Can I move to the USA from Australia?
Wanting to make a new start in the USA?
How long have you been wondering "Can I move to the USA from Australia?"
What you need to know about moving to the United States from Australia.
Worldwide Migration Partners can help answer your question: "Can I move to the USA from Australia?"
The USA has just about everything you could look for… from the tropical sunshine in Hawaii to vast frozen land of Alaska. The scenery is amazing and done on a grand scale. But if you’re looking to move your family for work, there’s plenty of small-town communities you could choose from, or even the bright lights of a major city.
Moving to the USA from Australia can bring you new career opportunities, the chance to study at one of the best colleges in the world, or even a chance to explore a new part of the world.
How to Move to America From Australia
For Australian citizens there are often several options for either permanently or temporarily moving to the United States. In most cases, Australians will require either a US job offer, an immediate relative who is a US citizen, or admittance to a US university to be able to live in the United States. On top of organising your travel, you’ll also need to arrange for the correct visa with the appropriate US immigration authorities.
American immigration can be among the toughest in the world. Australians need a US visa if staying longer than 90 days, and if planning to work or study a US Working Visa/Study Visa is generally required.
Whether you’re looking to move for work, have study plans, or simply wanting to be closer to family or friends, immigration law is complex and you should talk to professional immigration lawyers to discuss the options available to you given your background, circumstances and objectives.
Step-by-Step: Applying for a Visa
Apply for a Visa (Some applications that allow you to move permanently to the United States are often informally referred to as a Green Card application.)
Australian students wanting to study in the USA would typically apply for a F-1 or J-1 Visa.
Australians wanting to work in the United States will require a US business to sponsor the visa. This is usually with an E-2 or E-3 visa. Check out our guide on US working visas for more information
Australians with an American spouse would likely qualify for an Immigrant Visa and Green Card.
(It is important to note that the U.S. does not have “de facto partner” visa benefits. Partners of non-immigrant visa holders must be married for dependent visa benefits. Australians with a U.S. citizen spouse or future spouse should discuss immigrant visa options with a US immigration lawyer.)
Have sufficient funds to cover your stay
You may need to prove to US immigration authorities that you have enough funds to cover your initial stay in the States. If studying, you’ll need to show you’ve got enough funds to cover your tuition and living expenses for the duration of your studies. If you have a job lined up with an American employer, you’ll likely need to show that the Company will pay your wages in the United States and meet other qualifications related to your particular visa category.
Arrange the requisite documents for the visa type you are applying for.
Make sure that your passport has the appropriate amount of remaining validity.
Depending on the type of visa you’re applying for, you will need to provide various supporting documents to show that you qualify for the visa.
Pay for and schedule a visa appointment at a US consulate.
All visa applications to the United States require an in-person visa appointment at the US Consulate.
Make sure you take your passport and all other relevant paperwork to your scheduled visa appointment.
Once you have had a successful visa appointment, wait for your passport to be returned to you with your new US visa inside.
Usually, it takes about 10 days to receive your visa and passport after your appointment at the Consulate.
Book your Travel.
It’s time to book your trip from Australia to the USA. While sea travel is an option, flying is usually preferred.
Take out Medical Insurance
Medical insurance is a must have to cover the duration of your time in USA. You are likely legally required to maintain US health insurance. There’s no national health service in the States and the cost of medical care can be extremely high without insurance.
Take ALL your documentation with you
You’ll need to show all your immigration documents when you arrive at the US port of entry. Passport, Visa/s, and employment or study documents.
In some situations, American citizenship may be an option. Usually, there are three ways forward to become a US citizen.
1: Birth in the United States
Generally, all persons born in the United States qualify automatically for citizenship.
2: Citizenship Through Parents
Generally, for children born overseas or adopted, there are two ways to gain US Citizenship through your parents one is at birth and the other is after birth. A child born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent or parents must meet certain statutory rules to pass on citizenship, but if the child qualifies then the child becomes a citizen at birth. A child, including adopted children, that may not be a citizen at birth may also be able to qualify for citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act including possibly through the physical presence of U.S. citizen grandparents in the U.S.
If you aren’t eligible for citizen either at birth or through the Child Citizenship Act, then you’ll be looking at Naturalization as the way to gain citizenship.
You may qualify for Naturalization if
- You’ve been a legal permanent resident (green card holder) in the States for at least 5 years, or
- You’re married to a US citizen and have been a legal permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 3 years, or
- Other rare situations for expedited naturalization including those legal permanent residents that are spouses of U.S. citizens that have certain qualifying employment overseas, or naturalization because of service in the U.S. military.
To qualify for Naturalization, you also may need to:
- Pass a civics test on US History & Government
- Be of good moral character
- Demonstrate English language skills
- Attend an Oath Ceremony
- Meet certain other eligibility criteria including continuous residence and physical presence requirements in the U.S., and living in the state/district you will apply.
If you don’t know where to start, we’d love to have a chat with you and make your move painless. We’re here to help at Worldwide Migration Partners.
About The Author
Melissa Vincenty is a US attorney, an Australian migration agent and the founder and managing director of Worldwide Migration Partners. Melissa has over 20 years of experience in migration law, including practising at the world’s largest US immigration firm and more than 15 years as a Country Specialist (China and Tibet) for Amnesty International USA.
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