Moving to Singapore: 10 Things You Need to Know for a Seamless Transition

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There are many reasons to move to Singapore – it’s one of the safest countries in the world, has an extensive and pretty good transport system (MRT service can be a bit spotty, but buses are still good!), excellent career opportunities, a multi-cultural exposure and impeccable healthcare and educational services. Moving to Singapore certainly has its many perks, and here are some things to keep in mind about the island city to make your transition smoother.

1. Housing


Singapore has plenty of housing options to choose from. Take your pick from modest HDB flats or executive flats for that little extra study room or balcony. HDB flats are built and maintained by the government and have all the basic amenities.

If you want to spend more, select a fancy private condominium – most of them come with facilities such as a swimming pool, BBQ pit and gym. Recent condominiums even come with yoga classes, private chefs, entertainment rooms, and more.

For more spacious living, there are landed properties like bungalows, terraces, and semi-detached houses to choose from.

To make your life easy, there are many websites such as PropertyGuru, 99.co, and STProperty to help you find your ideal home.

2. Bank account

It is possible to open a bank account in Singapore even without being present in the country. You might want to work on doing so before you actually shift. The main things you will require for opening an account will be your passport and your work/study permit. Some banks also ask for an address proof and have a minimum account balance requirement (and will charge penalties if it’s not met); so keep an eye on the balance.

Additional read: Which of the ‘high interest earning’ savings accounts is the best?

3. Food


When it comes to food options – you name it and Singapore has it! From authentic Chinese, Malay, and Indian to French, European and Japanese cuisines, you will be spoilt for choices. The island has boutique restaurants as well as modern global chains. Plus, you will have access to vast supermarkets for all your grocery needs.

Additional read: 8 Ways to Get Cheaper Groceries in Singapore

Planning to get food delivered? Use one of the many delivery services such as Foodpanda or UberEATS for some fab offers. Looking for dine-out options? Take your pick from the luxurious Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands or the Michelin-starred Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle hawker stall. Overall, Singapore is a foodie’s paradise!

Additional read: These 6 Authentic Restaurants Prove That Singapore Is a Cultural Hotpot for Foodies

4. Credit cards

Singaporeans love their credit cards. Every Singaporean has around four credit cards on average. Since the country is Southeast Asia’s financial and banking hub, you will find a variety of banks offering credit cards. Select the one that suits your purpose the best – dining, shopping, fuel, travel, grocery and so on.

If you’d like to get a credit card, you can find, compare and apply for one at BankBazaar.sg.

5. Schooling

If you are moving to Singapore with kids, getting admission in the right school would be your priority. Singapore is home to some of the best schools in the world. Select from local public or private schools or international schools. While local schools are a lot cheaper, expats are allotted only limited seats as citizens get preference. International schools provide top-class education, but it comes at a cost. If you can get your employer to include the school fees in your contract, nothing like it.

Additional read: The Price of Education in Singapore’s Elite IB Schools

6. Medical

Since Singapore does not accept prescriptions from other countries, make sure you carry your medical records and other important documents while shifting. You will then need to visit a local doctor to get valid prescriptions. If your employer does not provide a medical insurance, you will have to buy one on your own depending on the premium. Read more on your health insurance options here. In case of medical emergency, dial 995 and the nearest ambulance will take you to the closest hospital.

7. Income tax

Singapore has commendable work opportunities. But along with a good income also comes tax! If you are living or working in Singapore for at least 183 days in the year, you are considered a tax resident. The country follows a progressive tax structure – which means the more you earn, the higher tax you have to pay. The tax rate ranges from 2% to 20%, depending on your income. Income tax year ends on December 31 and returns must be filed by April 15.

Additional read: Should You Pay Your Taxes with Your Credit Card?

8. Weather

If you are shifting from a cold country, sunny Singapore will come as a pleasant surprise to you. Apart from the high temperature, the island’s weather is known for its humidity and plentiful rainfall. So, before you enter Singapore, feel free to leave your pretty winter jackets and knitted caps behind.

9. Transportation


When you are in Singapore, transporting from one place to another will be the least of your issues. That’s because the island has an excellent transportation network. The easiest and quickest way to go from one place to another is through MRT (mass rapid transit). To pay for your fares easily, you can buy a contactless smartcard such as EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay, and using the trains and buses only involve a simple tap when you enter and exit. Singapore also has an excellent network of buses operated by SMRT Buses, SBS Transit, and Tower Transit Singapore. And of course, the city has its own fleet of taxis that will whisk you away to your desired destination.

Additional read: 6 Tips for Saving on Travel Costs in Singapore

10. Language

English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil are extensively spoken across Singapore. English is used commonly for business and in schools. Singaporeans colloquially speak in the English-based creole Singlish. Don’t worry, it’s not very difficult to learn. Live in Singapore for a while and you will surely learn it!

If you already know English and would like to travel around the region once you’re in Singapore, that’s not a problem too, there are many countries nearby that you can take a holiday and have no language troubles.

Additional read: 10 Cities in Asia You Can Travel to Knowing Only English

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