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Relocating from US to Singapore

Moving to Singapore? Ask our regular expats in Singapore questions on relocation and their experience here. Ask about banking, employment pass, insurance, visa, work permit, citizenship or immigration issues.

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pharmer_pk
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Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby pharmer_pk » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 9:08 am

I'll be relocating from US to Singapore for graduate school. I'm wondering if I can have advise/suggestions from people here, especially those that are also from the US.

1. Moving Company. I did a search, but many of the topic are quite old. I'm wondering if there are more recent experiences from people.

2. Tax on my stuff. I will be on a student pass, and I heard I can get exemption. But what about the timing? Can I ship my stuff beforehand?

3. Address forwarding. I don't really have anybody else in the US that can help me with mails and whatnot. Wondering if people have any experience with those mail forwarding services (where they collect your mails in the US, and send it to you in bulk). I want to keep a US address for bank, credit cards, and also if I want to order stuff online from US only stores.

Any other hints and tips are appreciated. Thank you!

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Re: Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby AngMoG » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 9:42 am

pharmer_pk wrote:I'll be relocating from US to Singapore for graduate school. I'm wondering if I can have advise/suggestions from people here, especially those that are also from the US.

1. Moving Company. I did a search, but many of the topic are quite old. I'm wondering if there are more recent experiences from people.

2. Tax on my stuff. I will be on a student pass, and I heard I can get exemption. But what about the timing? Can I ship my stuff beforehand?

3. Address forwarding. I don't really have anybody else in the US that can help me with mails and whatnot. Wondering if people have any experience with those mail forwarding services (where they collect your mails in the US, and send it to you in bulk). I want to keep a US address for bank, credit cards, and also if I want to order stuff online from US only stores.

Any other hints and tips are appreciated. Thank you!


Not sure about 1 or 2, leaving it for other people. But for 3, popular options are:
- VPost (cheaper, using USPS). They have an option of receiving mail in one of the major post offices for self-pickup. It's often better than having the mail man try to deliver it, who will probably come when you're not home.
- Comgateway (using UPS afaik)
- Citibank also has its own address forwarding, though I don't think it's any cheaper than Comgateway.

There are probably others. Search away.

Just a hint for banking: get a Citibank account in the US. If you open another one here (there's a min balance of several thousand SGD, as you're probably not employed), you can transfer money without paying fees and (almost?) instantly between the US and SG accounts.

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Re: Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 10:25 am

AngMoG wrote:
Just a hint for banking: get a Citibank account in the US. If you open another one here (there's a min balance of several thousand SGD, as you're probably not employed), you can transfer money without paying fees and (almost?) instantly between the US and SG accounts.


The US side you occasionally have to jump through a few hoops if it triggers a warning (which mine seemed to do maybe three or four times a year) requiring a phone call. SG to US was always painless, instant, and simple.

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Re: Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby pharmer_pk » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 11:14 am

AngMoG wrote:Not sure about 1 or 2, leaving it for other people. But for 3, popular options are:
- VPost (cheaper, using USPS). They have an option of receiving mail in one of the major post offices for self-pickup. It's often better than having the mail man try to deliver it, who will probably come when you're not home.
- Comgateway (using UPS afaik)
- Citibank also has its own address forwarding, though I don't think it's any cheaper than Comgateway.

There are probably others. Search away.

Just a hint for banking: get a Citibank account in the US. If you open another one here (there's a min balance of several thousand SGD, as you're probably not employed), you can transfer money without paying fees and (almost?) instantly between the US and SG accounts.


Thanks on the suggestion for Citibank. Is there any specific account type that has that privilege, or does a plain checking account work?

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Re: Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby AngMoG » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 1:02 pm

pharmer_pk wrote:
AngMoG wrote:Not sure about 1 or 2, leaving it for other people. But for 3, popular options are:
- VPost (cheaper, using USPS). They have an option of receiving mail in one of the major post offices for self-pickup. It's often better than having the mail man try to deliver it, who will probably come when you're not home.
- Comgateway (using UPS afaik)
- Citibank also has its own address forwarding, though I don't think it's any cheaper than Comgateway.

There are probably others. Search away.

Just a hint for banking: get a Citibank account in the US. If you open another one here (there's a min balance of several thousand SGD, as you're probably not employed), you can transfer money without paying fees and (almost?) instantly between the US and SG accounts.


Thanks on the suggestion for Citibank. Is there any specific account type that has that privilege, or does a plain checking account work?


Plain checking is fine.

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Postby Dert42 » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 2:27 pm

I actually highly recommend against Citibank for that specific thing.
We went with them so that we could move money back and forth since we still own property in the US.
Nothing but trouble.
It started off with them holding all of our money and not giving us access to it for 30 days. Then when they finally let us have our own money, but they would only allow us to transfer $1000 a day. And you have to jump through a bunch of security hoops every single time.
CitiBank is just the worst.

We signed up with them to do the bank transfer thing you're after and it didn't at all go as advertised. I would gladly just pay a wire fee to have it work correctly with someone else.

Strongly recommend against.

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Re: Relocating from US to Singapore

Postby pharmer_pk » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 2:47 pm

AngMoG wrote:
Not sure about 1 or 2, leaving it for other people. But for 3, popular options are:
- VPost (cheaper, using USPS). They have an option of receiving mail in one of the major post offices for self-pickup. It's often better than having the mail man try to deliver it, who will probably come when you're not home.
- Comgateway (using UPS afaik)
- Citibank also has its own address forwarding, though I don't think it's any cheaper than Comgateway.


Those seems to be more intended for shopping purposes. I'm looking more for regular mail forwarding. I looked online and there are some that offers scanning the mail, throwing junk mail, etc. But it's hard looking for real user experience.

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Postby Hannieroo » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 3:38 pm

The only issues we've had with Citi either here or in the states is the lack of ATMs. I just make sure I carry a UK or US card for emergencies.

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Postby the lynx » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 4:01 pm

Hannieroo wrote:The only issues we've had with Citi either here or in the states is the lack of ATMs. I just make sure I carry a UK or US card for emergencies.


Every MRT station has one ATM so it shouldn't be a problem unless you drive :cool: :P

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Postby Hannieroo » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 4:08 pm

There's an mrt? :D

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Postby pharmer_pk » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 4:14 pm

:D
Alright guys, thanks for the feedback on citibank. I think my financial situation won't be too complicated. I do see the flexibility on having a citibank account just in case. At least another venue for ease of transferring funds.

But yeah, I have to apply online. There's no citibank at all in Seattle.

In any case, I want to just repost my other questions just in case people skipped the original post.

1. Moving Company. I did a search, but many of the topic are quite old. I'm wondering if there are more recent experiences from people.

2. Tax on my stuff. I will be on a student pass, and I heard I can get exemption. But what about the timing? Can I ship my stuff beforehand?

3. Address forwarding. I don't really have anybody else in the US that can help me with mails and whatnot. Wondering if people have any experience with those mail forwarding services (where they collect your mails in the US, and send it to you in bulk). I want to keep a US address for bank, credit cards, and also if I want to order stuff online from US only stores.

Any feedback are welcomed. Thanks.

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Postby rdueej » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 4:58 pm

pharmer_pk wrote:2. Tax on my stuff. I will be on a student pass, and I heard I can get exemption. But what about the timing? Can I ship my stuff beforehand?


AFAIK, the student pass tax relief works when you are leaving at the end of your study. You are allowed to claim refund of GST for goods bought up to 4 months before your pass expiry (as long as you do not plan on returning within the subsequent 12 months).

During the initial transfer to Singapore, I think that all long-term pass holders are treated the same and the standard tax relief/rates would apply. You can see details here: [ http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/uploade ... forder.pdf ]

I am curious, do you really need so much stuff when moving here (or perhaps you are not moving alone) ? When I was shifting for school here, I just packed two bags and got on a plane.

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Postby BedokAmerican » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 10:12 pm

For mail forwarding, get a box at a Pack-N-Post, Mail Boxes Etc or similar type place. They'll ship your mail once a month (or however often you request) and charge your credit card.

Fill out a forwarding mail request with USPS to have mail sent to that box. You'll then have something like 6-12 months to notify people/businesses sending mail to you that they need to send mail to that box.

Note: Depending on the place you pick and the employees, you might be able to tell them to toss bulky items, such as catalogues, because those cost lots to ship.

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Postby pharmer_pk » Tue, 29 Apr 2014 11:59 pm

BedokAmerican wrote:For mail forwarding, get a box at a Pack-N-Post, Mail Boxes Etc or similar type place. They'll ship your mail once a month (or however often you request) and charge your credit card.

Fill out a forwarding mail request with USPS to have mail sent to that box. You'll then have something like 6-12 months to notify people/businesses sending mail to you that they need to send mail to that box.

Note: Depending on the place you pick and the employees, you might be able to tell them to toss bulky items, such as catalogues, because those cost lots to ship.


Yes, that would be the kind of service I'm looking for.

Anybody uses those kind of services, and any feedback/experience? Thanks.

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Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 30 Apr 2014 7:07 am

We've been doing that almost 2 years and it works fine. Mail comes once a month, but they do ship it priority int'l in a big cardboard envelope so it costs about $23.90 I think, each time it's shipped. But if it's a bulky envelope then it costs closer to $30. There's then the price of renting the box, which you can pay yearly, monthly, etc. It's best to go to one of those places and explain your situation and what you need and see if they can accommodate. To cut down on the amount of mail, you could request online bill pay, although billing statements usually aren't bulky.


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