Moving to Singapore

Moving to Singapore from Philippines: An Expat's Guide

Singapore is a city-state and a melting pot of cultures, making it a popular destination for expats from around the world. Its thriving economy, efficient public transport system, and high standard of living make it an attractive choice for those looking to live in Singapore.

With its tropical climate, diverse population, and a booming expat community, Singapore offers a unique and enriching experience for individuals and families alike.
Crown Relocations has over 50 years of experience helping expats and families move and relocate to Singapore from all around the world. 

With our extensive knowledge and on-the-ground operation on the island, we can provide a comprehensive overview of moving to Singapore, including the cost of living, visas and residency, accommodation, and the educational system for you.

Understanding the Visa Process When Moving to Singapore

To enter Singapore, visitors must ensure that they meet or possess entry requirements as stated by the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). 

US Passport Holders (regular, official, and diplomatic) do not require a visa to enter Singapore for business or social visit purposes. 

However, if your travel document is issued by one of the countries listed on the ICA website, you will need a visa to enter Singapore. There are various types of visas and long-stay visas for various reasons, such as employment, study, and investment. 

The process of obtaining a work visa and permanent residence can be complex, and it is essential to research the requirements and procedures before applying.

Types of visas and long-stay visas for various reasons 

Expats looking to work in Singapore will need to obtain an employment pass or work visa, while those planning to study or invest may require different visa types.

Understanding the application process and requirements is crucial for entering Singapore and securing residency.

Crown Relocations' expertise in immigration service might come in handy if you need professional advice.
visa application singapore

Requirements for obtaining a work visa and permanent residence

The Ministry of Manpower provides detailed information on the requirements for obtaining a work visa and permanent residence in Singapore, ensuring that foreigners can navigate the process with ease. 

Make sure you check those out.

Cost of Living in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most expensive countries to live in the world.

According to Numbeo, a single person's estimated monthly costs are S$1,538.9 without rent. 

The cost of living in Singapore is around 39.1% higher than in the United Kingdom. 

Rent in Singapore is almost three times as expensive as in the UK, costing on average 181% more. 

However, Singapore offers a high-quality lifestyle, combining a tropical climate with all the luxuries of living in a great metropolis.
Expats can make the most of everything this country has to offer with a decent salary and the right budget.
Living cost in Singapore

Overview of living costs, including groceries, transportation, and entertainment

The cost of living in Singapore is relatively high, particularly when it comes to housing, goods, and services.

With expenses such as healthcare, international schools, and owning a car in Singapore to consider, expats moving to Singapore should plan their budget carefully to ensure a comfortable expat life in Singapore and manage their finances wisely.

The cost of living in Singapore for expats can vary depending on their lifestyle and location. Here are some estimates of the cost of living in Singapore based on the categories: 
food and groceries

Food and Groceries

The cost of food and groceries can vary greatly depending on your dietary preferences and eating habits. A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs around SGD 60. 


A monthly public transportation pass costs around SGD 83. Taxis are also available and can be expensive, with fares starting at SGD 3.20 


The average cost of utilities (gas, electricity, and water for an 85m² apartment) is SGD 157 per month.
Miscellaneous Expenses

Miscellaneous Expenses

Other expenses, such as entertainment, can vary greatly depending on your interests and habits. A movie ticket costs around SGD 10, and a pack of cigarettes costs from SGD 11.60 onwards. 

Finding the Right Housing For Expats Moving to SG

Singapore's housing market can be divided into public and private sectors, with public housing being offered by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). 

Public units in Singapore aren't necessarily associated with lower-income groups and even include luxury options. Around 80% of Singapore's population lives in HDB housing. 

Expats are eligible to rent HDB accommodation, but there are non-citizen quotas in place, so availability is limited. 

Many foreigners, especially high-earning Westerners, prefer to rent a private apartment, condominium, or bungalow. 

Renting and buying properties in Singapore can be expensive, and it is essential to research the options and costs before making a decision.

Types of housing options available for expats, including condominiums, apartments, and landed houses

Expats have a range of accommodation options, from modern condominiums to spacious landed houses, and selecting the right fit is essential for a comfortable expat life in Singapore.

Singapore offers a mix of public and private housing, with the Housing Development Board (HDB) providing affordable public housing options while private condominiums cater to expats seeking a more luxurious living experience. 
housing in singapore for expats

Popular expat neighbourhoods and their amenities

These popular neighbourhoods in Singapore offer a range of attractions and amenities suitable for expatriates looking for a comfortable living environment. 
Neighbourhood The Attractions
Holland Village Great restaurants, cafes, shops, near MRT station, close to Botanic Gardens and Orchard Road.
Orchard Road Shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, nightclubs, premium living area with public transport.
Tanglin Prestigious area with embassies, various property types, easy access to Orchard Road and AYE.
River Valley High-rise condominiums, conservation houses, restaurants, cafes, well-connected by public transport.
Serangoon French School and Australian International School nearby, spacious homes, great transport links.
Bukit Timah International schools, social clubs nearby, community feel, green spaces.
Woodlands Large American expat community, Singapore American School nearby, spacious homes and amenities.
Sentosa Resort-like living on an island with beach access, high-end options.
East Coast Seafront views, family-friendly area with apartments and activities.

Renting and buying properties in Singapore

While renting is common, expats also have the option to buy property in Singapore. Understanding the rules and regulations, including the pros and cons of owning a property in Singapore, is crucial for expats.

We have a detailed insight into buying vs renting in Singapore if you need more information on that.

Educational System for Expat's Kids in Singapore

Singapore's education system is highly regarded globally, and the primary language of instruction is English. 

There are options for public, private, and international schools in the city-state. Parents should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding on where to enroll their children. 

It's important to note that locals place a high premium on education, and expectations for achievement can be high. 

The best schools have long waiting lists, and preference is given to citizens. 

International schools in Singapore are expensive, but many expats have their employers supplement their school fees.

With a multitude of educational institutions catering to diverse needs, you can find a suitable school that aligns with their children's educational requirements and living experience in Singapore.
sg education for expat kids

The process of applying for a student pass for those moving to Singapore to study

International students planning to study in Singapore must apply for a student pass through the respective educational institutions to secure their residency in Singapore for the duration of their studies.

To apply for a student pass for primary or secondary school in Singapore, you will need to follow these steps: 
Ensure that the school you plan to attend is registered with the Committee for Private Education (CPE) and is an approved foreign system school (FSS) institution. Only students enrolled in registered schools are eligible for a Student's Pass. 
Obtain an acceptance offer from the school in Singapore. The school will typically provide you with a Letter of Acceptance or a Letter of Offer. 
Once you have the Letter of Acceptance from the school, the school will register the Student's Pass application in the ICA portal called SOLAR+. Usually, this is done two to three months before starting school. You do not need to be in Singapore to apply for a Student's Pass. 
Gather all necessary documents, which may include:
  • Passport photo page (biodata)
  • Child's personal information
  • Parents’ personal information including financial means
  • Residential address
  • Email address
  • Recent, passport-sized, digital, colour photograph taken within the last three months
  • Children aged 12 years or below are required to submit their vaccination information to Health Promotion Board (HPB) and obtain a verification certificate.
Submit the Student's Pass application through the SOLAR+ system. Ensure that all required documents are uploaded accurately. The SOLAR system will guide you through the application process. 
Pay the non-refundable Student's Pass application fee online. 
After submission, wait for the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter. This letter will outline the conditions you must meet for the issuance of the Student's Pass. Applications typically take 1-2 weeks to be reviewed but can take up to 8 weeks. 
If your application is approved, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) Letter. Upon arrival in Singapore, you must make an appointment to visit ICA and then the Student's Pass will be issued. 
Older children sometimes may be required to take an additional medical examination. 

Singapore's higher education system and its global rankings

The country positions itself as a key educational hub in Asia, offering a rich academic and cultural experience primarily conducted in English. Singapore's education system is known for its excellence, with universities like the National University of Singapore (NUS) consistently ranked among the top in Asia and globally. 

The country hosts a significant number of foreign students around 55,000, from various countries, showcasing its attractiveness as a study destination. 

Here’s a quick table on the reputable educational institutes in Singapore by QS World Universities Ranking.
sg tertiary education ranking

Settling into Life in Singapore

Expats should familiarize themselves with the cultural diversity and social norms of the city-state. Singapore has its own unique traditions and social etiquettes, such as addressing individuals by name and using honorifics. Learning a few key phrases in official languages like Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil, along with understanding Singlish, a colloquial language blending English with other expressions, can help expats communicate effectively with locals. 

Additionally, respecting the major religions in Singapore, including Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, and participating in cultural and religious festivals are essential to honouring the country's diversity 


Moving to Singapore offers you a unique blend of opportunities, cultural experiences, and a high quality of life.

With comprehensive resources and support networks from us, you can embark on your journey to live in Singapore with confidence and enthusiasm.

Encouragement for expats considering relocation to Singapore

For those considering a move to Singapore, the expat community and the Singapore government provide ample guidance and support to facilitate a smooth transition and enjoyable expat life in Singapore.

No One Knows Better Than Us.

Get moving with our free moving quote form and let us take care of the rest!