Moving Back to Australia from the US

Leaving the US to move back to Australia can be a daunting task. There are many things to consider, from the cost of living to the job market. But with careful planning and preparation, you can make the transition smoothly.

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of moving back to Australia from the US. 

Top 10 Reasons Aussie Expats May Choose to Leave the USA

Moving back to Australia from the United States can be a big decision. Here are 10 reasons why an Aussie expat might want to leave the US: 

  • Cost of Living: Life in the USA can be significantly more expensive than in Australia, especially when it comes to healthcare and education.
  • Work-Life Balance: Australia tends to prioritise a balanced lifestyle with a stronger emphasis on vacation time and family time, which may not be as prevalent in the US.
  • Healthcare System: The USA’s privatised healthcare system may be complex, expensive, and stressful compared to Australia’s universal health care system.
  • Political Climate: The USA’s polarised and tense political environment can be off-putting for some, especially if they lean towards more socially progressive values.
  • Gun Control: Australia’s strict gun control laws make it a safer country regarding gun violence compared to the USA.
  • Environmental Policy: If environmental issues are important to you, Australia tends to have more aggressive climate policies and sustainable practices.
  • Cultural Differences: Some Australians may struggle with cultural adjustments in the USA, including different social norms and expectations.
  • Distance from Family and Friends: The long distance and time difference between Australia and the USA can make regular communication and visits difficult.
  • Criminal Justice System: The USA’s high incarceration rates and perceived racial disparities in its criminal justice system can be a concern for some.
  • Tax Obligations: As an expat, you may be subject to complex tax regulations, including potential obligations to both Australia and the USA.

Pros and Cons of Moving Back to Australia from USA

Here are some potential pros and cons of moving back to Australia from the USA:


  • Closer proximity to family and friends still residing in Australia, allowing more frequent and affordable visits.
  • Familiarity with Australian culture, customs and way of life, easing the transition and reintegration.
  • Access to Australia’s well-regarded universal healthcare system, Medicare, reducing medical costs.
  • Potentially lower cost of living and housing costs in some Australian cities and regions.
  • Australia’s sunny climate, beautiful beaches and abundance of outdoor recreational activities.
  • Strong employment opportunities in major metropolitan hubs like Sydney and Melbourne.


  • Lower salaries compared to similar roles in the US, coupled with higher income taxes.
  • Leaving behind established career, professional connections and friends requiring rebuilding.
  • Vast distances between Australian cities can mean long travel times domestically.
  • Challenges bringing foreign spouse or family members without permanent residency or citizenship.
  • Australia’s remote location adds distance from global travel hubs in US/Europe.
  • Housing affordability issues and high property prices in Australian capital cities.
  • Import restrictions on cars and other items when relocating from the US.
  • Adjusting to risks from dangerous wildlife like snakes and spiders, especially in rural areas.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

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Legal Considerations Before Moving Back to Australia from the US

The first step in planning your move back to Australia is understanding the legal requirements. Immigration laws and regulations differ between countries, so it’s crucial to research the specific requirements for returning Aussies.

Here are some of the key things to keep in mind:

Immigration Requirements

The first step is to research the specific immigration requirements for returning Australians. This will vary depending on your circumstances, such as how long you have been living overseas and whether you have any family members in Australia. 

You may need to apply for a visa or residency permit, and you may also need to provide evidence of your financial and employment status.

Work Visa or Residency Status

If you have been working in the US, you will need to tie up any loose ends related to your work visa or residency status. This may involve applying for a new visa, or it may simply mean cancelling your existing visa and leaving the country.

Labour Laws

The labour laws in Australia may differ from those in the US, so it is important to familiarise yourself with them before you move back. This includes understanding the minimum wage, the working hours, and the employment rights of employees.

Tax Implications

Moving back to Australia may have tax implications for you. You may need to declare your overseas income, and you may also be liable for Australian tax on your worldwide income. It is important to speak to a tax advisor to understand your specific circumstances.

Keep in mind that moving back to Australia does not necessarily impact your Australian citizenship. However, be aware of any potential tax implications and ensure you comply with Australian tax regulations upon your return.

Financial Implications of Moving Back to Australia from America

Returning to Australia has various financial implications that require careful consideration. The cost of living in Australia may be different from what you’ve experienced in the US, so it’s essential to budget accordingly. Research the costs of housing, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and other daily expenses in your intended Australian location.

Handle your finances appropriately during the move. This includes transferring funds back to Australian bank accounts and ensuring you have access to your financial resources upon arrival. If you have investments or retirement funds in the US, consult with a financial advisor to manage them effectively during your return.

Healthcare is another crucial aspect to address. Ensure you have appropriate health insurance coverage upon your return to Australia.

Cultural Adjustments

Moving back to Australia involves cultural adjustments, as you’ve likely become accustomed to the US way of life. Take the time to reintegrate into Australian customs, social norms, and traditions. Embrace the experience of rediscovering your home country.

Language is unlikely to be a barrier for Australian expats returning home, but being mindful of any local dialect or slang changes can help you feel more at ease.

Two couples pack to move back to Australia

Preparing to Move from the US to Australia

Preparing to leave the US involves practical tasks that need attention. From packing up your belongings to booking flights, proper planning is crucial. 

Consider the options for your current US housing: Will you sell it or rent it out? Make the necessary arrangements for a smooth transition.

Inform important institutions about your departure from the US, including your bank, insurance companies, and the postal service for mail forwarding. Check your health insurance policy to understand coverage during your trip back to Australia.

Arriving in Australia

Upon your return to Australia, there will be several tasks to complete. Here are some of the things you need to do when you arrive in Australia:

  • Update your documentation: Make sure your passport and other identification documents are up to date. You may also need to apply for a new driver’s licence if your US licence is not valid in Australia.
  • Reestablish your connections: Contact your bank, utilities, and other service providers to let them know you are back in Australia. You will also need to update your address with the Australian government.
  • Find a place to live: If you don’t already have a place to live, start looking as soon as possible. Rental properties in Australia can be competitive, so it’s important to start your search early.
  • Get settled in: Once you have found a place to live, take some time to get settled in. This includes unpacking your belongings, setting up your utilities, and getting familiar with your new surroundings.
  • Get involved in the community: One of the best ways to adjust to life in Australia is to get involved in the community. This could involve joining a club or group, volunteering, or simply getting to know your neighbours.

The Emotional Side of Moving

Returning to Australia may bring mixed emotions, leaving behind friends and experiences in the US. Take care of your mental well-being during this transition. 

Stay connected with friends you made in the US, and seek out social groups or communities in Australia to facilitate your reintegration.

Embrace the Adventure of Reconnecting with Your Home Country

Moving back to Australia as an expat can be an exciting opportunity to reconnect with your home country.  Remember that every expat’s experience is unique.

 Embrace the adventure of rediscovering Australia, be patient with yourself during the adjustment period, and cherish the opportunities for personal growth and new experiences that await you in your home country.

Whether you’re considering moving back or staying longer in the US, Odin Mortgage can help you secure the home of your dreams in Australia. We understand that buying a home while living overseas can be daunting, but we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you.

We have a team of experienced mortgage brokers who specialise in helping Australian expats and foreign investors purchase property in Australia.

We’re committed to providing you with the best possible service, and we’re confident that we can help you achieve your homeownership goals.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you secure the home of your dreams in Australia.

Get a free Australian mortgage assessment today.

Apply online to get a free recommendation with real rates and repayments.

Frequently asked questions

If you want to leave the US, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Research the country you want to move to: Make sure that the country you choose is a good fit for you, both in terms of your personal preferences and your professional goals.
  • Get your paperwork in order: This includes getting your passport and visa in order, as well as any other documentation that may be required by the country you are moving to.
  • Make arrangements for your belongings: This includes deciding what to do with your belongings, such as selling them, storing them, or shipping them to your new country.
  • Make arrangements for your finances: This includes making sure that your finances are in order and that you have enough money to support yourself in your new country.
  • Plan your move: This includes booking your flights and accommodation, as well as making sure that you have all the necessary travel documents.

There are many benefits to moving back to Australia from the US, including:

  • Affordability: The cost of living in Australia is generally lower than in the USA, especially in terms of healthcare and education.
  • Quality of life: Australia is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world to live in, with high standards of living, education, and healthcare.
  • Work-life balance: Australia has a strong focus on work-life balance, with generous vacation and parental leave policies.
  • Culture: Australia is a multicultural country with a diverse and welcoming culture.

There are also some challenges to moving back to Australia from the US, including:

  • Job market: The job market in Australia can be competitive, especially in certain industries.
  • Visas: If you are not an Australian citizen, you will need to obtain a visa to live in Australia.
  • Cost of moving: Moving back to Australia can be expensive, especially if you are moving a lot of belongings.
  • Culture shock: If you have been living in the US for a long time, you may experience culture shock when you move back to Australia.

The steps involved in moving back to Australia from the US vary depending on your individual circumstances. However, some of the general steps include:

  • Research: Do your research and understand the implications of moving back to Australia. This includes factors such as the cost of living, the job market, the healthcare system, and the educational system.
  • Make a plan: Make a plan for your move, including things like finding a place to live, getting a job, and transferring your belongings.
  • Get your paperwork in order: There are a number of documents that you will need to get in order before you can move back to Australia. This includes your passport, your visa, and your Australian tax return.
  • Start packing: Once you have your paperwork in order, you can start packing your belongings. This is a good time to declutter and get rid of anything that you do not need.
  • Make arrangements for your pets: If you have pets, you will need to make arrangements for them to travel back to Australia with you. This may involve getting them vaccinated and microchipped.
  • Set a date and make your move: Once everything is in order, you can set a date for your move and start making your way back to Australia.

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