How to Move to Australia from the USA

In 2001 the Australian Bureau of Statistics released data that 60,000 American-born people had moved to Australia. A decade later, that number had increased by 50 percent, with numbers still on the rise today.

Essentially, on average, it is estimated that between 1,000 and 4,000 Americans move to Australia every year. According to the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, America was one of the top ten countries providing permanent resident migrants to Australia in 2020.

If you’re a US citizen wanting to move to Australia to become a resident or Australian citizen, it can feel confusing.

It’s better to be prepared and know exactly what you are getting into once you move. This means learning everything you can about the moving process, including the Australian visa options, household international moving options, and why moving to this extraordinary country is an excellent choice.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:

  • Best International Movers: The international moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top international movers.
  • Ship your car overseas: Taking your car with you? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle and is experienced.
  • International Moving Costs: Moving internationally comes with its own set of expenses. Learn more about the specific costs associated with an international move.

Who Are the Best US-to-Australia Movers?

When it comes to working with the Best USA-to-Australia movers, we suggest checking out the following reputable and highly experienced international relocation companies:

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
JK Moving Services $$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
North American Van Lines $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
Allied $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom

How Much Does It Cost to Ship From the US to Australia by Sea?

The following table shows the average costs and transit times associated with moving from the USA to Australia:

Origin city Destination city Average cost to ship via 20-foot container Average transit time
Los Angeles Melbourne $1,200 3-4 weeks
Los Angeles Sydney $1,250 3-4 weeks
Los Angeles Adelaide $1,190 4-5 weeks
New York Melbourne $2,950 5-6 weeks
New York Sydney $3,050 5-6 weeks
New York Adelaide $2,975 5-6 weeks
  • Moving from Los Angeles to Australia typically costs about $1,200
  • Moving from New York to Australia typically costs about $3,000
  • Shipping times between The United States and Australia generally range from 3 to 6 weeks

Please note that these figures (and the air freight figures below) are based on data from a relatively small sample size. Your move may cost more or less depending on how much you move, which insurance you choose, and whether you need additional services like storage and automobile shipping.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship From the US to Australia by Air?

With such long transit times on international moves, many busy professionals ship essential work and personal items via air to make sure they arrive about the same time they do. Air freight charges are generally based on weight and volume, and they can be prohibitively expensive if your employer isn’t paying for your move.

The following table shows the average cost of moving to Australia from the USA using a one cubic meter container weighing about 550 pounds, including contents:

Origin city Destination city Average cost Average transit time
Los Angeles Sydney $2,290 1-3 days
Los Angeles Adelaide $2,310 1-3 days
New York Sydney $2,585 1-3 days
New York Adelaide $2,530 1-3 days
  • Air freight shipments from the United States to Australia typically cost between $2,300 and $2,600
  • Transit times on air freight shipments from the United States to Australia are usually between 1 and 3 days

The Cost of Living in Australia

Living expenses are another consideration when calculating the cost of moving from the USA to Australia.

According to Expatistan, the overall cost of living in Australia is about 12% cheaper than it is in the United States, and other sources put the number closer to 25%.  Of course, the cost of living in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane is far higher than it is in many rural areas and small cities in America, so these statistics should be taken with a grain of salt.

The following table shows the average cost difference between various expenses in the two countries:

Item Australia USA
Basic groceries like milk, bread, eggs, and cheese $12 $20
Coffee $3 $4
A meal in a restaurant $13 $15
Draft or bottled beer at a bar or restaurant $4 $3
Movie ticket $13 $12
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment $1,145 $1,290
Monthly utility costs $136 $153
  • Basic groceries are about 40% more expensive in the US than in Australia
  • Restaurant meals are approximately 14% more expensive in the US than in Australia
  • Rent and monthly utilities are about 12% more expensive in the US than in Australia
You’ll also want to consider exchange rates when moving from the United States to Australia. According to XE, one US dollar was equal to about 1.47 Australian dollars as of December 13, 2022.

Working in Australia

Unless you’re a student, a retiree, or an independently wealthy dilettante, you’ll probably need to work to support yourself while living in Australia. If so, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the country’s strict immigration laws and visa requirements. Failing to get the correct visa or working without authorization could result in denial of entry or deportation.

Average workers in Australia and America generally make more than $3,000 per month, but salaries in the United States are slightly higher.

The following table shows the average monthly salaries of Australian and American workers across various fields, ages, and education levels:

Country Average monthly wages (in USD)
Australia $3,025
USA $3,145
  • Average monthly wages are about 4% higher in America than they are in Australia

How to Move to Australia From the USA

Relocating to Australia from America can be an involved process requiring thorough research surrounding many moving aspects. Additionally, moving to Australia from America can be challenging for US citizens because of the complex visa options and requirements.

You will find it easier to move to the country because you have an offer of employment or possess a skill on the skills shortages list. The migrating procedures surrounding work visas are often more straightforward than other visa types.

Yet, this does not mean that a work visa is the only way to access this country and settle in it. Let’s look at what you need to know about moving from the United States into Australia.

Australian Visa Information

If you only want to move to Australia for a few years while studying or traveling, you can apply for a student visa or a working holiday visa. However, these visas will not grant you permanent residency to live in the country indefinitely.

Below we have had a closer look into the most popular types of visas on offer to expats hoping to become Aussies full time. We have also included the general process surrounding moving to Australia by mentioning a few of the requirements for each visa type.

If you are finding the international moving planning stages challenging, you can speak with a migration agent as they will do all the research you need on your behalf. An immigration officer can help you understand the skill points-based system that many visas require. Part of this system requires attaining points allocated to English language skills.

Depending on the migration agent you utilize, they can provide you with a free quote surrounding how much your visa will cost. They can also guide you through the online Australian visa application process, increasing the likelihood of you obtaining a visa that will eventually grant you Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

For American citizens, Australian work visas can cost anywhere from $225 to well over $5,000 per year.

Here’s how much some of the most popular Australian visas cost (in USD), according to InterNations:

  • Standard work visa – $2,955
  • Temporary work visa – $225
  • Distinguished talent visa – $3,000
  • Temporary skill shortage visa – between $925 and $1,925 (depending on duration)

It’s also worth noting that prices, visa types, and entry restrictions are subject to change at any time, so it’s wise to verify everything through official channels before planning your move.

The Different Types of Popular Australian Work Visas

Australia has a diverse range of work permits that allow Americans to enter the country for employment and possible permanent residency and citizenship. We will discuss some of the more desirable types of work permits a US citizen can apply for.

It’s important to note that all the work visas we discuss below allow you to bring eligible family members with you. Yet, you will need to apply or sponsor them according to subsequent entrant visa requirements. Additionally, each of the visas mentioned below will allow you to apply to become a permanent resident and stay in Australia indefinitely.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa

You can apply for the employer nomination scheme visa if you are a skilled worker nominated by an employer. With this visa, your employer is inviting you to live and work in Australia permanently.

  • You have to have the skills necessary for the job you receive, and you will need to take the skills assessment.
  • You need to possess a minimum competent English grade on the English language skills scale.
  • An Australian employer will need to nominate you.
  • You must have at the very least three years of relevant work experience in your field.
  • Meet the Australian health and character visa requirements.
  • Your skill will need to feature on the eligible list of skilled occupations.
  • You will have to be younger than 45.

Skilled Independent Visa

Interestingly the skilled independent visa applies to US citizens and New Zealand citizens. Workers from these countries that possess the skills that Australia needs receive invitations to work and live permanently.

If they invite you, you have more freedom of choice about living and working in Australia with this visa. You don’t need to obtain sponsorship with this type of work permit.

Requirements (US Citizens)
  • You have to be younger than 45.
  • Applicants need to possess the skills for the job you accept and prove they have them by taking the skills assessment.
  • You will need to pass the points test with a minimum of 65 points.
  • Your skills need to feature on the list of eligible skilled occupations.
  • You must possess, at the minimum, a competent English rating.
  • You have to obtain a nomination from an Australian territory or state agency and have been invited to apply by submitting an Australian EOI form.

Skilled Nominated Visas

A skilled nominated visa allows skilled American citizens to live and work in Australia as permanent residents. Unlike a skilled independent visa, you will need to receive sponsorship to successfully attain a skilled nominated visa.

  • You have to satisfy the required points test.
  • Your occupation needs to be on the list of the relevant skills.
  • You have to have been invited to apply for this type of visa.
  • You need to complete a skills assessment for the position you are hoping to fill.

Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa

To obtain a temporary skilled shortage visa, you need to attain sponsorship from a prospective employer. However, unlike with a skilled nominated visa, you won’t be able to live in Australia permanently. With this type of work visa, you can live and work in Australia temporarily. Additionally, you can only get this visa if a suitable skilled Australian worker is not available.

  • To have been working in your nominated occupation for a minimum of two years.
  • A nomination from an approved sponsor, and then you need to fill out an application on the short, medium, or long-term skilled occupation list.
  • Have to have your own approved health insurance.
  • You need to have a competent English skill level.
  • You have to hold a substantive or relevant bridging visa while complying with previous visa requirements if you are applying from within Australia.

Self Employment Visa

In Australia, there are two types of self-employment visas. They are the significant business history self-employment v0isa and the business talent visa. This visa is part of the venture capital entrepreneur stream.

You can apply for a significant business history self-employment visa if you are an experienced business owner who wants to operate an existing or new company in Australia. You can apply for a business talent visa if you have managed to source and secure venture capital from a prestigious Australian Investment Council member. However, with this visa, you will have to want to operate an existing or new business.

Requirements for Significant Business History Stream

  • You need to obtain an annual business turnover of a minimum of AUD 2.1 million for a minimum of two out of four fiscal years before being invited to apply for this visa type.
  • Applicants have to have a net value of a minimum of AUD 1.5 million.
  • You have to be younger than 55 years unless your business venture will be of significant economic benefit to the region it will operate.
  • Before being invited to apply, your net assets need to equal a minimum of AUD 400,000 as part of an ownership interest in at least one qualifying company for two out of four fiscal years.

Requirements for Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream

  • You need to secure a minimum of AUD 1 million in funding for a business idea.
  • Applicants need to receive a nomination from an Australian territory or state before you can apply.
  • You need to meet specific health and character requirements.

Family Visas – Spouse/Fiance

The prospective marriage visa is one of the more popular family visas that fall into the sub-category of fiance/spouse that is not associated with a worker’s permit. This type of Australian family visa allows you to enter Australia to marry your partner.

After you have married your partner, you can then apply for a partner visa which is part of Australia’s permanent residency permit options. The requirements surrounding this type of permit are extensive. You can find them on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.

How to Move Your Things to Australia From the USA

When you decide to move from the US to Australia, you likely don’t know the best moving transportation options. Moving to another country has many daunting tasks, with finding ways to move your household goods and belongings being one of the more pressing concerns.

If you don’t want to leave your possessions behind when you move to Australia, you will enjoy learning that there are two transportation types that are reliable. Yet they are only reliable if you choose a reputable international moving company.

Once you’re ready to move down under, don’t forget to speak with your moving company about your budget and where you want to ship your items from, and the destination they need to arrive at. Many moving companies specializing in moves from the US to Australia can have your belongings sent to a port in Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne.

It’s also an excellent idea to inform them of how quickly you need your belongings as they can determine which moving method is most suitable for you.

Air Freight

When you need your possessions to be sent to Australia quickly and safely, one of the best methods is air freight. However, utilizing an international air freight service is more costly and isn’t suitable for moving large households or stores of belongings.

Typically, air freight is suitable if you only need to move a one-bedroom apartment’s worth of belongings. Additionally, you can expect an air freight transportation service to take between 5 to 8 days when traveling from the US to Australia.

International Air Freight Companies

  • Ships Freight.
  • CF Couriers & Freight.
  • NEW Worldwide Express.

Sea Freight

Sea freight is the most common transportation method and the most affordable option if you need to move many belongings. Yet, sea freight does tend to take longer than air freight.

On average, it can take between one to two months for a sea freight shipment to reach Australia from America. If you want to use a sea freight service, you can choose between two options that we briefly touch on below.

Shared Container

Most US citizens moving to Australia choose to use a shared container with someone else moving to this country. This is because shared containers are more affordable as you will only need to pay for the area your goods occupy.

Usually, this option is most suitable for those who have many belongings but don’t require their own 20ft or 40ft container. If you only need to move to a small apartment, house, or office, this option could be ideal.

Exclusive Container

If you have a lot to ship, you might be better off hiring your own exclusive shipping container. Although this option costs a fair bit more than a shared container, you can ship much more. Usually, you can choose between using a 20ft container and a 40ft container. The size you need to choose will depend on how big the household is that you need to move.

International Sea Freight Companies

  • OSS Worldwide Movers.
  • United States General Shipping Line.
  • LC Schumacher Cargo Logistics.

Why Are People Moving From the US to Australia?

Interestingly, according to statistics, an estimated 14 percent of Americans choose to move to Australia and New Zealand each year. In fact, it’s proven that US citizens are one of the largest groups of people to immigrate to Australia in recent years.

You are likely wondering why Americans are leaving the US and seeking out greener pastures across the ocean and down under with facts like these.

Well, it’s thought that the majority of Americans that choose to leave the US do so for better work opportunities and because of family ties. In Australia, the minimum wage is much higher than in America, and most people can earn a decent living regardless of the type of job they work, which is not the case in America.

However, many Americans specifically choose to leave America for Australia because of the strength of the Australian economy and the Australian dollar. The Aus dollar has an incredibly reliable reputation of being one of the safest and strongest currencies in the world. It also has a favorable exchange rate.

Should you want to learn more about the various other reasons Australia is an attractive immigration country for Americans, read the below sections.

Quality of Life

If you want to experience a high quality of life, Australia might be the best foreign country to move to. In Australia, there are low population rates, and there is minimal pollution. This country has less air pollution and is much more environmentally conscious, which means living in cities isn’t as unhealthy a choice as in America.

Additionally, Australia has an incredible work-life balance, and family outings and friendly get-togethers are considered just as important as working. Moreover, the people’s laid-back nature and their friendliness make living in this country enjoyable no matter where in Australia you choose to move to.


Unlike in America, Australia has free and subsidized healthcare at some of the very best hospitals in the world. If you want excellent health insurance, you might want to choose Australia as their medicare system is one of the best.

The reputable medicare system will grant you access to an extensive range of health care services and free medical care in many public hospitals. You will also enjoy lower prescription costs.


If you think that Australia doesn’t have a diverse food scene think again. This country has some of the best restaurants in the world. For example, in Australia, you can find nine Michelin-star restaurants.

In addition to the fine dining, you will also have a variety of popular fast-food chains and an exhaustive selection of foreign cuisine restaurants. You won’t have any issue finding everything from Vietnamese, Chinese, and Italian to Greek, Indian, and Thai food.

Immigrant Acceptance

Many Americans choose to move to Australia because it is one of the most welcoming countries to immigrants. Not only are the Australian people incredibly friendly, but the country offers an extensive range of visa options, with most allowing access to resident visas.

Additionally, Australia has one of the highest migrant acceptance scores out of 140 countries surveyed in a 2016 Gallup Poll. Most Americans find it easy to make Australia their home.


If you are a parent, you might want to consider moving to Australia. It’s well known that Australia has one of the best public education systems in the world. Unlike other countries, they have a holistic approach to education. They place an equal emphasis on sports and helping children interact with one another as they do with academics.

Additionally, the Australian education system offers free or subsidized education at the primary, secondary and tertiary school levels.

The Weather

The weather and climate in Australia are one of the biggest reasons Americans choose to migrate to the country. For the majority of the year, this country experiences warm temperatures. Average temperatures in Australia range between 83 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some of the Very Best Cities to Move to in Australia

While deciding to move to Australia, you must determine where you would like to stay. Some cities in this country are incredibly expensive, with a higher cost of living than major cities in the US.

However, other cities are more affordable and better suited to raising a family, which is why it’s crucial to do your research. Below are a select few of the best major cities you should consider moving to in Australia.

  • Victoria.
  • Perth.
  • Adelaide.
  • Canberra.
  • Sydney.
  • Brisbane.
  • Hobart.


Below are a few of the reasonably common faqs related to moving from the US to Australia. It’s likely; you want to learn the answer to at least one of these important questions.

Can I Move to Australia From the USA?

If you’re an American citizen, you can move to Australia from the US. However, as an American citizen, you can only move to Australia if you meet the requirements of one of Australia’s visa subclasses. For example, there are work visas, working holiday visas, family visas, and student visas.

How Much Would It Cost for an American to Move to Australia?

How much it will cost an American to move to Australia will largely depend on where the person is moving their belongings from and the destination that the belongings are going. Some places in Australia are more expensive to move to than others, and some places in America are more expensive to move from.

For example, it costs approximately $1,600 to move from Los Angeles to Melbourne, whereas it costs an estimated $3,000 to move from New York to Melbourne. These estimates are based on a 20ft shipping container that is transporting goods via sea freight.

Additionally, how much it will cost will also depend on the type of visa they are applying for, as each has different costs. You will also need to consider your airfare costs and settling costs like housing, food, and transportation. You need to prove that you have a sufficient amount of money in your bank account to support yourself in Australia. At present, this amount is $5,000.

What Are the General Requirements for Moving to Australia?

The requirements that you will need to follow when moving to Australia will depend on the type of visa you apply for. Generally, you will need to find work first, enter on a student visa or a working holiday visa. Additionally, you could move to Australia on a family or spouse visa.

How Long Does It Take an American to Move to Australia from the US?

How long it takes you to move to Australia will depend on the amount of time it takes to receive approval on the visa you apply for. For example, a temporary skilled work visa can take up to 6 months to process, and an employer nomination scheme visa could take up to 9 months. Additionally, a prospective marriage visa could take up to 17 months to process.

Moreover, it will also depend on how quickly you can arrange for flights and transportation of your goods if you take anything with you when you migrate.

Can I Work in Australia If I Am American?

To be able to work in Australia, you will need a visa. Many different work visa options cater to those wanting to work and live in Australia. They also make it easier if you hope to one day become a permanent resident or citizen. Additionally, if you are an American citizen who wants to temporarily work in Australia for a short period while traveling, you can apply for a working holiday visa. This visa usually takes between 14 and 34 days to receive approval.

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