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Singapore: Residency and Import Permits

Want to become one of the many expats relocating to Singapore? This Southeast Asian country’s comfortable lifestyle is particularly popular among expats worldwide. On InterNations you’ll find health and travel advice, visa information, and more useful tips.
Singapore offers a well-organised society in a fascinating tropical environment.

Importing Your Car: Not the Cheapest Option

While there is no import tax on household goods, bringing a motor vehicle to Singapore is not recommended. Car registration fees, road taxes, and import duties can add up to 250 percent of the basic value of the car.

Singapore operates a strict congestion charging system in its Central Business District, and Electronic Road Pricing is in operation during peak hours. The public transportation system is efficient, clean, and reasonably priced, so unless you really need a car on a regular basis it is perfectly possible to do without one. Moreover, the warm and wet climate might cause considerable damage to certain parts of your car.

You can learn even more about what you can or cannot import in our article on the Singaporean customs regulations.

Shopping: Do I Have to Get It All Online?

Almost everything you need for daily life can be easily purchased in Singapore. However, if you require a certain prescription drug, check its availability in advance. When importing large amounts of medicine, make sure to carry a note from your doctor stating that it is for personal use.

Food is generally of high quality, but since most of it is imported, prices tend to be high as well. As in many Asian countries, clothes bigger than EU 40 (US size 10) for women and EU 50 (US size 40) for men might be difficult to find in local shops. The same goes for taller people and large shoe sizes. However, international chains and department stores (such as Dorothy Perkins, MANGO, and Ralph Lauren) are increasingly stepping in to fill this gap.

Items that cannot be found in stores can, however, be easily bought online. Online shopping is widely accessible in Singapore with companies such as Amazon offering next day delivery on thousands of products.

For international magazines and foreign newspapers, the best place to get them is Thambi Magazine Store on Holland Avenue, however, latest editions may not be available straight away. But not to worry: Singapore has its own official English newspaper, The Straits Times, which keeps expats up to date with current affairs.

A Sporting Nation

Sports aficionados relocating to Singapore will be pleased to hear that the country highly values recreational activities, having a wide range of sporting facilities on offer. Some of the nation’s most popular sports include football, baseball, golf, and basketball. To find out more about all the sporting activities available, visit the website ActiveSG.

Swimming is also a largely popular recreational activity: with 25 pools to choose from, there is something for all ages and abilities. Jurong East swimming complex is a favorite for those who want to try its three water slides and wave pool. On the other hand, Our Tampines Hub is another popular choice for locals, having six pools in total including a rooftop pool which provides stunning views of the surrounding city.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Donald Moore

"I moved to Singapore to build up my own business. In fact, it was easier than expected. With InterNations I quickly got in touch with the lively expat community here."

Barbara Sciera

"Settling as an expat woman in a different culture is always hard. But with InterNations I got to know many other expat spouses that helped me."

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