Transhipment is the act of bringing any goods into Singapore solely for the purpose of taking them out of Singapore, whether on the same conveyance on which they were brought into Singapore or on another conveyance, where the goods are landed and kept at any place in Singapore pending their being taken out of Singapore.

2. Scope / Covers

Agents listed under First, Second and Fifth Schedule biological agents and toxins require a transhipment permit to be transhipped.
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 a transhipment permit is required.

3. Requirements

Requirements in applying for transhipment 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 declarant (name of declarant, company name, address and contact number).
  5. Commercial Invoice (to be attached to the online permit application submitted via Tradenet).
  6. Handling agent's name.
  7. Departure date from Singapore.
  8. Location where the item will be stored in Singapore while awaiting transhipment.
  9. Other supporting documents that the MOH deemed necessary for clearance of the item.

4. Transhipment 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 transhipping.

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

The procedure for transhipment permit application for the different types of items (pure human pathogen, zoonotic agents, clinical samples containing zoonotic agents and pure animal pathogens) are stated 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 and requirements for transhipment of pure animal pathogens.

5. Fees

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

6. Processing Time

The processing time for transhipment permit will depend on the completeness of the supporting documents (such as approval to possess for Schedule 1, 2 and 5 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.

Transhipment permit is usually approved within 2 working days provided that all the criteria and/or requirements for transhipment permit application has been satisfied, while the validity for a transhipment permit is 3 working days inclusive of the approval date.

It is advised 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 AVS product code, if applicable. The list is not exhaustive and is being updated from time to time.

Click here 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.

9. FAQ

The FAQ's on the homepage of the biosafety website provide answers to commonly asked questions on biosafety.

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