Relocation checklist: 10 essential things you must do to make relocating to Singapore less stressful

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Relocating to another country is daunting. A welcoming city with easy access to a world of modern amenities and facilities, Singapore takes some off that pressure off you though – especially if you’re well prepared 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, Arab and English cultures, an ethnic mix reflected in its eclectic cuisine. Flourishing under the late Lee Kuan Yew’s efficient and determined government, the island nation is considered Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century, excelling in trade and tourism. Its 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.

Top 10 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, especially when you have to start over anew. To help you alleviate some inevitable relocation anxiety, here’s a list of 12 things you should prepare for:

1. Gather Information! is a great resource for expats moving to Singapore, and we’re 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; our classifieds section if you’re looking to buy and sell expat second hand items in Singapore; and our business directory.

2. Visit Singapore To Recce Your New Home

A few days’ visit to Singapore is good enough to accomplish a lot if you plan well. Take time off to visit your office and new colleagues, and interview other expats in the area. Arrange with 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 curricula, 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, carrying 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.

3. Organise Your Travel Documents and Finances

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.

4. 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. Arrange travel and health insurance abroad (some international companies offer these benefit as part of their relocation package).

5. Settle Personal Matters Back Home

You won’t be needing that thick sweater in Singapore! Pack away winter clothings as light summer and fall 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 mail to the new address.

6. Settle Financial Matters Back 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/will make contributions.

7. Let Tax Authorities and Financial Providers Know

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 interest.

8. Take Care of Medical Examinations

Pay a visit to your medical physician and dentist to get examinations, vaccines and a copy of your records or results (these may also be needed for your insurance cover).

9. Relocating With Your Furry Friends? Make Arrangements, Fast.

Can’t bear to leave your pet behind? They may be required to go into quarantine and will require special travel arrangements. As this can be a lengthy process, it’s advised you look into this straight away.

10. Pack Up And Go!

Look for a relocation company to help you pack and move. Moving is labor intensive, 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!”

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