If you’re seriously considering getting a Green Card, you can’t prepare early enough for the life changing event of becoming a migrant. No amount of savings is enough. Who do you know in the United States who may be able to help you when you first arrive? Who will you send the actual Green Card to? How will you stay in contact with your friends? Is this a short-term idea or is it permanent? Will you store things in Australia and come back for them or send for them at a later date? Is it time to sell everything off? Where do you plan on settling? What are the job prospects like? You need to get your life in order – PRONTO!

These are just a few of the things you need to ask yourself. If you want it to be little more than a working holiday, perhaps you should explore the E3. When you first enter, it is possible to leave immediately after validating the card and return within 6 months without reapplying for a re-entry permit (check this). This may buy you the extra time needed to get everything sold and in order or to make inroads in the job search.

Financially, there can be major implications too. Once you have a Green Card, you’re effectively married to the US tax system and will be expected to lodge (and potentially pay) returns, even if you’re living back in Australia. The only way to leave this behind is to give up your Green Card, which can then have implications if you want to return in the future. So yes, don’t take this process lightly. It truly is a life-changing event.