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Insects and other invertebrates

Invertebrates include all living annelids (e.g. earthworms), arthropods (e.g. insects, mites), and mollusks (e.g. snails, slugs).

Agriculturally-important invertebrates regulated by us falls under two categories:

  • Agricultural pests.
  • Non-agricultural pests.

Agricultural pests are invertebrates that directly impact plant health if they are not properly managed. Examples include crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms. Crickets and grasshoppers are typically imported as bird feed and fish feed.

Non-agricultural pests are invertebrates that do not or do not directly impact plant health. Examples include centipedes and scorpions.

Some invertebrates may also be endangered and listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES permits are required for the import and export/re-export of such invertebrates.

For more information on the endangered animal species listed under CITES, please refer to the CITES Appendices

For more information on importing or exporting agriculturally important micro-organisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, etc.), please refer to the "Micro-organisms" section.

We do not regulate transshipment of insects and other invertebrates.

Importing insects and other invertebrates

Below is an overview of the steps required to bring insects and other invertebrates into Singapore.

More information on the import conditions for insects and other invertebrates is available here.

Do note that imported invertebrates cannot be kept as pets.

1. Obtain written approval from us

Our written approval is needed for the import of all invertebrates.

You can apply for this written approval by providing us with the following information. These are required for an import risk analysis:

  • Purpose of import.
  • Quantity of import.
  • Technical details of the organism, i.e.:
    • Scientific name (up to species level).
    • Source of supply.
    • Life history.
    • Optimum temperature for survival.
    • Nature and type of food range.

If the import risk is considered acceptable, we will grant approval.

2. Provide assurance of bio-security measures

If our approval indicates that your intended imports are considered agricultural pests, you must assure us that necessary bio-security measures will be effected for the import.

If you are a regular importer (i.e. more than one application per 12 months), your participatation in the Bio-Security Assurance Arrangement (BSAA) with us is one way of giving us that assurance.

More information can be found in the BSAA guidelines.

If your imports take place on an ad hoc basis (i.e. not more than one application per 12 months), you can assure us by providing details of the bio-security measures you plan to implement for each consignment.

3. Apply for an AVS-issued import permit

Non-CITES listed invertebrates

You must obtain an AVS-issued import licence if you intend to import invertebrates that are not listed under CITES (i.e. not of the endangered status).

Step Description 
Step 1:  Apply for and obtain a cargo clearance permit via TradeNet. (url has changed) This permit will serve as an AVS-issued import licence, and is valid for two weeks only.

You must provide the appropriate HS codes and product codes in your application. The list of product codes for plants, insects, plant micro-organisms, and CITES-controlled items can be found here
Step 2:  Pay the S$11 permit fee. 

CITES-listed invertebrates

 If you are importing CITES species, please ensure to obtain:-

1) a CITES export/re-export permit from the exporting/re-exporting country; and

2) a CITES import permit from NParks.

Submit an inward declaration via TradeNet.

You must provide the appropriate HS codes and product codes (and copies of CITES permits for CITES species) in your declaration. The list of product codes for plants, insects, plant micro-organisms.

4. Arrange for import inspection by us

Our written approval will indicate whether your incoming consignment requires inspection at the port of entry.

If inspection is required, you can book an appointment through either one of the following ways:

  • Downloading and completing the application for post-entry inspection of imported plants. The form must be submitted to us at least one day before the arrival of your consignment.
  • Applying for an appointment via our inspection and laboratory e-services website.

5. AVS’ audit of bio-security measures

Our written approval will indicate whether your premises requires audit by us, and how often the audits will be held.

In general:

  • Regular importers participating in BSAA will undergo audit of their implemented bio-security measures three times per year.
  • Ad-hoc importers implementing bio-security measures for a temporary period may undergo regular audits at their premises until the purpose of the import has been fulfilled.

Exporting insects and other invertebrates

We do not regulate the export of invertebrates unless they are endangered species listed under CITES. 

However, if you are re-exporting invertebrates (both CITES or non-CITES listed), you need to obtain an import permit from the destination country before re-export is allowed.

The lists of animals listed under CITES can be found in the CITES appendices.

1. Check the destination country’s import requirements 

Find out what the import requirements of the destination country are. These requirements can be found on the website of the destination country’s relevant government authority.

2. Apply for a CITES export permit

If you are exporting/re-exporting CITES species, please ensure to obtain a CITES export/re-export permit from NParks.

You must obtain all CITES permits prior to departure of the consignment from Singapore. Please click here for more information on how to apply for CITES permits