Legal Drinking Age and Drinking-Related Laws in Singapore

Last updated on March 25, 2019

Hands holding up wine glasses

Consumption of alcohol, at home or in public, is increasingly prevalent in today’s society. According to the Customs Act, a drink will be considered alcohol if it contains more than 0.5% of alcohol by mass or by volume.

One should be well advised to note the legal restrictions as to the legal drinking age, where and when you can drink alcohol, as well as driving after drinking.

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Singapore?

The legal drinking age in Singapore is 18 years old. This means that only those aged 18 and above will be able to buy and/or consume alcoholic beverages in premises licensed to sell alcohol (such as restaurants and supermarkets) in Singapore.

This is because it is illegal for licensed liquor sellers to sell alcoholic beverages to any person below the age of 18 or allow him to consume alcohol in their licensed premises. Sellers who do so may be guilty of an offence under regulation 37 of the Customs (Liquors Licensing) Regulations, and be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

However, there is no law penalising persons who drink while underage.

Individuals below 18 may also still buy food products containing alcohol, such as alcoholic ice-cream.

 

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With the new changes in the law – yes it is! ? Liquor control rules were tweaked on January 18th, to allow consumers to freely buy and eat food containing alcohol after 10.30pm. This change also means that those below 18 years old can now freely and legally buy food products containing more than 0.5% alcohol throughout the day. But how exactly did this change come about? ? – Typically, liquor sellers are not allowed to sell liquor (i.e. products containing more than 0.5% alcohol) to anyone under the age of 18, or allow them to consume liquor in their premises. ? However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has now exempted all food products – excluding beverages – from these requirements. As a result, those below 18 can now buy and consume such food items. ?‍♀️ – Given that it would be harder (and more impractical) to attempt to get drunk off food containing alcohol, alcohol abuse was considered unlikely to happen. ? So for those under 18 who wish to have a taste of alcohol, here’s your chance to (legally) give it a shot. 😉 #SingaporeLegalAdvice

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Legal Drinking Age in Clubs

There are no laws stipulating the minimum age to enter clubs. Clubs set their own rules as to the minimum age for entering, ranging from 18 years old to 23 years old.

However, since clubs sell alcohol and allow the consumption of alcohol on its premises, the minimum age to enter clubs is 18 and above.

You should check the minimum age rules of each club before heading down.

How Do You Prove Your Age?

In Singapore, a Singaporean will be required to show any one of the following to prove his/her age:

  • NRIC Identification card;
  • Driving licence; or
  • Passport.

If you are a foreigner, some places may be stricter with the identification mode before allowing you to purchase alcohol or enter clubs.

To be safe, you should utilise any one of the following to prove your age:

  • Passport; or
  • Foreign identification card.

(Note: Having possession of a fake ID is a forgery offence under section 474 of the Penal Code. A person convicted of this forgery offence can be imprisoned up to 10 years or with a fine or both.)

Where and When Can You Drink in Public Places?

A public place is defined as a place which the public may freely access even if such access requires a fee or can be restricted from time to time. These include void decks, road decks and parks but do not include restaurants or pubs.

The Liquor (Supply and Consumption) Act prohibits consumption of alcohol in such public places and the sale of alcohol from retail outlets between 10.30pm and 7am.

Certain areas including Little India and Geylang Serai are specified as Liquor Control Zones and are restricted even more.

Persons that are caught consuming alcohol in these areas will be penalised increasingly by up to 1.5 times. If you are found to be drunk and incapable of taking care of yourself, you may be fined up to $1,000 and/or jailed for up to 1 month.

Read our other article for more information on liquor control laws in Singapore.

Are there time restrictions on drinking at home?

Drinking at home is not regulated by the The Liquor (Supply and Consumption) Act. There are no legal restrictions on the timing. You can drink alcohol in the privacy of your own home at any time of the day.

Can I buy food products containing alcohol after 10.30pm?

As of 18 Jan 2019, food products containing more than 0.5% alcohol can be bought after 10.30pm. Such food products may include rum & raisin ice-cream, liquor-infused chocolate and cooking wine.

Unlike alcoholic beverages, such food products have been exempted from liquor licensing requirements as they are unlikely to lead to alcohol abuse.

Drink-Driving

It is a criminal offence to drive while under the influence of alcohol under section 67 of the Road Traffic Act.

Specifically, you will be guilty of this offence if you:

  1. are unfit to drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent you are incapable of having proper control of the vehicle; or
  2. exceed the prescribed alcohol limit.

The prescribed alcohol limit is:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

If found guilty, you will be liable to fines and may possibly face jail time. Read more about the penalties and sentences for drink-driving in Singapore.

Although underage drinking is not criminalised in Singapore, you should take note of the various restrictions on drinking alcohol before indulging in a night out with your friends. Always remember not to drive and drive as well, to avoid the possibility of any unfortunate events.

If you believe that you may be an alcoholic, feel free to seek help at the National Addiction Management Service (NAMS).

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