filed with the US customs authorities.
  • If DHL completes the EEI filing and the shipment then gets moved to an Import Express account, a Power of Attorney (POA) is required from the foreign buyer (receiver).
  • Import of goods into the US from Iran with an Iranian origin are authorised and include:
    • Foodstuffs intended for human consumption.
    • Carpets and other textile floor coverings and carpets used as wall hangings.
  • PO Box addresses, as well as APO and FPO addresses, are not permitted in the US.

Benefits of shipping goods with DHL Express to the USA

DHL Express International makes sure that your shipment doesn’t incur the extra cost or doesn’t get delayed due to customs rules and regulations. Thus, for easy and efficient delivery of your parcel, get started with DHL’s express shipping services. Here are its top advantage:

  • It covers over 220 territories across the globe
  • The door-to-door shipping services, it simplifies the process of international shipping
  • Its flexible delivery options allow customers to decide the time and place of the delivery
  • Customers decide the time of their shipment collection
  • With the help of MyDHL+, MyBill, and ODD (On-Demand Delivery), the shipping process is made easier
  • Real-time updates of the clearance of the shipment statuses are provided to customers

By following the aforementioned rules you can successfully ship these goods with DHL Express to the USA. For more information about other commodities and services, please get in contact with our certified international specialists.