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Immigrate to Australia from US

Immigrate to Australia from US

Americans and other few nationalities are among those who can relocate to Australia following simpler immigration procedural steps. For example, Americans who want to immigrate to Australia from US for a short period of time can apply for an electronic travel authorization (ETA). This type of document is available for American citizens, British citizens and other several nationalities and our immigration lawyer in Australia can present extensive information upon its characteristics.

What is the electronic travel authorization for American citizens?

The electronic travel authorization (ETA) represents a type of immigration document which grants the right to relocate in Australia for specific reasons and for a limited period. The particularity of this document, which is not a visa, is that it can be obtained online, unlike other types of documents required for immigration to Australia.

Typically, any American who wants to immigrate to Australia from US, regardless of the duration of the stay, has to address the Australian consulate or embassy operating in the near vicinity of the applicant living in the United States of America, and to submit a set of papers presenting the purpose of the stay, wait for the application to be reviewed by the Australian authorities and receive the visa prior to the departure in Australia.

 Quick Facts  
  Visas for short-term immigration from US to Australia 

One can immigrate to Australia from US on a short-term basis by applying for the
Electronic Travel Authorization. 

Visas for long-term immigration from US to Australia  

Long-term visas can be issued for any of the following: 
• study (such as the Student Visa, Subclass 500);
• employment (such as the visas for skilled work – Subclass 482, Subclass 491, Subclass 494);
• family reunification (such as the Partner visas Subclass 309 or Subclass 100); 
• refugee/humanitarian visas (Refugee Visas Subclasses 200, 201, 202, 203 and 204);
• former residency in Australia (Former Resident Visa Subclass 151);
• visas for permanent residency (family stream, work stream or business/investor stream). 
Visa exemptions 


 There are no visa exemptions for Americans who immigrate to Australia from US (they can, however, apply for ETA for short-term stays, which represents an electronic visa that is issued much faster compared to traditional visas).  
Electronic visas available

The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

Main reasons to immigrate from
US to Australia 
Americans can relocate here for any of the grounds regulated under the Australian immigration law, such as: employment, study and training, working holiday, business, investment, family reunification, humanitarian and refugees, regaining Australian residency, skilled employment.  
Institution in charge with the issuance of the visa 

Department of Home Affairs

Fee system available for the processing
of the visa (yes/no) 

Yes (but in some cases the Department of Home Affairs doesn’t apply any fee, as it is the case of the Global Special Humanitarian visa Subclass 202).   

Fees charged for the issuance of short-term/long-term visas  Short-term holiday visa stream fees are of AUD 20 for the ETA and AUD 145 for the Subclass 600, while long-term work visa stream fees can be of AUD 1,290 for the Subclass 482, AUD 4,115 for the Subclass 494 or for the Subclass 489. 
Special rules for citizens of USA  (yes/no)  Yes, for example, in the case of the Work and Holiday visa, Americans can apply if they have an age of minimum 18 to maximum 30 years old (for other countries, the maximum age is of 35).  
The procedure for permanent residency
in Australia   
The procedure can vary depending on the type of visa the American applied for when arriving in Australia (in general, the person has to satisfy and maintain all the conditions imposed by the visa).  
Documents required for permanent residency application 

• the application form; 
• the valid passport;
• various certificates, such as birth, marriage, divorce certificate;
• police clearance and a health examination; 
• the payment of the processing fee;

• for skilled visas it is required to submit skilled assessment score, the English score, information on education and work activity; 
• for sponsored visas, the applicant must submit the documentation for the nomination for the job position;
• proof on the residential address in Australia; 
• pay slips and income tax reports, etc.  

Reasons for which permanent residency can be granted in Australia  Americans can immigrate to Australia from US for permanent residency mostly through employment, business, investment and family streams. 
Right to permanent residency for refugees/asylum seekers (yes/no)  Yes 
Immigration pathways for highly skilled persons   • nominated visas (Subclass 186, Subclass 187, Subclass 190);
• applying independently (Subclass 189, Subclass 887);
• applying independently – distinguished stream (Subclass 124, Subclass 858).    
Legal pathways to citizenship  • one can become Australian citizen by birth, by conferral or by descent;
• most foreigners will become citizens by conferral, which implies that they will have to become permanent residents of Australia;
• for citizenship by conferral, one has to prove that he/she has been living in Australia for the last 4 years and that in the last 12 months the applicant was a permanent resident. 

In the case of the ETA, which is generally used for traveling purposes, it can be obtained in numerous ways, one of them being the Australian visa authorities. The applicant can also apply for it with the travel agency that organizes the trip or through airline companies as well. This document is characterized by the following:

• a person who wants to immigrate to Australia from US can stay up to 90 days in this country, calculated per each stay;
• the validity of the ETA is of 1 year and the applicant can use it for multiple entries;
• the applicant’s passport validity has to be at least 6 months longer than the date at which the person will leave the country;
• the cost of the ETA application is of AUD 20 for the standard application process;
• please note that persons who move to Australia must make the proof of having sufficient financial funds, and any amount of more than AUD 10,000 must be declared with the local authorities, as stipulated by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State.

We invite you to watch this short presentation on how to immigrate to Australia from US:

What are the basic visa requirements in order to immigrate to Australia from US?

The right to immigrate to Australia from US is limited only to persons who have a valid US passport (which means that they have American citizenship) or to foreigners who have obtained their permanent residency in this country. When applying for a visa, regardless of the category in which it is included, the foreigner must respect a set of regulations, which can be detailed by our Australia migration lawyer.

However, some of the basic criteria are the following:

• one can immigrate to Australia from US if certain health requirements are met and we advise you to study the health conditions that may limit your right of entering the Australian territory;
• any foreigner must also make the proof of having good character, which means that the applicant must present various papers, such as police certificates recording the offences one made (if applicable);
• more importantly, if the American citizen or permanent resident has lived in the last 12 months prior to the application for immigration to Australia in other states, then he or she should obtain police clearance from those states as well;
• applicants should provide information concerning personal aspects such as their biometric data or their national credit situation;
• persons who are temporary residents in the US may also move to Australia following specific steps.

Obtaining permanent residency in Australia

A large part of the US citizens who want to migrate to Australia will generally be interested in long-term relocation, which implies the fact that such persons will want to become permanent residents by obtaining the necessary residence permit in Australia. In order to have the right to permanent residency in Australia, a foreigner must obtain a permanent visa, which can be issued only as long as the applicant meets certain legal requirements.

There are numerous legal pathways through which an American citizen can obtain permanent residency in Australia, which can be related to family reunification programs or to work related activities developed in this country on a long-term basis. The legislation on immigration in Australia clearly distinguishes between the meaning and the rights associated with being a permanent resident and the ones associated with being a citizen, as the terms have very different meanings.

Americans who want to migrate to Australia have to be aware that becoming a permanent resident does not equal with being an Australian citizen, which means that permanent residency does not provide the right to having an Australian passport (which also means that permanent resident can’t vote in this country or work in certain governmental institutions).

As a general rule, permanent residency provides the right to staying in this country on an indefinite basis, work and study here, be included in the national health system, purchase properties and applying for bank loans for the purpose of purchasing property, becoming a sponsor for other relatives who want to migrate to Australia and, of course, it also opens the way for becoming an Australian citizen, if the foreigner is interested in having full rights.

In general, the Australian residency issued on a permanent basis can be granted to a foreigner, Americans included, if the person has been living in this country for a period of 4 years. However, there is the possibility to be exempted from this requirement in certain cases.

For example, one of the situations where the exemption applies, is when the applicant has an age below 16 years old.

What are the visa options for permanent residency in Australia?

As we presented above, the right to permanent residency can be obtained through several options. The most common ways to migrate to Australia for an indefinite period of time are generally related to visa options established for family reunification purposes, through work contracts and through business investments in this country.

The process for obtaining the required visa will vary based on the type of visa the foreigner needs and this is why we recommend you to request in-depth details on the procedure from our Australia migration lawyer, who can present the documents required in each particular case, as well as the eligibility criteria.

For instance, in the case of the visa for permanent residency issued for family related purposes, eligible US citizens can be close family members of persons who are already Australian citizens or of persons who have obtained permanent residency. Close family members can refer to parents, children, partners or dependent relatives.

US entrepreneurs can be eligible for an Australia investment visa, subject to certain conditions.

In the case of those who want to obtain permanent residency through work activities, it is generally necessary to have an Australian employer as a sponsor for a visa. Another way is to apply for a job opportunity in this country in certain fields that are of high interest for Australia. Here, the law on immigration to Australia prescribes several types of visas for highly skilled persons, such as the Distinguished Talent Visa.

Other options that can be explored by US citizens interested to migrate to Australia on long-term basis refer to visas for retirees, which represent a newer category of visas, but persons who have obtained their residency in the past in this country (and lost it because they relocated) can also apply for permanent residency, under the Former Resident Visa.

Apply for Australian citizenship

As an US citizen who will migrate to Australia for permanent residency, one will be able to obtain Australian citizenship as well. It is mandatory to be a permanent resident at the moment when the application is made and one must have a valid residence permit in Australia, provided that this is the sole legal pathway through which the foreigner can obtain citizenship.

The person must have an age above 18 years old at the moment of the application, have a good character and pass the citizenship test (exemptions from the test can apply in certain cases). The person must also prove that he or she will stay in this country after becoming a citizen, or provide relevant information that he or she will maintain a close relation with Australia.

The above mentioned are only few of the eligibility requirements that an American citizen must respect and for full information on other necessary steps involved in this process, we advise you to address to our immigration lawyer in Australia (for instance, persons who have obtained their permanent residency here before 2007 have to follow different rules than the ones who have become permanent residents after this year).

Americans can also apply for citizenship in Australia in other conditions, which have specific rules. Some of the scenarios are:

  1. persons who used to have the citizenship and lost it and want to apply for it again;
  2. persons who have a type of incapacity or impairment;
  3. persons who have an age below 15 years old and apply for citizenship by themselves;
  4. persons who were born to a person who used to be an Australian citizen.

What documents are necessary for becoming an Australian citizen?

Americans who intend to immigrate to Australia from US with the purpose of becoming Australian citizens have to prepare a large set of documents; this is why we highly recommend you to be represented by an immigration lawyer in Australia who is familiarized with any legal aspect involved in this case.

As an American, one can become an Australian citizen by descent (which means that the person is directly related to an Australian native) or by conferral, which represents the long process through which the foreigner must first migrate to Australia and then to obtain permanent residency here. We invite persons who want to immigrate to Australia from US to address our lawyer for personalized assistance on how to relocate here, apply for a specific type of visa or obtain Australian citizenship.