Transfer Money to Australia with OFX
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With friendly locals, a warm climate and some of the best beaches in the world, it's no wonder so many people from the States want to make Australia their new home. If you want to move to Australia from the USA, here's how to do it: including your visa options, finding a place to stay, setting up your bank accounts, and how to even start driving here (and yes, we drive on the left).
Americans moving to Australia will obviously need a visa, below are some of the options that may be available.
The easiest way to get a working visa in Australia is to find a job in Australia before leaving the US. Being sponsored by an Australian company can make it significantly easier for you to be approved. Alternatively, if you work a job that's on the skilled occupations list, you might also have a good chance of success.
Once again, this depends on the visa you apply for. Partner and family visas might take months while tourist and working visas are often processed in just days.
Many airlines offer flights from the US to Australia, with most landing in Sydney or Melbourne, but also Perth, Brisbane or Adelaide. Direct flights from the USA to Australia leave from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Honolulu International Airport, Burbank, San Francisco International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The most popular route is the fifteen hour leg from LA to Sydney.
Flights are offered by airlines including Qantas, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Jetstar, Air New Zealand and United Airlines. Cheap tickets on the most popular routes and peak periods (around July to August) tend to sell out quickly. To get a deal on airfares you might try planning ahead and booking online.
Australia is almost at the opposite side of the planet, and even the quickest routes from the US West Coast to the Australian east coast will take you at least 13 or 14 hours.
One of the main things you'll have to organise before moving to Australia is accommodation. You could choose to move here and find temporary accommodation such as a hotel or Airbnb for the first few weeks, however, keep in mind that this can be quite expensive if you end up staying for a long time.
The first decision you'll have to make is deciding between renting or buying a house. While there are many pros and cons to consider with each option, the decision is ultimately based on what you can afford. Speaking to a real estate agent can help you answer some important questions about your move and help you find the perfect home for your needs.
It's possible to get your Australian finances in order before leaving the States to help you hit the ground running as soon as you arrive. Most major Australian banks offer migrant programs and you can typically apply for an account online while you're still in the United States. Banks including ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, and HSBC have migrant banking facilities and it's possible to open a bank account online up to 12 months before arriving in Australia.
You can start transferring money into your account as soon as you like. To save money on exchange rates, it's worth the effort to compare the top money transfer specialists instead of using a US bank. If you're moving a large sum of money overseas, you could save hundreds of dollars on poor exchange rates using a currency broker such as OFX.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
If you need access to US and Aussie dollars, consider looking into multi-currency accounts. This lets you hold funds in more than one currency and can be especially useful for those who are still receiving an income from the United States. They can also make it easier to take advantage of fluctuating exchange rates and more quickly convert between US and Australian dollars.
For better or worse, you'll be leaving some things behind when you move to Australia. Your tax obligations are not one of them. The Australian equivalent of the IRS in Australia is the ATO (Australian Taxation Office), and it doesn't work in quite the same way as its American counterpart.
You are typically considered an Australian resident for tax purposes if you are:
To report your earnings and file a tax return in Australia, you'll need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) from the ATO.
Don't automatically assume that moving overseas will free you from having to report your income to the IRS. Every US citizen and green card holder is still required to file a US tax return when residing overseas, even if they're also filing a tax return in Australia.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be double-taxed. If the foreign income you earn is less than a certain amount, and if you meet time requirements for overseas residency, you might not have to pay US taxes at all, but will still need to file a return. If you don't satisfy these requirements, but are still paying tax in Australia, then you might receive Foreign Tax Credits to offset your liabilities to the US Government. To adjust to these complications, US citizens residing overseas may receive an automatic two-month extension on their tax returns.
If you work for an employer in Australia, that employer is required to contribute a portion of your salary into your superannuation fund. Australian superannuation is a lot like an American 401(k) in that it's the money you will use to fund your retirement. Australian employers are required to contribute a certain amount of a worker's salary towards their superannuation fund.
One consideration in how to move to Australia from the USA is what to do with your 401(k). It may be possible to rollover your 401(k) into an Australian super fund or withdraw the proceeds as cash, but doing so may incur tax penalties, so it's often a good idea to get professional advice for navigating this situation. It might be easier to find this advice in Australia than the US, as tax agents in Australia can be more likely to know about the relevant laws in both countries.
First things first, remember that Australians drive on the left. Other than that:
Medicare is the name of Australia's public healthcare system under which all permanent residents can access free essential medical services. Every Australian citizen is eligible for a Medicare card and free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists and optometrists.
Much like the United States, Australia is also home to a number of world class universities whose accreditation is recognised worldwide.
There are also a number of scholarship and exchange programs in place, giving dedicated American students a chance to continue their education in Australia. In the States, the Fulbright US Student Program, The Institute for International Education and others can offer valuable opportunities to study overseas.
To legally study in Australia as an international student, you will have to obtain a student visa, which you may become eligible for once you've been offered and have accepted a placement in an approved Australian educational institution.
Even Australia isn't far enough away for you to escape your student loans. While specific circumstances, including a period of unemployment, inability to find full time work or other economic hardship may qualify you for an extension, being in Australia might not.
Skipping loan repayments may mean that your loan will go into default, which might result in a poor credit rating and actions taken by the lender to recover their funds. If you have a student loan, don't ignore it and try to pay it off before arriving in Australia so you can start with a cleaner financial history.
Australia is a lot like the United States, and culture shock isn't usually a problem for American expats.
I've always loved the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef, plus it's a good climate! I hadn't been planning on it being for good when I came initially. I just graduated and I was coming abroad before getting a proper job and career.
The very, very far distance from home.
The two working holiday visas were pretty easy. The student visa was mediocre, I think I had to do a medical check but can't remember for sure. De facto and permanent residency were very, very hard, expensive and a LOT of work!
I just went to the Commonwealth Bank and did it, no trouble.
I think I found accommodation on Gumtree, I lived and worked with a family. It took some work but it wasn't too terrible. Then I lived in university housing when I studied.
Overall not bad, the time difference is hard talking to people at home and things are MUCH more expensive! Rent is way more too, at least more than the Midwest, although minimum wage is much higher here. (I did have one job where the boss hired internationals and didn't always pay minimum wage, so it's worth checking)
To girls: Buy cosmetics in America and bring them over, then ask family to mail you what you need when you run out - things like nail polish are painfully expensive here! For some of my clothing basics and staples, the stores ship here now and it's cheaper to order from The States and pay for shipping than buy things like shorts and tanks here. (As long as you know your size, that is)
WhatsApp and Magic Jack are both apps that are a great cheap way to stay in touch with people at home.
You don't have to tip here, at least not much, but I still find it hard not to! Drinks cost WAY more than Wisconsin, but make sure you take your turn and buy a round - your "shout"!
Resumes seem to be formatted a little differently here, you don't have to have just one page.
Buy an NFL game pass or head to the pub if you miss football. Go to the Great Barrier Reef! Go to the beach! It's all beautiful, but look out for blue bottles (and box jelly fish up North!) and swim between the flags!
Not that I can think of!
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