Moving To Australia 101 – Your Essential Checklist

03 Oct

Moving to Australia is an incredible and exciting experience that is full of promise and opportunity (and sunshine and beaches and fun). But packing up your life is no easy task. Sometimes the whole process feels like such a huge step that it’s hard to know where to start. Don’t let it scare you away! Start with small things you need to complete and build your way up. Write down all your deadlines, and they won’t catch you by surprise. Also, when you complete one or two tasks a day, things won’t feel as overwhelming. In this blog, we’ll give you a migration checklist showing you how to should prepare for your move to Australia.



Do you have all the documents you need?

You’d be surprised what people overlook when they prepare to move. So you don’t get caught in an awkward situation here is a list of some of the documents you may need:

  • Passport,
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic qualification
  • Resume and CV
  • Driver’s licence
  • Travel insurance


Ensure you have at least 6 months left on your passport.

If your passport is about to expire you will not be able to board your flight. In Australia, generally your passport should be valid for more than six months.


Make photocopies and scans of your documents and store them on an online app that can be accessed anywhere, such as OneNote, Evernote etc.

Keep more than one copy of your documents. Things can be lost in the chaos of the move. To be extra careful, scan or photograph your documents and carry a digital copy just in case.


 Money and Investments

Things to do:

  • Bring a bank card that will allow you to draw cash from an Australian ATM from your bank account at home
  • Set up a new bank account in Australia as soon as you arrive
  • Let your current bank know of your move.
  • Apply to the Australian Tax Office for a tax file number and provide it to the bank as soon as possible (otherwise, they are entitled to keep 50% of any interest paid to you).


Arrange payments for your existing loans and bills.

For example, if you have a student loan, car loan etc at home you will need to work out a way to continue paying the instalments while you are overseas.


Can you financially support yourself?

There will be time between your arrival in Australia and finding a job to support yourself. If you have savings, make sure you have sufficient to get by. Ask yourself if you can get extra financial help and where can you get it. Do you need to apply for a loan? You will not be eligible for Social.


Changing essential services

Do you have health insurance?

Make sure you’re properly covered with travel insurance and/or Australian health insurance. Most temporary visas require you to have health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia.


Get a copy of your medical file from your home doctor.

Make sure you have a copy of your medical history so your new Australian doctor can give you the best care possible.


Does your mobile phone work in Australia?

Make sure you will be able to call, text and, if necessary, have access to the internet when you arrive. If your phone service won’t work in Australia you can buy a prepaid sim on arrival – you will need 100 points of identification to purchase a Sim card, which you’ll achieve by presenting your passport and bank/credit card or other photo id, such as a student card.


Moving your belongings


What are you going to take?

It might be hard, but unless you are willing to pay for extra weight on the plane, you’ll probably have to seriously reduce your belongings. Think of it as an opportunity to declutter and get rid of items that no longer give you joy. Ask yourself what the most important things to take are and what you will really need in Australia.


Can you bring it into Australia?

Australia has strict border biosecurity for good reasons. Being an island with a unique ecosystem, there are items that put our incredible natural world at risk. There is a list of prohibited items that if you don’t declare you may end up getting a nasty fine or even a criminal conviction. Some of these items include:

  • Firearms
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Meat products
  • Certain types of medication
  • Illicit drugs



Make an inventory list of all your items before you start packing everything. If you are bringing electronics like a computer then write down the serial number as well. Take this list with you, or save it with your other documents, so you can keep track of everything.


Do you need a mover and how much will it cost?

Don’t go with the first moving service you find. Get a quote from a few services to find out what is best for you.


Are you bringing valuables?

If you are coming to Australia as a permanent resident then you can bring items of value like art, jewellery and cash. However, there are conditions:


  • If you are bringing cash you have to declare it if it’s $10,000 AUD or over
  • You must apply for a permit for art or any other heritage listed items
  • Have your valuables assessed by professionals before you leave and have the documents certifying your legitimate ownership.
  • Insure your valuables just in case they are lost or damaged in the move – or ensure your moving company provides comprehensive insurance.


To do’s for when you arrive

Have an idea of what you are going to do when you get there and a handle on the practical things that are vital to your stay in Australia. It may feel overwhelming just organizing the move, however, you’ll be doing yourself a favour by thinking ahead. Here is a list of what you should do once you get here:


  • Get your Australian tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office
  • Find permanent accommodation
  • Apply for Medicare, if you are eligible.
  • If you need to, enrol in English classes
  • Get an Australian drivers license, or transfer your existing licence.
  • If you have children enrol them in school
  • Socialize, network and connect with your community


Tying up loose ends before you go

When dealing with a big move, it’s easy for the small things to slip through the cracks. Make sure you cancel, change or notify things before you head off. Here is a list of common things people forget to do:

  • Informing your government of your move
  • Cancel any phone and internet service you won’t need
  • Redirect your mail
  • Cancel memberships you won’t need to continue
  • Change your address on necessary accounts and paperwork
  • Notify any organizations you are a part of that you are leaving
  • Sell, store or give away your car
  • If you are leaving behind a business make sure you have a trusted power of attorney
  • Back up your computer
  • If you need to change your policies, like insurance, then do so
  • Give your new contact details to your friends and family


Getting ready to work in Australia

Unless you have employment lined up already, you’ll need to start figuring out what you are going to do once you arrive.

Do you have the right documents to find work?

Finding a job can be a little difficult in the beginning, so it helps to have all your documents in order. Make sure you have a resume ready as well as any certificates, school transcripts, professional licenses and proof of your educational qualifications. Employers may struggle to get in contact with your referees if they live overseas and speak a different language. Don’t stress, you can get a letter from your references and save everybody the trouble.


Have you started applying?

It is a good idea to start applying for jobs at least three months before you arrive. Who knows, you might even get a job lined up before you land in Australia.


Do you have the right visa?

Do you have work rights on the visa that allows you to enter Australia? Making sure you have applied for the right visa will save you a lot of worry about work etc.

There are quite a few Australian visas to consider, and one of the skilled visas may be an ideal choice for you. If you don’t know if you’re qualified for a skilled visa you can take a skilledselect point test. This will help guide you with what steps you need to take to be more eligible.


Migrating can feel complicated and overwhelming process, even to the more organised of us. You can always reduce your stress by taking one or two things off your plate. At AHWC Immigration Law, we can take a lot off your plate by guiding you through the complex world of Visas, as it is likely that there are Australian Visa options you are not aware of.


Whether it’s a skilled visa, family visa or a partner visa, or any other visa for that matter, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us on +613 9573 5200 for outside Australia and 1300 887 818 for inside Australia.