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Import Guide: How to Import Goods into Singapore

Shipping with DHL · 3 min read

Import Guidelines for Singapore

Singapore’s free port and open economy attract businesses from all over the world. The government’s pro-business taxation approach – controlled under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Act, Customs Act, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act – makes international trading hassle-free and extremely efficient.

All imported goods are subject to a certain duty payment and GST irrespective of whether you are purchasing them from an overseas partner or from international sellers. Additionally, a customs permit is also needed to account for the tax payment and import of the goods.

Seeking help from a logistics company to import goods into Singapore on your behalf has become the norm. DHL Express, a leading express courier company in Singapore works dedicatedly to help deliver the shipments from one port to another on time. We provide the best-fitting clearance solution to our customers, whether you are importing as an individual, or for your business. With over 50 years of experience, our dedicated clearance team has the technical know-how and the support of the regulatory authorities to ensure your shipments reach you in the fastest manner possible.

DHL Express Import Guidelines 

Being a top international courier service company, DHL Express provides unparalleled expertise, not only in international export clearances but also in local import clearance. We offer various import solutions to cater to all your shipping needs, for shipments of all sizes and ranging complexities. 

Our user-friendly shipping applications such as MyBill, MyDHL+, and On-Demand Delivery (ODD) allow for quick access, flexibility, and customizable options at your fingertips. We also offer 24/7 Live Chat support for all your shipping and customs-related queries.

Our Import Process at a Glance

DHL Express has one of the highest clearance record capabilities in the world, because of our highly experienced in-house team of customs, who are well-versed with the requirements and local regulations of the country.

  • Regardless of the bulk of your shipment, all your parcels must have the necessary paperwork. This includes the standard paperwork being the DHL airway bill (AWB) and a shipping invoice.

    Important note: Before your business can start to import and export goods overseas, you need to obtain a UEN number by registering with Singapore customs. UEN activation is a requirement for businesses that intend to engage in import and export activities in Singapore. 
  • Bear in mind that some shipments or goods may require you to provide additional paperwork. This is to facilitate both export clearance from the country of origin as well as import clearance in Singapore.
  • Clear and descriptive paperwork gives Customs bodies a clear idea of the contents within the shipment and also acts as a document of verification for both the shipper and consignee.
  • Once the paperwork is processed by the Customs authorities, it is then submitted to DHL Express’s network, where our certified international specialists use it to process the shipment, without it being physically present in Singapore.
  • Most of the shipments are successfully cleared once they are boarded en-route to Singapore. Our import clearance processes are simple and are mandated by the local government. All shipments imported into Singapore will incur a 7% goods and service tax (GST). 

    Note: If the shipper has selected Duties and Taxes Paid (DTP) then the receiver doesn't have to pay for duties and taxes. But if the shipper selected Duties and Taxes Unpaid (DTU) then the duties will be borne by the receiver. In such cases, it is recommended to apply for inter-bank giro (IBG) to prevent any delays due to GST or duty issues. To help you set up your IBG, refer to this page:

Shipments that Require Special Attention

  • High-value shipments above EUR 500K.
  • Heavyweight shipments above 300kg and more.
  • All dutiable commodities such as alcohol, tobacco, motor vehicles, and petroleum-based products will require a special license as they take longer for clearance. You can check out the list of dutiable goods for their individual duty rates. All products other than the mentioned types are non-dutiable.

Post-Shipment Process

  • Once the shipment is cleared and arrives in Singapore, it is then removed from the airplane and loaded into sorting bays where the package travels from the airport to one of our four service centers in Singapore. This approximately takes half a working day only if the shipment is successfully cleared.
  • Upon successful transfer, the shipment is then further sorted at our service centers and handed over to courier agents covering the specific addresses to be dispatched on our next available cycle.

If you need any support prior to shipping, feel free to reach out to the DHL Express customer service team on the Live chat section. Our proficient in-house customer service team is well-equipped to give you the latest updates on your import shipments, as well as the technical know-how to support your requests anytime.


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