Singapore part 4: welcome in Singapore!

Hello human!

In my last blog I was still busy planning the whole trip from London but currently I’m writing this blog in a Starbucks in Singapore!

The flight

I decided to use KLM as my emigration carrier which is always a breezes compared to UA, AA or BA. Flying on the busiest day from Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) made me worry a bit but it was smooth. I didn’t have to queue at all, something that wouldn’t last for a long time…

The flight was good, a bit of turbulence but you always have that on this route. As I flew economy comfort I had plenty of legroom and with my à la carte sushi meal and tv shows on my iPad I was all set. After almost 13 hours in the air I set foot on the ground in my new home country: welcome in Singapore! As almost everything here immigration is very efficient and It took me only a couple of minutes to get to the baggage belt and after 15 minutes I was in the taxi with my boyfriend on my way to my temporary apartment.

Taking care of business

The first thing you need to do is to get your EP issued. The moment you get through immigration the clock starts ticking, you only have 30 days to finish everything, if you don’t you can pack up your stuff and leave because your EP application will be invalid and you have to redo the whole process from the start.

In most cases your company will take care of the appointment. Bring your IPA, passport (with white immigration stump) and all other papers you can think of (yes, just bring them). Be on time for your appointment (being late can also result in revocation of your IPA). Wait until your name shows up on the screen and get your photo taken. After that just give all the papers to the MoM officer and they will ask a list of questions, going through the papers over and over again. In the end they’re requesting you to give fingerprints (yes just accept that they will guide your thumbs over the machine and add some moisturizer to you fingers). As last thing you have to write your name, date of birth and sign the document. You have to do this for handwriting comparison from what I understood.

Getting a bank account 🤦

This is just incredible difficult, it took me almost a week to get it done!! First of all you need to finish your EP application. You need to have proof of your residential address. In my case this was a signed and stamped document from my employer. After you’ve decided which bank to go for you need to go to a branch at least 2 hours before closing because otherwise they will just say they’re out of time-slots. I decided to go there just after opening and even I had to wait for 30 minutes. The whole process takes around 45 to 60 minutes and after that you directly get your card (in my case, I went with DBS as bank) and everything is ready for use (apps, Google Pay etc..).

The thing I would do different the next time is to get very clear what  documents they need. There are just so many documents. This way I can get my account opened directly instead of having to go back a couple of times.

Finding a place to stay

While I enjoyed my temporary apartment I was in need of something bigger with more privacy. Before Singapore I lived in London for 9 months which was very nice but it was also my first flat share, something I don’t regret but also something I feel too old for.

The day after my arrival I already had a couple of house viewings planned, something that seems quite easy but at the same time the housing market here is very competitive. After 6 viewings I made my decision and went through the whole process of getting everything ready. Don’t forget you have to pay the initial deposit (intention of singing) by a cheque, this was a bit of trouble for me because my account doesn’t have those but I managed it because my boyfriend’s account allows it.

After only being in Singapore for 10 days I moved into my condo in the North East region of Singapore which gives me a commute to work just under 30 minutes. It’s a nice 2 bedroom unit. One master bedroom and the other one has been transformed into my office. The IKEA is happy with me again (for the 3rd time in my life).

As expected the kitchen is too small to be actually used and because there’s a hawker center in front of my house I won’t be cooking a lot!

What’s next?

I started writing this blog on the first Saturday since I moved here but after that I didn’t have a right moment to keep writing, but that will change!

As I’m here for 2+ months now a followup blog will come soon. I’ll zoom in on my new life here, what are my colleagues like, how’s the weather and what’s that smelly fruit called Durian? Stay tuned and have a great week!