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Moving to Singapore? Everything Expats Should Know About Moving Internationally to the Lion City

Daisy Wilson May 17, 2013
Posted May 17, 2013 In Living Abroad,
Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

Relocating to some of the expat meccas can only mean two things: either you made it to the 1% or you are planning to get there. Moving to Singapore was a life-changing experience for many people, allowing them to pursue careers and job opportunities they never dreamed of. And all that in a place of 280 square miles. So if international moving to Singapore from the USA is your dream, stick with us and find out all you have to know.

Relocating across the world is not an easy task. You will have to do a lot of things before you move, from finding an international moving company to acquiring all the documents needed to travel abroad. But if you start with your relocation preparations on time and plan every step along the way, you will reduce your relocation stress and costs to a minimum.

Expat Guide to International Moving to Singapore – Let’s Start With Basics

Located in Southeast Asia and officially called the Republic of Singapore, it is a unique sovereign island city-state. It is one of the 20 smallest countries globally with the second largest population density in the world.  The name Lion City came from the Palembang prince’s mistake when he first saw an island. Thinking he spotted the lion on it, he named it Singapura, which means the City of Lions in Sanskrit. Although there are no lions here, the state has rapidly grown and become one of the four Asian Tigers based on external trade. It is a financial and shipping hub with the second highest GDP per capita globally. If you move to Singapore, one thing is for sure – you will live in one of the most expensive cities in the world but also in a country that is identified as a tax haven.

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Helpful Tips to Know Before Moving Abroad to Singapore

Yes, it’s illegal to sell or import chewing gum. For a while, men (native or foreign) couldn’t wear long hair (due to fear of Hippies). Still, the country has some pretty innovative, green, and eco-friendly regulations you will love. For example, there is National Tree Planting Day, where everyone must plant a tree or give it as a gift. Also, one of the first parks made exclusively for gardening is located here. The government urges people to keep the environment clean and healthy this way. Car owners have to pay 1.5 times the car price to get their vehicles certified, so consider this fact before you book an overseas vehicle shipping.

Documents Needed for International Moving to Lion City

Relocating overseas is hardly possible without proper documentation, and if you wonder how to move to Singapore from the USA, the answer is easy. All you need is 20,000 Singapore Dollars (SGD) in your bank account, which would translate to around 14,800 USD, and a valid passport, and you are good to go and stay up to 90 days without any visa. But if you wish to stay longer and work abroad, you can apply for a work visa.

As we mentioned, this island is one of the most desirable for expats because you can easily get a work visa or open your own business. Apply for an employment pass scheme, which is the most common type of visa. It allows you to work or own a business, and you can stay for 1-2 years. Your salary can not be under $3,600, and with this visa, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Living on the Island for Good or Just Passing Through?

But, if living in Singapore as an American is your dream, you should consider getting permanent residency first and citizenship later on. As we mentioned, if you get a standard work or student visa, you can apply for permanent residence after two years. And if you are a holder of permanent residency for two years, you can apply for citizenship. So on average, you can become Singaporean after four or five years.

Cost of Living is High, But a Standard Is Too

As we mentioned before, the cost of living here is high, but if you know where to buy food and rent a place, you can cut down unnecessary expenditures. Since it is an island, most of the things are imported, so finding cheap groceries can be tricky. For example, 1lb of chicken meat is $5 on average, while 12 eggs are $3. On the other hand, eating at the restaurant is not as expensive as when living in Orange county or maybe after relocating to Dubai. Also, if you buy your groceries at the wet markets in Chinatown and not in supermarkets, you will save a lot of money.

It Is a Island of Expats, So Finding a Home Shouldn’t Be a Problem

This island metropolis is considered to be expensive in regard to the housing options. Still, 92% of people own their property, which tells more about high standards and salaries that enable folks to buy a flat. But if you plan to rent a home, you will pay $1,400 to $3,300 for a one-bedroom home downtown. The same home further from the center would cost you around $1,800.

Companies From All Sectors Are Booming Here

Being the economic tiger, it is logical that job opportunities here are vast, but competition is still fierce. Singaporeans are highly educated professionals, so competing with them will mean you must have a high education level as well. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t find a job. For expats, banking and financial services are booming sectors. But IT and electronics industries are on-demand too. Once you relocate here, networking will become an important part of your job seeking. There is a higher chance of getting a job through recommendation than applying for an advertised job post.

What About Health Care? A Guide for Expats

One of the most important steps in living in another country is getting good health insurance. Expats will find excellent health insurance and, best of all, good service. There are numerous insurance policies to choose from and places where you can find care. One of the biggest cons of this insurance is that some facilities may refuse to take your bill statement and can charge you on the spot. But there are many hospitals throughout the island to choose from, and your insurance company will provide you with their contact information.

Schools Are Great but Start Applying Right Away

The state’s education system is currently ranked 11-th globally, so you can see that Singaporeans take their education seriously. Children are groomed to get into the greatest school or even kindergarten – the youngest person in the world (aged 7) with GCE ‘O’ Level Chemistry paper is a Singaporean. So if you plan to live with kids here, make sure you get all the recommendations possible and be prepared for the waiting period. The lessons are usually in English, but some schools teach in Mandarin Chinese.

It Is Small, but It Has the Best Links to the Whole World

Seeking and experiencing new adventures are some of the greatest benefits of living overseas, especially if you relocate to some exotic country like Argentina or some Caribbean place like the Bahamas. But if you wish to see the whole world, then relocating here is your best choice. Aside from finding cheap flights and connections, you can easily visit neighboring countries by boat or car. So explore those new places, and who knows, maybe you decide to relocate to Seoul or maybe even Bangkok.

It Has Excellent Links Between the Islands

The state is made of one main island and 63 satellite islands and islets. So island hopping is something you will do on most weekends. With ferries, you can go to every island and enjoy beautiful beaches and nature. The most popular islands are:

  • Kusu,
  • John’s,
  • Lazarus,
  • Sister’s Island.

Learning a Language Will Not Be a Problem

With a multicultural population, the government has recognized the need to respect the different cultural identities. Therefore the official languages here are English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. Therefore, breaking the language barrier will not be that hard, and best of all, there will be no need for you or your kids to learn a new language abroad. On the other hand, if you wish to adjust to the place better, you can always try and learn some of the local languages. The best tip for learning a language is to be connected with locals and speak that language daily.

A Guide to Expat Life in Singapore – Climate and Unusual Customs

If you wonder what to pack to move here, you need to learn more about climate conditions. If you like warm weather, then moving abroad to this country will thrill you. But be prepared to feel really hot because the humidity here is high. The temperature is around 72-93 °F and humidity increases due to frequent rainfall. But don’t worry, there is air conditioning in every place and cooling off will not be a problem.

When it comes to the culture here, you will see blended cultures from Europe and Asia. The national flag represents peace, progress, democracy, justice, and equality, which Singaporeans value the most.

What About Food, Drinks, and Nightlife

When moving internationally, the way of living in the desired destination is one of the important things to know. For example, if you plan to relocate to Sweden, you should know that alcohol will be expensive. Well, the nightlife in Lion City is chic and glamorous. You can enjoy fancy cocktails downtown or have a beer with your mates at the local pub. Before you relocate, connect with the expat community from here, and your bar-hopping can begin. When it comes to food, here you can find a pallet of new and unusual delicacies. Check this video for more information about this amazing place.

Tips on Relocating to Lion City – Where to Find Good Overseas Shipping Company

When moving overseas, finding a reliable and affordable company for overseas shipping is of utmost importance. But before you ask for a quote, you have to figure out what you will bring with you and how many things. Will you hire them for packing service or not? Will you decide to ship your belongings by air if you have fewer things to pack? Either way, you will need help from a professional overseas moving company because shipping overseas demands a lot of paperwork, expertise, and work. So make sure you book your movers on time and have a smooth transition.



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