A Complete Guide For Australians Moving to the USA!

Editorial Team - HomeAbroad  by HomeAbroad Editorial Team
19 min read
Australians moving to the USA

Are you among the Australians moving to the USA? If so, navigating through all of the paperwork, applications, and steps involved in making this dream a reality can be daunting – and that’s where this comprehensive guide comes in. We’re here to walk you step-by-step through planning your move from Australia to the US so there is less stress along the way.

From understanding eligibility requirements for different visa types and timelines for getting clearances to information about citizenship, customs offices, or other agencies – we have it covered! So sit back, relax, and let us look after all things that will help you move to America from Australia. 

Statistical Overview of Australians Moving to the US

  • According to the USDHS (United States Department of Homeland Security), in the 2020 fiscal year (October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020), nearly 6,883 Australians in America were granted lawful permanent residency.
  • The US Embassy in Australia estimates that there are approximately 90,000 Australians living in the United States as of 2021.
  • Cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are known to have significant Australian expat communities.

Pre-requisites for Australian Citizens Moving to the US

Australians planning a move to the US need to follow a process. This process can be seamless with the right guidance. Below, we have broken down the steps that one must follow to move to US. The process broadly includes choosing the right visa program, gathering the correct documents for the application, preparing for visa interviews, etc.

Let us dive deeper into all these aspects of immigration to America from Australia to ensure a smooth transition.

Choose the right visa program

When it comes to choosing the right visa program, there are a few important factors and certain circumstances that an Australian must consider. These include:

  • The length of stay required in the US
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Availability of funds for filing fees
  • Destination preference
  • Purpose of travel

The most common types of visas available to Australians moving to the US include:

– Student Visas

– Tourist and Business Visas

– Family Visas

– Work Visas.

Each of these visas has its own eligibility criteria and requirements, so it is important for Australians to research and understand which one best fits their needs. Additionally, one must also consider the processing time for each visa type and plan accordingly.

Here are the visa programs for Australians moving to the US

There are different visa programs available in Australia. Review several categories of visas mentioned below to find out which one serves the purpose for you.

How to go to the US from Australia as a student? Get student visas:

  • F-1 Student Visa: This visa is for students who wish to enter the United States solely to pursue a full-time course of study. To be eligible, applicants must have been accepted by an accredited US school, and they must show proof of financial support.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: This type of visa is intended for those who have been accepted to participate in an exchange program to attend school in the US. Examples of exchange programs include research, teaching, internships and summer work travel programs.
  • O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: This visa is issued to foreign nationals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement and ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

How to go to the US from Australia for work? Get tourist and work visas:

  • B-2 Tourist Visa: This visa is issued to visitors seeking to enter the United States solely for tourism or business purposes.
  • V Nonimmigrant Visa: This type of visa is available for foreign nationals who are coming to the US for temporary visits, such as tourism or business activities.
  • H-1B Work Visa: This type of visa is intended for foreign nationals who are working in the USA as an Australian in a specialty occupation. Applicants aiming to work in a specialty occupation must have a job offer from an employer, as well as proof that they are qualified for the position.
  • L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa: This type of visa is intended for foreign nationals who perform services for a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of a US employer for at least one year in the three years prior to their application.
  • EB-3 Skilled and Professional Worker Visa: This type of visa is available for foreign nationals having a job offer from an employer in America. The job must require at least two years of training or experience and highly specialized knowledge in their field.
  • R-1 Religious Worker Visa: This type of visa is intended for foreign nationals coming to the US to work as a minister or in another religious vocation.

How to go to the US from Australia as an investor? Get treaty/ trade investor visas:

  • E-1 Treaty Trader/Investor Visa: This visa is available to foreign investors or business owners who have substantial trade between the US and their home country.
  • E-2 Treaty Investor Visa: This visa is available to foreign investors who plan to invest a substantial amount of capital in the US and run a business here.
  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa: This type of visa is intended for investors who plan to invest $1.8 million (or $900,000 in certain areas) in a business in the US that will create at least 10 full-time jobs.

How to move your family from Australia to the US? Get immediate relative or family-sponsored visas:

  • Conditional Resident (CR-1) Visa: When you recently got married, and for the next two years, you’ll keep your conditional status. This is done to stop marriages from taking place only for the purpose of gaining permanent residency in the USA.
  • Immediate Relative (IR-1) Visa: After your marriage of 2 years, you will obtain permanent status without the conditions of the CR-1 visa.
  • K-1 Fiance visa: This is for foreign nationals engaged with US citizens for 90 days. The couple is expected to marry within those 90 days so as to start filing for the petition to get a spouse visa.
  • K-2 visa: This is offered to unmarried children under 21 years of age of K-1 visa holders.
  • K-3 visa: This visa aims to shorten the time the married couple is distanced from each other, where one of them is waiting for their petition to be approved.
  • K-4 visa: This is for unmarried children under 21 years old of K-3 visa holders.
  • F-1 visa: This has a cap of 23,400 visas and is offered to unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens and their minors.
  • F3 visa: This has a cap of 23,400 visas and is for married sons and daughters of US citizens as well as their minor children and spouses.
  • F4 visa: This has a cap of 65,000 visas and is for siblings of US citizens, their minor children, and spouses. For this visa to apply, the US citizen must be at least 21 years old.

Other visa programs:

  • Green Card holder/Lawful Permanent Residence: This allows a foreign national to live, work, and become a permanent resident in the US as long as they meet certain criteria.
  • EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: This visa is issued to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and who have been recognized nationally or internationally for their achievements.
  • EB-2 National Interest Waiver: This visa is intended for individuals whose work is deemed to be of national importance to the US. Examples include scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and academics.
  • Q Cultural Exchange Visitor Visa: This visa is available for foreign nationals who plan to participate in a cultural exchange program in the US.

No matter what type of visa you are applying for, it is important that you have all the necessary documents and proof of financial support. This includes evidence of sufficient funds to cover your stay in the US as well as any medical expenses. It is also important to remember that visa application processing times can vary, so it is best to plan ahead, consult with immigration lawyers, and submit your application as early as possible. Good luck!

Collect the necessary documents to acquire a visa

In order to apply for a visa, Australians moving to the US need to provide a range of documents. These include:

  • A current passport valid for travel to the US
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of financial stability (bank statements or tax returns)
  • Evidence of ties to Australia, such as employment records, family records, or other supporting documents
  • Completed visa application form
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • A valid email address for communication with the US Embassy or Consulate
  • Proof of a qualifying relationship in the case of family visas (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)
  • Medical examination results, if applicable
  • Any additional documents or evidence required by the US Embassy or Consulate.

Necessary forms for visa application

The following forms are necessary for Australian citizens to apply for a visa to the United States:

  • Form DS-160 – Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Form OF-156 – Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
  • Form I-134 – Affidavit of Support (if applicable)

E3 Visa for Australians Moving to the US

The E3 visa is a professional work visa that provides Australians with the opportunity to live, work and study in the US. This visa category was launched for Australian nationals by virtue of an agreement between the United States and Australia that was signed in 2005.

E3 Visa Requirements

To be eligible for an E3 visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold Australian citizenship
  • Have a valid job offer from a US employer
  • Possess the required academic or professional qualifications
  • The job offer must be for a specialty occupation.

E3 Visa Benefits

The E3 visa provides you with several advantages, such as:

  • The ability to stay in the US for up to two years with renewable terms.
  • You can travel freely within the US and even take up a part-time job.
  • Your spouse and children will also be able to accompany you under an E3 visa; they are given a derivative visa which allows them to study or work in the US

How long does the E3 visa application process take?

The processing time for the E3 visa usually depends on the workload of the relevant authorities, but it typically takes 2-4 months to complete. It is important to note that applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and can be subject to delays when more information or documents are required.

What is the cost associated with an E3 visa?

  • The government filing fee for the E3 visa is $460, and you may also need to pay additional fees depending on your circumstances. These could include legal or administrative services as well as other costs such as translations and document authentication. It is important to budget for all of these costs when planning your move to the US.

Sponsorship Requirements When Moving to the USA from Australia

  • When applying for a visa, an individual may need to be sponsored by someone in the US. The sponsor must prove that they have the financial ability to support the applicant and show that they are legally present in the US.
  • Additional requirements may apply, depending on the visa type you are planning to apply for. In some cases, it is possible to self-sponsor, but this is not always the case. Additionally, a joint sponsor may be required when applying for certain visas. It is important to understand all the requirements before beginning the visa application process.

Eligibility to Sponsor Australians Moving to the US

  • Sponsors must be US citizens or legal permanent residents.
  • Provide evidence that they have sufficient income and assets to support their family in the US.
  • Sponsor must also show proof of legal presence in the US by providing documents such as a green card or valid visa.
  • Sponsor must provide proof of relationship to the person/people they are calling to the US.
  • Sponsors may be required to complete additional paperwork, such as an affidavit of support, and file taxes with the IRS each year that their sponsored family member remains in the US.
  • Sponsors must provide legal counsel to their sponsored family members if any issues arise regarding immigration matters.
  • Sponsors are also responsible for notifying the USCIS of any changes in address or other information related to the sponsored family member.

How can an Australian Citizen Migrate to the USA? Step-by-Step Guide!

To understand the migration process at a glance, we have provided a step-by-step guide to migrating to the US from Australia.

1. Choose the right visa: Research and choose the visa that is most appropriate for your situation. You may qualify for a work, student, or family visa, depending on your circumstances.

2. Gather necessary documents: Ensure you have all the necessary documents to apply, such as a passport, birth certificate, bank statements, tax returns, and other supporting documents.

3. Complete the visa application form: Fill out and submit the visa application form (Form DS-160).

4. Pay the fee: Pay the corresponding visa application fee at a designated bank or online via credit card.

5. Schedule medical exam: Schedule an appointment for a medical examination with a doctor approved by the US Embassy or Consulate.

6. Schedule an interview: After submitting the application, wait for US Embassy’s further instructions to schedule and attend an in-person interview at the consulate in Australia.

7. Get visa approved: Once all documents have been reviewed by the US Embassy or Consulate, you will be notified if your visa has been approved or denied.

Following the above steps and submitting all necessary documents can take some time, so it is best to plan ahead and submit your application as early as possible.

How to Successfully Shift to the US from Australia?

Moving from Australia to the US could be a hassle, but with the right counsel, the process could be a cakewalk. We have mentioned a few tips that you can follow to overcome the challenges of relocating to the US from Australia.

Move your belongings from Australia to the US

There are numerous international relocation companies and shipping carriers that can help to move your belongings from Australia to the United States. They will work with you to calculate the cost and time frame of your shipment, as well as provide packing, loading and unloading services.

Depending on what is being moved, the most appropriate option may be air freight or sea freight. It is recommended that you get quotes from a few companies to evaluate the best option for your situation. Additionally, many companies offer customs clearance services which can help to speed up the process of importing your items into the US.

The following companies provide international relocation services to help with your move from Australia to the US:

  • Allied Van Lines
  • North American Van Lines
  • SIRVA Relocation
  • Crown Relocations
  • United Van Lines
  • Hercules Moving & Storage

Prepare a checklist for the moving day

It is very important to prepare an exhaustive checklist of items that you will need to take care of on the day of your move.

Australians moving to the USA checklist

Here are some essential points for a relocation checklist:

-Book flights and hotels and make all necessary travel arrangements

-Gather paperwork such as birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, etc.

-Organize packing and shipping of your belongings to the US

-Notify banks, employers, and other organizations of your plans to move

-Cancel utility services at your current residence in Australia

-Arrange for the transfer of funds from Australian bank accounts to US ones

-Find out about relevant taxes, insurance, immigration law, and other government requirements for US

-Clearing any outstanding dues

-Preparing for child care (if necessary)

Settle-in in your new life

We understand that moving to a new place could disrupt your lifestyle drastically, but with some active efforts, one can settle in well in the new community.

Here are some tips to get accustomed to a foreign nation:

  • Research the area you’re moving to – read up on the local culture, customs, and norms
  • Get involved in your community by attending local events, joining a club, or volunteering with an organization
  • Make connections with other Australians who have already made a move to the US to help ease the transition
  • Take some time to explore the area and familiarize yourself with your new home
  • Start building relationships with neighbors, co-workers, and other members of your local community
  • Keep in touch with your friends and family back home so you don’t feel disconnected from your roots
  • Take some time to relax and enjoy your new life!

What will be the Cost of Moving to the USA from Australia?

The cost of moving to the USA from Australia can range anywhere from $2,000 USD for a single applicant to over $10,000 USD for a family. This cost includes airfare, visa processing fees, accommodation, and other related expenses. It is important to do your research and compare quotes from different companies before making any decisions.

How can Australians get Green Card in the US?

The process of acquiring a green card for Australian citizens involves several steps.

Step 1: The first step is to determine if you are eligible for a green card based on your family relationship or employment status.

To be eligible for it, you must:

-Be sponsored by either a family member or an employer in the US

-Have an approved immigrant petition

-Pass both medical and security clearance checks

-Show financial means or proof of employment in the US

-Provide proof of legal entry in the US, such as a valid Australian passport, visa, or travel document

-Have no criminal record

Step 2: Once your eligibility has been established, the next step includes filing an application with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The green card application fee is $1,225 USD.

In order to obtain a green card in the United States, you must provide specific documents for processing your application. These documents typically include:

-Valid passport

-Birth certificate showing your nationality

-Proof of legal entry into the US with valid travel documents such as visa or ESTA

-Proof of financial means or proof of employment in the US

-Police clearance certificate

-Medical examination report

Step 3: The last step is to prepare for an interview with a USCIS officer. This will be used to verify your identity and assess whether you are eligible for a green card. After the interview, you will receive a decision on whether the application is approved or denied.

On the approval of your application, you will receive a green card in the mail and will be granted legal status to stay and work in the United States. It is essential to note that the entire process can take several months or more, so it is recommended to begin the process as soon as possible.

What should Australians do After Relocating to the US?

It is crucial to be familiar with the aftermath of the relocation process. Gaining a fair understanding of what happens after you have moved to the US from Australia is also part of the process. This is essential as this ensures a secure and stable survival in the foreign land.

Let us have a look at the things that one needs to take care of after moving to the US from Australia.

Finding accommodation

The first step of finding the right house is to determine which city and state would be best for you. You can consider these factors while determining which will be best for you:

  • Cost of living
  • Job opportunities
  • Education and childcare facilities
  • Cultural amenities and diversity
  • Leisure activities and entertainment options nearby
  • Climate

Which state has the most Australian population?

Living in a place where your culture is more pronounced could help you in adjusting better and provide an emotional cushion. These are the states with the highest Australian population in the US:

  • California (almost 20.6k Australian population)
  • Texas (almost 8k Australian population)
  • New York (almost 8k Australian population)
  • Florida (almost 5.4k Australian population)
  • Washington (almost 5.1k Australian population)

Connecting with the right agent to find a dream house

Once you have zeroed in on the area you wish to settle in, it is time to look for the right people who can help your dream come true.

HomeAbroad can be your companion in every step of the way while looking for a perfect property. This platform connects you with CIPS agents (Certified International Property Specialist). CIPS agents are real estate agents for foreigners; a CIPS agent can help you find and buy the best home in the US.

Have no US credit history? Fret not! HomeAbroad takes care of your needs by connecting you to mortgage lenders who assist foreigners in getting mortgages with no US credit. So, you can easily buy a house in the US if you are planning on living in the US or want to have an asset in the strongest economy in the world.

Find the best real estate agent and mortgage lender with international expertise.

Connect with a local international real estate agent and mortgage lender

Apply for the social security number

The process of applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) in the US is fairly simple.

An Australian citizen needs to fill out an SS-5 form and submit it along with the necessary documents at the Social Security Administration office.

The required documents include:

  • Proof of identity
  • Evidence of age
  • Valid visa or immigration status
  • US address and proof of work authorization

You will receive your SSN within two weeks of submitting the form and documents. Once you receive your SSN, use it to open a bank account in the US or apply for loans or credit cards.

By following these steps, you can make the transition smoother while living in the United States as an Australian immigrant.

Associating with the right healthcare providers and getting insured

Once you relocate to the US, it is important to choose the right healthcare providers and get insured.

  • You can contact your local insurance agent who will guide you through the process of enrolling in a health plan.
  • Your insurance agent will also provide information on different policies available so that you can compare and choose the one which best suits your needs.
  • You can also contact the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) to find out the options available and compare.
  • HIM will provide a list of health insurance companies that offer coverage in your area, and you can choose one pocket-friendly for you.

Consider US banking options

An immigrant can use the following US banking options and payment methods:

– Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover

– Debit Cards: prepaid or linked to a bank account

– Bank Accounts: checking and savings accounts with major banks in the US such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, etc.

– Mobile Payments: Apple Pay and Google Pay

– Digital Wallets: PayPal, Venmo, Cash App

– Money Transfer Services: Western Union and MoneyGram

– Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin and other digital currencies

Helpful Read: How to Open US Bank Accounts for Non-Residents and Non-Citizens

Get familiar with public transportation

Cost of public transport in Australia VS USA
Source: thesmartlocal

Investigating accessible transportation choices is crucial to making a move to the US easier. There are several possibilities, such as public transportation networks and rental car companies, depending on your particular needs and financial situation.

If you’re seeking for a cheap way to commute, public transportation systems like buses and trains provide affordable options. Additionally, individuals looking for a more practical and adaptable solution have a choice thanks to rental automobile providers.

9.9 billion rides on public transit were made by Americans in 2019. Every workday, individuals board public transportation 34 million times. More than 448,000 individuals work in the $80 billion public transportation industry. In the US, there are about 6,800 companies that offer public transit.

Emotional Aspects of Moving to the US from Australia

It is vital to remember that it takes time to adjust to a new culture, people, and environment.

Moving to a different country brings with it an array of emotions, such as excitement, fear, confusion, sadness, and loneliness. While leaving behind your family and friends in Australia can be difficult, you need to remind yourself that this is an opportunity to start a new life and build a better future for yourself.

These opportunities include:

  • Upward mobility- People who relocate to the US can benefit from this diversity, experiencing new cultures and having access to opportunities that may not have been available in their home countries.

It is important to stay positive and make an effort to explore the culture of your new home. You should also remember to take time out for yourself, indulge in activities that make you happy, and form meaningful connections with the people around you. It is essential to open up about any emotional struggles and seek help from a mental health professional if needed.

If this is your first time in a foreign nation, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. You might also experience the following:

  • Sense of displacement
  • Cultural shock
  • Behavioral changes
  • Physical changes
  • Minor health issues

Moving to the US from Australia is an exciting adventure that can bring great rewards in the future. With patience, perseverance and resilience, you will be able to successfully adjust to your new home and create a fulfilling life for yourself.

Australian Community in the US

The Australian community in the US is made up of immigrants and expats from all walks of life. The majority work in professional and managerial jobs, with many also working in the tech sector.

Here are some resources that Aussies living in the USA can utilize to find other Australian immigrants living and working in the US:

  1. The Australian-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC): This is a great resource for those looking to connect with other Aussies living and doing business in the US. They provide immigration resources, networking opportunities, and events for Aussie professionals looking to make connections and increase their visibility in the states. Additionally, the AACC offers a range of programs that support growing businesses and industry partnerships.
  2. The Australian American Association (AAA): This is an organization dedicated to connecting expats from both countries.
  3. The Australian American Cultural Exchange (AACE): This organization supports cultural exchange initiatives between Australia and America. These organizations provide a great opportunity for expats to learn more about each other’s countries and cultures, as well as build meaningful connections with their new home.
  4. Australian community networking through the embassy: Australian embassy has a dedicated page that provides immigration resources and link to join various Facebook and Instagram pages that could assist Aussies during their time in the US.

Life in Australia VS Life in the US

Still, confused about whether or not moving to the USA from Australia will be a good option for you? Here is a comparison of life in Australia VS life in the US that can aid your decision-making process.

Lifestyle in Australia vs lifestyle in USA
Source: HomeAbroad

Conclusion

If you have read through the entire article, you are well-equipped to make the transition as you have all the necessary information in your pocket.

We hope that this article successfully answered your queries related to moving to the USA from Australia. The entire relocation process can be thrilling yet scary for many, but with proper research and strategy, one can make the entire process seamless.

FAQs

1. Can Australians move to the US?

Yes, Australians can move to the US. However, they must first obtain a visa from the US government.
There are several types of visas available for individuals wishing to live in the US and each has its own set of requirements. These include:
-Working visas
-Student visas
-Family-based visas
-Travel/tourist visas

2. Can Australians get US Green Card?

Yes, an Australian citizen coming to the US can get a Green Card. The process of acquiring a Green Card for non-US citizens involves filing the appropriate forms and documents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

3. Why do Australians move to the US?

Australians move to the US for a variety of reasons, including:
-Job opportunities
-Educational advancement
-Lifestyle changes
-To experience different cultures

Additionally, many Australians find it easier to obtain permanent residency in the US than other countries due to the simplified visa application process.

Furthermore, the US offers a higher quality of life with modern conveniences and facilities which may not be available in Australia. For these reasons, many Australians choose to move to the US to pursue their goals and dreams.

4. How can an Australian get a work visa in the USA?

The first step to getting a work visa in the US for Australians is to determine which type of visa you need. Depending on the nature of your work and your qualifications, there are different types of visas that can be obtained by a foreign worker. These include:

-H-1B Visas (for skilled professionals and specialty occupation workers having theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields)
-E-3 Visas (e 3 visa is for Australian citizens)
-L-1 Visas (for intracompany transferees)
-O Visas (for individuals with extraordinary abilities and achievements)

After selecting the appropriate visa, you must then apply for it. This involves filling out the relevant forms and providing any supporting documents that may be needed. You must also be prepared to provide evidence of your qualifications and professional experience. Once the application is approved, you will be granted the visa and can then move to the US to work.

5. How long can an Australian stay in US?

The maximum length of stay for an Australian in the US depends on the type of visa that you obtain. Generally, most visas allow for a stay of up to six months at a time, although some may permit longer stays depending on the purpose of your visit.

6. How many Aussies live in the US?

According to the East-West Center, there were over 1,02,2000 Aussies living in the US as of 2019.

7. Where in US are the most Aussies located?

Most Australians live in states like California, New York, Texas, South Florida, and Washington.

8. What visas can Australians get for USA?

E-3 visas are for Australians planning to migrate to the US.

9. Is it cheaper to live in Australia or the US?

It is cheaper to live in the US, as cost of living in the US is around $3710- $1048, which is cheaper compared to Australia where the cost of living is around $5509- $1562.

10. How can I get permanent residency in the US after moving from Australia?

In order to obtain permanent residency in the US after moving from Australia, you must first be eligible for a visa. Once you have obtained the necessary visa, you will then need to file an application for adjustment of status with the USCIS in order to become a lawful permanent resident in the US. Once all documents and forms have been submitted and approved, you will be granted your green card. Once the process is complete, you can then apply for citizenship after five years of living in the US as a permanent resident.

11. How much does it cost to become a permanent resident in the US?

The fees of applying for permanent residency in the US ranges from $120 to $1140, depending on the type of visa you hold.

12. How long does it take to get a green card in the US?

The entire process can take around 3-6 months, or longer depending on the type of visa you hold. It is advised to initiate the process as soon as possible.

Editorial Team - HomeAbroad
About the authors:
The Editorial Team at HomeAbroad is comprised of subject matter experts who are real estate professionals, mortgage advisors, content experts and research associates.
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