What you need to know before moving to Singapore
Updated: Feb 20
Although relocating to a new country can be exciting for expatriates, it may also be challenging at times. Indeed, as an expatriate you ought to assimilate to a completely new culture, another country with different rules and landscapes.
Nonetheless living in Singapore is easy and enriching for both locals and expats. Most of them argue that they have well assimilated into the country’s social life. Scroll down to read the ultimate guide to help you prepare for your life change in Singapore and make it as seamless as possible.
Homework You Need to Do Before Coming to Singapore
1. Prepare yourself for living overseas & do some research over living expenses
Singapore counts among one of the most dynamic cities to work and live in the world today. The cost of living in Singapore may be high for expatriates so it is recommended to do some research on your predicted monthly and yearly expenses in order to stay afloat financially.
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) provides useful resources to help you plan your move to Singapore.
2.Employment Pass approval and eligibility
Look for the job before you land in Singapore. If you have secured a job prior to your arrival, then your employer will help you with the Employment Pass (EP). Log on to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website to look for the list of documents required.
The Ministry of Manpower specifies that all expats who wish to work and live in Singapore must possess a valid travel pass or work visa. Make sure you have the EP with you before coming as Employment Pass holders hold the privilege of bringing certain family members to join them in Singapore.
3. Home country finances
It is crucial to manage your home country finances before your departure, especially if you are unsure on how often you will be able to go back home.
Make sure that you can access your bank account, make online transfers and necessary payments. Meet with your banking counselor to go over your accounts and make sure you won’t incur unexpected fees due to their inactivity.
What if you regularly have to transfer some money to your home accounts? Make some thorough research prior to your departure to avoid all these potential hindrances.
4. Kids’ school and admission process
If you have kids, you should start looking online for schools located in your city and their availability. It is important to choose the school first as it may impact your future house location.
Indeed, it is rather common to find families signing a rent agreement and pay a commission to the real estate agent to eventually be forced to relocate because their children's schools had no vacancy, thus suffering a loss of time, energy and money.
For more in-depth information about the school application and admission process, visit the International School Student Admissions Overview page on the Ministry of Education website. If you have already found a school after doing all the proper online research, go ahead and consult with your prospective schools regarding the documents and certificates needed for your child’s enrollment.
5. Moving with pets
If you are a pet lover and plan to bring your pet to Singapore, you need to make sure you are respecting the requirements outlined below:
· Check online the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s guidelines that will familiarise you about the process of importing personal pets before your arrival to Singapore.
· You must check the list of restricted dog breeds. Indeed, Singapore is rather strict about the process and impose restrictions on a few breeds of dogs. Moreover, some buildings in Singapore also enforce a limitation on the number of dogs and their size. For example, in HDB you can only keep one dog from an approved small breed. However, in private residences, you can have up to three pets.
· Visit the website PetTravel.com to research about the Singapore Airlines's pet carriage policy at, as some airlines don’t allow certain types of pets. Other expats suggested KLM flight as the crew carefully handles pets.
Things to Know After You Arrive in Singapore
1. Medical Insurance is a necessity, not an option.
“Your health is your wealth” is an old saying that remains true when moving to Singapore. The city is known for its widespread healthcare system, but one should be aware that the country has a variable health care subsidy for the locals compared to the expats. Thus, it is detrimental to invest in international health insurance dedicated to expats residing in Singapore.
The insurance plan will cover your medical expenses, emergency medical assistance, prolonged hospitalization, and medical treatment without digging a hole in your pocket.
Moreover, it is recommended that you do some further research with your employer to confirm whether they will provide you and your dependents with some basic medical coverage during your employment in Singapore.
With this information in mind, you can figure out whether you will necessitate any additions to your insurance plans such as vision, dental coverage, maternity and more.
Contact BLACAZ. Insurance as we have a long experience in customizing your International Health Insurance plan.
2. Finding your home sweet home
If your employer is not sponsoring a house prior to your arrival you will be responsible for searching a place you deem appropriate. There are various factors impacting housing costs such as location, accessible public transportation, availability of recreational facilities like a pool, gym, park, school, and childcare.
You can read the property guides page that will direct you to the various property listing websites to help you find your home sweet home.
While you are renting a property, it is important to get a Home and Content Insurance to protect you from unexpected losses or potential damages such as fire, theft, bursting of water tanks and so on. Don't forget to provide additional coverage for your precious art collections if you are moving in with the fine art insurance policy.
Get in touch with BLACAZ.'s experts for further explanation and information on your home insurance.
3. Getting Around in Singapore
Singapore’s government promotes the use of public transport for its citizens and encourages its citizens to take the bus, use taxis and ride the train. The transport system in Singapore is very comfortable, safe, timely, fast, and efficient. You can create your EZ Link card or NETS FlashPay card to pay the fare of the Mass Rapid Transit and Pubic Bus ride.
To get around the city you can book a taxi simply by downloading Gojek and Grab taxi app on your mobile – these are the two most popular and reliable taxi service providers in Singapore. The taxi service ensures you door to door service, timely pickup and drop, friendly chauffeur, plush environment, VIP treatment, and much more. Such a plethora of affordable transportation services will facilitate your transition to Singapore.
4. Sign up for Telco Service Provider
Once you arrive in Singapore and have your EP or valid pass, you can purchase a SIM card through some paid service plans amongst well-known telecommunication service providers.
You can splurge into service providers such as M1, StarHub, and Singtel to get the internet and TV subscription with other benefits inherent to your plan. If you would rather pay a month-to-month mobile plan, Circle life is another great service provider that offers service plans with no contracts.
5. Government service
To benefit from the Government services, apply for the SingPass and create your unique password-protected account, which you will need to file your taxes. In the Practicalities page, you can go to the tax section where you can check and calculate the income tax you owe to the Government. It is mandatory for all locals and expats with income streams in Singapore.
All these pre-departure and post-arrival tips will help you make a smooth transition to the country. If you want to inquire about insurance plans for expats moving to Singapore, then inquire from BLACAZ. Insurance – Singapore’s top insurance company. Contact us today.