Are you thinking of driving over to Singapore during the Chinese New Year season to visit some friends and family?
Driving into the Little Red Dot can be a daunting experience for many motorists who've not driven in the country before.
'What do I need to prepare?', 'How much do I need to pay?' are just some of the many questions that every Malaysian driver has had while crossing the Causeway for the first time.
Believe it or not, driving into Singapore is actually a breeze! Below we've listed out the necessary prep and documents required to make your journey across the Causeway a smooth one:
1. Have all required documents ready including the Disembarkation/Embarkation Form and valid passport
Before embarking on the journey, you'll have to make sure you have the following:
(a) valid insurance coverage for the duration of your vehicle’s stay in Singapore
(b) valid road tax for your vehicle
(c) settled all outstanding summonses - if any - issued by the Singaporean Traffic Police
(d) an Autopass Card (more on this later)
(e) Last but not least, you'll need the Disembarkation/Embarkation Form or commonly known as "white card". This form must be filled everytime you enter Singapore. Forms are available free of charge from the checkpoints, travel agencies, and hotels in JB. One portion of this form must be kept and surrendered when you leave Singapore.
2. Stock up on Singapore Dollars
To save you the hassle and time of looking for a money exchanger, make sure you've exchanged your Ringgits for Singapore Dollars.
3. Fill up your car's petrol tank to the brim
With the current exchange rate, your best bet would be to fill up petrol in Malaysia before heading to Singapore.
1. There are two points at which you can cross over to Singapore - Tuas and Woodlands
Both checkpoints are easily accessible from the Johor Bahru city centre. Before reaching the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints, you'll need to go through the Malaysian immigration to have your passport checked. This will normally be a straightforward and hassle-free process.
2. Once you've cleared Malaysian immigration, you'll drive across the bridge linking Malaysia to Singapore and get in line to have your passport examined
You'll need to present your passport and Disembarkation/Embarkation Form to the immigration officer from your car window.
If you're a first-time visitor and don't have an Autopass Card, you'll be directed to park your car near the VEP/Toll Pass office to purchase one.
3. To apply for the card, you'll need to bring your car insurance and registration details which will be briefly looked by the officer
Bring along your car insurance and registration details which will be briefly looked at by officials, and fill out a form.
You'll have to pay SGD6 (RM18) for the card - which is valid for seven years - and SGD4 (RM12) for preloaded credit, amounting to SGD10 (RM31) in total.
4. What is an Autopass Card?
The Autopass Card is a customised stored-value card issued to foreign-registered vehicles. It serves as an electronic vehicle entry permit and is thus non-transferable.
Top ups are easily made at any 7-11 and it is very important to note that you must have sufficient credit to pay the exiting tolls when heading out of Singapore.
Do note that If your family owns more than one vehicle, you will need to purchase an Autopass Card for each vehicle. It is an offence to use another vehicle's Autopass Card to drive into Singapore.
6. You're required to insert the Autopass Card into the card reader installed at the immigration booths to register your vehicle’s entry or exit records and pay for toll charges
The current toll charges vary from SGD2.70 (RM8.40) to SGD3.80 (RM12) depending on which checkpoint you use.
There will be an increase coming February to SGD6.40 (RM20) to match Malaysia's road charge of RM20 for foreign vehicles crossing the Causeway.
Do note that it is an offence if you fail to insert your Autopass Card into the card reader in the immigration booth upon entry and exit.
Aside from the toll charges, take note that foreign registered vehicles have 10 free VEP (Vehicle Entry Permit) days to drive in Singapore per year. After the 10 days are used up, it’s SGD35 per day. The VEP is only applicable on Mondays to Fridays from 2am to 5pm.
7. Finally, before you head to the city, there will be one final check inside the passenger cabin and trunk of your vehicle
8. And you're in! Drive safe, buckle up, and follow the traffic regulations.
When driving in Singapore, the speed limit is indicated by the number in the red circle and you actually have to follow them. Also, pedestrians have the right of way at a zebra crossing.
Speaking of which, a Malaysian has been living in a mall in Singapore for years and he isn't even homeless!