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Singapore: Residency and Import Permits

Want to become one of the many expats relocating to Singapore in ever-increasing numbers? Singapore’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.

Other Passes and Permits

S Passes apply to mid-level skilled workers, e.g. technicians, with a fixed monthly salary of at least 3,100 SGD. In order to qualify, applicants must pass a points-based assessment and provide evidence of medical insurance cover for their stay in Singapore.

Again, the prospective employer applies on behalf of the worker. S Pass holders earning less than 4,000 SGD p.m. are not allowed to bring dependents to Singapore. Work Permits are for semi-skilled or unskilled workers with a lower income. Dependents of Employment Pass holders, on the other hand, can apply for a Dependent’s Pass (spouses and children under 21) or for a Long-Term Visit Pass (parents, disabled children over 21, etc.).

There are several short-term passes, e.g. the Work Permit for Performing Artists (up to six months), the Miscellaneous Work Pass (60 days), and a Work Holiday Program. The latter offers university students and recent graduates aged 18 to 25 from Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States the possibility to live and work in Singapore for up to six months.

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% 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.

Availability of Goods

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 US size 10 for women and size 40 for men might be difficult to find in local shops. The same goes for large shoe sizes. However, international chains and department stores are increasingly stepping in to fill this gap.

Foreign books are rather expensive, but all National Library branches stock a wide selection of reading material in English. The Straits Times is Singapore’s official English newspaper. Some international magazines and foreign newspapers are available, but not always the latest edition. Apart from the airport, the best place to get them is Thambi Magazine Store on Holland Avenue.


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

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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