The Ins and Outs of Moving to Singapore

Indoor garden in Singapore - The Ins and Outs of Moving to Singapore

As an expat, I learned the ins and outs of moving to Singapore. Here, I share my personal experience, as well as lessons learned from fellow expat Jonathan Hesketh. Read on for the cost and perks of living in the city-state. I also discuss getting a credit card in Singapore and how to make the most of living in this Asian nation. Here, I will also share some tips on how to apply for permanent residence in Singapore easily.

Lessons Learned  

If you’ve ever thought about moving to Singapore, then you may have been thinking about relocating to the country’s capital. After all, the Economist has named Singapore as the world’s most expensive city. But you can actually live within your means here – just don’t expect to get imported cheese, filet mignon, or three-course high-end dinners. Instead, focus on spending money on the right things. Take public transport, MRT, and local food outlets, and keep a sizeable sum aside for emergencies. 

Cost of Moving  

The average cost of moving to Singapore is between PS1500 and PS3500. Moving from the UK to Singapore by sea freight or air freight is the best option, but you should factor in other hidden costs, such as the cost of local transport. The cost of shipping to Singapore from Europe or the east coast of North America can be quite high, so consider a few options before you decide on one. Listed below are the costs associated with each method of shipping. 

Rent: While the biggest expense in Singapore, housing can vary greatly, it can cost anywhere from S$700 per month to S$3,000 per month. While it is possible to own your own home, most expats opt to rent. Alternatively, you can rent a room in a shared HDB flat for about S$700 to S$2,000 per month. You should also keep in mind that the EP is required if you change companies. 

Transportation: If you’re moving to Singapore for employment, you should take into consideration the cost of public transportation. There are buses, trains, and metropolitan rails throughout the city. These are relatively cheap, clean, and luxurious. If you’re moving to Singapore for family reasons, a good choice is Sentosa. It is a great place to live if you have two incomes. It’s also an affordable place to raise a family. 

Man reading documents - The Ins and Outs of Moving to Singapore

Perks of Living in Singapore  

One of the perks of living in Singapore is the discipline of the locals. While eating, drinking, and smoking are allowed in the streets of the United Kingdom, this is not the case in Singapore. Eating is strictly prohibited on public transport. The Government also enforces strict laws and monitors unlawful activities. Hence, residents may feel uncomfortable when they see cameras in public places. It is also illegal to feed pigeons or connect to private WiFi networks. 

Aside from its excellent infrastructure, Singapore offers a great lifestyle to expats. Aside from the city’s easy access to major cities around the world, expatriates can enjoy a luxury lifestyle here. They can opt for cluster house plans, condominiums with sweeping views of the city, or a large family house. Moreover, they do not need a high-paying job to afford a luxurious house in Singapore. 

Despite the high cost of living in Singapore, the expats who live there are delighted with their lifestyle. Some of them love the dozens of expat clubs, excellent international schools, and endless nightlife. Others, however, are not as happy about the high cost of living and the constant humidity. The perks of living in Singapore are varied, but most people who live here have similar opinions. For instance, Singaporeans who are living in a high-rise condo are likely to be happier than those who live in an apartment. 

Getting a Credit Card  

Having a credit card when you move to Singapore may seem like a good idea. While car ownership is uncommon in Singapore, getting a credit card can ease your financial transactions. However, you should be aware that credit cards may cost you more than you think, and you might even get into a debt crisis if you don’t pay them off in time. To help you avoid falling into a debt trap, consider getting a Singapore-issued card, and be sure to read all the terms and conditions on the card before you make a purchase. 

To get a Singapore-issued card, you need a bank account in the country. You can do this online or with your current bank. Beware that some credit card companies will offer sign-up bonuses to lure you away from your current account. While signing up for a new credit card may be less expensive, you may end up paying a foreign transaction fee if you make any purchases outside of Singapore. 

When applying for a credit card, you should be aware that not all banks in Singapore offer such cards. You might have to meet higher eligibility requirements than Singaporeans. In general, you need to provide proof of identity, residence, and income. The minimum income requirement will be higher for foreigners than for Singaporeans. Proof of identity will include a certified copy of the personal details page of your foreign passport. An employment pass with a year remaining validity is also acceptable as proof of identity. 

Getting a Car 

Owning a car in Singapore is a responsibility, but it also gives you freedom. While petrol in Singapore is about S$2.50 a liter, parking in the CBD can cost you as much as S$0.60 a day. Singapore uses electronic road pricing along its busy roads, which can cost you between S$0.50 and S$3 per day, depending on the time of day and area. If you are new to Singapore and are considering buying a car, remember that you must put down a downpayment on the purchase. 

Getting a car in Singapore is easier than you think. You can buy a brand new or second-hand car at authorized dealers, or find a second-hand car for sale at parallel importers. While authorized dealers can offer better prices and better service, many car owners in Singapore trade their used cars on online marketplaces, such as SGCarMart and OneShift. If you are looking for a bargain, you can even find a parallel importer that will do a free inspection and financial planning. 

Driving in Singapore is simple, as long as you have a valid driving license. A foreign driver’s license can be used here for up to 12 months, but you will need to obtain a local driving license. You can convert your foreign driver’s license to the Singaporean version. Alternatively, you can bring your existing car and use it until you find one that suits your needs. But remember that petrol can be expensive here, and you will need to purchase a Certificate of Entitlement and pay a fee known as Electronic Road Pricing. 

Schools for Expat Children  

The first step in choosing a school for your expat child in Singapore is to determine which type of curriculum your child will receive. Some countries require their children to follow a specific curriculum while others do not. For example, if you are Dutch, your child may not receive the same curriculum as other kids in Singapore. You will also need to decide on the school’s location and infrastructure. The best schools for expat children in Singapore offer high-quality education and are closely regulated by government agencies. 

The Singapore public school system is good, but the academic pressure is higher than that of Western countries. This means that Singapore schools are renowned for producing strong students in science and maths, although there is a smaller international student population than in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, Singapore schools offer excellent value for money, making them a great option for children from international families. If you’re a parent who’s considering sending your child to Singapore, don’t forget to ask about the national curriculum. 

If your child is a British expatriate, there are several public schools that will suit their needs. For instance, Rosemount Kindergarten, a small school by Singapore standards, is a popular choice with international students. Founded in 1996, it has a low teacher-to-pupil ratio and an international curriculum. It is also affiliated to the ORT network and EduTrust. These schools cater to children from over 25 nationalities, including Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. 

Getting a Visa  

If you want to start a new job in Singapore, you’ll need a work visa. If you’re a new employee, you can get your Employment Pass through your company. If not, you can apply for an Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate through the Ministry of Manpower. Once approved, you can obtain a Social Visit Pass (SVP) that lasts up to a year. Getting your first Singapore visa is easy. 

There are a variety of work visas in Singapore, known as “passes”. Most require a job offer before you can apply. You can get an Employment Pass if you have a job offer from a company that offers a salary of at least $4,500 a month. On the other hand, if you’re a mid-level skilled worker, you can get an S Pass. 

Before you move to Singapore, make sure you’ve had a thorough health checkup. Then, make sure to get the necessary vaccinations. This will prevent you from contracting diseases you’ll likely encounter when living and working abroad. You’ll also want to have a copy of your medical records in case you’re asked for them. This is the first step to a safe, enjoyable move to Singapore. 


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