1. General

Importation is the act of bringing into Singapore any goods other than goods in transit or goods which are to be transhipped.

2. Scope / Covers / List of Schedules

All scheduled agents and toxins including inactivated1 First and Second Schedule biological agents in the Biological Agents and Toxins Act require import permit. However, for biological agents and toxins that are not in the schedules, you are advised to check with the Ministry of Health if you are uncertain if import permit is required.

Inactivated - in relation to a biological agent, means that the biological agent has been rendered non-infectious and unable to replicate itself under any condition

3. Requirements

Requirements in applying for an import permit:>

  1. Secure the correct MOH product code (the importer is responsible for securing the correct MOH product code).
  2. If the agent is a zoonotic agent, aside from the MOH product code, you also need to secure the secondary or AVS product code (the importer is responsible for securing the correct AVS product code).
  3. Unique Entity Number (UEN) or Central Registration Number (CRN) of the declarant's company.
  4. Details of the declaring person and agency (name of declarant, company name, address and contact number).
  5. Name and address of the importer.
  6. Commercial Invoice and Airway Bill - to be attached to the online application submitted via the TradeNet system.
  7. A prior "Approval to Possess" granted to the importer is required for First, Second and Fifth Schedule biological agents and toxins.
  8. For inactivated First and Second Schedule biological agents, the following information must be provided:
    1. the person who did the inactivation
    2. the facility where the inactivation was done
    3. the method of inactivation
    4. the efficacy of the inactivation
    5. a formal signed declaration letter from the end-user facility
    Other supporting documents that the MOH deemed necessary for clearance of the item.

4. Import Permit Application Procedure

Biological agents/toxins can either be purely controlled by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) or jointly controlled by both agencies.

Pure human pathogens are controlled by MOH while pure animal pathogens by the AVS. Zoonotic agents are jointly controlled by MOH and AVS. Hence, importers have to comply with either or both MOH and AVS's requirements and the process will depend on the classification of the item they are importing.

Application for import permit is done online via the TradeNet system. However, importation of zoonotic agents or pure animal pathogens may be subject to additional requirements by AVS.

The procedure for import permit application for the different types of items (pure human pathogen, zoonotic agents, clinical samples containing zoonotic agents and pure animal pathogens) are described in the "Guidelines for the Import and Transhipment of Biological Agents and Toxins".

A brief summary of the flow for submitting the application is provided in "Flowchart for MOH-AVS Joint Approval on Biological Agents".

You may contact AVS for further information on the procedure for importation of zoonotic agents or pure animal pathogens.

5. Fees

Currently, the Ministry of Health does not charge any fees for the application or processing of import permit.

6. Processing Time

The processing time for an import permit will depend on the completeness of the supporting documents (such as approval to possess for First, Second and Fifth  Schedule biological agents and toxins, delivery or commercial invoice, etc.) which may be necessary in the clearance of the item and the accuracy of the data entered.

An import permit is usually approved within 2 working days provided that all the criteria and/or requirements for import permit application has been satisfied, while the validity for an import permit is 9 working days inclusive of the approval date.

It is advisable to submit applications for import permit at least 5 working days before the item is scheduled to arrive in Singapore.

7. Scheduled Agents List

The "List of Biological Agents and Toxins" contain the biological agents and toxins controlled under the Biological Agents and Toxins Act with the MOH product code and corresponding AVA product code, if applicable. The list is not exhaustive and will be updated from time to time.

Click to view the "List of Biological Agents and Toxins".

Applications for import and transhipment permits are to be submitted via the TradeNet system.

Go to TradeNet.


The FAQs page on the biosafety website provide answers to commonly asked questions on biosafety.

Click here to go to the FAQ - Import and Transhipment Permit.