CPF Withdrawal: 2 Ways


There are 2 ways to withdraw from CPF. Each can be viewed as “easy” or “hard” depending on how you look at it. 🙂

Let’s first talk about the more straightforward one:

You work diligently and both you and your employer contribute to your CPF accounts (as mandated by law).

Then at age 55, you can withdraw from your Ordinary and Special accounts after setting aside the Minimum Sum, which currently stands at $99,600 but will go up to $120,000 in future. (See Q&A in CPF website.) [Added 1 Sep 2007: You also need to set aside the Medisave Required Amount, which is now $11,500 but will be increased to $25,000 in 2013.]

Then you retire. At what age? It’s been proposed that the official retirement age should be 67. Maybe it’ll be 70 by the time we get older. I don’t know.

It’s only when you reach this official retirement age that you can start to draw down from the Minimum Sum. In effect, you will receive a monthly payout of a few hundred dollars until the balance runs out in about 20 years or so. The government is now considering having a “tail-end” annuity component to help those who, er, continue to live after the balance is emptied.

So what’s easy and what’s hard? In my view, the first withdrawal at age 55 seems “easy”. What is “hard” is the slow stretched-out withdrawal of the remaining Minimum Sum starting at age 62 (or 65, or 67, depending on when the new policies kick in).

Did I say there’s a second way?

Ha. It’s meant to be a tongue-in-cheek “solution”. I believe most of us will not even seriously consider it. Here it is:

Renounce your Singapore citizenship (or permanent residency). That is, emigrate to Australia, US, UK, or wherever. Leave Singapore for good. Only then can you withdraw your CPF in full. (See page on leaving Singapore in CPF website.)


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  1. Is there any way to withdraw your CPF contributions – applying to Malaysians whom are no longer working in S’pore and/or dont have plans to return to work there? Please help!!

  2. Hi Temperance, In answer to your question, I renounced my citizenship and the Singapore authorities accepted it without any issues. the advice I would give you is that where the questions are odious and multitudinous, don’t let them phase you. They ask for such details as your siblings and your parents’ birth certificate numbers and NRIC nos. It was difficult for us because my in laws pretty much cut their ties with us because we had become Christians and they didn’t approve. We could not have asked them for their intimate details. The overseas high commission advised us to fill the form in as best as we could and write “Information Unavailable” where we could not provide the details. Also, if you are in Singapore, hand the form and personal docs (originals) by hand. It will save you the worry of docs getting lost in the post. The process took about a 5 weeks because we were overseas and the docs and forms had to wait until there was a reasonable number of items to be bulk sent back to Singapore by courier. The money can be sent to your overseas account but there will be a little delay. All the best. Hope this is helpful.

  3. To Boiling Frog, I am very sad to hear of your predicament. I understand what it is like to feel like a frog slowly boiling in the pot. Please don’t feel discouraged. Many of us had to get out in order to live. I don’t mean in order to survive, but rather, in order that we might live life. I believe Australia and New Zealand have tightened up their immigration policies. However, if you have sufficient funds to start a business, there may be Business Categories in the immigration classification that you might fall under. I know that in these two countries, nurses and nursing aides have better chances of entering the country. Even if you think you are not eligible, take the time to find out for sure. Check with the various embassies/high commissions to see if someone there can help you find a category in which you could fit. Don’t be downhearted. Many have travelled this same road and been at the same crossroad but those who give up in despair, get nowhere. Sometimes you may have to make a brief detour in order to get to your destination. Always, you have to think outside of the box. Take heart & be encouraged. No situation is ever so bad there is no way out. God bless.

  4. boiling frog on

    I appreciate and thank BH for the kind words.

    The likelihood of I ever being employed in the same or similar industry in $ingapore is almost nil.

    In view of the age and gender discrimination practised by most employers, even jobs like security guards and food courts(hawker centres) cleaners are being snapped up by “foreign talents”.

    Starting a food business(stall) in $ingapore is tantamount to throwing away good $$$.

    Australia or New Zealand has always being my choice for my “golden years” but in spite of the many eligibility options, I am still not able to meet the requirements.

    Someone once suggested that I can opt to “try out” in Australia in the form of “long term medical care” but I wonder whether will it be detrimental to me should there be a sudden change of policy/ies by the relevant authorities.

    The total withdrawal of my CPF $ is also an underlying agenda for wanting to emigrate.

    I would appreciate if anyone who read this article can offer any other feasible suggestion/s.

    I believe there are many others who are in the same boat too.

    Meanwhile I can feel the water temperature rising but still unable to jump out despite the absence of a lid over the pot.

  5. To BH,

    Thank you for your helpful pointers. Indeed, the process can be very daunting especially since the renounciation form requires that one fills in every past job on one’s resume. I only hope mine will proceed as smoothly as yours. Once again, appreciate the response and tips.

  6. Hi All,

    Does anyone here hold Australian citizenship (ex-sporean)? Is the CPF money taxable once they are transmitted into your australian bank account? I am currently an Australian PR and applying for a citizenship seems inevitable. Appreciate your advice.



  7. Yes it will be taxed as savings! For middle income it is around 50% so better keep an off-shore bank account in Singapore.

  8. geez 50%! That’s pretty nasty..i have an existing UOB account but will research on alternative off-shore bank acct in Sing. Thanks for your input Yammy!


  9. Hi All,

    I have few questions to ask, may someone help. Am Singaporean and applying citizenship as Malaysian. My parents are both malaysian and am 49years old coming to 50years and was born in Malaysia-Melaka. I have bought a bungalow house recently and intend to stay there. At the sametime I have lands left by my late parents. I’ve sold my property in Singapore and leave at my cousin house for time being.

    The main concern that I have is, after I renounce my Singapore citizenship will I be able to withdraw my full CPF money? Thank you

  10. Hi there,

    I too have a few questions. I hope someone can give explicit info on my questions. I am a Singaporean, now widowed by my malaysian husband 3 years ago. My children 18, boy, singaporean by birth but malaysian now, 16 girl and 10, girl both born and bred in malaysia are living with me in Perak for the past 19 years. I have about sgd22,000 in cpf ordinary a/c and sgd3700 in medisave a/c, which i wish to withdraw for my kids’ education expenses. Being a single mother is not easy. I have obtained pr here in malaysia. I was told i can get red ic in a few months. I hope u can give me indication as to how i can withdraw my cpf in any way possible.

  11. i reaching 55 in 2 years time,bought a house in indonesia batam but am not citizen there yet. Anbody know what e procedure to apply and how long will it take? I wanna withdraw all my cpf out of singapore and enjoy a carefree life instead of monthly payout of few hundred dollar(like begger) before to my deathbed. Please advice.

  12. I have migrated to Australia a couple of years ago, and finally decided to renounce my Singapore PR and take out my CPF money. I was told that the full amount withdrawn from CPF is considered as income for that year, hence taxable. If the amount is small, A$15,000 or less, then you pay no tax to Australian tax office. But if you have $500,000 then half of that will go to the tax office. Is it true?

    The trick is, if you withdraw the money and take it with you when migrating to AU, or within the first few months, then it is not taxable. Can somebody shed some lights on this?

  13. Trick #2: if you take out the CPF money but deposit some or all of it into another retirement fund of another country, then that amount is not taxable by ATO, but the remainder that you take into AU as cash would be taxable. Hmmm…

  14. A retirement fund in another country is the worst you can do…They are even less flexible than CPF. Off-shore bank account is the way to go.

  15. I am a PR and moved to US recently, my PR will be expiring in few months. I would like to know if the entire CPF money is taxable in US.

  16. Yes CPF will be taxed when brought to the US.
    In fact you need to declare interest earned in the CPF account in Schedule B in IRS form even if you cannot withdraw the CPF interests and you need to pay tax on the interest earned.

  17. I left singapore in 2007 and staying in india, and have valid PR till 2013. At present i am not NRI in india. if i withdraw money from CPF, does that attract tax in india.

  18. To ah neh
    where did you get the information that CPF withdrawn will be taxed in India?

    To PKM
    If An neh is correct , there is no way to escape the tax.
    Unless you take the illegal / criminal route !! You need to find a friend in SG foolish enough to accept your SGD and pay you in rupees in India.

    If you happen to come across any legal workaround , please let the forum know.

  19. hi every1

    I wanted to check with u all. i’m married with a thai wife, residing in singapore n she got PR. we had a baby girl. wanted to leave singapore for good n staying at thailand is it possible for us to drop my citizen n PR. i haven gotten my thai PR is it possible to drop.

  20. Hi

    I am Msian from sabah and having Spore PR. Planning to go back msia for good. How long it takes to renounce PR and get the CPF? Can I get full amount and will it be taxable?

  21. Hi

    I am Msian from sabah and having Spore PR. Planning to go back msia for good. How long it takes to renounce PR and get the CPF? Can I get full amount and will it be taxable?

  22. Hi sir,
    I am sg pr(44yo), thinking withdraw pr @ 50yearold.
    If i wihdraw pr, my family under my sponsor also need to withdraw?
    I have 1 son(14yo) and 2 daugther( 6 and 12 yo) study in singapore.

    My son need serve NS after 16yo.
    My children can choose to remain pr or they can apply by them self if they want?

  23. Tan Chui Ling on

    Already 56 years need some funds for urgency use instead of getting help from so & so…. I don’t have a understanding husband. Which I do not like to take $ from him. I find very stress… where to get help for emergency use.

    Can I withdraw some CPF money to assist me at this moment of times. At the moment having teeth & gum problems cash not enough hv to pay electric bill, conservancy fees, telephone bill, children pocket money, busfare etc etc. Can I seek help

  24. Who did you vote for last election? You get what you voted for… Vote wisely in GE2016 if you ever want to see your CPF money back.

  25. Hi. Can anyone advise on the best way on obtaining a citizenship
    in any other country as I just want to get out of SG. Any country will do n what must be done to obtain this citizenship. Please advice asap. Thks

  26. Hi i’m 28 i want to renounce my singapore citizen can i withdraw my cpf money. Please give me some advice. Thank u.

  27. CPF funds incoming to Australia is NOT taxable. It’s like superannuation. Only the interest from the time you were a resident for tax purpose is taxable.

  28. I renounced my SG citizenship last year and have withdraw my CPF savings in Nov 2013. Is my CPF savings taxable in the US or just the interest. Please advise.

  29. If we renounced our Singapore citizenship, would the housing grant provided by the government will be deducted to the total CPF we saved?

  30. Lau Hwee Chu on

    Can I withdraw my CPF since no more working in Singapore for 20 years. But now I only 49 years it is possible for me to draw out.

  31. I’ve been out of SG for almost two decades. For family reason, I have naturalized in US. I hesitated to renounce before. But want to now since my parents have passed on and my immediate family is here. How do I renounce my SG cit and take out my CPF? Will it be taxed? Is there a way to minimize taxes and fees? Is off-shore account still an option? Thanks.

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