Moving out of Singapore is a big decision.


Singapore is a great place to live, bring up your kids and to make a living. It is one of the safest place on earth, having great public transport, healthy social scene, reliable healthcare and a good education system. However, its trade-off is a faster pace of life with a poorer work-life balance. So expats or Singaporeans alike will some day yearn to move out of Singapore and make that move. I have many friends, ex colleagues and family members who have moved and hearing all their grouses, I am compiling them into a tips and tricks guide for your reading pleasure. We want to make your moving out of Singapore an easier experience.

Settle all your legal obligations in Singapore and destination country

I am sure everyone knows the Singapore government being pretty efficient and clean. If you owe any legal obligations in Singapore, you can be quite sure that they will catch up with you and that re-entry into Singapore will be challenging later on. These include but not limited to:

  • Passports (6 months validity) and visas (for destination country).
  • Expats, giving your landlord notice and compensate based on contract if you are breaking lease, most of the time there is a diplomatic clause you can evoke.
  • If you are bringing pets, have all your immunization and certifications records ready. Make sure you are aware of the quarantine process in the destination country and start them early. Some countries can take many months.
  • Singapore is a sucker for tax(since we don’t have oil) so please clear all your tax liabilities from IRAS at least 1 month before your departure.
  • Terminate all your utilities and services(internet, mobile) contract with notice/compensation.
  • Closing all your bank accounts, cancelling all credit cards and paying them of course.
  • If you have a car, get it sold and title properly transferred, settle all outstanding fines and road taxes.
  • If you are a Singaporean guy with NS liabilities, apply for exit permit (with Mindef) and reservist deferment from your unit! You must do both!

The big move!

Moving from the school hostel back home was already very tough, you don’t want imagine the logistics to move to a new country! It can be quite costly too if not done properly.

  • Start early, like super early, preferably 3 months before the move.
  • Start packing and sort your stuff into 2 broad categories – Bring it along(like your kids) or Sell them(wife? kidding)
  • Sell things to raise money for the move and also move light. The money you get for selling certain things in Singapore can get you a new one in your new destination. YES, true story.
  • Get free carton boxes from the local supermarkets like NTUC, Giant and Sheng Siong! Be nice, put on your best smile or go steal them late at night.
  • Start packing the non essentials early on, like stuff you will not be using for the next few months.
  • Max out your flight travel allowances. A family of 4 x30 KG = 120KG. Have all your necessities with you followed by small and heavy items.
  • Whatever you have left, get at least 3 different companies to have a quotation of moving from door-to-door or port-to-door. Door-to-door is more costly but super convenient.
  • An international move requires care and precision in packing. It is best to leave the packing and loading in the hands of the experts to ensure your belongings get to its destination in one piece and meet international transportation standards.

Yup , you think you are done but wait a minute! What happens to all your mails that will still be coming to your Singapore address once you have moved out of Singapore? Couple of options available :

  1. Trouble your friends by redirecting all your mails their address and getting them to forward you.
  2. Sign up for a Singpost redirection service (max 3 months only). My friend was quoted SGD $195 for 3 months forwarding service(SG to Hong Kong) regardless of how many forwarded mails and they cannot do for more than 3 months!
  3. Last but not least (hint: advertisement time). Sign up for Straits Plus Virtual Address service! It is for 12 months , SGD $156 (subscription) + SGD $100 mail forwarding credits which is refundable! You can add SGD $12/month so they can scan you the envelope without opening it so you can determine its confidentiality. If it isn’t too confidential you can request for them to open and scan it’s content to you to avoid forwarding and drawing down on your credits. To know how it works, go here!

Goodbye, you are welcome! You will be missed.


Interesting articles to read even if you move out of Singapore: