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Advice needed on unique relocation situation

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twocupsofjoe
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Advice needed on unique relocation situation

Post by twocupsofjoe » Wed, 09 Jul 2008 2:25 pm

Hi Everyone!

I have a few major questions that I need some advice on regarding a potential move to Singapore, and am so glad to have found this forum. A little background on our situation - I am a Singaporean living in the US, holding a Green Card. My fiance is an American citizen, who has just been asked by his company to take on a position in Singapore.

He has been asked to draft up a proposal by end of week to budget how much it would take for us to live a comparable lifestyle ('slightly higher level' was also thrown about) in Singapore.

1) His office is in the International Building (next to Shaw Centre) - ideally we would love to live in a 2BR condo in the District 9, 10 (or similar) type areas. Is it reasonable to budget SGD 6-7K for monthly rent?

2) Since I am originally from Singapore (left 11 years ago), we do make a quick visit every year and are comfortable with the public transportation system. We do not foresee needing a car, but what is a reasonable budget for monthly transportation, including MRT and taxi fares? Last time I was home, it seemed like cab rides cost a lot more than they used to. If we were to lease a car, how much should we expect to run up every month?

3) Besides housing & transportation allowances, what other major items do we need to consider in this proposal? We intend to request double taxation relief as well, although we have not done enough research to understand all the ramifications of the double tax (just found out abt all this yesterday).

4) We will be requesting that the company sort out all of the immigration type issues before we agree to anything, but I'm curious if anyone out there has a similar issue as myself? I am concerned about preserving my green card status. I was considering relinquishing my Singapore passport but now that we are potentially moving there, I'm not sure that's the best idea (I have heard horror stories about it being difficult to return to Singapore after giving up status). Any advice?

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
twocupsofjoe

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Advice needed on unique relocation situation

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 09 Jul 2008 3:17 pm

twocupsofjoe wrote:Hi Everyone!

I have a few major questions that I need some advice on regarding a potential move to Singapore, and am so glad to have found this forum. A little background on our situation - I am a Singaporean living in the US, holding a Green Card. My fiance is an American citizen, who has just been asked by his company to take on a position in Singapore.

He has been asked to draft up a proposal by end of week to budget how much it would take for us to live a comparable lifestyle ('slightly higher level' was also thrown about) in Singapore.

1) His office is in the International Building (next to Shaw Centre) - ideally we would love to live in a 2BR condo in the District 9, 10 (or similar) type areas. Is it reasonable to budget SGD 6-7K for monthly rent?

That will probably be the bottom end although the word is out there that the market is/maybe starting to soften (thought I really haven't seen any concrete signs of this yet) To me it is current flat at an upper level but don't see it escalating any further nor decreasing all that much.

2) Since I am originally from Singapore (left 11 years ago), we do make a quick visit every year and are comfortable with the public transportation system. We do not foresee needing a car, but what is a reasonable budget for monthly transportation, including MRT and taxi fares? Last time I was home, it seemed like cab rides cost a lot more than they used to. If we were to lease a car, how much should we expect to run up every month?

Taxi fare have gone up by upward of 40% in the past 6 months or so and in some instances can be up around 100% depending on where, length and time of day. Bus & MRT still affordable. Depending on weightage on taxi usage. I do not use taxis unless an absolute necessity. I do use the MRT & buses daily to & from work (as you are a Singaporean you can figure the relative distance) I work 6 days a week and I live in Serangoon North and my office is about a 15 minute walk from IMM in Jurong East. My transport costs are less than 200/mo. Throw taxis into the mix say 2 nights partying x 4 weeks/month then add an additional 150~200/mo. Can't give you any info re leasing cars here as I sold my last one when they started the COE system in 1991. Didn't figure I needed to be part of that.

3) Besides housing & transportation allowances, what other major items do we need to consider in this proposal? We intend to request double taxation relief as well, although we have not done enough research to understand all the ramifications of the double tax (just found out abt all this yesterday).

You can use this for a start on taxation in Singapore:

http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page03.aspx?id=282

For the US go here:

http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/lists/0,,id=97819,00.html

and download Pub 54, Tax guide for US citizens and Resident Aliens


4) We will be requesting that the company sort out all of the immigration type issues before we agree to anything, but I'm curious if anyone out there has a similar issue as myself? I am concerned about preserving my green card status. I was considering relinquishing my Singapore passport but now that we are potentially moving there, I'm not sure that's the best idea (I have heard horror stories about it being difficult to return to Singapore after giving up status). Any advice?

I am not sure what the law is now regarding Green Card status. My wife gave up her Green Card when I decided to stay in Singapore about 20 years ago. At that time I worked with the US Immigration Officer here in Singapore. He told me at that time that once she had been vetted and given her green card, about 3 months before we were due to return to the US to just reapply with the number of her Card and it would be an easy matter. (Course 20 years is a long time and especially the way the world has gone crazy now days - that one is looming for me as well sometime in the next 5 years as well) Our situation is the same, but we gave up my wife's until I retire here (been here 26 years).


Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
twocupsofjoe
Good luck in your negotiations...

SMS
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

nillahcootie
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Post by nillahcootie » Mon, 14 Jul 2008 3:07 am

to keep your green card status in the US you will need to return back to the US well within 12 months away...and expect to be 'grilled' when entering the US if you have been away for more than six months

rchdk
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Re: Advice needed on unique relocation situation

Post by rchdk » Mon, 14 Jul 2008 9:25 am

twocupsofjoe wrote: 1) His office is in the International Building (next to Shaw Centre) - ideally we would love to live in a 2BR condo in the District 9, 10 (or similar) type areas. Is it reasonable to budget SGD 6-7K for monthly rent?
Yes, you will be able to find a 2br condo in district 9/10 these days for that amount. Maybe even a 3br...

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