Known for its reliable security and safety, lush public spaces, and rich culture, Singapore is a hotspot for tourists and immigrants despite being on the smaller side. Whether you fall in love after a single visit or go every year to see family, you may be considering cutting the airline fees and living there permanently.
However, it's not so simple as to pack up and go. You need to plan ahead, including where you're going to stay, your type of residency, how you'll find a job, and more.
A picture of skyscrapers in Singapore, Singapore.
First, to live in Singapore, you'll need to decide whether to apply for citizenship or permanent residency. These options seem similar at first, but there are significant differences in the application process and your potential legal rights.
Aside from being born to or adopted by a Singaporean citizen, every method of attaining citizenship requires becoming a permanent resident at least two years prior, so first check the Singapore PR application documents needed.
After living as a permanent resident, you could be eligible to apply for citizenship, which will take longer, up to 12 months, and isn't guaranteed to be accepted. Also, dual citizenship isn't permitted in Singapore, so you will have to give up any other citizenship rights you have. However, Singaporean citizenship holds huge advantages over permanent residency, including cheaper housing and education, more accessible healthcare, and the right to vote.
The national language of Singapore is Malay, with other common languages being Tamil, Chinese, and English. While English may be enough to get by at first, your immigration and integration process, as well as daily life, will become much easier if you are at least at a conversational level of Malay.
Originating in Indonesia, Malay is spoken by almost 300 million people around the world, especially in the region around Singapore. Along with language, learning the local history, culture, and customs of where you decide to live will go a long way during your immigration process.
There are numerous free and paid services for learning a language. Of course, the best way to learn a new language is through immersion.You can achieve this after you move to Singapore, as long as you make the effort.
Finding a source of income is the first step to living in any country, Singapore included. In most cases, you'll need to contact employers in Singapore to find work and get an Employment Pass before you even start to apply for permanent residency. Your boss must complete a portion of the application for you, too, so make sure you're on good terms.
If you're a student currently studying in Singapore, this restriction doesn't apply until after your studies are completed, especially if you're living on scholarships or local government bonds. Proving that you're passing your exams also helps your application.
Before you start packing, you need to figure out living arrangements and where you're going to stay.
Foreigners and permanent residents experience a significantly higher cost of living than citizens, so that must be taken into account. Also, the prices, taxes, local laws, and culture will vary depending on the region you move to.
Your options will be highly dependent on where you can find work, whether you have family or friends already living in Singapore, and what languages you speak. However, this choice isn't permanent. If you apply for citizenship down the road, moving to a new city or town will be much easier.
This may seem like a lot of trouble to move, but if you have your heart set on living in Singapore, then it will all be worth it.