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Laboratory Animals

Laboratory animals include:

  • Small mammals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, and gerbils.
  • Primates
  • Ferrets
  • Pigs
  • Embryos, ova, and semen of small mammals
  • Hatching eggs

We regulate the import, export, and transshipment of laboratory animals.

Only licensed institutions are allowed to import or export laboratory animals. Information on how to apply for the licence to operate an animal research facility is available here.

Importing laboratory animals

After obtaining the licence to operate an an animal research facility, you can follow the steps below to import laboratory animals.

1. Import from AVS-accredited facilities

Your intended imports must come from facilities that have been accredited by us. This is a list of accredited exporters of laboratory animals where you can import laboratory animals from. This list includes facilities that export small mammals and ferrets.

2. Fulfil our veterinary conditions for import

Ensure that your intended imports fulfil our veterinary conditions for import. These conditions require all animal health certification, quarantine, and inspection processes to be done by us.  

You should carefully read the relevant veterinary conditions below before importing any laboratory animals:

Additional requirements for import of genetically modified laboratory animals

Before importing genetically modified laboratory animals, you must undergo an assessment by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). This requirement is set out in the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee’s (GMAC’s) bio-safety guidelines for research on genetically modified organisms, as well as the National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal Research's (NACLAR) guidelines on the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.

3. Apply for an AVS-issued import licence and customs clearance permit

AVS-issued import licence 

You must obtain an AVS-issued import licence in order to import laboratory animals. Your application can be submitted via GoBusiness Licensing Portal. The licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue.

A step-by-step guide on how to apply for an import licence is available here.

Type of licence Cost and validity
Licence to import/export/transship animals, birds, eggs, and biologics (commercial)  
  • S$87 for normal service. Licence issuance will take place two working days after submission of all completed documents.
  • S$174 for express service. Licence issuance will take place one working day after submission of all completed documents.

This licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Each licence allows you to export one consignment

Customs clearance permit

A customs clearance permit can be obtained after you submit an inward declaration via TradeNet. You must provide the appropriate HS codes and product codes in your application. 

The lists of product codes for TradeNet is available here.

4. Obtain a veterinary health certificate

Each imported consignment of laboratory animals must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate signed by a government veterinary authority or a registered veterinarian from the exporting country. 

The relevant veterinary conditions for import (provided in Step 2 above) provide more details on what the certificate should state.

5. Make an appointment for border control inspection

Make an appointment for an inspection by submitting your request via the Intelligent Food Approval & Safety Tracking System (iFAST). Submit your request before 12pm at least one day before the arrival of your consignment of laboratory animals. Bringing your consignment for inspection without making a prior appointment will subject you to an S$80 inspection fee.

6. Inspection and quarantine upon arrival in Singapore

Your consignment of laboratory animals and the necessary documents will be examined by our officer upon your consignment’s arrival at the port of disembarkation in Singapore. 

If the documents are in order and the animals are found to be healthy, your consignment will be released. You can then bring them to your laboratory facility or approved quarantine facility if quarantine is required.

Laboratory animals which require quarantine for at least 30 days include:

  • Primates
  • Ferrets
  • Pigs

All quarantine facilities must be inspected and approved by us.

Exporting laboratory animals

You can follow the steps below to export laboratory animals provided you have a licence to operate an animal research facility.

1. Check the destination country’s import requirements

Find out the destination country’s import requirements. Some countries mandate that a veterinary health certificate or testing for diseases are conditions for entry.

You should find out what the import requirements are from the website of the destination country’s relevant government authority.

 2. Apply for an export licence and customs clearance permit

Export licence

You must apply for and obtain an AVS-issued export licence via GoBusiness Licensing Portal before leaving Singapore. The licence is only valid for 30 days from the date of issue.

A step-by-step guide on how to apply for this export licence is available here.

Type of licence Cost and validity
Licence to import/export/transship animals, birds, eggs, and biologics (commercial)

 

  • S$87 for normal service. Licence issuance will take place two working days after submission of all completed documents.
  • S$174 for express service. Licence issuance will take place one working day after submission of all completed documents.

This licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Each licence allows you to export one consignment


Customs clearance permit

You also have to obtain a customs clearance permit by submitting an outward declaration via TradeNet. You will need to provide the appropriate Harmonized System (HS) codes and product codes in your declaration.

The lists of product codes is available here.

3. Obtain a veterinary health certificate

This step only applies if the destination country mandates that a veterinary health certificate is a condition for entry.

You can obtain a veterinary health certificate issued by a licensed private veterinarian by bringing your laboratory animals to any AVS-licensed veterinarian for examination. The statements needed on the certificate, as well as the certificate’s validity period, will depend on the requirements set out by the destination country.

The destination country may also require that the veterinary health certificate be issued or endorsed by a government veterinarian. We can convert the veterinary health certificate issued by your veterinarian into a government health certificate, or endorse it for you.

You can apply for conversion via GoBusiness Licensing Portal. This conversion takes one working day to process, and costs S$23 per certificate.

Meanwhile, endorsement of a veterinary health certificate can be done within the same day and costs S$9.45 per endorsement.

A step-by-step guide on how to apply for a veterinary health certificate conversion is available here.

4. Send your laboratory animals for testing

This step only applies if the destination country mandates that incoming laboratory animals be tested for diseases .

You can send your laboratory animals to us for laboratory diagnostic services at the Animal and Plant Health Centre.

Transshipping laboratory animals

To transship laboratory animals via Singapore, you will need an AVS-issued transshipment licence. 

Apply for an AVS-issued transshipment licence

Prepare a copy each of the following documents in soft copy:

  • A valid health certificate from the exporting country
  • An import permit or import licence issued by the importing country (if required)

You can apply for and obtain a transshipment licence via GoBusiness Licensing Portal. Be sure to submit the above documents during your application.

A step-by-step guide on how to apply for this licence is available here.

Type of licence Cost and validity
Licence to import/export/transship animals, birds, eggs, and biologics (commercial)
  •  S$87 for normal service. Licence will be issued on the same day as application.

This licence is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Each licence allows you to export one consignment only.

What happens during transshipment

Your consignment of laboratory animals will be transferred to the Changi Animal & Plant Quarantine Station (CAPQ) if it is transiting Singapore for more than six hours during CAPQ’s operating hours. 

For a transit lasting less than six hours, or occurring during CAPQ’s non-operating hours, your consignment will be kept in the airline's animal holding area.

You are required to pay S$26.25 per kennel unit per day to accommodate your consignment of laboratory animals at CAPQ. Feed will not be provided.