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Medication at customs

2 posts
1 review
Medication at customs

Hi guys,

I am from the UK and going to Australia on a whv for a year and I am stopping off in Singapore for a few days. I have read that there are no issues taking a years supply of contraception with me to Australia but how strict are Singapore on this? If they happen to check my suitcase would this get me in trouble?

Thanks!!

6 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
18 posts
1. Re: Medication at customs

I always recommend bringing your prescription and a corresponding letter from your GP authorising your use for that - or any - medication. This is always a good idea, wherever you travel.

Keep your medications in a clear bag and ensure each is labelled with your full name. Your pharmacist should be able to do this for you.

In regard to amount(s) of prescription goods that can be brought in, check the Singapore customs website for the most up to date quantities.

From memory, I brought in a box containing 3 months supply. I do not recall the customs officer questioning it or causing issue. However, please be sure to check the customs website just to be safe!

Edited: 14 August 2018, 00:54
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
98,230 posts
17 reviews
2. Re: Medication at customs

If you go through the "Nothing to declare" lane, it is unlikely that you will even see a Customs officer. The days when Customs officers spoke to every traveller and rummaged through suitcases are long gone, except in countries like Australia and New Zealand where quarantine is a major concern.

Singapore, Singapore
Destination Expert
for Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
13,469 posts
22 reviews
3. Re: Medication at customs

You are not supposed to bring in more than 3 months' supply without a licence.

hsa.gov.sg/content/hsa/en/Health_Products_Re…

And pls note that the email address to apply for the licence begins with hsa_info and not info.

Edited: 14 August 2018, 07:12
2 posts
1 review
4. Re: Medication at customs

Thanks for your advice guys. I'm aware that you can only take 3 months supply of medication but Australia customs also state this and other backpackers have took a years supply without a problem.

I will have to declare other medication which I am not taking more than 3 months supply in my hand luggage. I was going to put the contraception in my suitcase and hope for the best. I will still be getting a letter off the doctor. I just didn't want to pay $30 for it when I can get it in the UK for free. If they do find it will they just confiscate it or will it be more serious than that?

Also, in regards to the licence how likely is it to be declined?

Thanks!

Singapore, Singapore
Destination Expert
for Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
13,469 posts
22 reviews
5. Re: Medication at customs

The rules for both countries are stated clearly and It is your choice whether or not to follow them. In my view, breaking the rules when going to other countries is not a wise thing to do. Who knows what happens if you are caught breaking the rules? Is the uncertainty (fine, wastage of time spent in detention or filling in paperwork) worth the saving of $30?

I don't work for HSA so don't count on my word but if you have a doctor's prescription for the whole duration and you have a valid reason for carrying more than 3 months of supply, then you probably have a good chance of getting the licence.

Edited: 14 August 2018, 12:18
Cambridge, United...
Destination Expert
for Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
10,854 posts
18 reviews
6. Re: Medication at customs

<< I'm aware that you can only take 3 months supply of medication but Australia customs also state this and other backpackers have took a years supply without a problem>>

'These people on the internet were OK' is not a viable reason to ignore stated laws nor will it protect you if unlike those people you get stopped and checked. If, on the other hand, those people getting 1 year in are using an established Customs waiver then fine, but they have to give you the information to find it.

I have never seen any such waiver for Singapore, however.

<<I will have to declare other medication which I am not taking more than 3 months supply in my hand luggage. >>

If you have prescriptions for them, you don't have to declare those in Singapore (unless they are Appendix A, but then you need a licence for those in Singapore).

<<. I was going to put the contraception in my suitcase and hope for the best. >>

You understand that will look like you are deliberately hiding them? Why put all but one medication in hand luggage especially if the other is well over the limit. That's the sort of point problems start with Customs anywhere in the world - where there is a discrepancy like that.

<<Also, in regards to the licence how likely is it to be declined?>>

For that sort of med, prescribed and supplied appropriately, for someone passing through during what is clearly a relocation. My guess would be about a zero chance of them declining the licence - I have taken in drugs of far higher concern on licence and always been passed.

The purpose of the licence to sign you up as having a good reasons to do things like this and that you aren't trying to sneak the in to sell on (and with large quantities of the pill that's likely their primary concern), not to criminalise people.

They just require you to be transparent and follow their hoops - hoops that are frankly trivial to do. If you search through some of the recent threads on this you will find a poster who was given a licence to carry in their cannabis-derived medicine for a serious condition that they were prepared to allow despite it being a wildly wildly illegal substance in Singapore otherwise - hence my assumption that you will have no problems getting a licence.

This is not a set of rules to hinder and harass, precisely the opposite - they are there so bone fide travellers can avoid that. Hence their likely suspicion when people don't follow them.

So, in essence I would say, why carry on with your current plan of hiding them in your bags (bags that will be scanned behind the scenes by the way) and that if caught will not look good because they clearly will have been hidden, rather than spend ten minutes filling in a form that removes all issues in Singapore?

Edited: 14 August 2018, 13:35
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