Hi fellow Singaporeans,
(is my "grievance" so if you don't want to read a LOOONG story, scroll down to part 2.)
My story: I recently ordered a batch of potted neps online. I tracked them on Speedpost and found them detained. I couldn't tell if it was detained in the country of origin or in Singapore so I waited. *The next day, I received a letter from the customs telling me that in order that to collect the package, I will need an import permit from the AVA at Maxwell Road.
Alright, so I called up AVA. The guy gave me a number to call. *The lady who followed gave me another number to call. *Finally I got AVA (but at Sembawang) and they told me to fax the customs letter over together with a form I downloaded from the Internet. *Within half an hour, the customs letter got an approval stamp but there was a different import form for me to fill in. I was to go and collect the package AND then to send the package over to AVA for inspection.
After class at 3 pm, I made my way to Eunos. *I waited for my turn at the post office, only to find out that I was to go to the CUSTOMS office to pick up my parcel. *Several police officers greeted me when I stepped in. *The package was sealed and I was to bring it to Sembawang.
The trip took longer than expected. *By the time I reached the place, it was already 4.30 pm. AVA office closes at 4.30 pm! *I went to unit 1, only to be told that it's unit 2. *I went to unit 2 but found out that it's at the second floor of unit 3! *The place is so "ulu" that it's like the kampong...a tree gecko can make its way across your path, plenty of lallang...got the idea? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/confused.gif[/img]
Panting, I went upstairs..remember, I've been carrying the package throughout...and yes, they were closed for the day. *But I supposed they pitied the poor teacher, who struggled to balance herself in heels and tried to find the actual AVA (plants department). *The staff was helpful and kind, and the inspection was over in 10 minutes! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_k_ani_32.gif[/img]
"So what must I do next time I order plants from overseas?", I asked, knowing very well I'll need the info so that I won't have another round-the-city tour. *"Follow these steps", answered Dr Ali.
1. Get the online company to send the phytosanitary and CITES certs to you.
2. Fax the certs and the import permit to AVA (Sembawang).
3. They approve and fax you the copy. *They will also let you know about the post entry inspection.
4. Wait for customs to send you a letter after they detained your parcel.
5. Go and collect your parcel from Eunos with the approved permit.
I was told by a staff of AVA that the customs did not detain plants that were shipped bareroot. *That was then but I'm not so sure about now with the bird-flu and so on. *I've been there (Ulu places), done that (carrying an opened box with shredded newspaper flying, trying to hail a cab) so if you guys would like to know any other information, PM me. *[img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]