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Repatriation for Expats in Singapore

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: February 2015

Repatriation is the process of moving back to your country of origin. Normally this occurs voluntarily, when you make the decision to leave the country you have been living in and return to your homeland. It can however be forcible if your host country requires you to leave for legal reasons. When you make the decision to repatriate, you will find that the process of returning home involves nearly as much bureaucracy as when you first left the country. For this reason, it is best to start planning your departure several months in advance.

Top of the to do list is taking care of immigration matters. If you have been living abroad for a long time, you might want to check the current entry requirements for your country of origin. Additionally, if you have renounced your original citizenship, you might want to consider restoring it. To find out more about both of these matters, visit the relevant immigration authority’s website.

Before you leave your host country, you may be required to deregister your presence. Expats living in Singapore should check the requirements with the Singaporean Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. Another important step is to deal with your accommodation arrangements. If you are renting, make sure to let your landlord know about your departure within the agreed notice period to avoid incurring additional costs.

Similarly, if you were previously renting out a property in your home country, be sure to tell your tenants of your return in due time. Property you own in your host country will take some time to sell, so it is a good idea to put it on the market a few months before you plan to leave. At the same time, make an early start on house-hunting back home. For further information, see our Accommodation articles related to your respective country.

Furthermore, you need to let the tax authorities know that you are leaving the country. The chances are you will be leaving in the middle of a particular tax year and will still have tax obligations in that country for the remainder of the tax year. Additionally, you should register with the tax authorities back home. Make sure to look into current tax regulations as these may have changed since your departure. For tax matters in Singapore, see our Taxation articles and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s website.

Remember also to cancel all subscriptions and services in your host country: newspaper subscriptions, sports club memberships, internet and TV provider, TV licence, mobile phone contract and so on. Make sure to look into cancellation policies well in advance, as some of these companies require a set notice period. At the same time, you can start researching service providers in your home country and comparing the services and prices they offer.

It is also important to let your bank know that you are leaving the country. You should think about whether you want to keep your bank account open for a while longer, especially if you are still expecting income in that country. Note that certain banks may charge their clients extra if they live abroad.

Another thing to keep in mind is to tell everyone that your address has changed! With this in mind, you may want to arrange post forwarding to your new address for a certain period. If you are an expat departing from Singapore, you can have a look into mail forwarding, provided for example by Regus.

Finally, you will have to take care of the removal of your personal items, vehicles and pets. For useful advice on this, consult our Expat Briefing articles on Relocation and select the applicable country you are returning to.




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