Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (2023)

You’re thinking about moving to the UK from Australia but you’re not sure of the steps you need to take to do so? In thisguide,I’ll walk you through a moving to the UK from Australia checklist and things you should consider preparing if you are moving for a few months to indefinitely.

Australia has quite a few reciprocal agreements with the UK and a few more visas available, so it does make the transition to the UK a little easier.

Pssst. there are plenty of helpful tips in this post even if you’re not from Australia! Even if you’re moving from Australia to another country.

Disclaimer: Hi! this post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn a commission, see myAffiliate Disclosurefor more details.

Rights to Work and Employment

Can Australians Live and Work in the UK?

Yes, Australians can live andwork in the UK. First you need to determine whether you can get a UK passportor what visa will allow you to do so. Here are the most common visasAustralians move to the UK on:

  • Tier5 Youth Mobility (age restricted to between 18 to 30)
  • UKAncestry(grandparentswere born in the UK)
  • Rightto Abode/ UK Passport(parents were born in the UK)

You can also move here on:

  • SpousalVisa (this includes if you have an EEA partner as well, (however this) willchange for EEA after Brexit)
  • StudentVisa (limited working hours)
  • Investor/Set-up or run your own business
  • ExceptionalTalent
  • And afew others…

To check if you qualify for any of the visas above there is a check UK Visa questionnaire you can usehere.

Check That Your Job Is Transferable to the UK

Some professions will requireyou to be certified in the UK or will have restrictions on certain jobs so dosome research beforehand. For example, my friend couldn’t work as a pharmaciston her New Zealand qualification, so she’s had to work as pharmacist’sassistant.

Yes, I know I am talkingabout New Zealand here and not Australia, but this is just one example that didaffect my friend.

Do I Require Any Qualifications or Permits?

As the standards and permitsare different in the UK some professions will require you to be certified orregistered with a governing body for certain jobs, especially in health andconstruction.

Check if you haverestrictions, permits or qualifications required for your job in the UK, thelead time, supporting information and process.

To see if they your higher education qualifications are transferrable use theNARIC website.

What You Need to Organise as an Australian Moving Overseas

In every guide I read it’s about what you need to do to set-up your life in the UK which is fantastic, but what about all the elements you need to do when leaving Australia? This guide will cover everything you need to know as an Aussie leaving Australia. I’ll cover things like tax, voting, banking and much more.

Australian Tax

Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (1)

Being a resident ofAustralia, you will still need to do some tax activities while living overseaslike non-lodgements, repaying HELP or TSL and paying tax on interest orinvestments. A few things you should consider before leaving are:

Ensure myGov Account is Set-up

This is one of the biggestmistakes I made when moving overseas, I always used an account so I neverset-up a myGov account. Make sure you have set-up your account and have yourpasswords saved so you can get into the account. It will save you money whenyou need to do non-lodgements, tax returns or anything else you need to check.

If you don’t have an accountATO will need to ask you two questions about:

  • Bankaccount details – this evidence failed for me as it was linked to myaccountant.
  • Noticeof assessment (one from the last 5 years) – scan copies of your assessments incase you need to the details.
  • Superannuationaccount details (one from the last 5 years)

Repaying HELP and TSL Overseas(IfApplicable)

The Australian governmentannounced a few years back that you will need to pay your HELP and TSL debtwhen living overseas. For those who only plan on being here a short time thiswon’t apply to you but those who plan on being out of the country for more than183days or more in any 12months will need to pay.

As of the 2017 to 2018 taxyear these were the rules (the ATO have not updated for the 2018 to 2019 taxyear).

Your worldwide income

What you need to do

If your worldwide income for the 2017–18 year is at or below $13,968 (AUD). This is 25% of the minimum repayment threshold.

You need to lodge a non-lodgement advice form.

If your worldwide income for the 2017-18 year is above $13,968 (AUD).

You need to report your worldwide income.

You can find all the details about what to dohere.

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Foreign Residence Tax

I mainly wish I had knownabout tax (super boring). Basically, I kept all my accounts in Australiaincluding saving accounts which earned interest. As aforeigneranyinvestment like properties, savings, shares and whatever earns you money withinAustralia will mean you fall into the foreign tax bracket.

The outcome of being aforeigner means if you earn more than $1 you will need to pay tax.

In the 2017/2018 tax year, Iearnt $2 of interest and what an expense it was sorting this out. I have spent$90 sorting out 20 cents I owe the tax department for $2 of interest I earned. The ATO spent moreon sending the letter to the UK than what Iowed – ridiculous!

For savings accounts it’seasy and you have two choices that your bank can support you with by withholdingtaxes:

  • Removeyour TFN number (the bank will automatically withhold tax)
  • Askthe bank to withhold tax

I can’t comment on the otherareas as I’ve not had any investments and suggest talking to an accountantbefore making the move if your tax will be complicated.

To find out if you need to pay tax or what to lodge you can use theATO calculator as a guide.


Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (2)

Accessing your money overseasis handy (how else would we get those plane tickets?) and one of the mostimportant items on the to do list. Not only can you save money by making theright decision, but it creates a stress-free environment when relocating.

Most of this section isoptional as it’s up to you how you want to manage your finances.

How Much Money Should I Save to Move to the UK?

Your savings might look bigin Australia but then you exchange to pounds, next thing you’re your Aussiedollars are cut in half (depending on exchange rates at the time). Your poorsavings account will take a hammering when moving to the UK. As a singlepersonIrecommend bringing over $10,000 to cover three months’ accommodation, travel,food, six weeks’ worth of bond money, being without a job and some money forfun activities. You will need to adjust your budget if you are moving as acouple or a family.

I breakdownthecostof moving to the UK hereandthecostof living in London based on my experience here.

Tell Your Bank

As I mentioned in the taxsection, ensure that you tell your bank that you are leaving the country sothey can set you up as a foreigner andensuring they don’t block your cards and anythingelse they may do whilst you are overseas.

Bank Fees (optional)

Investigate whether there areaccounts you can move to without fees or have minimal fees. With my bank thereare no accounts I can move to that didn’t have fees that came with debit cardsand all the banking needs I have. I now pay $5 every month to keep my accountopen which is about £60 a year. There was no point having the online savingsaccount because I can’t transfer any money in and out without a current accountattached to it.

Setting up an HSBC UK Bank Account (optional)

Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (3)

Setting up a bank account in the UK can be a bit of a nightmare if you don’t have proof of address. One of the ways around this is a month before or earlier you plan on leaving for the UK set up an HBSC overseas account.

Simply get the belowdocuments ready as evidence for your application and apply on online.

  • Passport
  • Proof of income
  • Source of income
  • Other documentation such a visa may be required subject to qualifications, status and local country laws and regulations.

Once the application iscompleted one of their International Banking Specialists will get in touch withyou to arrange a meeting to verify your documentation, alongside your applicationform.

Of course, there are more options available but without out proof of address in theUKit’s hard to set-up a bank account. I’ve detailed the bank accounts you can get withoutproofof addresshere.

Don’t forget to read how to build a credit score as a new UK resident.

Apply for a Stop-gap Card (Optional)

If HSBC isn’t your preferredoption, then you will be an overseas credit card or travel prepaid card beforeyou leave. There are so many to choose from: NAB, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ,Qantas Card, Travelex, Australia Post, Velocity Frequent Flyer, St. George,Westpac, Travel Money O and many more!

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I used the 28 degrees Mastercard as my travel credit card as you pay no foreign transaction fees onpurchases when travelling or shopping online and it had no card fees. Plus, acredit card comes in handy for emergencies.

It gives you a convenient wayof accessing money before you have all your finances set-up.

Cancel Credit Cards (Optional)

Cancel any credit cards thathave a fee associated with them. You will need to remember to pay the yearlyfees and spending money on your Australian cards means you will be hit withexchange rates. Instead look at getting a UK credit card when you are readywhich will help with your credit score.

Loans (Optional)

In 2018 the Australianpopulation borrowed $2.54 billion in personal loans and therefore there is achance that you could have a personal loan that you’ve not paid off. Nojudgement here, I moved over with a personal loan when moving to the UK. Thebiggest thing to factor in is:

  • Canyou afford to pay it whilst you are looking for a job?
  • Canyou fund it with your UK salary?

It’s also important to knowwhen your loan ends and any details you need to know about your accounts.

For my loan I just made therepayments every week and then finally had enough funds to pay it off (only) torealise my loan company had changed! It wasn’t hard to get in touch and pay offthe loan in the end, however it did require me to have a BPAY account, so I hadto get my mum to step in.

p.s. BPAY doesn’t exist inthe UK.

Transferring Money

Transferring money with your bank can be a costly expense and I know very well from experience. Generally, banks will give you bad exchange rates and super high fees with the transfers. Look into companies that specialise in transferring money overseas like Wise, Western Union and World Remit. I still can’t believe today how much money I lost by using banks and not investigating the best way to transfer my money!

Personally, I now exclusively use Wise as I tend to find they give the best Aus to UK and UK to Aus rates. If you are interested inWise here is my referral code.


As a citizen ofAustralia,your superannuation is locked in place until you meet the conditions of release (i.e. reach preservation age and retire or satisfy another condition of release) – even if you have no intention of returning.

The one thing to be mindful of is if your super fund cannot contact you then they could transfer your superannuation to the ATO. You can read more about the ATO managing your fundshere.

Notify your super fund thatyou are moving overseas so that they can continue managing your fund.

The UK has pensions which UKemployers will pay into, so you won’t be receiving funds into your super unlessyou decide to self-contribute while living aboard.

Combining Your Superannuation (optional)

To save on fees and chargesyou should look at combining your superannuation and will make it easier tokeep track of your super.

Before I really knew how tomanage my funds, I had three super funds managing my money and two smallerfunds which I basically just lost money with, plus I had no idea who wasmanaging them. Your main super fund will be able to track your other accountsand once you give them permission, they will request for the money to betransferred. It was super easy, and I didn’t have to do any of the leg work.

Welfare Benefits

Any government benefits youreceive in Australia you will not receive if you move overseas with a fewexceptions. To find out more check the Department of Human Services.


Australia still requires youto vote overseas if you plan on returning within 6 years. By registering as anoverseas voter, you will be provided with an option to become a general postalvoter so you will automatically receive a postal vote in the mail approximately2–3 weeks after the announcement of the federal election.

The other way you can vote isby going to the Australian Consulate in London if you don’t wish to do postalvotes.

If you plan on movingoverseas indefinitely then you can unenroll to vote.

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All information about voting overseas can be foundhere.

Driving in the UK

Can I Drive in the UK on an Australian License?

Australia and the UK have a reciprocal agreement which means you can drive and exchange your licence in the UK. For the first 12 months in the UK you won’t need to exchange your licence but after this you will if you wish to continue driving.

Planning on purchasing a car?Insurance will be super expensive with your Australian licence (i.e. 3 timesthe price). I suggest waiting until you qualify for a UK licence as it willsave you a ton of money. To qualify for exchange, you need to have livedin the UK for 185 days.

Suggestion for Car Insurance Companies

Occasionallyon the Aussies in London Facebook group car insurance question will pop up,there are two companies’ people normally recommend:

As a general rule, ThirdParty is often cheaper than comprehensive insurance. Being under the age of 25will also increase your car insurance.

International Driving Permit (Optional)

When travelling, rental carcompanies and other countries may wish for you to have an International DriversPermit (IDP). For ease of renting cars, you may wish to get one before leavingAustralia. They don’t cost a lot of money and it’s just another thingyou don’t need to worry about if you do decide to drive around.

You will also get cases wherethe car companies might not ask for the IDP but if you get pulled over by thepolice, they will be expecting to see this document.

IDP in Australia are statespecific, here are the following authorities you will need to contract to getone in your state:


Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (4)

Before we get intoorganisingyour health it’s important the note that your health may take a hit when moving to the UK. The strains of colds, flu and other bugs are different in the UK than Australia. People complain about the levels of sickness they experience when they first arrive here. Once you have adjusted to the changes your body will get back to normal (at least that’s what happened to me).

Health Checks and Vaccinations

Consider seeing your doctor,specialist or medical professional before you depart, especially if you have anexisting medical condition. Just a general health check, ensure your vaccinationsare up-to-date and anything else you need to discuss.


If you take medication you shouldconsiderlookingto:

  • Ensuringthat you have enough for 2-3 months to get you through the initial set-up inthe UK. For ladies this includes your pill (even though it’s free in the UK itwill save you stressing).
  • Get aletter from your doctor supporting the medication you take, how much, why youtake it and any medical documents to support this. Also, not all medication isthe same in the UK so it might be worthwhile asking your doctor to investigateUK alternatives.
  • Keepthe original packaging when travelling.
  • Checkwith your doctor that it’s legal in the UK or some medication in Australiamight not be available over counter for example.

Vaccination Card (Tip for Travelling)

Bringing your vaccinationcard over with you is super handy when you need to travel. It’s one of thosethings I just added in with my documents I was bringing with me and came inhandy when I was getting vaccinations for a trip to Vietnam. They knew exactlywhen I had my last jabs, so it was easy to determine the ones I needed to getfor the trip, plus some countries require you to take the vaccination card withyou to enter. Please note this is if you wish travelling whilst you are in theUK to countries like Africa or Asia, the UK doesn’t require you to have anyvaccinations as a mandatory requirement for Australians.

Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses

If you wear glasses takealong a spare pair and/or a copy of the prescription so that they can bereplaced if lost or broken.

Bring enough contacts to lastyou for a few months or if they get lost.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

Australia has reciprocalhealth care agreements with the UK and as a tax payingresidentyouwill get access to the NHS.

Read more about thereciprocal health agreementsandwho is eligible.
There are a few questions I see popping up in forums whether NHS replaces travel insurance, the reciprocal health agreement with Australia nor the National Healthcare replaces your travel insurance. When you are travelling I suggest getting travel insurance as it will give you more coverage.

Cancelling Private Health Insurance (Optional)

Cancelling private healthinsurance is something to consider if you are moving over for a long time as itwon’t provide you any benefit in the UK.

An important thingto note if you are still earning a taxable income in Australia is that you maybe subjected to the Medicare levy surcharge even if you are living in the UK.So, if you cancel your private health insurance while travelling overseas, youmay be liable for the Medicare levy surcharge if your income exceeds therelevant threshold.

Speak to your private healthinsurer about what it will mean to you if you cancel or suspend your cover.

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Travel Insurance

One of the biggest reasonswhy us Aussies move overseas is to travel. I recommend that you get travelinsurance to cover your first 6 months in the UK. Generally, travel insurancecompanies in the UK will not cover you in the UK until you have been living herefor 6 months but you can always review the policies to see if the insurer hasdifferent rules.

The other thing to considerwith travel insurance is if you are insured in the UK the treatment will be inthe UK. If you wish during an emergency to be sent back to Australia, then youneed Australian Travel Insurance.

Very generic but insurance isnormally determined on if you are citizen or resident:

A citizen is described aspassport holder with:

  • apermanent residential address
  • withunrestricted right of entry to the country.

A resident is a holder of aresidency visa with:

  • unrestrictedright of entry into the country
  • accessto long-term medical care
  • apermanent residential address in the country.

Important Documents

Packing your passport andcredit cards is great but if you intend to stay overseas for an extended periodthen you should consider bringing those important documents with you like:

  • birthcertificate
  • marriagecertificate
  • citizenshipcertificate
  • divorceand custody arrangements
  • taxdocuments (tax assessment etc)
  • educationalqualifications.

Scan all your importantdocumentation along with your passport and visa.

Packing for the UK

Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (5)

Minimising your belongings is scary and exciting. It is the one and only time I would consider myself being a minimalist! At the end of the day, the UK has plenty of shops so whatever you miss you will be able to buy here.

A full UK packing list can be found here. There are a few items that I think need an honourable mention, they are:

  • Australianpower board- if you have a few devices this will make your life easier whencharging devices.
  • Comfortableshoes – you will be walking a lot!
  • Interviewoutfit – got to look good for those interviews.
  • Andstock up on your favourite things! There are some things that you can get inthe UK like vegemite but if you are a chicken salt lover this won’t beavailable in the shops. Same goes with beauty products as some brands may notbe available in the UK.

Other Things to Organise

An epic amount oforganisingwas covered in this article and it’s not the end of the list of things to do before moving to the UK. Here anotherpre-departure article and checklistcovering all the other areas not mentioned in the article.

More Moving to the UK Articles

  • How to Build a Credit Score as a New UK Resident
  • How Much Money Should I Save to Move to the UK? With a Cost Breakdown
  • Cost of Living in London
  • How Do I Get a UK Address Before I Move There? With Solutions
  • Can I Get a UK Bank Account Before I Move to the UK? With Solutions
  • A Helpful Guide on How to Find a Flat in London
Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (6)

Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start anew adventure.What a roller-coasterthat was! I love helping others move to the UKand peopleexplore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

Moving to the UK from Australia Checklist (Epic Guide!) (7)
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