Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia from USA: An Expat's Guide

Thinking of making the big move to Australia?

Whether it's for work, study, or simply to start a new chapter in life, the idea of living in the land down under can be both exciting and daunting.

With our expertise in international relocations, Crown Relocations can assist with visa and immigration requirements, finding a suitable place to live, and transferring belongings and pets.
Australia is a land of contrasts, boasting everything from vast, arid deserts to lush rainforests and pristine beaches. As an expat, you'll find yourself immersed in a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Indigenous Australians, European settlers, and waves of migration from across the globe. 

We have helped thousands of families and individuals move or emigrate to Australia and provide you with the essential information needed for a smooth transition to Australia.

Understanding Visas Option for Expats Moving to Australia

Before packing your bags and boarding the plane, securing the right visa is the first step in your journey to Australia. Understanding the entry requirements and the types of visas available is crucial to avoid any setbacks in the application process.

There are various types of visas available for those planning to move to Australia. The type of visa you will need depends on the purpose of your move. 

The Department of Home Affairs provides a comprehensive list of Australian visas, including visitor visas, studying and training visas, family and partner visas, working and skilled visas, and refugee and humanitarian visas. 

It's important to determine the most suitable visa for your specific circumstances.

Understanding Entry Requirements

Moving to Australia can be an exciting life change, but it's important to understand the entry requirements before making the move. 

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to obtain a visa, residency permit, or work permit. Each option has different eligibility criteria, so it's crucial to research and understand the specific requirements for your situation.

These requirements may include health and character assessments, as well as ensuring that all supporting documents are in order. This will help ensure a smooth transition and avoid any issues with immigration authorities once you arrive in Australia.  
Australian visa application

Costs and Processing Time

The cost of visa applications and the processing time can vary depending on the type of visa. It is important to check the official Department of Home Affairs website for the most current information regarding fees and processing times.

Understanding the Cost of Living in Australia for Expats

One aspect that can be a concern for those considering a move to the Land Down Under is the cost of living. 

From housing to groceries to healthcare, living expenses in Australia can vary significantly depending on the city and lifestyle choices. We will explore the overall living costs in Australia for expats, providing valuable insights and tips for budgeting and adjusting to the Australian lifestyle. 


Cost of Living in Australia

The cost of living in Australia is relatively high, but it can vary depending on the city and your lifestyle. 

According to Numbeo, a family of four can expect to spend around $3,969.7 per month without rent, while a single person's estimated monthly costs are about $1,127.7 without rent. 

The cost of living in Australia is, on average, 0.4% lower than in the United States. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth are known for their higher living costs compared to other cities in Australia.
living cost in australia

Food and Groceries

The cost of groceries and eating out in Australia ranges from $80 to $280 per week for an individual. This expense can be managed by being mindful of spending, comparing prices, looking out for deals, and making a shopping list to avoid impulse buying. 


Public transport costs in Australia typically range from $15 to $55 per week, while ongoing car costs can be between $150 to $260 per week. Monitoring petrol prices and buying when the price cycle is lower can help save on transportation expenses. 


Gas and electricity costs in Australia can range from $35 to $140 per week, while phone and internet expenses can be around $20 to $55 per week. Comparing gas and electricity deals and choosing the best mobile plan for your needs can help in managing utility costs. 

Miscellaneous Expenses

Other living expenses in Australia include entertainment, with costs ranging from $80 to $150 per week. To save money, sharing accommodation with family or friends to split expenses, such as groceries and utilities, can be a practical approach. 

Property and Housing for Expats in Australia

When moving to Australia, expats have several housing options to choose from, including renting, buying, or even house-sitting. The process of finding a suitable home can be made easier by understanding the local lingo and using various online resources.

Renting Property

Expats relocating to Australia on a short-term basis will likely opt to rent property. The rental process is straightforward, but expats should be prepared to do most of the initial research and enquiries. 

Buying Property

Many expats choose to buy property in Australia, and the ease of obtaining a mortgage approval depends on factors such as visa type and credit rating. 

Expats can buy property in Australia, but they may need to apply for Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval, especially if they are non-residents. 


House-sitting is another option for expats looking for temporary housing solutions. 

House sitting is a service where someone cares for another person's home while they are away. It can be voluntary or paid, depending on the agreement between the homeowner and the house sitter.

House sitting is a service that benefits both parties. House sitters receive free accommodation in exchange for caring for the home, pets, and gardens. Homeowners can rest assured that everything is being looked after while they are away.

Most house sits are short-term, so you are better off planning for a longer-term or permanent accommodation.

Finding a Suitable Home

Expats should familiarize themselves with the local lingo used to describe properties in Australia, such as "flats" for apartments and "units" for condominiums. 

Expats can also enlist the help of technology and online resources to search for properties, such as real estate portals and social media groups where people share property listings.

Crown Relocations has the expertise on the ground to help you find your ideal home with our home search service. 

Our services include:
  • Local knowledge: Our experts can provide local knowledge about areas that match a person's lifestyle and budget.
  • Contract negotiation: We can negotiate favourable contract terms.
  • Contract law guidance: We can guide people through the rent or purchase contract law at their destination.
  • Property inspection: We can inspect shortlisted properties.
  • Custom tours: We can provide customized tours of residential areas.

Costs and Taxes Owning Property

Expats should be aware of the costs and taxes associated with owning property in Australia. If you own property in Australia, you are likely to be required to pay tax in Australia, even if you no longer live there. 

This includes annual land taxes on investment properties, which are calculated based on the total taxable land value. 

Additionally, foreign residents may be subject to stamp duty and land tax surcharges.

What are the best neighbourhoods for expats in Australia

Expats seem to be drawn to areas that offer a balance of urban conveniences and suburban tranquillity, allowing them to easily adapt to the Australian lifestyle.  Let's explore the top neighbourhoods for expats to settle in Australia.  
Neighbourhood The Attractions
Sydney Paddington and Rose Bay - These neighborhoods are known for their quiet streets, tree-lined parks, and luxury homes, making them attractive to expats.
Melbourne South Yarra and Toorak - These neighborhoods have beautiful parks, quality homes, and convenient shopping, appealing to many expats.
Perth Cottesloe and Subiaco - These neighborhoods blend modern city amenities with a pleasant residential environment, drawing in expats.
Canberra Around Lake Griffin, South Canberra, North Canberra - These areas are recommended for expats in the capital city due to factors like safety and quality of life.
Hobart Battery Point and Sandy Bay - These neighborhoods have historic buildings and peaceful residential environments, attracting expats.

Navigating the Australian HealthCare System

Australia has an excellent public healthcare system, with Medicare providing medical appointments, medications, and hospital care at low or no cost for Australian citizens and permanent residents. 

However, expatriates in Australia who are not permanent residents are responsible for their healthcare costs. 

It's recommended that expats carry their own private global health insurance policy to cover their healthcare costs. 

Australia has a hybrid public-private healthcare system:

  • The public system, called Medicare, provides essential hospital treatment, doctor visits, and subsidized medication for Australian citizens and permanent residents.

  • The private system offers additional services like dental, optical, and specialist care, which can be accessed through private health insurance.

Costs and coverage

Medicare covers 75% of the cost for certain doctor services and provides subsidies for prescription medications.

Private health insurance can cover the remaining 25% of doctor costs and provide access to private hospitals and specialists.

Expats must pay out-of-pocket for services not covered by Medicare or their private insurance, such as ambulance rides, dental work, and certain specialist treatments.

Accessing healthcare

Expats can easily find general practitioners (GPs) and specialists in major cities, but wait times to see doctors can be long.

In emergencies, expats should call 000 to access the public ambulance and emergency services.

Overall, the healthcare system in Australia provides high-quality care, but expats need to carefully navigate the public-private divide and ensure they have adequate private health insurance coverage to supplement the public system. 

Understand Educational System for Expats

For expats moving to Australia with children, it's important to consider the educational system. 

Australia offers a high standard of education, with a wide range of schooling options available, including public, private, and international schools. 

The cost of education can vary depending on the type of school and the state or territory. 

It's advisable to research the available schooling options and consider the specific needs of your children.

Here's a comprehensive list of international schools that are available across Australia.

School System in Australia

The school system in Australia is divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary education (higher education). Only primary and secondary education are compulsory. The mandatory age for full-time school attendance varies from state to state but is generally from age 5 or 6 to age 15 or 17.
Public schools in Australia are funded by the government and are free for permanent residents. However, expats on temporary residency visas will most likely need to pay the fixed tuition fee associated with their state or territory. Additional expenses such as school uniforms and stationery are not funded by the state. 
Private schools in Australia can be expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000 per year. Private schools provide a better level of education than public schools, and the class sizes tend to be smaller than those of public schools. Some private schools offer boarding primarily for Southeast Asian students, while others offer bilingual instruction in French, German, and Japanese.
International schools are a popular option for expat parents who hope for their children to get a high level of education in English and attend better universities in the country later on. International schools may have some local students, but they are traditionally geared to a foreign student body. 

These schools usually follow a curriculum model from the US, UK, France, Canada, or Australia/New Zealand. International schools can be the perfect solution for an expat student in Australia (multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, NGO staff).
The cost of education in Australia varies depending on the type of school and location. Public schools are free for permanent residents, but expats on temporary residency visas will most likely need to pay some fixed tuition fee associated with their state or territory. 

Private schools can be very expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000 per year. 
International schools can also be expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $40,000 per year.
There are scholarships available for expat students in Australia, including those for international and expat students in Australia for all levels of education, including secondary and higher education. 

For parents wishing to send their children to public school, scholarships are also offered by the Public Education Foundation for all levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Expats with children, especially those who may return home later, should carefully consider the curriculum offered by their government school of choice. While some offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, most do not. Parents should be sure that credits and certificates earned from an Australian school will be accepted at tertiary institutions in their home country. 
Public schools in metropolitan areas have 'catchment areas,' and you need to be living in this area for your children to be eligible for enrollment at that school. This drives up house prices and rents for houses that are in the catchment areas of better public schools.

Education Agents

If you wish to study abroad in Australia and need help with the application process, you might be able to reach out to an education agent in your home country or consult with our school search expertise.

In summary, expats moving to Australia with school-age children will have plenty of options to choose from, including public, private, and international schools. 

Public schools are free for permanent. Private schools can be very expensive, with fees ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000 per year. 

International schools are a popular option for expat parents who hope for their children to get a high level of education in English and attend better universities in the country later on. 

It's important to carefully consider the curriculum offered by your government school of choice and seek advice from education agents or professionals if needed. 

Emigrating to Australia: What Else You Need to Know

For those considering a more permanent move, the process of obtaining permanent residency and understanding the financial implications of emigrating to Australia is a significant aspect that requires careful consideration.

Emigrating to Australia requires more than just getting a visa. It's important to understand the culture, lifestyle, and job market. 


Relocation Costs and Financial Considerations

Emigrating to Australia involves various costs, including visa application fees, relocation expenses, and the cost of setting up a new life. 

It is essential to budget for these expenses and consider financial planning to ensure a smooth transition.


Taxes for Expats in Australia

Taxes in Australia for expats depend on their residency status. Non-residents are generally taxed only on their Australian-sourced income and not on their worldwide income, which can be advantageous for those with significant income outside of Australia. 

Australia taxes its residents on their worldwide income, and to prevent double taxation, it offers a foreign income tax offset for any foreign tax paid on this income. 

The tax rates for non-residents can range from 32.5% to 45% depending on their income. Expats need to determine their tax residency status and seek advice from tax professionals to manage their Australian tax obligations.

Settling into the Australian Way of Life

Adapting to the Australian way of life involves embracing the laid-back culture, outdoor activities, and a strong sense of community.

Learning about Australian customs and integrating into the local lifestyle is a rewarding part of the relocation journey.


The decision to move to Australia is a significant life change that can bring both excitement and apprehension. With the support and expertise of companies like Crown Relocations, individuals and families can navigate the complexities of the relocation process.

Whether it's securing the necessary visas, finding a new home, or transporting belongings and pets, professional assistance can make the transition to Australia a smooth and manageable experience.

By having essential information and support, you and your families can realize the dreams of starting a new chapter in the land down under.  

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