How to Move to Singapore Quick Guide
We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

How to Move to Singapore: Quick Guide

Ever wondered why plenty of foreigners start a business in Singapore? Or why this small island nation has attracted many people to experience its vibrant culture on a more permanent basis?

Wonder no more, as we present a quick guide on how to move to Singapore today. 

But first, let’s get some tough questions out of the way.

What You Should Consider When Moving to SG

Is it difficult to migrate to Singapore? It’s known to have a high cost of living, after all.

We previously discussed why Singapore is expensive, which has a lot to do with properties being pricey due to the country’s small total land area. And its lack of natural resources means practically everything has to be imported.

So if you plan to live here, it’s best to avoid the most expensive areas in Singapore for your new home (unless you can afford them, of course). 

Instead, get to know the best neighbourhoods in terms of food, schools, transportation, and other amenities.

And you will need to assess how much you’re currently making and spending versus how much you can afford when you move to Singapore. Look into the cost of basic necessities and compute the difference.

What You Should Consider When Moving to SG

For reference, we made a series of country comparisons on the cost of living between Singapore and other places:

If you have other concerns and questions about moving to Singapore, the best immigration agencies can help you answer them. They can keep you informed on the type of visa that suits your needs and also monitor your application process.

1. Sort your finances

Sort your finances

Once you know how much you’ll be spending on food, clothing, and shelter in Singapore, you’ll want to keep track of your savings and other expenditures. 

You can also look up prices of basic commodities in some of the local supermarkets. Doing this can help you determine how much it will cost to live comfortably in the country, whether you’re alone or with your family. 

This will become a good gauge of the lifestyle you can keep depending on your savings, wages, and other sources of income.

Should you plan to relocate as an expat, you might also want to look into the best places to buy a business. There are also personal loans for foreigners to consider for financial support (with reasonable rates) in the country.

2. Secure a stable job with a good income

Secure a stable job with a good income

At this point, it’s important to ask if you can move to Singapore without a job. There are special circumstances when you can, including

✔ If you have a visa pass as a student or trainee

✔ If you’re the spouse or child of a Singapore permanent resident or citizen

✔ If you’re the elderly parent of a Singapore permanent resident or citizen

✔ If you’re an entrepreneur or investor who can meet strict capital requirements. 

Otherwise, living in the country without a job might prove not just challenging but nearly impossible. In certain aspects like car or home ownership, the costs can be especially prohibitive without a regular income or substantial savings.

In short, it would be difficult to migrate to Singapore without a stable income.

While some organisations and centres can help unemployed people seek financial assistance, they’re mostly meant for Singapore citizens and permanent residents only. 

So for the sake of having stability while living in the country, consider getting regular employment. You can look into the most in-demand jobs in Singapore if you have the experience and skillset for them. 

Secure a stable job with a good income

Executive positions like COO, CEO, and CFO are still the highest-paying jobs, paying S$300,000 to S$525,000 annually, but they have strict requirements.

You might want to check out good part-time jobs in Singapore as well. Many industries in the country need to fill temporary positions, so you can see if your skills, talents, and expertise are a good fit for any of them.

Make a move to Singapore checklist

Make a move to Singapore checklist

Once you’ve gotten your finances in order or secured a stable job, you’ll want to start planning your move to Singapore. Making a checklist is an ideal way to keep on top of things.

To serve as a guide, we published a post on how to live permanently in Singapore with applicants for permanent residency in mind. It mentions the necessary steps you’ll need to take before you can even pay PR application fees.

And if you’re planning to relocate your company to Singapore, we also made a guide on practical business moving tips. You can pick up tips on logistics, internal and external communications, office plans, and other important factors.

1. Prepare all necessary paperwork and document requirements

Prepare all necessary paperwork and document requirements

The ideal time to start getting all your papers and passport in order is at least six months before your planned relocation. And you can start a checklist during that time too. 

Make sure you have the following items (as several hard and soft copies) in your documents checklist:

✔ Qualifying documents such as transcripts of records, diplomas, or other certifications of education

✔ Passports or other travel documents and immigration passes

✔ Documentation of current employment

✔ Personal identification documents including ID card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.

✔ Application cover letter

✔ Several passport-sized pictures taken with a plain white backdrop.

Prepare all necessary paperwork and document requirements

Please note that you’ll only be given a full week to pass all your permanent resident applications as soon as you apply for one online. 

It’s also advisable to make a checklist of other things that have to do with kids, pets, and mobility. So make a to-do list for the following:

School applications and eligibility requirements

✔ Informing your kids’ current school’s admin about the move and securing transfer certificates and records from them

✔ Looking into Singapore driver’s licence and car ownership paperwork, including car insurance plans

✔ Updating quarantine and vaccination papers for your pets, along with paperwork for pet insurance

✔ Booking tickets for your flight and a brief hotel stay at a trusted travel agency (if you haven’t finalised your home plans yet)

Around a month before your move date, you should already have enrolled your kids in their new school, cancelled all your current subscriptions and utilities, and informed the post about your new mailing address. 

By this time, your payment plans for things like insurance, health care, and other subscriptions should already have been updated to reflect your new address.

A week before moving out, make sure your fridge and freezer have been emptied, and you have all your medication and prescriptions refilled and endorsed by your doctors. 

If you need to hold farewell parties, now is the best time for them as well. 

2. Plan your new home in Singapore

Plan your new home in Singapore

Don’t leave getting a Singapore address until the very last minute, especially since housing market trends in the country have grown substantially in the past few years. And you wouldn’t want to become homeless either.

You can consider short-term home rentals if you haven’t secured a more permanent housing situation yet. 

And if you are in the process of getting one, you’ll need to know how much you must earn to buy a house in Singapore (hint: you’ll need at least S$2,615 monthly for an HDB flat).

You can weigh your financial options when choosing between a condo vs an HDB flat, an apartment or a condo, or even a landed property

At any rate, knowing how much you’ll be making versus how much you’ll be spending on a house or accommodations is a must before you even go house-hunting. This makes it less difficult to migrate to Singapore.

Plan your new home in Singapore

One thing you can do before living in one is to scout for the best neighbourhoods in Singapore to live with family. Consider the following factors if you’re moving to Singapore with your spouse, kids, and other relatives:

✔ Proximity to schools, libraries, parks, and transportation hubs

✔ Safety, crime rate, reputation, and security

✔ Affordability of food, clothes, health care, and basic necessities

✔ Kid and elderly-friendly amenities and entertainment options.

3. Start packing for your move to Singapore

Start packing for your move to Singapore

Before packing and buying cardboard boxes and tape in bulk, make another checklist of all the things you want to bring and those you can leave behind. 

This might sound like a tough thing to do, but it’s essential if you want to have a seamless relocation to Singapore.

You can put up a garage sale or online shop for the items you won’t bring. If you do need to bring a lot of stuff, contact the storage providers for temporary safekeeping.

This is also the ideal time to research international movers to help you have a secure, safe, and insured overseas relocation process. Ask for a quote when you’re canvassing for movers and take note of the best offers and liability coverage.

And if you’re bringing your furry companions with you, start enquiring about pet relocation services at least two months before moving. Aside from years of experience, look for one that can assist with pet relocation requirements.

Start packing for your move to Singapore

In a nutshell, here’s a general packing and enquiring checklist you can do a few months before your move to Singapore:

✔ Make a list of what you’re bringing and leaving behind to get an idea of the packing items you’ll need

✔ Start canvassing for an international and pet relocation company

✔ Make sure your pets are allowed in Singapore (specific dog breeds are subject to licensing and control)

✔ Sell or store items you won’t bring with you

✔ Start packing for tropical weather and store or sell your winter clothes

✔ Start packing suitcases and carry-on luggage for the trip

✔ Exchange your currency for enough Singapore dollars to get you through for a couple of weeks

✔ Secure your personal, travel, and other necessary paperwork and make sure you have extra copies of them

✔ Re-confirm accommodation and transportation arrangements before you set foot in Singapore

4. Get a feel of your new surroundings

Get a feel of your new surroundings

Now that you’re in Singapore and ready to start an exciting new life, it’s time to make yourself at home. One great way to do so is to explore your neighbourhood and surroundings either on foot or by using available transport.

Get to know some of Singapore’s natural parks and hiking trails if you feel like getting some outdoor time. To immerse yourself in local and international art and culture, pencil in some museum and gallery hopping in your itinerary too.

You can learn some local languages so it’s easier to communicate with Singaporeans going forward. For instance, if you’ve always wondered why Singaporeans say “lah” all the time, it won’t hurt to strike up a conversation with one and study the word’s nuances.

As for convenience, look into things like food delivery services. But you’ll be happy to know that aside from the usual burgers, pizza, and fast food fare, there are some unique dishes by way of Peranakan food, chilli crabs, and bak kut teh to try.

Get a feel of your new surroundings

We think it would be criminal not to investigate what the country has to offer by way of gustatory delights, so make sure to check out everything from hawker centres to bougie high tea restaurants during your stay. 

Welcome to Singapore!