A Family of Four Moving to USA from Australia

A Complete Guide on Moving to America from Australia

Oct 21, 2023

Moving to USA from Australia is a long and arduous process. It requires Australians to do many things, including:


      • Collecting all the necessary documentation;

      • Applying for and securing a visa;

      • Choosing a state and city to move to;

      • Finding the right home or apartment;

      • Covering the costs of moving to USA from Australia;

      • And much more…

    Considering you’re moving halfway across the world, even the slightest mistake in the process can set you back months in terms of preparation. That’s why handling the entire thing flawlessly is crucial to save money and time.

    In this guide, you will learn everything you need about moving to the US from Australia to minimize stress and expenses.

    But before we dive deep into the process, let’s first do a short comparison of the two countries…

    Is It Worth Moving to USA from Australia?

    Moving from one country to another is a huge, once-in-a-lifetime decision. And each person’s circumstances can differ, so we can’t objectively evaluate whether moving to USA from Australia is worth it for you. However, there are some objective things we can look at to compare these two countries.

    In the table below, you will find a comparison of some of the key economic aspects of the US and Australia that may help you decide.

    (All Values Shown in USD) USA Australia
    Average Salary $74,000 / year $67,000 / year
    Average Real Estate Price $430,000 $553,000
    Average Rent $1,320 / month $2,400 / month
    Average Tax Rate 24,8% 22,7%
    Cost of Living $2,500–$3,500 / month $1,500–$1,800 / month

    Note: These stats represent countrywide averages and may differ greatly between states/municipalities.

    If you want to move out of Australia to look for new opportunities, the US is a great place. The country has higher average salaries than Australia, especially for states with higher living costs (e.g., New York and California).

    The US also has lower rent and real estate prices than in the urban parts of Australia., so finding an affordable home won’t be difficult. However, the higher costs of living may be an issue for some.

    Either way, consider this data and do some additional research (especially on the states you’re most interested in) before deciding.

    two moving guys helping an australian family to relocate their belongings in their new home in the US

    What Are the Most Popular Places for Australians Moving to the US?

    If your mind is set on immigrating from Australia to the US, the next step will be deciding where to move. Although any city is fair game, most Australians will probably be more comfortable moving to a place with a developed community of their fellow countrymen.

    The US States with the highest population of Australian immigrants are the following:


        • California

        • Texas

        • Washington

        • New York

        • Florida

        • Oregon

        • Arizona

      These States have thriving Australian communities, which can make your transition that much smoother and easier. These communities are the largest in the following cities:


          • Los Angeles (CA)

          • New York City (NY)

          • Seattle (WA)

          • Portland (OR)

          • Phoenix (AZ)

          • Dallas (TX)

          • Miami (FL)

        Remember, though, that the rent, property prices, and living costs can vary significantly between these cities, so you should also consider choosing the one that best matches your means.

        How to Move to America from Australia Permanently: A Checklist

        After you decide where in the US you want to move to, here’s what you’ll need to do to get the ball rolling:

        1. Collect All the Necessary Documentation

        Before you can even consider applying for a US visa, you’ll need to ensure you have all the documentation sorted. The documents you’ll need to present to apply for a visa are the following:


            • A valid passport;

            • Birth certificate;

            • Bank statements or tax returns;

            • Employment or family records or other support documents;

            • A filled-out visa application form (depending on the type of visa you’re applying for);

            • Completed visa application fee payment;

            • Additional documents required based on your desired visa type.

          If you have all of the above, you’ll need to fill out one of three visa application forms and take them to the US Embassy or Consulate to start the process:


              • Form DS-160 — Used for standard nonimmigrant visa applications;

              • Form OF-156 — Used for online nonimmigrant visa applications;

              • Form I-134 — Affidavit of support (only when applicable).

            you will need a certain type of american visa when moving to USA from Australia

            2. Choose the Right Visa Type When Moving to USA From Australia

            After collecting all the documentation, it’s time to choose the visa to apply for. There are several different categories of US visas that Australians can get to live in America:


                • Tourist visas (not necessary for Australian citizens)

                • Student visas

                • Work visas

                • Investor visas

                • Family visas

                • Other types of visas

              Depending on your age, work, and marital status, getting one of these visas may be easier than others. For instance, if you want to visit the US as an Australian, you won’t need even a tourist visa — all you’ll need is to apply for entry through the official ESTA application website. However, you cannot get employed in America when visiting as a tourist, and you can only stay for up to 6 months.

              Here is a short overview of the most frequent types of visas from these categories:

              Student Visas

              Student Visas Description
              F-1 Student Visa Awarded to students entering the US to pursue a full-time course or study.
              J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Awarded to students participating in exchange programs with the US (e.g., work & travel programs, internships).
              O-1 Extraordinary Abilities Visa This visa is issued to foreigners with extraordinary academic achievements in sciences, arts, business, or athletics.

              All student visas are temporary and cannot lead to citizenship status on their own, but they are an excellent way to get your foot through the door if you are eligible for one.

              Work Visas

              Work Visas Description
              E-3 Visa Awarded to Australian citizens with a valid job offer from a US employer who also acts as their sponsor (guarantees for them) in a specialty occupation. This visa can be renewed every two years indefinitely.
              H-1B Work Visa This visa is the same as the E-3 visa but restricts the number of times you can renew it.
              L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Awarded to foreigners working for a US company’s parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary.
              EB-3 Skilled and Professional Worker Visa Awarded to foreigners with a job offer from a US employer in a highly specialized field.

              Work visas are the easiest US visas to obtain as an Australian national, and they usually allow you to stay in the country for extended periods. Of all the above visas, the most popular is the E-3 visa since it requires your employer to vouch for you and gives you the most rights (and infinite opportunities for renewal). However, the E-3 visa is harder to get since it carries a greater risk for your employer.

              Investor Visas

              Investor Visas Description
              E-1 Treaty Trader/Investor Visa Awarded to foreign investors or entrepreneurs who conduct substantial trade between their country and the US.
              E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Awarded to nonresident investors planning to invest significant capital in a US-based business.
              EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa This all-encompassing visa is given to investors who invest $900,000–$ 1.8 million in a US business that creates at least ten jobs.

              Investor visas are one of the best US visas foreign nationals can get. If you plan to start a business in the States or are already a nonresident investor, you’re in luck — you’re unlikely to have issues securing a visa.

              Other Visas

              Some of the other visas Australians can apply for are the following:


                  • CR-1 Conditional Resident Visa — Awarded to people married to a US citizen for the first two years of the marriage;

                  • IR-1 Immediate Relative Visa — This visa signals the transition to the status of a permanent resident after the first two years of marriage;

                  • K-1 Fiance Visa — Granted to foreign nationals engaged with a US citizen for 90 days. This visa is valid only for 90 days, after which the couple needs to get married (and apply for a CR-1 visa);

                  • Green Card Holder — All foreigners can participate in the Green Card Lottery that grants 50,000 US visas annually. The winners of this lottery become green card holders.

                  • EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa — Awarded to individuals who excel in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics whose achievements were recognized nationally.

                  • EB-2 National Interest Waiver — Awarded to individuals whose work is indispensable and deemed of national importance to the USA.

                Note: Regardless of the visa you apply for, visa processing times can take quite a while (usually months or even longer). That’s why you should always apply as soon as possible if you’re planning to move. A pro tip would be to check less popular visa options, such as the H1B lottery.

                pick a city where you will move in the us from australia

                3. Choose the State and City You’ll Move To

                After applying for your desired visa, the next thing you’ll need to do is decide where you’re going to move to.

                Besides potentially looking for a city with a thriving Australian community, there are other factors you should take into account when choosing one:


                    • Home & rent prices

                    • Employment opportunities

                    • The climate

                    • Costs of living

                    • Quality of educational and medical facilities

                    • Cultural amenities and a variety of leisure activities

                    • And more…

                  Your choice of city (and state) may vary significantly based on how much you value the above points. For instance, places like Los Angeles or Miami are a great choice if you value an Australian community and climate. But if you value things like affordable costs of living and lower home and rent prices, a town like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would fit you better.

                  4. Cover the Costs of Moving to USA from Australia

                  One final step before immigrating to the US would be to set aside enough money to cover the moving expenses. But how much can moving from Australia to the US cost? Quite a lot, in fact.

                  Depending on the State you want to go to, you can expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 per person. Here are just some of the things you’ll need to pay for:


                      • Visa application and processing fees;

                      • Airline tickets;

                      • Finding and covering accommodation expenses;

                      • Cross-continental moving costs (if you have things to transfer over).

                    Moving to the US From Australia: What to Do Once You’re There

                    Once you have covered everything and secured your trip to the US, you’re almost ready to start your American life. But before you can do that, you will need to sort a few essentials out:


                        1. Get a social security number (SSN) — All US residents need a social security number for identification purposes, so you’ll need to take one out. However, if you don’t have a visa that allows you to get an SSN, you can use an ITIN instead.

                        1. Open a private US bank account — Once you get a visa and move to America, you can open a private US bank account. You will need one in your new life chapter in the States.

                        1. Get your taxes sorted out — One of the hardest parts of living in the US is handling your taxes properly (even US natives often get it wrong). That’s why it’s better to start learning about American tax laws early than doing it when the IRS comes knocking at your door. If you find it too complex, though, you can always hire a professional CPA to help you.

                      These three things are crucial for leading everyday life in the US, so get them sorted out when you arrive.

                      all you need to know before moving from australia to america

                      Need Help to Buy a Home in the US Before Moving from Australia?

                      If you’re moving to USA from Australia soon but haven’t sorted out your living situation yet, why not get some help with that? Here at NRI, we help foreigners secure funding for US real estate and guide them through the buying process. If you want to buy a perfect home for your family in your new homeland, we have a web of real estate agents experienced in working with foreigners across all 50 States and would love to help you find your dream home.

                      Our CEO, Luka Malkovich, is a nonresident investor with years of experience who has helped dozens of foreigners start their new lives in America. If you need help securing funds for a home in the States or want help finding the right property for you and your family, why not jump on a free 15-minute discovery call with Luka and tell him more about your wishes?


                      1. Is it hard for an Australian to move to America?

                      Moving to USA from Australia isn’t too challenging, but you will need to have a visa to do so. Australians can apply for several types of visas to move to the US:


                          • E-3

                          • H-1B

                          • O-1

                          • L-1

                          • EB-5

                        Once you get a valid visa, you can move to the US at your convenience.

                        2. Can Australian citizens work in the USA?

                        Yes, Australians can work in the US if they have one of the following five visas:


                            • E-3

                            • H-1B

                            • O-1

                            • L-1

                            • EB-5

                          The most common working visa for Australians is the E-3 visa. This visa requires an invitation from a US employer in an occupation requiring a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, specialized knowledge, or 12 years of experience in a given field. You’ll be eligible for the E-3 visa if you meet these requirements.

                          3. Can Aussies buy property in the USA?

                          Yes, Australians (and other nonresidents) can buy property in the US without restrictions. The USA is incredibly welcoming to nonresident investors and even offers them various tax benefits should they decide to buy US real estate.

                          4. Can Australians get a US green card?

                          Yes, Australians can get a US green card through several means:


                              • Employment-based sponsorship

                              • Family-sponsored sponsorship

                              • Investment-based green card

                              • Diversity visa lottery

                            The most common way Australians get a US green card is through employment-based sponsorship by getting a job offer from a US employer in a specialty occupation.

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