The First Two Weeks in Sydney are Hectic
Opening a bank account was one of the many tasks we had to get done our first two weeks in Sydney.
I refer to those two weeks now as the “Two Week Scramble” as, many expats on a sponsored visa, have only two weeks booked in a hotel before they are out on the streets. Don’t worry. You won’t be out on the streets but that worse-case scenario is playing on repeat in every expat’s mind when they first arrive.
We had to get our Tax File Numbers, start searching for an apartment in a city we didn’t know, open a bank account and transfer money into that account asap for our first month’s rent and deposit.
It felt like we were on some sort of reality TV show like “The Amazing Race” but for expats.
(Hope I’m not making you nervous. Don’t worry because you’re going to be way more prepared than we were. That’s the whole point of SMG, giving you the inside track so there aren’t any surprises when you arrive. Well, not big surprises anyway. There will always be a few surprises.)
Even after we opened our bank accounts and transferred funds from back home, we still had to wait on our stupid bank cards that took about a week to arrive at the branch which meant no ATM. If we needed cash, we had to go into the bank and make a withdrawal.
Yes, it was a pain especially since banks close earlier in Australia than in the States and most are not open on the weekends. As a result, we ended up using our US credit cards more than we should have, out of convenience.
The only thing that saved us was my husband’s request that he get a “signing bonus”, as the company called it, that was paid to him up front when we arrived. The bonus is was really more of a reimbursement for our relocation costs. Even so we were happy to have that check in Australian funds, to open our bank account with and use straight way for our first apartment.
It was a fast “here today, gone tomorrow” sort of thing. Still it got us our first apartment in Elizabeth Bay. Mission Accomplished.
If we didn’t have that check waiting for us, we would not have been able to pay for our apartment deposit plus first month’s rent until our money transfer had gone through.
If that had been the case, we would have had to extend our hotel stay an extra week. At our own cost since the company that sponsored our visa was paying for just two weeks.
When you’re looking for an apartment in Sydney, timing is everything. If you see a place online that you like, make sure all your funds and paperwork are ready to go so you can jump on it.
Any delays and the agent will move on to the next person who has the money ready to go.
This is one of the reasons setting up your bank account and transferring money to Australia before you arrive in Sydney is so important. Running around the city, trying to fit in as many viewings as possible, is stressful enough. There is no need to add to your stress by having to wait for your money to appear in your account or have to wait on your bank cards.
You have enough to get done before you get to Australia. Make it easier on yourself. I certainly wish we had.
To find out more on how to open your Australian bank account click here. I’ve included the extra bits of info you will need to fill out the banking form online.
It’s super easy to do. Will only take you about 10 minutes online.
The other advantage is you can open your account 12 months before arriving in Sydney. Nice to have something you can cross off your moving to-do list today.