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Move to Singapore

Singapore is thoroughly unique and commonly referenced as one of the best cities in the world for expats to live and work.

How to move to Singapore an expat guide

This is an international removal guide for how to move to Singapore. It explains everything you need to know, from the pre-move checks you need to make and getting a move quote, to the home move process through to your arrival in Singapore.

Young man looking at Singapore skyline


What you need to move to Singapore

Here are a few checks you should make before you move:

Do I need a Singapore visa or work permit

Yes, unless you are a returning Singapore citizen. Before you can move to Singapore you will need to have received permission to live in Singapore. If you are moving with work, you will also need a work permit. Some permits can take up to 6 months to obtain.

Types of Singapore visas for none Singapore citizens: There’s a wide range of Singapore visa categories and Singapore visa types. The visa you require will depend on your circumstances and intentions when you arrive. For example; whether you are moving with your employer, starting a business, moving with a spouse who is a Singapore national, seeking permanent residence, a diplomat, etc.

Returning Singapore citizens: As a citizen of the Unites District of Singapore, you will be permitted to work and travel.

Family members and accompanying adults: If you are a family moving to Singapore or a couple, you must check that each person moving has the correct status to live, study or work. Unless they are Singapore nationals, they will also have restrictions, for example accompanying partners may restrictions on working.

Documents you may be commonly required to provide as part of a Singapore visa application: A valid passport, an up-to-date CV / resume, educational / professional qualification, certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates for accompanying children.

*Information provided above is for awareness purposes only and should not be used as legal advice. Please ensure you consult with a qualified immigration lawyer.

Do I need a property to move to

You will need to have an address to stay at. You will need to state the address where you are staying to enter the country.

Temporary accommodation: when you arrive, this may be temporary accommodation while you wait for the key to your new home. Check with your moving company if they can help source temporary accommodation for you and your accompanying family.

Rental property: If you are moving into a rental property, you will need a signed lease with the details of the property address.

Home purchase: If you have purchased a property, then a copy of the purchase and mortgage statement with the details of the address will be required.

Do I need health insurance

It is highly recommended. If you are a foreign national, medical costs are very high so you will need to arrange health insurance.

Customer reviews

What people say about their move

Sanjeeb B Germany to Singapore
I would like to thank Nicole for handling my visa process so well. She was always with me, helping, supporting and answering all the questions I had. She always went ahead of the line to support with other queries as well, other than just my visa. I am extremely satisfied with the immigration service. Thank you :)
Alice H UK to Singapore
Extremely satisfied with the moving service from Sterling Lexicon.
Nick P UK to Singapore
Very satisfied. Everything has been packed nicely and safely and the delivery was really fast. Thanks again!
Katie S US to Singapore
Your service was very satisfying and Lona was wonderful. Thank you for everything.

The international removals process for moving to Singapore

The following is a checklist to help you plan each stage of your move to Singapore.

Choosing your international removal company

Finding and selecting a reputable international removal company is one of the most important decisions for an international move. Your move to Singapore is very different to moving home locally, so a conventional local moving company is unlikely to be able to provide the same level of expertise as a specialist international removal company.

Asian woman on working on laptop in home office

Guaranteeing your international move

One thing your international removal company will be responsible for is guaranteeing the delivery of your household goods into Singapore, so check they are a properly registered company, they are accredited and have all the correct insurances to perform international moves.

FIDI is the international moving industry’s main association

Checking your removal company is officially accredited by FIDI as an international moving company will provide peace of mind. FIDI is the primary association for certifying international removers. They require that their members achieve their quality standards and routinely audit each mover. FIDI accredited international movers hold either the FAIM, or higher FAIM Plus, certification.

Step 1 - Get a Move Quote

Once you have shortlisted your international removals companies, you will need to get a quote for your international move. An online Move Quote Form is usually a good way to get things started.

The Sterling Lexicon Promise

Book with confidence. Book to reserve your move date and if things change you can move your dates. Sterling Lexicon is an accredited international mover who provide professional support throughout your move. FIDI protected.

Step 2 - Pre-move Consultation

A pre-move consultation is highly recommended. It is normally a phone call which is designed to establish a full understanding of your move requirements, to identify anything that needs to be taken into consideration and to provide you with useful information to help you plan from your side. Use this as an opportunity to ask lots of questions!

As an example, a company like Sterling Lexicon would provide a free international removal consultation to help review your international moving requirements and pre-move checks so you can be certain you have everything you need for your move to Singapore.

Speak to experienced International Move Specialists, not Sales People

At Sterling Lexicon, the consultation is conducted by an experienced International Move Specialist, rather than a sales person, who fully understands the technical requirements for your move to Singapore. They will walk you through the international move process and answer your questions.

A home survey:

Also known as a “pre-move survey”, it is literally a survey of your home contents. This will help your mover to calculate the volume of items you need to be packed and transported. It will also enable them to see any items that require special care. Ultimately this will result in a more accurate move quote.

Video Surveys

You may be offered a video survey, or virtual survey. This works using your mobile device and is very similar to having a video call via WhatsApp. When you speak to your international mover, you may like to ask about these things during the video survey:

  • Packing standards
  • Access and parking
  • Pet moving
  • Storage
  • International money transfers
  • Temporary accommodation arrangements
  • Insuring your items
  • Vehicle shipping and storage
  • Fine art and special items
  • VAT reclaims

Young woman using smart phone at home

Sterling Lexicon Video Survey App

We offer covid safe, quick and easy Video Surveys.

Delicate items, antiques and fine art works
will be highlighted to ensure they receive specific treatments such as casing and preservation. Fine art will normally require specialist handling, crating, insurance and customs arrangements. Ask your international removal company how they will handle this.

Your International Move Summary and Quote will be sent to you after the survey.

Step 3 - Book your move date

Simply review your move summary and quote, then reply to book your move date. Any questions just speak to your Move Consultant.

Important note on “ballpark phone quotes” These may be offered by some international movers with an offer to book now. If you are presented with this option without a complete assessment, you should be aware the final price you pay might be considerably higher. For example, Sterling Lexicon will ensure they have the full details for an accurate price to minimize the potential for additional charges.

Review your quote: when you check your quote, make sure it includes everything you requested, and it is on a like-for-like basis.

Comparing international removal quotes: if you are comparing quotes then speak to your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist.

Step 4 - Pay for your move

You will normally be asked to pay to book your move. Payment can made by credit card over the phone or your mover may enable you to pay online. Credit card is recommended as the safest way. You can pay online here with Sterling Lexicon.

Track and manage your move online

You can save time by managing parts of the move process using a web portal and tracking the progress of your move online. Check your international removal company has this option.

Step 5 - Preparing your home for your move to Singapore

So far so good! Now, you need to start thinking about preparing your home for your move home to Singapore. Here are a few things you can do:

Insurance documents

For the move specifically, there are plenty of customs documents that will need to be completed. There is not an excessive amount, but you need to ensure everything is completed and submitted correctly to prevent delays and unnecessary additional costs. Check with your Move Consultant as they should provide you with guidance and ensure everything is correct before submitting. Thankfully insurance forms are a little easier.

Customs requirements for moving household goods to the Singapore

The following is an overview of the customs documentation required. If you move with Sterling Lexicon, they will help you with the documentation process, as it can be detailed and sometimes unclear. Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to Singapore from the UK:

  • Copy of valid Passport
  • Copy of valid Visa non-Singapore citizens, or copy of Permanent Resident Card if a returning Singapore citizen
  • Copy of Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed moving inventory in English language
  • Food Questionnaire
  • Employment pass for GST relief
International transit protection

If you are moving from the UK or Western Europe, your possessions will be transported roughly 6,000 miles / 10,000 kms Singapore. It is advisable to take out transit protection to keep your personal belongings safe and secure throughout the duration of the move. You will need to complete an inventory list that identifies the value of your items so you have the right amount of cover. Ask your Move Consultant to help you get covered.

Items to set aside to travel with you

Put your passport, visa, phone, charger, power pack, adaptor, documents, items of jewelry aside in a clearly identifiable container so they do not get packed. Also keep your important documents such as your insurance, lease for the new home, mortgage letter, medication, etc, in a wallet – make sure you have physical and digital copies to hand.

Items to set aside to travel with you

Put your passport, visa, phone, charger, power pack, adaptor, documents, items of jewelry aside in a clearly identifiable container so they do not get packed. Also keep your important documents such as your insurance, lease for the new home, mortgage letter, medication, etc, in a wallet – make sure you have physical and digital copies to hand.

Pictures, loft spaces, garden sheds and large items that need disassembling

Empty your loft space, basement and any out houses. Dispose of and recycle anything that cannot be taken with you. Large items that require disassembling should be set aside for the international removal company to handle if this has been agreed, or you can start the process yourself. Make sure you put any screws and parts in a safe place so they can be put into a single box which is easy to find at the other end.

Take pictures off walls and place them in a safe area ready for packing and not obstructing common walkways.

Sort out the items you want to take with you, store and those that will stay. Those items that are being moved by air should be put to one side. Work through each room methodically. Any items that cannot be taken with you (e.g. prohibited items) should be set aside. Your moving company may provide you with low tack stickers to label items ready for the packing crews.


Please make sure that you have someone who can look after your pets on the day(s) when your home is being packed.

If your pets are moving with you, please talk to your Move Specialist regarding the specific requirements for your pet. If you choose Sterling Lexicon, they will provide a consultation and will arrange for a time and date to collect your furry family member.  Learn about Sterling Lexicon's safe and secure pet relocation services. Or speak to Sterling Lexicon about pet moving today.

Couple on beach with pet dog

Step 6 - Packing your household goods on the day of moving home

On the first day of your move, expect the packing team to arrive at your home at the agreed time. Companies like Sterling Lexicon will ensure the packing crew foreman introduce themselves and their team for security purposes. You will then normally walk through your home and discuss what you are packing for transport by sea, air, items for storage, special care and those items you are not taking.

Professionally trained international packing crews

Sterling Lexicon’s professional international packing crews are some of the best in the business and have been working for the company for many years. We only use people we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Their experience ensures all your personal possessions are packed perfectly to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of miles.


Professionally trained international packing crews

Sterling Lexicon’s professional international packing crews are some of the best in the business and have been working for the company for many years. We only use people we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Their experience ensures all your personal possessions are packed perfectly to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of miles.

Eco-friendly export packing materials

Check the packing materials being used are sustainable and are to the required standard. Reputable companies like Sterling Lexicon will use packing materials that offer the highest level of protection and are kind to the environment. For example, sustainable and eco-friendly 4-6 ply export wrap, thick-walled specific packing boxes, acid free tissue paper, cornering for furniture and thick carding. Expect the packing crews to use specialist export wrapping techniques, operate safely and take measures to protect your home from damage. They should also recycle as much as possible.

Taxable items and duties

You should identify all the items you plan to take with you to your Move Consultant so that they can advise you on restricted items and anything that will incur customs duties. That way you will be able to take action before the move and find the most cost-effective way to handle your move and keep costs down.

Items that are prohibited or restricted in your house move to Singapore

Here is a current list of items that you are not restricted or prohibited as part of your move into the Singapore, and items you cannot take into Singapore as defined by the Singapore Customs and Border Protection.

  • Firearms and weapons
  • Dangerous materials or chemicals
  • Alcohol
  • Chewing gum (excluding Health Sciences Authority approved oral dental and medicinal chewing gum)
  • Pistol or revolver - shaped cigarette lighters
  • Fire crackers
  • Flammable and explosive items
  • Rhinoceros horn (worked, unworked or prepared and the any part, power or waste of such horn)
  • Endangered species of wildlife and products derived from the body of such animals
  • Scanning receivers
  • Military communication equipment
  • Telephone voice changing equipment
  • Radio-communication jamming devices operating in any frequency band
  • Any pornographic material, sex objects, obscene articles, publications and video tapes or discs
  • Seditious and treasonable materials
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Imitation tobacco products (electronic cigarettes, vaporisers)
  • Shisha
  • Smokeless cigars, smokeless cigarillos or smokeless cigarettes
  • Dissolvable tobacco or nicotine
  • Any product containing nicotine or tobacco that may be used topically for application, by implant or injected into any parts of the body
  • Any solution or substance, of which tobacco or nicotine is a constituent
  • Nasal or oral snuff
  • Gutkha, khaini and zarda
Bits box and box for your first day in your new home

Make sure you pack all those nuts and bolts from disassembled furniture, remote controls, etc into a single box. Make sure it is clearly labeled.

Your first night box

A top tip is to put aside items for your first evening at your new home. Such as a kettle, pans, cutlery, plates, cups, blankets, etc. Identify it clearly so it is easy to find.

Your Packing inventory

Once the packing has been completed, your mover will normally provide a packing inventory, detailing every item packed. Keep hold of this so you can check off each item as they arrive and are unpacked in your new home in Singapore.

Long-term or short-term Storage 

Any items you want to go into storage will be taken to secure storage after packing has completed.

Step 7 - Transporting your household goods to Singapore

Your international mover will prepare your possessions for transportation. Sea freight is often the best way to move your household goods long distance with a lower environmental impact. It is also common to arrange an air shipment for your most essential items.

How long will it take to move my household goods to arrive?

You should allow between 4-6 weeks for your sea shipment to arrive.

Singapore Customs clearance

Household goods being moved to Singapore will be subject to Singapore Customs clearance checks. You may be required to be present supporting documents in Singapore at the time of customs clearance. Your household goods must arrive within six months of your arrival in the country.

Step 8 - Travel and temporary accommodation in Singapore

Make sure that you leave enough time to get to the airport. Before you travel check you have all your documents ready and to hand. Check you have done everything you need to travel legally in regards to visa, COVID and travel arrangements.

Temporary accommodation booking

Until your possessions arrive, it is likely that you will be staying in temporary accommodation or a hotel. Please let your Move Consultant know when you have arrived and passed through border checks. Your mover can arrange for your air-freight to be delivered with your essential items to this address.

Step 9 - Delivery and unpack in your new home in Singapore

Your international mover should provide support for the customs clearance of your possessions at destination. For example, Sterling Lexicon would handle the import process, contact you to let you know when everything is complete, then arrange a delivery time that is convenient to you.

From a practical perspective, you will also need to get all your utilities connected, register for a local doctor, dentist, arrange for a bank account (if not already organized) and get yourself set up correctly. Speak to your international mover at the early stages as you can often get this set up in advance.

Step 10 - Welcome to your new home

Welcome home! Your first night will often feel strange so make sure you locate your first night box so you can get a takeaway or even cook yourself.

During the day, take time to familiarise yourself with your new neighbourhood. Singapore is considered to be a safe city, but always be safety aware.

Happy family settling-in to new home

Settling-in and orientation support

If you have moved with Sterling Lexicon and would like any local advice on places to help you settle-in, or you need additional support for the practical things such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else. Simply contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Consultant.

Additional areas we can help with

Currency Exchange

If you need to transfer money to Singapore, we recommend Currencies Direct. Currencies Direct is multi-award-winning foreign exchange company. They have been helping people save time and money on their currency transfers since 1996. Contact Currencies Direct today!

Moving your pets to Singapore

We have been moving pets with their families into Singapore for over 30 years. Speak to the team for advice and a pet travel quote today.

Moving fine art to Singapore

If you have a work of fine art you wish to take as part of your move to Singapore, we have specialist advisory, art technicians, specialist crating and fine art shipping services to ensure that your works receive exceptional care. Please contact us for a consultation.

Do you have any questions?

Why not speak to one of our experienced team members who can answer your questions clearly and simply. Speak to the team.

What do to next

Get a move quote

To get a free moving quotation, complete our online quote form. One of our move specialists will then give you a call to discuss your move plans and the best options for you.

Book a video survey

The next step will be a pre-move survey. This allows Sterling Lexicon to estimate the weight/volume of your household items and provide the best and most accurate quote for your move. To book your free survey, use our handy booking calendar.

Pay for your move

You can pay online here or speak to your move consultant who can take payment over the phone.

Sterling Lexicon

Each year we help many returning residents, professionals moving with work and their families to move to the Singapore. We help them with their visas, finding homes and moving house. Everything they need to start their new lives in Singapore. We have offices across Europe, America, and Asia.

Our Office Locations

Sterling Lexicon Singapore

112 Robinson Road, 14-02
Singapore 068902
+65 6955 8891