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7 Things to know and do before moving from the U.S. to Australia

In 2019, nearly 811,000 Americans visited Australia and 375,000 of those were for the holidays purposes; the potential revenue to be generated by Americans visitors to Australia in that year is said to be $3.9 billion. Even though 2020 was a tough year for travelling, 582,000 Americans visited the country. Close to 300,000 US citizens currently lives in Australia. If you’re looking to be one of those people, here are 11 things to know before moving from US to Australia.

A variety of factors are responsible for making people relocate entirely from one country to another, and in some cases, from one continent to another. Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. It has a population of over 26 million and is a monarchy of the British Empire. It is one of the world’s hottest and driest places with least fertile soil.

Despite its climatic conditions, it is still one of the world’s most developed countries and the 14th largest economy where immigrants account for 30% of its entire population. As an American, if you are looking to relocate to Australia, we advise you to read through the entire piece to make sure you leave nothing behind.

Moving to Australia: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Australia

Visa requirements

As an Americans looking to applying for a visa to Australia, you have a few options to choose from. But the essential requirements for applying include:

  • You must be under the age of 45 when applying.
  • A basic level understanding and speaking ability of the English language.
  • If you are applying for a skill visa, you must nominate a skill set/occupation that coincides with your qualification.
  • You must undergo the skill assessment test and pass.
  • You must also pass the health assessment test. This means that you and/or your family must be of sound health to acquire a residence in Australia.
  • Character assessment. As odd it may sound, your character will be assessed as well and must fit specific criteria for you to pass.

As for the documents, you need your visa which is valid for at least the next three months. Moreover, the approved application for relocation, all the necessary personal documents, and proof of identity. As for the visas, there are several you can apply for and the government will determine which one suits you best. It includes:

  • Working Visa (all the above-stated requirements must be met for a work visa, can be valid up to 5 years).
  • Partner and family visa (must be sponsored by nominator/sponsor which in this case is the applicant).
  • Work and holiday visa (for aged 18-30, valid for up to a year).

You can present your case to the government and they will determine which category is the best fit for you. The Australian Government website will give you the information you need the different types of visas.

If you have a pet along, you will need to have them assesses as well. There are three groups and you must determine which group your pet falls into.

  1. Group 1 pets are from New Zealand, Cocos Island, and Norfolk Island and don’t require any permit.
  2. Group 2 and 3 (which your pet will belong to) are pets from countries that are rabies-free or have strict control over it. They not only require import permit but have to undergo blood tests to determine if they carry any diseases or pathogens that may spread to other animals.

Get more information on how to bring your cats and dogs on the Australian Government website.

Finding a job 

In September 2023, Australia’s unemployment rate was 3.6%. This means over the last year employment increased by 2.8%. 

Australia has a high demand in many sectors including barista, cleaner, pharmacy assistant, warehouse worker, customer service representative, chef, cabinet maker, security guard, painter, early childhood teacher, to name a few.

When finding a job in Australia, you can use employment vacancies and internet job postings like Indeed and LinkedIn

Indeed (Oct 2023) & Australian Bureau of Statistics (September 2023)

Getting there 

When relocating from the U.S. to Australia, air travel is the most efficient and quickest method. To kick-start your journey, ensure your passport is valid for your intended stay, and obtain the necessary visa or residence permit, depending on the purpose of your move. Book your flight to one of Australia’s major international airports, such as Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. Be sure to arrive in Australia two or three days before your move-in date, so you have time to take care of last-minute tasks.

The duration of your flight may vary based on the specific route and any layovers, but a nonstop flight typically takes around 15 to 20 hours, given the considerable distance between the two countries. Upon arrival in Australia, be prepared to complete any required immigration and customs procedures.

What Should I Look for in an Oversea Moving Company?

After sorting the paperwork and essential initial requirements, it is time to look for a moving company. We understand that the process can be tedious and requires a bit of research to find the right movers. Aside from just movers, there are a variety of services you can avail to make your move a bit easy for yourself.

Consider the following requirements when looking for movers:

  • Damage Insurance: Does the mover you have selected provide damage insurance in case things don’t go according to plan? Those movers, who are licensed, have a proper insurance policy that states the extent of damage covered in case of an accident or mishap. As these things are quite common in overseas transportation of luggage, you should take a close look at their insurance policy, so you have all ends covered from your side.
  • Experience: It is advised to only opt for movers that have years of experience backing their claims of safely transporting your belongings overseas. Do a little background search and go over customer reviews on different review websites. If a company seems new but has good reviews backing their claims, chances are, they were already in the moving business and have expanded it to overseas moving; as it is not easy or overnight task.
  • Mode of transportation: Usually, the mode of transporting luggage overseas is by air, but sea is also a viable option used by many movers.

Should I Ship my Car to Australia?

You are moving across continents; do you really think you need to stick to your old vehicle? It is best to travel light and move on from your previous car to a better one. You must also consider the possibility of being unable to find spare parts and other essential components in case your car ever breaks down. Plus, you can buy a new one when you get to Australia or use the money in another way that suits you well.

But in case you have a vintage or special car that holds real value to you, simply contact your chosen international moving company or an independent car shipping agency.

Must dos before your arrival 

  • Define your required visa or permit to enter and stay in Australia.
  • Make sure that your passport is valid for your entire intended stay in Australia.
  • Secure a pre-accommodation before your move, try search first on Airbnb.
  • Secure a Job Offer for smooth Work Permit Process.
  • Plan your move in advance, check international movers.

2. Upon your arrival in Australia

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get to know your neighborhood, local stores, pharmacies, and emergency phone numbers.
  • Notify your employer and get guidance on next steps after your arrival.
  • Consider opening a local bank account for financial convenience.
  • Check requirements for your license to drive in Australia.
  • Get mobile data or a local SIM card from a mobile carrier, but ensure your phone is unlocked for a local SIM card.

Healthcare

Healthcare in Australia is covered by both, public and private sectors. It is a hybrid system in which people benefit from the public healthcare system called Medicare while also purchasing private medical insurance. Newly immigrants are advised to stick with Medicare treatment unless they require special treatment, for which their general physician can recommend them to a specialist. You can directly apply and inquire about Medicare on the Australian Government website.

Setting up your cell phone 

Have your phone unlocked before moving; otherwise, it will be completely useless (it is a paid feature by many service providers). If you are looking to head in the outback, Telstra is your best option as they have the most phone lines in Australia.

As you may be required to pay extra for internet service in case you are moving from one place to another or staying in a hotel, so consider it compulsory to have a data package.

Getting a driver’s license 

Although there are several high-class public transport facilities available, people still prefer to travel by their own transport. If you wish to acquire a driving license, you will have to follow the standard procedure and apply for one. If you previously have a driving license, it can suffice until you get one here and can also serve as leverage if you have an International Driving License. Driving licenses are administered at state levels, so the regulations vary. The governing authority for the driving varies as per state, so you can apply at a state or local motor registry.

Setting up a bank account 

Opening a bank account as a fresh immigrant is quite simple and easy. One of the four top banks allows for flexible banking options for those who are new to the country. The top four banks of Australia include the National Australia bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

3.Best places to live in Australia

Best places to live in Australia

When moving from the US to Australia, Sydney and Melbourne offer bustling city life, while Brisbane provides a relaxed lifestyle with excellent job prospects, catering to diverse preferences.

Cities

Characteristics 

Melbourne

A city that loves both sports and culture, known for its lively arts and music scene.

Sydney

Great for young professionals who dream big, with famous sights like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Brisbane

Combining city life and nature, enjoying the sunny weather, and providing a laid-back, outdoor-focused lifestyle.

Gold Coast

Renowned for its beautiful beaches and thrilling adventure scene, boasting theme parks and water sports.

Adelaide 

Excellent city for families, and a paradise for people who love food and wine, thanks to the nearby vineyards.

Setting up home services 

The good news after the difficulty of obtaining a residential unit, it is not so difficult to apply and obtain basic utilities such as gas, water, and electricity. Tenants are usually contacted by the authorities, or they can apply by sending in an application. Some popular utility companies of Australia include Momentum energy, Red energy, AGL, Commander, Next Energy Australia.

Should you rent or buy?

Housing in a commonwealth country varies as per the residential dwelling. In metropolitan cities, you will find more flats (studio apartments) and in suburbs, single-family homes. So if you are looking to rent or purchase a residential unit, you must first understand the 100-point system. It is a system adopted by the government that many landlords and real estate agents use. The cost for these residential units is entirely another story.

The process is further complicated and difficult for foreigners. As a foreigner in a commonwealth country, your status as a temporary or ‘not-yet-permanent’ resident is the grates hurdle. Along with that, you will also need to obtain approval from the Foreign Review Board to purchase property in Australia.

Trusted websites such as Realestate.com, and Domain are often used to find available apartment listings and property or engage with real estate agents for assistance.

4. Cost of living in Australia

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,185.29

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($58.73 multiplied by 4)

$234.92

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$213.92

Internet with 60 Mbps

$55.98

Transit pass

$109.27

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$88.32

Gym membership 

$51.47

Total

$1,939.17

Numbeo (Nov 2023)

Where to Shop Food, Amenities, and Alcohol in Australia?

In Australia, there are a number of grocery shops and markets from where you can purchase basic amenities and alcohol. There are also many famous fast food chains and supermarkets from where you can purchase everyday commodities including alcohol. Although the regulations for alcohol vary from state to state, the legal drinking age is from 18 years. Some of the most popular supermarkets and food-chains include Woolworths, Coles supermarket, Costco, Aldi, IGA.

What to Expect from your New Life in Australia

Except for the stated, expect the unexpected. Australia is a vast country and there are a lot of immigrants and people from all over the world. You will get to see cultural diversity and an amazing amalgamation of hospitality and the ruggedness of Australian natives. The heat may get some time to get adjusted to, but it will be all worth it to start your new life in Australia.

5. The weather in Australia

Australia has a wide range of temperatures, with summer temperatures ranging from 5.7°C to 30.8°C depending on the city you live in. According to Australia.com, in Melbourne, the winter temperature averages between 6.5°C to 14°C. 

Australia experiences seasons opposite to the United States due to its location in the southern hemisphere. For example, Australian summer occurs from December to February, while in the US, it’s from June to August.

6. What to do as a local in Australia

Locals in Australia take pleasure in spending their weekends exploring the outdoors. Australia is known for its natural beauty, including beaches, national parks and camping grounds. 

Australia is also known for its wildlife. Be prepared to encounter a variety of animals and insects that we do not have in Canada, especially if you decide to take a hike in Tasmania. 

If you are looking to have fun on your weekends off work, Australians love volunteering to help their community grow. This most includes being involved in taking care of nature and wildlife. You can find out more at Volunteering Australia

7. Fun facts about Australia

  • Referred to as “The Land Down Under” because it’s located in the Southern Hemisphere. 
  • Australia is home to some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet like kangaroos, koalas, and wombats. 
  • The Sydney Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! 

Conclusion

Moving from the U.S. to Australia promises a unique opportunity to experience a new culture and way of life, characterized by stunning natural landscapes, a diverse society, and a laid-back, friendly atmosphere that’s typically Australian.

As you prepare for this exciting journey, carefully research the best international moving companies in advance, or check out the best movers in Sydney. Finding the right mover can make your transition smoother, and less stressful. 

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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