For Australian citizens, several options exist for a temporary or permanent relocation to the United States. In addition to travel and logistics, you will need to arrange a visa or residency with U.S. immigration authorities. You can move to the U.S. for a specific job or to study for a number of years. If you have a family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident, he may be able to sponsor U.S. residency for you. Immigration law is complex and only a licensed attorney can give legal advice.

Apply for a visa or a green card. F1 or J1 visas are typically available to Australian students who will be attending a U.S. educational institution. If you have an American fiance(e), you can apply for a K1 visa. If you have a job offer from a U.S. employer, this can be the basis of your visa application. A green card granting permanent U.S. residency can be obtained in three main ways: marriage to a U.S. resident; starting and funding a business in the U.S.; or by winning the Green Card lottery.

Prove to U.S. Immigration authorities that you have sufficient funds to cover your initial stay in the United States. If you are moving to America to study, you will typically have to prove available funds to cover your upkeep for the expected duration of your course or degree. If you are applying for a family-based green card, your sponsor will have to demonstrate annual earnings higher than the federal poverty line and will need to pledge to support you during the three to 24 months your residency application is pending.

Obtain your visa from the U.S. Embassy when you are notified that it has been approved. You will need to present your passport and should be prepared to show documentation regarding available funds, and any documentation from a job or university in the States.

Book your travel from Australia to the United States. Air travel is the most common means of transport between the two countries, but travel by sea is also possible.

Obtain medical insurance that will cover you for the duration of your time in the United States. If you are entering the States on a nonresident visa -- for example, the F1 student visa -- you are legally obligated to maintain U.S. health insurance. The U.S. does not have a national health service, and the cost of medical care without insurance is extremely high.

Decide which of your Australian accounts, if any, you plan to use in the United States. Close all other accounts -- for example, your mobile phone, rental lease, bank accounts, credit cards, utility bills and gym memberships -- before you leave Australia.

Present all your immigration documentation, passport, visa and any invitation letter from an employer or university when you arrive at the U.S. port of entry.

Things You Will Need
  • Funds

  • Australian passport

  • U.S. visa


The application process for a visa or green card can take several months, so you should apply as early as possible.

A visa in your passport is not valid without a supporting document. For example, the J1 student visa is validated by a paper form known as DS-2019. Without the paper form, you cannot enter the U.S. with your J1 visa.