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  • 19 Mar 2021
  • Singapore
  • Import
  • Export
  • Trade Declarations
  • Singapore

Fulfilling Import & Export Declarations in Singapore

Table of Contents:

Steps for importer self-filer

Global eTrade Services (GeTS)

Singapore is one of the world’s most vibrant trade and ecommerce markets. Liberal trading policies ensure speedy cargo clearance for legitimate shipments while maintaining a safe and secure environment for trade participants. Businesses wanting to explore opportunities in the Singapore market must understand the regulatory requirements to fulfill import and export declarations in Singapore.

All imports must be declared to Singapore Customs. As an importer, the first thing to determine is whether you need to pay duties and/or taxes. In general, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is paid on non-dutiable goods, while GST and duty are paid on imported goods intended to be consumed in Singapore. For more details on duties and GST, visit the Singapore Customs website at

If you want to be an importer self-filer, the following steps should help you get started:

1. Register for a UEN and activate your Customs Account

Register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) to get the Unique Entity Number (UEN) , then activate your Customs Account at this link.

2. Check if the goods are controlled

Controlled goods are those subject to restrictions by Competent Authorities (CA) in Singapore. Find the HS code or CA product code to learn what licenses are required. You may also apply for an official classification ruling with Customs.

3. Apply for GIRO

Apply for an Inter-Bank GIRO (IBG) with Singapore Customs to pay for duties, taxes and other fees directly from your bank account. Your declaring agent may also use your IBG for the payment of Customs fees. You can get the IBG application form from the Singapore Customs website. If you are applying for a TradeNet® account, you will need to apply an IBG with CrimsonLogic Pte Ltd.

4. Provide security

You need to provide security for dutiable goods, temporary imports, and for operating licensed warehouses and similar facilities. The security can be a Banker’s Guarantee, Finance Company Guarantee, or Insurance Bond.

5. Apply for a Customs Import Permit

As an importer, you are required to apply for a Customs import permit prior to the importation of the cargo to account for the import and tax payable.

All permit applications must be submitted via a TradeNet® Front-End software by an approved software vendor or through the Singapore Customs TradeNet® Front-End Application.  

6. Prepare cargo clearance documents

For all shipments, you need to present the Customs approved permit and supporting documents (invoice, packing list, bill of lading/air waybill) to checkpoint officers to endorse.

7. Retain your Trade Documents

You are required to retain your Customs permits and relevant supporting documents such as commercial invoice, packing list, house Air Waybill for a minimum period of 5 years from the permit approval date. These documents can be stored as hard or soft copies as are required to be produced to Singapore Customs for audit purposes upon request.

GeTS for Fulfilling Import and Export Declarations in Singapore

Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a Singapore Customs accredited TradeNet® Front-End software provider. Since 2006, through TradeWeb, we have been offering value-added and innovative solutions.

TradeWeb Live! is a web-based system that are used by certified declarants of companies registered in Singapore to apply for Customs permits. It is accessible anytime, anywhere. With it, the entire application process is completed within minutes.

For a more seamless process, TradeWeb Live! can also be easily integrated with CALISTA and your company’s in-house systems as well as third party systems such as Warehouse Management System and Freight Management System.

CALISTA has a full range of services ranging from logistics, compliance to finance, providing businesses the convenience and flexibility to manage trade processes, documents and data involved all in a single digital platform.

The CALISTA regulatory filing service can assist in automating the Customs trade declarations and processes that adhere to relevant business rules that is compliant to the Customs submission requirements.

In addition, you can also have the option to outsource your trade declarations. The GeTS Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) service frees up your time to focus on what matters while leaving regulatory compliance documentation to GeTS. With this, you can enjoy a reduction in running costs, receive your approved permits at a faster turnaround time and be assured of complying to Singapore Customs’ rules and regulations.

For overseas sellers venturing into the Singapore market, appointing an Importer of Record (IOR) is a convenient and cost-effective way to ensure that your goods are properly documented and declared. The IOR acts on your behalf to import the goods, liaise with the authorities and make relevant duties and tax payments.

In the event when the HS Codes of the cargo are not provided, you may leverage on the A.I powered CALISTA intelligent advisory to recommend the most suitable HS Codes to be used. This advisory service has high accuracy through machine learning of vast past data.

With regards to the retention of your trade documents, GeTS’ Brokerage Control Tower Service (BCTS) can assist you with your trade documents records keeping. It has a Trade Document pouch feature that retains the Customs permits and supporting documents such as invoices, packing lists and house airway bills/bill of lading for ease of retrieval. Its case management feature helps keep you on track on what to do. You can also self-configure reminders for tasks such as monitoring of license expiry date and permit conditions, which you will need to adhere to avoid Customs compound.


To know more about GeTS services or to schedule a demo, you can call 6887 7333 or email [email protected].

CALISTA® is a registered trademark of GeTS. The materials provided by GeTS herein are solely for marketing purposes only. The information contained in the materials is proprietary to GeTS or subject to intellectual property rights owned by GeTS. Any use, disclosure, transmission, reproduction of the said materials in any manner without prior written consent of GeTS is strictly prohibited.