Essential guide to make relocating to Singapore less stressful
Relocating to another country is daunting, however, Singapore is a welcoming city with easy access to modern amenities and facilities. The transition can be made easier if you take the time to get prepared well ahead of time.
Singapore to the uninitiated…
A tiny dot at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore is an economic giant – globally. The vibrant city is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arabic, and English cultures, an ethnic mix reflected in its eclectic cuisine. Flourishing under the late Lee Kuan Yew’s efficient and determined government, this island nation is considered south east Asia’s most modern city excelling in trade and tourism. It’s safe, clean and green environment, warm tropical climate, and excellent infrastructure all combine to make Singapore a welcome change for millions of expats around the world.
Important To-Do’s Before You Move to Singapore.
The thought of change is exciting, but it’s also best described as the lull of anticipation before the storm! Once you get into the actual hustle and bustle of logistics and paperwork, “new” experiences don’t seem so hyped up anymore. To help alleviate some inevitable relocation anxiety, here’s a list of things you should prepare for:
TheExpat.com is a great resource for expats moving to Singapore, and we are working hard to be truly comprehensive. Aside from our blog featuring the latest expat information, news and happenings around Singapore, check out our experts profile page for professional advice on relocating, property, finance and more; don’t forget to look at our classifieds section if you’re looking to buy and sell expat second hand items in Singapore; and our business directory will point you to tried and tested services.
Visit Singapore to look at your new home
A few days spent in Singapore before your big move should be enough to locate all the things you will need within your first couple of weeks after arriving. Time spent now finding medical centres, banks, supermarkets etc will really take the pressure off when you are doing this for real! Take time off to visit your office and new colleagues and try to meet other expats in your new area. Arrange a real estate agent to take you on a tour of expat-friendly residential neighbourhoods to explore your options. Make an appointment with schools and bring along your children’s present curriculum and acheivements, as well as check out the transportation services. A great one-stop shopping centre for expats, Tanglin Mall is within minutes away from Orchard Road by taxi or walking, it holds a well-stocked supermarket, clothing stores, hairdressers, etc. Get a map or a city guide as well from either Borders or Kinokuniya; two famous bookstore giants situated a short walk from Orchard Road or Orchard MRT station.
Organise your documents
Make sure you have all your travel, legal, and financial paperwork in order- check your passport’s validity, and also that your visas, if required, are in order. Compile documents, copies of your education certificates for work permits, and other records that you will need in Singapore.
Moving around freely and safely in Singapore
For information on driving in Singapore and how to apply for an international driving license in Singapore or convert a foreign driving license, visit the eCitizen webpage. Don’t forget to arrange travel and health insurance abroad (some international companies offer these benefits as part of their relocation package but do check before you go).
Settle personal matters at home
You won’t be needing that thick sweater in Singapore! Pack away your winter clothes as light summer and autumn clothes are all that’s needed for Singapore. Sell or rent out your property. Cancel subscriptions and return borrowed books. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to redirect your post!
Settle financial matters at home
If you’re leaving your home for a longer period, you may want to consider giving “powers of attorney” of your financial matters to someone while you’re away. Look into resolving or closing any insurance, banking, mortgages, or loan related matters, as well as settling all unpaid utility and telephone bills before you relocate. Check to see how your pension will be affected and whether you or your employer can or will make contributions.
Notify tax authorities and financial providers
Inform the tax authorities that you’re leaving (and pay any outstanding tax bills and loans) as in some countries – you may be prohibited from leaving if caught for this offense. Also, do notify your bank and cancel any accounts or credit cards to ensure you’re no longer paying fees and interest.
Take care of medical matters
Pay a visit to your medical physician and dentist to get examinations, relevant vaccines and a copy of your records or results (these may also be needed for your insurance cover).
Relocating with your pets
If you can’t bear to leave your pet behind they may be required to go into quarantine and will require special travel arrangements. This can be a lengthy process; it’s advised you look into this straight away- vaccination status is really important, and many vaccines need to be given over a course of several injections so don’t leave it too late. Also remember to check your pet insurance will cover you in your new location- if not, start looking online for the best deals before you go.
Pack up and go!
Look for a relocation company to help you pack and move. Moving is labour intensive and stressful but look at it as a way to streamline your life as well – and cut down on unnecessary baggage! Decide what should be shipped over to your new home, what should be stored, and what should be sold or simply given away.
Did we miss out anything? If you have any other essentials to recommend, do share your suggestions in the comment box below and “Bon voyage!”