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Moving to Australia can be daunting. You are not just packing for a holiday, you are moving your whole life and establishing yourself in a new community with different rules.

But, don’t stress! I have done this move not once, but twice and I am here to give you my insightful tips so you can relax and start to feel excited about moving. Check out my moving to Australia checklist split into manageable time goals.

Moving to Australia Checklist: Full breakdown

The initial planning stages - 24 to 12 months prior to the move

Research your move to Australia

Read guides, blogs and listen to expat podcasts like Average Joe Down Under so you can really feel what it will be like to move. When you are in the research phase, it can feel like a distant pipe dream so dive into those first-hand experiences from your average everyday expat and you will start to realise that you can make this your reality!

Get Advice

Research your Australian visa options and even reach out to an immigration specialist. There are many amazing companies set up to simplify the visa process and make it easy for you to find your pathway to Australian life.

Apply for your visa

Whether you are taking advantage of the awesome working holiday visa, applying for studies or a skilled visa; officially getting your legal status is exciting. Don’t rush your application, take your time and double-check your documents.

Start Budgeting

Moving countries can get expensive quickly so it is best to start planning ahead and saving for the inevitable moving costs and potential gap in employment.

I have a full breakdown for you to work out how much money you need to move to Australia – you can read it here.

I highly recommend using Revolut to manage your finances, read my full guide to see why I think it’s more flexible than a bank account!

6 months before the big move down under

Apply for jobs

You may decide to take some time off work if your budgeting has gone well, that’s awesome news if you are. Check out my travel blog for tips on where to spend your stress-free time!

However, if you are not taking some R&R time then it is time to update your CV, reach out to employers and apply for jobs. Update your Linkedin and connect with Australian recruiters so you are on their radar ahead of your move.

Enrol in New Schools

If you are moving with family then you will want to apply for schools in advance, especially if you are planning to move to a city. Some cities can have competitive school entry requirements so research your first choices and reach out to the schools.

Organise your house & car

If your move to Australia is temporary then you may need to organise family and friends to take care of your home or car whilst you are gone. But, if it is a permanent move then now is the time to consider selling or renting your home and car.

Sell unwanted furniture

Not only will selling unwanted items cleanse you ready for the move, but it will also reduce the cost of your shipping and help you add to your savings! Trust me, you do not want to hold onto unwanted items and regret shipping them to your new life.

Renew your passport

Your passport should cover the length of your temporary visa otherwise you will need to renew it from overseas and it will be a harder process. Therefore, I recommend renewing it before you move to ensure it covers your full stay.

Book Flights

The moment you have been saving for. Organise transport now to secure the best price and make this move even more official.

3 months before you move to Australia

Open an Australian bank account

Revolut is a flexible bank account for travelling internationally. However, if you are planning to set up a life in Australia then you will need an Australian bank account for your job and rent. You can open an account before you move and pick up the card in branch once you arrive.

Organise Travel insurance

If you are moving temporarily then it is wise to ensure you have travel insurance. Many companies will allow you to buy a travel policy for 1-2 years. This will cover you for lost luggage, belongings and any unfortunate incidents whilst travelling. If you decide your move is more permanent then you do not need to renew the policy.

Buy Australian health insurance

Visas for skilled migrants on a temporary visa have a requirement to hold private health insurance in Australia but it is wise to buy it regardless. The Australian Medicare system can cover certain Countries but not all and it does not cover every appointment or procedure. Furthermore, ambulances can set you back a few hundred dollars so it is best to ensure you have private health insurance.

Update your life insurance

Let your life insurance provider know you are moving to Australia in order to keep your policy valid.

Book a moving company

If you are planning to ship the big stuff, you should organise a moving company now to time the arrival of your belongings. If they arrive before you then it will be more stressful to find storage for them. Also make sure they are insured!

Apply for an international license

Check the rules in Australia for your driver’s licence and apply for an international one now if you require it.

Book your temporary accomodation

It is always better to find more permanent accommodation once you land and can see the areas for yourself. So, I would recommend researching and booking temporary accommodation like airbnb, holiday lets or hostels for the first few weeks of your stay. The rental market in Australia has fluctuated and so you need to be sure before signing an agreement with a real estate agent.

Organise your mail

Make a list of all the places you receive mail from so you can change your address and not miss any important documents in the move.

1 month to go before the big move!

Bulk order prescription medication

It’s best to have a few months supply of your medication to last your move and finding your new doctor.

Cancel subscriptions

Cancel all the subscriptions you can’t use in Australia or those that will be cheaper in AUD.

Pay Outstanding bills

Provide ample notice to your bill providers so you can close your accounts without any outstanding bills.

Update your student loan

If you have an outstanding student loan then update your account that you are travelling overseas and won’t be paying from a monthly wage whilst you do.

Transfer funds

Transfer funds into your Australian bank accounts or Revolut card so you have currency when you land. I recommend using transferwise for the cheapest exchange rates.

Notify your current bank

Incase you spend on your current account whilst overseas, you should let them know you will be travelling so you are not blocked for suspected fraudulent activity.

Pack your important documents

You will need a lot of documents to start your new life in Australia. Therefore, my moving checklist recommends you pack and make copies of the following documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Visa
  3. Birth Certificate
  4. Driver’s licence and International permit
  5. Tax Documents – Collect your end of tax year documents incase you need these in Australia
  6. Bank Statements – You may need these for rental agreements so it’s wise to ensure you have these from your current account.
  7. Dental and medical records – Professionals in Australia will not have access to your medical history so make a copy of these, especially if you have an extensive list.

Check if you need vaccinations

Research the vaccination rules in Australia for the country you are moving from and ensure you are eligible.

Organise mobile phones

You are unable to buy an Australian phone plan until you land so it is wise to ensure you have access to an international number or plan for your first few days.

Book in goodbyes

Your last week will most likely be really busy so start seeing friends early and saying your goodbyes. It is bittersweet but it is possible to keep friendships strong across the miles!

1 Week to go until your life changing move to Australia

Start packing

Check your luggage allowance on all flights and ensure you have essentials in your hand luggage.

Pack electrical items

I’d absolutely recommend packing an adapter and extension cord if you are bringing electronics. The extension will allow you to use all of your home electrical belongings without the need of multiple adapters. At least until you start changing to Australian electronics.

Check the entry rules

Australia can be strict on what it allows you to bring into the country so ensure you make a list for your migration checklist.

Enter Australia

You’re finally here!! Welcome to the Expat community, they will become your family and friends in your new home.

The only things we recommend on your first week in Australia checklist should be:

  1. Breathe – Moving to Australia is huge! It can be overwhelming to say goodbye to your loved ones and arrive not knowing anybody. So be patient and breathe
  2. See the sights – It can be easy to get caught up in the stressful organisation and forget to have a moment to explore your new home. Make a list of your bucket list sights and tick some off in your first week, it will help you relax and realise why you moved.
  3. Have an Australian experience – See a Kangaroo, hold a Koala or surf at Bondi. You live here now and can do these things!

Set up your life

Now that you have taken a second to be patient with yourself, it is time to start making this place your home officially.

Get your tax file number

Once you arrive, you should apply for your tax file number. This is basically registering your identity with the Australian tax office and you need a unique number in order to secure a job. You can apply for this online, the application is simple.

Collect your Bank Card

If you have organised your account in advance, you can visit a branch and collect your physical card.

Apply for medicare

You must be in the country to apply for Medicare so now is the time to get your card.

Get an Australian phone plan

You must take your passport with you to get an Australian plan and provide an address (this can be your temp accommodation for now).

Find Permanent Accommodation

Spend days in different suburbs and research the community vibe. Now that you can see places with your own eyes, you can start to get excited about finding your home.

Connect with people

Join expat groups, go to meetups, even sign up to Bumble BFF. There are thousands of expats in the same position as you looking to connect, hang out and make friends so get out there and find your community.

Set your goals

Establishing yourself in a new country can be overwhelming and time can fly by really quickly. I absolutely recommend creating an Australian goal list to keep you on track in making the most of this beautiful country.

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