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02 9635 5333



Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries on Earth with more than 30% of the nation’s population being born overseas. Due to its high standard of living and strong sense of community, it is no wonder people from around the world are looking to move to Australia.
Included in this diverse group of people are those from the United States with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting in 2020 that there were over 110,000 US residents living in Australia.
This short guide has been created to help US Citizens and Permanent Residents in taking the steps to immigrate to Australia.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

American citizens along with citizens of 8 other countries traveling to Australia are eligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization or ETA. There are several ways to apply for and obtain an ETA. To qualify for an ETA or other Australian visas, you must:
● Have a valid passport date with an expiration date that is more than 3 months from the date of arrival in Australia● Be free from any disease that may become a public health risk for Australian citizens● Not need costly medical or community services or require medical care/services that deny Australian citizens and permanent residents’ access to the same● Fulfil certain character requirements such as: not having a prior criminal record. Additionally, you must not have served cumulative jail time of 12 months or more.
As a US citizen you will be required to obtain an electronic travel authorization or ETA in order to be allowed entry into Australia. The process of applying for an ETA is very simple and can be completed online.
The ETA allows you to stay in Australia for 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the duration for which you applied and were approved for on your ETA. You can use your ETA for multiple entries into Australia as long as your visa and passport are still valid during each entry.
Once you submit your application for an ETA, it will be sent to you electronically at the email address that you provided on your application within approximately 3 working days. It is possible that it takes longer than that depending on if there is any additional processing required on your application.
Points to keep in mind:● US citizens need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority to enter Australia and remain for any length of time. American passport holders can stay in Australia for up to 90 days with the Australia ETA.● The Australia ETA is valid for short business trips and tourist activity in Australia. It is quick to apply for an ETA online, most applications are reviewed and approved within 24 hours.● The Electronic Travel Authority is valid for 12 months from the issue date and multiple trips of up to 3 months can be made throughout the year using the same travel permit.● Americans cannot get a visa on arrival in Australia. Australia does not issue visas on arrival, all visitors must obtain the relevant travel document before departure.

Emigrating to Australia from the US

A Citizen is able to immigrate to Australia via a number of different pathways depending on how long the individual would like to stay and why they want to move to Australia from the USA.

Some of the many visas eligible to US Citizens include, but are not limited to:
● Partner or Family visa – for US Citizens with family, including a partner already in Australia, you can apply for one of these visa to be re-united with a loved one● Partner visa (Temporary) (subclass 820) – will allow to stay in Australia while you apply for a Permanent Partner Visa● Partner visa (Permanent) (subclass 801) – will allow you to remain in Australia as the de factor partner or spouse of an Australian citizen or permanent resident● Remaining Relative Visa (subclass 115) – allows you to move to Australia to be with your only close family members ● Parent visa (subclass 103) – allows you to move to Australia if you have a child who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Skilled Worker Visa – if you are a qualified individual in a skilled occupation, this may be the visa avenue to apply for● Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) – Points-tested stream – allows you to enter Australia if you are qualified in a desired skilled occupation● Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186) – Allows you to enter Australia via nomination by a domestic employer● Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) – Allows you to enter Australia after being nominated by an Australia State or Territory.

Benefits of Moving to AustraliaThere are several benefits to USA Residents moving to Australia. Some of these benefits include:● No Language Barrier● As the primary language spoken in both the United States and Australia is English, incoming residents should have no issues with communicating with Australians
Universal Healthcare● Unlike in the United States, all Australia citizens and permanent residents are entitled to Medicare, a universal medical entitlement.● Medicare allows those entitled to it to receive free or low-cost healthcare with needed private health insurance ● Healthcare services such as visits to a GP, hospital treatment and certain prescription medicines are covered under the Medicare program
Higher Minimum Wage● As at the time of publishing this article, the current minimum wage in the US is set at USD$7.25 per hour● In Australia, minimum wage is set at USD$14.63, just over double the US minimum wage

How Hard is it to Immigrate to Australia From the USA?

Australia is well-known for its tough stance on immigration and its strict approach to immigration for all prospective applicants regardless of country of origin.
Taking steps to speak to an accredited migration specialist will help to ensure you have all the necessary tools to submit a successful visa application.

What are the Requirements to Migrate to Australia?

Depending on the type of visa you apply for, you will be subject to different requirements.
At the very minimum, prospective visa applicants will be subject to meeting basic health and character requirements set out by the Department of Home Affairs. These minimum requirements will ensure that Australia’s health guidelines are maintained and that Government is able to ensure that people entering Australia are of fit and proper character prior to entering the country.
In order to show you meet the basic health requirements, the Department will inform applicants of necessary health checks they must undertake in order for their application to be processed further. The extent of checks differs from applicant to applicant but generally consist of a medical examination, chest x-ray and HIV test.
In addition to this, applicants must show that they meet the character requirements set out by the Department. To do this, the Department will make enquiries into your history regarding items of interest such as:● Your criminal record;● Your affiliations with groups or organisations of concerns to the Department; and● Your history of dangerous crimes and domestic violence.
Applicants will be required to obtain a clearance certificate from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI Clearance), a State Police Clearance and will be required to submit their biometrics to the Department of Home Affairs.

Australian Visa for US Green Card Holders

US Green Card Holders are able to apply for a visa to enter Australia so long as they can meet all minimum requirements of their selected visa.

Studying in Australia for US Citizens

For US Citizens looking to study in Australia, student visas are available to them. US citizens are able to stay in Australia for up to 5 years subject to their enrolment.
In order to apply for a Student Visa, you must be able to provide evidence that you are enrolled in a course of study registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) as well as being able to demonstrate that you hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
US Citizens are exempt from meeting English language requirements but must be able to demonstrate that they will be able to support themselves during their stay.
Ordinarily, individuals on student visas are limited to work 40 hours a fortnight but, due to workforce shortages brought on by COVID-19, this measure has temporarily been relaxed meaning there is no cap on hours for Americans working in Australia on a student visa.
As of the time of writing, an application for a student visa costs USD$454.41.

Cost of Moving to Australia from the US

The cost of moving to Australia from the US will differ depending on a number of factors including the type of visa you wish to apply for and where you want to move.

When moving, it is important to keep in mind the following, amongst other things:● Cost of visa application● Cost of a migration solicitor ● Additional costs in order to secure your visa – e.g. cost of receiving a medical examination or police clearance certificates ● Flights to Australia ● Cost of shipping goods to Australia ● Pet relocation costs

Help with Immigrating to Australia From the US

The process of securing an Australian visa can be complicated and lengthy.
Speaking to a qualified migration solicitor will equip you with all the tools you need to streamline and simplify the migration process in Australia.
Our team at Alan Rigas Solicitors hold specialist accreditation in Migration Matters are will be able to assist with all of your migration needs.

Final Words

The material included in this article is designed and intended to provide general information in summary migration to Australia from the United States, which is current at the time of publication and is for general informational purposes only.
The contents do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.