Let’s Move to Australia: Tips on Making an International Move Go Smoothly

So you have decided it’s time to move. Not just an ordinary move across town or across state, but you’ve decided it’s time to move to another country – Australia specifically. As a fellow Aussie lover, I totally understand the attraction of this beautiful country and the want – the need – to become a citizen and to live here.

Making an international move is not something to take lightly, there are quite a few details that you probably have not considered past the “let’s move to Australia” lightbulb moment. Before you pack your bags and head off to the land down under, here are a few things that you need to know.


Your Reason for Moving

There are usually several reasons why someone would take on the herculean task of making an international move from one country to another. There may be civil unrest in your country, health issues that require a drastic climate change, a better lifestyle for your family and children, or it could be something as simple as a promotion to handle a company position in another country. Whatever the reason, there are several things that everyone will need to mark off their checklist before moving day arrives. We love Bob in Oz, a transplanted Aussie from England who has chronicled his move every step of the way and offers his personal thoughts and observations on living in Australia. His website is a virtual fountain of information we’re sure you’ll be back to visit again and again!

passports-and-visasGet Your Paperwork in Order

In order to travel to a foreign country, you’ll need a passport. If you are bringing your entire family with, you can apply for a family passport that will cover everyone in your family. However, if you are going to be traveling back and forth in advance of your move to square things away personally, you’ll need an individual passport.

A passport is your personal identification to use when traveling abroad. It contains your name, sex, date or birth and place of birth and is usually issued by the national government where you currently reside.

A visa, on the other hand, is official permission that allows us into a specific country and needs to be granted by the government of the country that you wish to visit. It can be a separate document but is usually a stamp that is placed in your passport. There are several types of visas that you can obtain:

  • Tourist Visa – is issued for the purpose of touring and traveling throughout a specific country
  • Transit Visa – is usually valid for only 5 days or less and is issued if you are simply passing through a country to reach your final destination
  • Business Visa – is issued for business men and women who travel to a certain country on a regular basis to engage in commercial activities
  • Temporary Worker Visa – is issued to workers in a foreign country
  • Student Visa – is issued to students who are studying in a foreign country

get-your-paperwork-in-orderBirth Certificates and Other Documents

In order to obtain your passports and visas, you will need to be able to prove whom you are and your family members. The best way to do so is to gather up all birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, divorce documents, adoption certificates, employment references, etc. and create a folder for each member of the family. This way when you are asked to produce a document you will have everything ready and at your fingertips.

The best place to start to find out everything you are going to need to do and have available is the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. This website will help you learn what type of visas you and your family will need.

Deciding Where to Live


Depending upon your reason for moving, you’ll need to decide where you want to live. If this is a job-related move, your choice of locations is limited to those near your place of employment.

Australia offers you the best of everything quite frankly. You need to determine what is most important to you and your family. Are you looking for a particular climate? Do you want the busy bustle of a city or the laid back quiet of the countryside? Do you want to live on the beach or are you more of a mountain person?

I have taken a partial liking to Adelaide, Australia for the city-like convenience and the countryside personality of this Australian city. Australians seem to love this city as well. The top 10 places to live in Australia, as chosen by Australians, are as follows:

  1. Adelaide
  2. Canberra
  3. Hobart
  4. Newcastle
  5. Geelong
  6. Brisbane
  7. Melbourne
  8. Wollongong
  9. Perth
  10. Sydney

So if you aren’t sure where you want to live in Australia, check out these Aussie-picked favorites first!

Time to Check Out the Real Estate Market


When you finally decide on a location where you want to settle with your family, the next step is to check out the real estate market and see what you can find within your budget. If you’ve chosen a location that doesn’t exactly fit with your housing budget and the lifestyle that you want for your family, it’s not too late to check out the other cities on your list that were runner-up to your first choice.

It is this author’s personal opinion that you should look at a rental home before making the decision to purchase a home, especially when moving to a new country. This gives you the opportunity to “try out” the area where you have chosen to live without actually committing to that city or town. After all, what looks great on paper doesn’t always translate the same way when you are actually living it day-to-day.

Making Arrangements for Your Four-Legged Family Members


One of the first things you will need to determine when moving is whether or not you can bring your pets with you. While traveling from state to state may not be a problem, there are countries that do not allow you to bring your pets from another country without following certain procedures. The following are general guidelines for those wishing to move from the United States to Australia with their pets.

There is a mandatory quarantine for all live animals entering Australia and on the condition that certain criteria be fulfilled, the quarantine period for a dog or cat entering Australia is 190 days. 180 of those days can be completed here in the United States immediately prior to your move, but the remaining 10-day quarantine will need to be done in Australia.

Animals entering Australia must have a microchip implant. The best way to prepare your four-legged family members for the move is to hire a pet relocation specialist that deals with the international moving of family pets.

It’s Time to Pack Up Your Belongings


The day has finally arrived for you to begin packing your possessions to get them ready for the move. If you plan on packing up your home yourself, here are a few tips to help you keep everything organized.

  • Have Quality Moving Boxes. You need sturdy boxes made of corrugated cardboard that will stand up to the move and in a variety of sizes.
  • Packaging Tape. Be sure to cross-tape the bottom of the boxes so they don’t open up easily. You’ll also want to be sure and apply a strong seal across the top to keep them from coming open.
  • Multi-Colored Pens and Stickers. The easiest way to keep things organized is to color-coordinate your boxes. Have a particular sticker color for your kitchen items, your living room, etc.
  • Bubble Wrap. You’re going to need plenty of bubble wrap for your fragile items and valuables!
  • Zip Lock Bags. These strong bags are useful for small items that can easily get lost in the moving process. Items such as screws, bolts, nuts, keys, etc. can easily be kept together and labeled.
  • Make an Inventory. Have a list of things you are moving and group your belongings together for the move. It makes it easier when you are unpacking and will help you prioritize your items so that everything is kept together. Number your boxes and the inventory list of what is in that box to make it easier when you arrive at your new home to find the items you need.
  • Don’t Over Pack Your Boxes. Do not pack more than you can carry in your boxes.
  • Have a Moving Day Essentials Box. Have the items that your family will need while your belongings are being transported.
    • Snacks, coffee, tea, milk, cups, plates, utensils
    • Flashlight, first aid kit and daily medicines, resealable plastic bags, pen and paper
    • Toiletries in an overnight bag with essentials each family member needs

Ensure that you have a moving specialist in your new home country that can receive your possessions and get them transported to your new home. To find a professional removalist who can help you with your move, read this article. It’s a good idea to hire movers who specialize in long-distance moves, so you know everything has the best chance of arriving safely. 

Arriving In Your New Home Country

After months of planning and preparation, it’s time to board the plane and head to your new home. You’ve made it! You’ve arrived in a new country about to embark on a new way of life and lifestyle. Hopefully our article has helped you plan your move so that you’ll be able to make the transition from one country to another with minimal issues.

2020 Kimberly Signature

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  1. I never even gave moving to another state let alone another country. Based on this post it seems like it would to take more than six months for the move.

    • Once I started doing some research, I learned really quick that while moving across country or moving from one state to another might be possible within 1 to 3 months … moving internationally takes a LOT longer to do. Unless your moving as part of your job – you need to plan at least 18 months in advance to make sure everything is taken care of and you have the proper documents and paperwork in line and can actually find a home that you’ll enjoy and is within your means. It’s not for the faint of heart that’s for sure. If you get time, check out Bob in Oz’s website – he moved from England to Australia and he has chronicled every step of the way of what it was like and now he bounces around Australia writing about the different cities and towns and giving his thoughts and opinions. Love his blog!

  2. These are great tips for moving internationally and I am going to save them to my pocket list but first I just want to vacation in Australia for a month or so!

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