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I've been a Singapore PR for quite some time now, and I do plan to stay for as long as I can still find employment. However, I don't think I would ever be able to get a property of my own here, and without it spending retirement in Singapore doesn't look realistic.

I've tried to research this online, but every single piece of information I could find deals with how to withdraw your CPF savings when or if you leave SG.

Does anyone know if it's possible to retire to other country (not Malaysia) but keep your money in CPF and still receive your CPF Life payouts for the rest of your life?

Or, more general question, do you have to withdraw your savings from CPF if you no longer reside in Singapore?

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Yes, you can keep your savings in CPF essentially forever even if you leave Singapore. (Or that's the rule at the moment, anyway; you have no control over CPF investments and are subject to the whims of the Singapore government here.) In fact, the process of getting your CPF money out is rather bureaucratic and will definitely not "just happen" on its own.

That said, there are several notable complications:

  • Maintaining PR outside Singapore requires a valid Re-Entry Permit (REP). REPs have to be renewed every 5 years, and essentially require that you're living in Singapore.
  • CPF LIFE payouts can only be made into Singaporean bank accounts. These are very difficult to open if you're not a Singaporean resident -- although once opened, nobody will check to see if you're still one.
  • Thanks! Was hoping that someone from singaporeexpats might stop by to answer :) – Maksim Satsikau Dec 15 '15 at 7:47
  • @jpatokal, What do you mean by "rather bureaucratic"? I was under the impression that you can withdraw all your CPF money once you stop being a citizen and break all ties with Singapore, and such application typically has a 100% success rate. Is that right? – Pacerier Dec 30 '15 at 17:34
  • @Pacerier You need to provide a lot of supporting documentation, some of it notarized. – lambshaanxy Dec 30 '15 at 21:33
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Will post an answer of my own as well for completeness sake. I sent the same question to CPF directly, here's what they said:

Yes, you are right in saying that your Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) status will be revoked when you are no longer residing in Singapore for a substantial amount of time.

We would like to clarify that you can withdraw your CPF savings at any time when you choose to reside in other countries besides Singapore and Malaysia once your SPR status have been revoked. Hence, you will be able to keep your monies in your CPF account to earn the high interest respectively, which will also help to build your retirement savings. You can click on this link for more information on the withdrawal: https://www.cpf.gov.sg/members/schemes/schemes/other-matters/cpf-withdrawals-on-other-grounds#Item1699.

If you are no longer an SPR and have already joined CPF LIFE, you will still be able to receive these payouts for as long as you live.

As CPF LIFE is for Singaporeans and SPR, if you are not a SPR when you are 55 years old, you would not be joining CPF LIFE.

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