I am a Malaysian currently living and working in the US with a green card issued in 2016. I am thinking of relocating to Singapore and finding a job there. What are the pros and cons being a US green card holder working there (in terms of taxes, foreign income exclusion, tax credit, double taxation, etc)? Or would it be better for me to apply for US citizenship first prior to relocating to Singapore?

Hopefully someone in a similar situation would be able to share some experience. Thank you very much!

Thank you for your replies! Yes, I understand that it would depend on me but I was just curious about the taxation part being a green card holder or US citizen in terms of double taxation. If everything goes well, it would be a permanent relocation, at that point I would have to determine whether to relinquish my permanent residency and address the taxation concerns that arises from that for that year (perhaps?). Either way, I will still be subject to U.S. income tax but may qualify for certain foreign earned income exclusion/tax credits - which I had questions about earlier.

Anyway, below are some references I found below...




Most likely I will apply for my US citizenship before relocating to Singapore. Thank you once again.

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    Do you intend to keep US permanent resident status? If so, how long will you be in Singapore, and what evidence will you have of continued US residence? Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 3:24
  • It really depends on what you feel are advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately, what your immigration goals in life are.
    – ouflak
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 8:50
  • Thanks for your comments, I've updated the initial question based on your replies!
    – Zac
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 20:46
  • 1
    I don't think the taxation is any different for a US citizen or LPR. But unless you're married to a US citizen you won't be eligible to naturalize before 2021. If you are, you won't be eligible before 2019.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


I think the main question is whether you want to keep your US permanent residency and avenue to citizenship or not.

If you stay a PR but go to Singapore for employment and don’t file Federal taxes (or worse, file non-resident taxation status), you’ll be considered to have abandoned your permanent residency. You need to be careful when engaged in long-term overseas travel as a Permanent Resident if you want to keep your status. USCIS may not catch violations for some time, but they do catch them if and when you renew or if and when you file for naturalization.

Otherwise, both PRs and Citizens are required to file Federal taxes on worldwide income. Between the foreign earned income credit and foreign tax credit, you don’t have to pay much if anything at all in most circumstances.

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    It is not just failing to file US taxes (as a resident, not a non-immigrant). The OP might be considered to have abandoned US residence by moving to Singapore with the intent to stay there permanently. Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 0:20
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    Yes, I agree but intent is hard to prove so USCIS tends to look at things such as filing taxes as an indicator.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 4:49
  • @RoboKaren I don't see an easy way to add in this link but it might be useful to the OP: uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/…
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 17:34
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    "If you stay a PR but go to Singapore for employment and don’t file Federal taxes (or worse, file non-resident taxation status), you’ll be considered to have abandoned your permanent residency." Not only that, but the US would still consider you to be subject to US federal taxes on your worldwide income, every year, forever, until you sign the form to voluntarily relinquish your permanent residency. And failing to pay US taxes can cause you lots of problems.
    – user102008
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 22:42

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