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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Singapore

Singapore - Consular Information Sheet
December 20, 1999

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Singapore is a small, highly developed parliamentary democracy. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if their visit is for business or pleasure and their stay is for 90 days or less. The Government of Singapore generally allows Americans to enter with less than six months remaining on their passport, but some neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia, do not. Specific information about entry requirements for Singapore may be sought from the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore at 3501 International Place, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202) 537-3100. Please see also the Singapore Government home page on the Internet at http://www.gov.sg/.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Singapore does not recognize dual nationality and strictly enforces universal national service for all male citizens, permanent residents, until the age of 21. Travel abroad of Singaporean males may require Singapore government approval as they approach national service age and may be restricted when they reach seventeen-and-a-half years of age. Dual nationals and their parents should contact the Ministry of Defense upon arrival in Singapore to determine if there will be a national service obligation. For additional information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our dual nationality flyer, and contact the Ministry of Defense Central Manpower Base (tel. 65-373-3127), or the Internet site at http://www.mindef.gov.sg/dag/cmpb/.

CRIME INFORMATION: Major crimes against tourists in Singapore are uncommon. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and purse or briefcase snatching occur in tourist areas, hotels and at the airport. Travelers should exercise the same caution that they would in any large city. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Good medical care is widely available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash. Recipients of health care should be aware that effective June 1, 1999, Ministry of Health auditors in certain circumstances may be granted access to patient medical records without the consent of the patient, and in certain circumstances physicians may be required to provide information relating to the diagnosis or treatment without the patient’s consent.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Travelers have found that, in some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage, including provision for medical evacuation, has proven to be useful. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at tel. 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or the CDC Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Singapore is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Excellent
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Excellent
Availability of roadside assistance: Excellent

Driving in Singapore is similar to driving during rush hour in large cities in the United States, although traffic moves on the left. Motorists should be particularly aware of motorcyclists, who often ignore lane markings. Lanes are frequently closed without warning due to constant construction throughout the city. Public transportation and taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Visitors should consider taking taxis or public transportation, which is widely available, inexpensive and reliable. Roadside assistance is provided by the Automobile Association of Singapore, and the Land Transport Authority has rescue vehicles on the road at all hours. In addition, all roads are monitored by closed circuit cameras, and there are "SOS" phones along all expressways. As with all laws in Singapore, those involving traffic rules, vehicle registration, and liability in case of accident are strictly enforced and may involve criminal penalties.

For specific information concerning Singaporean driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Singaporean National Tourist Board located at 590 Fifth Ave., Twelfth floor, NY 10036 at tel. 1-212-302-4861, or fax: 1-212-302-4801, or via the Singaporean Government’s web site via the Internet at http://singapore-usa.com.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Singapore’s civil aviation authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Singapore’s air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. 1-618-229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Singapore Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Singapore of items such as firearms, illegal drugs, certain religious materials, chewing gum, videotapes, CD’s, and software (for censorship or pirating reasons). It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Singapore in Washington, D.C., for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Singapore Customs officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Singaporean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Visitors should be aware of Singapore’s strict laws and penalties for a variety of actions that might not be illegal or might be considered minor offenses in the United States, including jaywalking, littering and spitting, as well as the importation and sale of chewing gum. Singapore has a mandatory caning sentence for vandalism offenses. Caning may also be imposed for immigration violations and other offenses.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Singapore has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Commercial disputes that may be handled as civil suits in the United States can escalate to criminal cases in Singapore and result in heavy fines and prison sentences. There are no jury trials in Singapore. Judges hear cases and decide sentencing. The Government of Singapore does not provide legal assistance except in capital cases.

CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. Singapore is not a signatory to any international conventions on consular access, but, in practice, Singapore officials do notify the U.S. Embassy when an American is arrested and do allow visits by the consular officer.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Automated money machines are plentiful in Singapore and are the best method of obtaining cash. Bank transfers generally take weeks, and surcharges are steep. Americans may be asked by police or employers to surrender their passports in lieu of surety (guaranteed) bonds. Americans should carefully consider whether they wish to surrender their passport rather than seek some other type of surety, particularly if the passport is requested by someone who is not a government official (e.g. employer).

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Singapore conducts extensive disaster preparedness training. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Singapore are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Singapore which has updated information on travel and security within Singapore. The Embassy is located at 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508, tel. [65] 476-9100, fax [65]476-9340, home page web address: http://www.usembassysingapore.org.sg. In case of emergencies after working hours, the duty officer at the Embassy may be contacted by calling tel. [65] 476-9100.

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