Many writers and others dream of traveling or even living abroad while they write for a living. However, getting a work visa or emigrating to another country can be more challenging than it at first seems.
One popular destination is Australia. There are a few things you will need to know before you consider it though.
Although Australia is a developed country and the inhabitants speak English, the culture is much different than that in the United States. Before considering a move “down under” you should make some extended visits and make sure that will be able to adapt.
The first thing you will need is a visa of some sort, and most likely a work visa unless you are of retirement age. In most cases this will be a temporary work visa, and to get one you will need to be sponsored by an Australian company.
The flight to Australia will take you between 13 and 14 hours at best, so be prepared to strap yourself in for a long haul. There are a number of airlines to choose from, and only a few airports that offer direct flights. Depending on your endurance of cramped airline seats, you may want to fly to one of those cities first.
Leaving the United States
Before leaving the United States, there are several things you should wrap up, including your banking, various subscriptions, and loans. You should also grab copies of your medical and dental records, both physical and digital if possible just in case you need medical care before you are established as a patient in the Australian health care system.
You’ll also either want to store or sell possessions you are leaving behind. If you are storing them, be sure you have a long-term plan and that the storage is secure and insured. Consider carefully what you might ship as a part of your move. Many items, such as large pieces of furniture, may cost more to ship than they are worth.
The best way to handle your banking needs is to set your finances up in Australia before you move. Many major Australian banks provide migrant services to help you do just that before you even leave the states.
These programs not only make it easier for you to move your accounts, but to apply for other banking services like credit cards, savings accounts, and even loans and other services that will make your move easier.
As an American citizen working in Australia, you will still have to file tax returns in the United States along with complying with Australian tax laws. You’ll have to be in Australia more than six months, and then you will need a Tax File number. The amount of taxes you will pay will depend on your income.
As long as the income you earn overseas is below a certain amount, you meet certain time requirements, or under certain other exemptions, you may not have to pay any taxes, but as long as you are a citizen of the United States, you need to file a return anyway.
Once you have been in Australia for between three and six months, you will need to get an Australian driver’s license. Of course, you should remember that they drive on the left side of the road, and that the laws for whether or not you can drive on a United States license will vary by state. Some will require an International Driving Permit, something you need to get in the United States before you go.
Depending on where you are from in the United States you may find rent and mortgages to be much more expensive than the United States, but if you are from a large urban area, rates might be comparable.
Of course, wages are typically a bit higher too. If you have the ability to do so, you may want to buy a home as soon as possible in Australia.
While you can buy a home, there are also private builders in Sydney who create amazing luxury homes suited to meet the needs of you and your loved ones. Investing in a home also makes you a more desirable resident should you move from visa status to applying for permanent residency.
While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the things you should consider before relocating to Australia, it does cover some of the high-level basics. Before you make detailed plans, be sure to visit government sites that give you step by step instructions and have all the forms and applications you will need to plan your move.