The Language Barrier in Singapore
An Expat’s lifer in Singapore is made significantly easier by how common the English language is amongst locals. Although not everyone will be fluent, you should be able to find someone nearby who will help you translate if necessary. Other than English, Mandarin is the most common language spoken by those living in Singapore.
Living in Singapore Permanently
It is worth understanding that if you are planning on living in Singapore and sustaining a working life there, with your family, you may become a permanent resident. As Singapore does not recognise dual nationality beyond the age of 21, you will be seen as a Singaporean citizen.
If raising a family, you should be aware that your son may have to register National Service once they reach the age of 16 and a half. Contact Singapore’s Central Manpower Base for more information on National Service.
British Embassy in Singapore
|Address:||British Embassy Singapore|
30 Napier Road
|Phone:||(65) 6473 1111|
|Fax:||(65) 6472 1010|
|Office Hours:||Local Time|
Mon-Fri: 08:30-13:00 / 14:00-17:00
Emergency Services Contact Information in Singapore
As with any country you might move to, you should learn the contact numbers for all of the emergency services in Singapore. These are below:
|Emergency Service||Contact Number|
|Emergency Ambulance and Fire Service||995|
|Non-Emergency Ambulance Service||120|
Weather & Climate
The city-state of Singapore is located just north of the equator, meaning that all those living in Singapore will fully experience the tropical climate. You will see your opinion of rain differ significantly while living in Singapore, as it’s often a welcome respite from the heat of the sun. Singapore also experiences thunderstorms on 40% of all days throughout the year.
Although there are no distinctive seasons, like spring and winter, you will be affected by two monsoon seasons. The northeast monsoon season will affect those who live in Singapore between December and March, whereas the southwest monsoon will provide a drier climate between June and August. You should also be prepared for sudden short bursts of heavy rain in between the two monsoon seasons.
Health in Singapore
If you’re planning on leaving the UK to live in Singapore, you should visit your GP no later than 8 weeks before your departure. This will allow your GP to properly explain the health risks and concerns that you may face in Singapore. It will also give you the opportunity to receive the necessary medical treatment and vaccinations in preparation for your life in Singapore.
Singapore is the home of the healthiest population in the world. People that live in Singapore benefit from long life expectancy reaching on average 80 and 85, males and females respectively. This is amongst the highest life expectancy in the world. The general health of the population is also better than most other countries.
Singapore is home of some of the best medical professionals in the whole of Asia, many of which are trained and practised internationally in some of the best western facilities in the world. Unfortunately services like MediCare and MediShield are only available to Singapore nationals and permanent residents.
Those looking to start living in Singapore should obtain good health insurance. Unless you become a permanent resident of the country, you will not qualify for the country’s world leading healthcare system. Although most medical procedures are significantly more affordable than in other countries, like the US, total costs can still add up. Many expats consider getting health insurance policies to cover inpatient costs, as outpatient services are fairly affordable.
Driving In Singapore
Singapore is another one of the handful of countries in Asia that drive on the left, making it a little easier to adjust to life in Singapore. Driving in Singapore is made significantly better by the state’s investment in building the country’s infrastructure. As part of this infrastructure the city state has a highly effective public transport service. Many residents and expats take full advantage of this.
UK driving licences and international driving permits are recognised as valid driving documents for up to a year after you begin living in Singapore.
Getting your Singapore Driving Licence
After a year of living in Singapore, you will need to get your driving licence transferred to a local Singapore one. In order to do this, you will need to complete a theory test to prove that you are familiar with Singapore highway laws.
In order to get your Singapore drivers licence you will need to visit the Traffic Police Department in person. You should take with you:
- Your Passport
- Your Singapore Basic Driving Theory test pass certificate
- Your UK driver’s licence
- Your certification from the licensing authority of the date of the test
- Passport photo, white background (recommended to bring a spare)
The legal minimum driving age for people living in Singapore is 18.
The authorities in Singapore are very strict on crimes including minor ones like littering or spitting in public. It is recommended that you and your family familiarise yourselves with the local laws before starting your life in Singapore.
The laws for drink driving are heavily enforced in Singapore and should be known by anyone living here. The legal BAC limit for drink driving is 0.7, if your BAC is found to be above this you will be penalised for driving under the influence. If you are below this, but involved in an accident, you may still be charged with drink driving. If you are found drink driving you could risk the following penalties:
|Number of offences committed||Fine||Prison Sentence Duration|
|1||$1,000 – $5,000||Up to 6 months|
|2||$3,000 – $10,000||Up to 12 months|
|3||Up to $30,000||Up to 36 months|