Important Things for You to Do on Arrival

“Busy” is not an adequate description for new migrants and long term visitors to Australia. On your arrival, you will no doubt be run off your feet with things that need doing and taking care of. Make life easier on yourself by making sure you take care of the essentials in an order that will help you get things done properly and more efficiently.

  1. Apply for a Tax File Number: You must have a tax file number in order to receive any sort of income in Australia, including public benefits. If you are a permanent migrant or a temporary visa holder with the right to work in Australia, and you are physically present in Australia at the time of application, you may apply for a tax file number online. Applying for a tax file number should be one of the very first things you do once you arrive in Australia.
  2. Register with Medicare: To register for Medicare you will need to go to your local Medicare Service Centre in person. For initial enrolments, all family members who are 15 years of age or over must go with you to the Medicare Service Centre. If you live in a remote area, or  there is another reason for not being able to attend a service centre, you can send your application together with certified copies of documents and the reason for not being able to attend in person, to the Department of Human Services, GPO Box 9822, in your capital city. Registration for Medicare should be made within the first 10 days of your arrival to Australia. Download the application form to make sure you arrive to the service centre with all the relevant certified documents.
  3. Open a Bank Account: If you open a bank account within 6 weeks of your arrival in Australia, you will usually only need a passport as evidence of identity. After 6 weeks you may require further documentation in order to open an account.
  4. Register with Centrelink: Apart from providing financial assistance for eligible migrants, Centrelink can also assist you with tasks such as finding a job, or helping you gain recognition in Australia for your skills and qualifications. To make sure you know what services are available to you, Centrelink provides interpreters for free upon request, and may also be able to provide you with information kits in your native language. Multicultural Service Officers may also have ideas on how to network with other members of the community who speak your language or share your cultural heritage.
  5. Sign up for English Classes: You may possess a visa which entitles you to free English classes with AMEP.  Eligibility for these classes will expire at the conclusion of your first two years in Australia. 
  6. Enrol your Children in School: Schooling is compulsory by law for all children between 5 and 15 years of age. Public schooling is free. Enrol your children in schools as soon as possible to ensure you get a place in the school you want.
  7. Obtain a Driving Licence: If you want to drive in Australia, then you must have the appropriate driver’s licence by law.  If your visa gives you permanent residency and you have a current driver’s licence from another country which is either in English or accompanied by an official translation, then (with the exception of Tasmanian residents), you will be permitted to drive using that licence for your first three months after arrival. Note that in Tasmania, the three month period begins from the date you are granted your permanent residency visa, and not from your date of arrival in Australia. Driving licences are issued by State or Territory Governments. Contact the licensing authority in your state or territory of residence in order to find out how to obtain the relevant licence.