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[Part I] Relocating from Australia to the US: My Experience as a Software Engineer

I'm a software engineer, starting my career in Australia and most recently in the US between 2016 and 2022.

Various Aussies have asked me how to move to the US, particularly those working in tech and startups.

I'm finally writing this down, so I'll save time for "future me" by just sharing this link 😉

Structure for this Guide

Here's what I cover in this guide:

  1. Part II, covering Interviewing and getting jobs, whether you are already in the US or not.

  2. Part III, looking at compensation and interviewing differences.

  3. Part IV, looking at different types of work visas, dependent visas, and how easy/difficult it is to renew them.

  4. Part V covers finding housing in the US in terms of renting, buying, and selling property.

  5. Part VI looks at paying for healthcare and health insurance in the US.

  6. What to expect when working in the US, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm talking compensation, work culture, working hours, etc.

  7. A brief discussion on differences between Oz and the States, particularly cultural differences and living with a young family.

As I started writing, there was much to cover - so I'll split this into a handful of separate posts.

This first post will be the shortest of the lot and will cover some personal background and context.

Let's Start With Some Personal Background

I can't profess to be a world expert on moving from Australia to the US.

All I can share is my unique experience based on my personal circumstances.


  • My wife and I moved to San Francisco on a few trips between April and August 2016. She is a Singaporean national, and I am Australian.

  • We had 2 daughters born in the US. Our whole family returned from the US to Australia in April 2022, wrapping up our 6-year adventure.

  • I worked as an engineer for this entire period on an E3 visa. I had 1 out-of-country renewal and 1 in-country renewal (more on this later).

  • We lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the entire period, mainly in the South Bay (more on this later).

Before moving to the US, we traveled frequently but spent most of our time between Singapore and Australia.

We had wanted to start a family and recognized that it would be a lot easier if we stuck to one place for those early years. (Narrator: It's true).

So the question became, why not do that by living in a country NEITHER of us had lived in before and having a bit of an adventure at the same time?

We decided we wanted to live in the US.

I have to confess being familiar with American TV shows played some part in that decision.

So read the rest of this guide with this context in mind. Move on to Part II for a discussion on how I first found a job opportunity in the US.

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