Singapore relocation checklist for expatriates

When you’re moving to Singapore as an expatriate, there are a lot of things to consider in the months leading up to your emigration.
Here we have put together a Singapore relocation checklist to help you prepare for and plan your international move.

Get your visa and permit

There are a number of different work visas and permits for those emigrating to Singapore. Your new employer will ensure you obtain the correct pass for your role. This will most likely be an Employment Pass, for foreign professionals, which your employer will apply for on your behalf.
As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can also get passes for family members to join you in Singapore, which will either be on a Dependant’s Pass or a Long Term Visit Pass, depending on their relationship to you. Other passes and visas are also available, and you can view the full list here:

Take out appropriate healthcare

Healthcare in Singapore is among some of the top-ranking in the world. The cost of using public healthcare or private healthcare for an expatriate who doesn’t qualify for any subsidies is broadly the same, so the majority will opt to use private facilities. The waiting times are shorter and the service exceptional.
The cost of treatment is significantly cheaper than, for example, the USA, but it is worth getting a fully comprehensive health insurance plan to cover you and your family before the move. Check whether your employer has any medical cover included in your benefits package and which family members are covered.

Find accommodation

Most expatriates will choose to rent private accommodation when first moving to Singapore. Do your research in advance of the move to find areas that are suitable for your family’s requirements. If you can, plan a trip to Singapore in the months before the move so you can recce potential locations or ask advice on expatriate forums.
Your new employer may offer a corporate lease on a property, so find out what is offered before making a decision on accommodation. Most Western expats live in apartment blocks or condos, with shared facilities like a pool, security and a gym. There are also a handful of grand colonial houses with gardens around the city, highly sought-after by wealthy expatriates.

Research schools

If you are moving to Singapore with school-age children, you should start your research into educational options in advance. For those moving to Singapore long term, you could consider public schooling to help with integration, however there are some differences in styles of teaching and learning that can be difficult to adjust to.
Most British expatriates enrol children into one of the many excellent international schools. These have long waiting lists, so do start your enquiries early on. Your contract with your employer may have an education allowance or links with a particular school, so again this should be your first port of call.

Arrange your removals’ service

One of the trickiest parts of any international move is getting your personal belongings from A to B. Engage the services of a reputable international removals service to aid you in the process. This includes planning, preparing, packing, shipping and unpacking, meaning you have one less thing to worry about.
A good removals agent should have an in-depth knowledge of Singapore and can help you navigate customs, long-term storage, delivery of your goods and advice on how to transport valuable items safely.

Prepare your driving licence

If you are planning on driving in Singapore, you will need to convert to a Singapore driving licence within a year but you can do it much sooner. The Singapore Police Force recommends that you convert your foreign driving licence as soon as possible.
In order to convert, you will need to visit one of the three driving centres to take the Basic Theory Test (BTT). Once this is passed, you can apply in person with your original British driving licence, a passport-sized photo, the processing fee and your visa/permit.
If you’re planning on moving to Singapore, get in touch with the team at Cadogan Tate to find out how we can help your international relocation from start to finish.