Guidance

Living in Australia

Official information British people moving to and living in Australia need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Before you go

See our travel advice for Australia for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

British citizens need a visa to enter Australia – see entry requirements for Australia in our travel advice and Visa Finder.

If you also have Australian citizenship, you should enter and leave the country on your Australian passport.

If you’re applying for a skilled migration visa, you may need to get a skills assessment.

Many visas require you to read the Life in Australia booklet and sign the Australian Values Statement, confirming you will respect the Australian way of life and obey the laws of Australia.

After you’ve lived in Australia for 4 years, you may be able to apply for Australian citizenship.

You may be able to sponsor family members to enter Australia.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for Australia.

Australia and the UK have reciprocal healthcare agreements, however the agreement will not cover all healthcare needs. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.

British citizens resident in the UK and travelling on a British passport are entitled to limited subsidised health services, for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia. This doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions or non-urgent treatment.

If you’re resident in Australia, Medicare covers some healthcare. The government uses tax rebates to encourage everyone to buy private health insurance.

You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK medical treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK. The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

See bringing medicine into Australia – you should also check your prescriptions are legal in Australia.

Find doctors in Australia.

Working in Australia

You need a visa to work in Australia – see working in Australia.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Australia.

You need to get a Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you have worked in Australia, see age pension for how to claim your pension.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

If you’re a permanent resident of Australia, you may be eligible for some Australian state benefits – see the Department of Human Services.

Driving in Australia

See driving abroad and road travel in Australia.

After 3 months, you need to exchange your UK licence for an Australian one.

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

See voting when you’re abroad.

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies.

See also:

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Australia uses the emergency number 000.

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

See:

Returning to the UK

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Australian authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 3 January 2014
Last updated 19 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  2. First published.