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Moving to: Singapore

Relocating to a new country is always a thrilling adventure, and moving to Singapore is no exception. Known for its multicultural heritage, vibrant food scene and stunning skyline, Singapore offers a unique blend of east meets west. However, before you pack your bags and embark on this exciting journey, there are several important things you need to know. From understanding Visa requirements to finding suitable accommodation and getting acquainted with the cost of living, this guide will help you prepare for a smooth transition to life in the Lion City.

by The Zing Growth team on 24 May 2024
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Work visa

Employment Passes are available for professionals, managers and executives earning at least $5,000 a month. Personalised Employment Passes are available for high-earning existing Employment Pass holders and other professionals.

Study visa

To qualify for a student pass, you need to be accepted by an educational institution in Singapore for full-time study for longer than 30 days.

Family and dependents visas

The Dependant's Pass allows spouses and children of Employment Pass or S Pass holders to join them in Singapore. The Employment Pass or S Pass holders need to earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of $6,000 and be sponsored by an established, Singapore-registered company.


Choosing where to live is one of the most important decisions when relocating to a new country. These neighbourhoods each offer a unique slice of what makes Singapore such an exciting and liveable place:

Holland Village

Often referred to simply as "Holland V", this area was the former home of British Army personnel and their families, and its European-influenced legacy can still be seen in the architecture of its quaint shophouses and low-rise buildings. In recent years, it has garnered a reputation for being a creative commune and an incubator for local artists, musicians and entrepreneurs

Holland V is beloved by expats and locals alike for its vibrant nightlife, diverse dining options, and trendy boutiques. It's a perfect spot for those who enjoy a lively social scene and a mix of modern and traditional vibes.


Tanglin is synonymous with luxury and tranquility. Its Chinese name translates to “great east hill peaks” because of its hilly terrain in central Singapore. Home to many embassies and high-end residences, this upscale neighbourhood offers lush greenery, prestigious schools, and exclusive shopping at Tanglin Mall and Dempsey Hill. It's ideal for families and professionals seeking a serene, sophisticated living environment close to the city centre.

Tiong Bahru

One of Singapore's oldest areas has become one of its most hip in recent years. Tiong Bahru has transformed into a trendy neighbourhood without losing its historic charm. The area is dotted with Art Deco architecture, chic cafes, and indie boutiques. It's a favourite among young professionals and creatives who appreciate its blend of heritage and contemporary culture.

Tanjong Pagar

Located in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD), Tanjong Pagar is a dynamic area that combines business with leisure. Skyscrapers and modern apartments sit alongside traditional shophouses, offering a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. It's a convenient choice for those working in the city who want to be close to the action.

At the weekend it transforms as locals gather to unwind at hidden-away cocktail bars, swish new restaurants vying for Michelin stars, and underground clubs.


Largely residential, Serangoon is known for its vibrant multicultural atmosphere and family-friendly amenities. The area boasts reputable schools, shopping centres like NEX, and recreational facilities. Its diverse community and convenient amenities make it an attractive option for families and individuals looking for a balanced lifestyle.


For those seeking a resort-like living experience, Sentosa Island is the place to be. If you enjoy the feeling of being on vacation every day, the pristine beaches, upscale resorts, and entertainment attractions such as Universal Studios could just be for you. Living in Sentosa offers a unique island lifestyle with easy access to leisure and recreational activities, making it a dream location for many expats.

Education and schools 

Relocating to Singapore with children requires additional planning, but the city-state is well equipped to cater to families. Singapore boasts an excellent education system with a range of schooling options to suit different needs. From top-tier international schools to reputable local schools, there is no shortage of quality educational institutions. 

Additionally, the city offers numerous extracurricular activities, from sports and arts to science and technology programmes, allowing children to explore their interests and talents. Navigating the school application process can be competitive, so it's advisable to start early and consult with education experts if needed to find the best fit for your child.

Learn more about the wide range of schools Singapore offers to find the best one for you and your family. 

Cost of living 

One crucial aspect to consider when moving to Singapore is the cost of living, which is known to be one of the highest in the world. Housing is a significant expense, with prices varying greatly depending on the neighborhood and type of accommodation. Expats often choose between renting a condo, which offers amenities like pools and gyms, or a landed property for more space and privacy. Utilities, internet, and mobile phone plans can also add up. 

When it comes to daily expenses, dining out ranges from affordable hawker centers offering delicious local fare to high-end restaurants with international cuisines. Groceries can be pricey, especially if you prefer imported goods. Additionally, private healthcare, while excellent, can be expensive without insurance. 

On the flip side, public transportation is efficient and reasonably priced, and there are numerous free or low-cost recreational activities, such as parks and community events. 

You can use a number crunching site like Numbeo to give you an indication of your outgoings when moving to Singapore. 


Due to its position as a global financial centre, Singapore is home to many banks recognisable from the British high street, such as HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays. Speak to your UK bank to see what international banking they offer.

Zing also offers UK residents an international money app with a Singapore Dollar wallet so you can transfer money to your Zing account and convert it for day-to-day budgeting and spending. Send money back home or to 30+ countries quickly, securely and at great rates. Check out Zing’s currency calculator to see our transparent fees.  

Relocating to Singapore is a significant yet rewarding decision. By understanding the intricacies of its neighbourhoods, the educational landscape, and the cost of living, you can better prepare for a smooth transition to your new home. Whether you’re drawn by the vibrant urban life, the serene green spaces, or the work opportunities, Singapore promises an exciting adventure for you and your family. 

Please note that this information is provided for general guidance and does not constitute personal advice. We always recommend seeking independent advice when making personal and financial decisions. 

Sources :Pacific Prime Singapore: An expat’s guide to living in Singapore 2023, Ministry of Manpower Singapore 2023, TimeOut Singapore 2024.  

The Zing Growth team