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Move to Australia from Switzerland

When ranked for quality of life, Switzerland and Australia consistently land in the top ten countries in the world. Stunning natural scenery? Check. Liveable and vibrant cities? Check. Excellent schools and health care? Check.

But for all their similarities, anyone considering a move from Switzerland to Australia knows that Australia is a world away (and a world down-under) from Europe.

Australia is a great destination for Swiss Nationals

Swiss nationals moving to Australia may be leaving one of the most desirable countries in the world, but they are drawn to the legendary laid-back Australian lifestyle, great weather (280+ days of sunshine per year in Brisbane, to be exact) and endless coastlines.

According to the Federal Council, after the US and Canada, Australia is the third most popular destination for emigrating Swiss nationals. Of the 700,000+ Swiss expats around the world, 4% – or around 25,000 people– call Australia home.

Is Australia a healthy place to live

Australia offers nature-lovers a wealth of outdoor experiences, including skiing, hiking, cycling and world-class golf. Expats from land-locked Switzerland will be spoiled for choice when it comes to watersports, from motorboating, sailing, surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving to lazy days at the beach.

If watching other people exercise is more appealing, rugby, Australian Rules Football, cricket, volleyball, and tennis are all part of the fiercely-competitive Australian sports scene.

If you plan to cheer for the home team, you may want to practice: “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oiy Oiy Oiy!”

How big is Australia

At 7.692 million square kilometres, Australia is more than 185 times larger than Switzerland! Most of its 25M+ population live along the coast. Much of inland Australia is uninhabited.

Where should I live in Australia

Australia is made up of the Northern and Australian Capital Territories and the states of Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales.

Each region of Australia has its own unique charm and characteristics, but Victoria is known as the historic home to Swiss immigrants. As early as the 1800s, the Swiss settled around Victoria, first as vintners and later as part of the 1850s gold rush. The associations built to support these early Swiss migrants still serve expats living in the region. The Swiss Club of Victoria is a notable example, and their historic photos offer a fun view into the life of early Swiss settlers.

Homesick Swiss nationals can enjoy the annual Swiss-Italiian Festa in Hepburn or visit the town of Gruyere, which retains much of its Swiss charm.

Today, expats from Switzerland enjoy life in all the major cities of Australia. From bustling Sydney to hot and sultry Darwin in the north, the regions of Australia engage in some fun (and fierce) competition. When you get there, tell us what region you think is the best! 

How to Move to Australia

A moving checklist written by expats for expats

We love relocation and we want your move to Australia to be a success.

To help you plan your move, we have created an Ultimate Checklist specifically for people moving from Switzerland to Australia. Whether you are moving for work, to retire, or ready to move home, our Moving Checklist has everything you need to know.

It was written by expats and our very own Sterling Lexicon Move Specialists. Let us know if you have any questions!

What do I need to do to move to Australia

Before you move, there are a few things to check…

Do Swiss nationals need an Australia visa or work permit to move to Australia

All EU citizens who want to work, study, or retire in Australia need to obtain a visa.

Have you already started your visa application? If yes, it’s time to request moving quotes. You can request a moving quote here. If you need a visa to Australia, speak with one of our dedicated visa and immigration specialists.

Australia offers more than 100 types of visas. Most new residents in Australia will enter under a work visa, such as:

New Employees -for sponsored employees or those holding special skills

Global Talent Visa
Employer Nomination Scheme
Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visa
Skilled Independent Visa
Skilled Nominated Visa
Skilled Recognised-Graduate Visa
Skilled Work Regional Visa
Temporary Work Visa – International Relations
Temporary Work Visa – Short Stay Specialist
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

Business and investment visas -for business owners of new or existing businesses in Australia:

Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 888) – Permanent
Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188) – Provisional
Business Owner (Subclass 890)
Business Talent Visa (Subclass 132) – Permanent
Investor Visa (Subclass 891)

Other visa types include:

Tourist Visa
Study and Training Visa
Parent, Family and Caregiver Visa
New Zealand Citizen Visas
Humanitarian visas
Bridging visas

*Information provided above is for awareness purposes only and should not be used as legal advice. Please consult a qualified immigration lawyer for details about your specific situation.


I’m an Australian citizen moving home. How do I deregister from Switzerland

Australians – as well as EU citizens – who are moving from Switzerland to Australia must deregister in order to officially ‘leave’ Switzerland. To deregister, you must:

Residents of Geneva can find additional information about deregistering at the municipality website.

**This Information does not constitute legal advice. Consult your local Canton authorities for a complete list of requirements to deregister from Switzerland.

Do you need health insurance in Australia

A recent Commonwealth Fund study ranked Australia in the top 3 countries globally for healthcare outcomes, access to healthcare, and other metrics.

Australia’s universal healthcare scheme, known as Medicare, offers residents free or low-cost health care services. They include hospital treatment, medications, and some medical services. Most Australian residents are not required to purchase private medical insurance. High-income earners are one exception – they are subject to a Medicare Levy Surcharge if they are uninsured.

For those who would like private healthcare insurance, selecting a plan can be confusing – Australia has more than 30,000 plans on offer. A government-mandated website offers clear pricing and plan descriptions.

International removals to Australia

The Sterling Lexicon Promise

Book with confidence. Book to reserve your move date and– if things change – you can change your moving dates.

Sterling Lexicon is an accredited international mover. We provide professional support throughout your move – here in Switzerland and at your destination. FIDI protected.


How to ship your household goods to Australia

First, find an accredited removal company that specialises in overseas moves

Moving your household goods more than 18,000 km from Geneva to Sydney is very different from moving house across town. Accredited, reputable international removal companies use overseas-quality packing materials and techniques, and they have a global network that can safely ship your belongings.

Not sure how to find an experienced international mover? Here are a few insider tips:

Your moving company should guarantee your international delivery

Reputable international movers will guarantee the door-to-door delivery of your household goods from Switzerland to Australia.

Your moving company should be internationally accredited by FIDI

Your moving company should be FIDI certified and insured. FIDI is an international association that uses independent auditors to certify moving companies. Look for moving companies that have FIDI FAIM or FAIM Plus accreditation.

Step 1 - Request a Move Quote

Your first step in an international relocation is to get a moving quote. You may request a quote via an online Moving Quote Form, by email, or – for a local moving company in Geneva – you may call them directly.

Your moving quote should be free and may be based on an in-person or virtual survey.

Home and Virtual Surveys

In order to provide your moving quote, your moving company will need to complete a moving survey. A moving survey can be done in person or remotely using a smartphone or tablet.

During the home survey, your move surveyor will assess the items that you plan to move and your long-term or short-term storage needs. During the survey, you and your move surveyor may discuss:

  • Packing materials and processes
  • Access and parking
  • Vehicle shipping and storage
  • Antiques, fine art and special items**
  • Insurance
  • Pet moving
  • Storage
  • Any items that need specific handling requirements

**Antiques, fine art and other high-value items should be identified for customs and special insurance

Sterling Lexicon Video Survey App

We offer COVID-safe, quick and easy video surveys.


Request your international move summary and quote in writing

When you receive your moving quote, check it carefully. If you receive quotes from multiple moving companies, confirm that they contain the same details for a like-for-like comparison.

Top Tip! Over the phone and ballpark quotes are estimates and your actual costs may vary substantially. Ask for a quote in writing.


Sterling Lexicon price promise: if you are comparing quotes, please speak to your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist.

Step 2 - Pre-move Consultation

Speak to experienced International Move Specialists, not Sales People

At Sterling Lexicon, an experienced International Move Specialist will provide your pre-move consultation - not a salesperson.

Our customers say that our Move Specialists are one of the top reasons they love working with Sterling Lexicon.


If you work with Sterling Lexicon, you will be assigned a Move Specialist who will help you with your move from start to finish.

During your pre-move consultation, your Move Specialist will learn the details of your move and your unique needs. They will walk you through the international moving process, answer your questions, and identify potential challenges – all to make sure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.

Step 3 - Book your move date

Once you have received your quotes, select your preferred provider and book your move date.

Request written confirmation of the important dates of your move:

  • Date and time your packing crew will arrive
  • Estimated shipping times
  • Estimated delivery dates

Share your moving dates with your family and support network. Schedule childcare or pet sitting for your packing days.

Step 4 - Pay for your move

You may be asked to make a payment to reserve your preferred packing date. Payment can usually be made by credit card over the phone or online. Sterling Lexicon offers online payment.

Track and manage your move online

Select a moving company that offers online forms and shipment tracking. 

Customs requirements for moving household goods from Switzerland to Australia

If you are moving your household goods from Switzerland to Australia, you will need to provide copies of personal documents, including passports and Australian visas. You will also need to prepare customs forms. The customs process in Australia is managed by the Australian Border Force.

To ship items to Australia, you will need to prepare an Unaccompanied Personal Effects UPE form. (B534). If you want to ship an automobile to Australia, you may need to complete an Import Declaration and pay import duty, GST, and possibly a luxury tax.

If you work with Sterling Lexicon, our experts in international moving and customs requirements can help complete the customs declaration process for you. 

Moving a pet from Switzerland to Australia

If you are taking your pet on the long journey to Australia, consider hiring a pet relocation company that offers complete door-to-door transport for your pet.

Pet movers are experts in the process of moving animals overseas. Their services can include:

  • Complete door-to-door services
  • Veterinary and government documents
  • Travel-approved crating
  • Safe and manageable airline itineraries
  • Airport “Pet hotel’ stays between flights
  • Layover veterinarian checks to make sure your pet is healthy en route

And the best part? Getting updates and photographs of your beloved pet throughout its journey.

Can I move to Australia with pets?

Yes, pets can be imported into Australia with a valid import permit.

If you are planning to bring a pet with you when you move to Australia, begin the application process as soon as you can. Deadlines for various vaccinations and forms can be as much as 180 days or more before your planned date of arrival.**

Australia prohibits the following dog breeds:

  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier
  • Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario

For more information about Australian regulations regarding pet importation, see the government’s comprehensive checklist.

Learn more about our safe and secure pet relocation services, and let our Move Specialists simplify this process for you.

**This advice is for general informational purposes and does not replace the requirements of the Australian government or the recommendations of a veterinarian.

Step 5 - Prepare your home for your move

Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of unnecessary items. If you are relocating all the way to Australia, take the time to sort through your belongings and only take the items that you really need and want.

For more information about international relocation, check out our international moving checklist at the Ultimate Guide to International House Removals.

How to prepare for moving day

Once you select the items you want to ship to Australia, separate the remaining items into long-term storage, short-term storage, and items to be donated or sold. Prohibited items should be removed from the packing area.

“Empty, Drained, Clean and Dry”

As an island nation, Australia takes biosecurity very seriously. All items brought into the country are subject to biosecurity control. To avoid having your items seized or destroyed, make sure that you only pack items that are ‘empty, drained, clean and dry.’ Do not reuse packing materials that originally carried food or drinks.

For more information on importing items into Australia, the government’s website is an excellent resource.

If you work with Sterling Lexicon, your Move Specialist can explain Australian customs restrictions to you and will assist with all of your customs requirements.

Items that are restricted and prohibited for personal moves to Australia

As per the Australia Border Force, the following items cannot be shipped as Unaccompanied Personal Effects:

  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live plants, bulbs, tubers, corms and cuttings
  • prohibited and restricted seeds​
    unidentified seeds (including spices)
  • khapra beetle high-risk plant products
  • biological products including some plant based, herbal medications
  • unprocessed goods of plant or animal origin
  • soiled goods, or goods containing organic residues
    goods knowingly infested with pests or a disease.
  • Tobacco
  • Weapons
  • Drugs and medicines

**These restrictions may change. If in doubt, speak to your Move Specialist for further guidance.


Air versus Sea Shipments from Switzerland to Australia

Your door-to-door move to Australia may include both air and sea shipments. For items that you need to receive quickly, your mover may recommend an air shipment. Most of your goods will likely be sent by sea, which takes longer but is more cost-effective.

Before your packing crew arrives, you should clearly indicate the items that are scheduled for an air shipment. These items will be packed and sent separately from the remainder of your goods.

Your moving company may give you low-tack stickers labelled Air, Sea, Storage, and Don’t Pack. Before packing day, use these stickers to clearly mark areas of your home and specific items. You can also create your own stickers using colour-coded Post-It notes.

Bits box for your first day in your new home

Your ‘bits box’ should be clearly labelled ‘Pack Last, Open First.’ You and your movers should put any small parts from disassembled furniture, nuts and bolts, screws, remote controls, etc. into this box for easy access at your destination.

Top Tip!If you are moving with children, work together to create a ‘first day’ box. Fill it with toys, colouring books, markers and games. Mark this box clearly – or better yet, decorate it! Your children will enjoy being reunited with their toys in your new home in Australia.


Items to set aside to travel with you

Set aside the following items into a clearly identifiable container marked Do Not Pack:

Passport(s), visa(s), phones and chargers, power packs, adaptors, documents, employment references, health insurance cover, jewellery and medication. Keep important documents such as insurance policies and a copy of your mortgage or lease in a wallet. Have physical and digital copies ready for inspection.

Step 6 - What to expect on packing day

packingPacking day can be exciting!

Your moving crew should arrive on schedule and introduce themselves. Your crew foreman will review the items that are designated for air, sea, and storage. Be sure to point out any high value or fragile items as well as items that you are not taking.

Professional movers are efficient and your home will quickly become a whirlwind of activity. The kitchen crew will expertly pack dishes while other packers begin to wrap furniture and build moving boxes. If your packing takes more than one day, your bedding and mattresses will be packed last.

Top Tip! Ask friends or family to take care of your young children and pets on moving day.


Professionally trained international packing crews

Sterling Lexicon’s international packing crews have been with the company for many years and are the best in the business. We only hire people that we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Our packing crews know how to pack your personal possessions perfectly – to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of kilometres.


Eco-friendly export packing materials

International packing crews use special techniques and materials to protect items during handling and the long sea journey to Australia. These may include 4-6 ply export wrap, thick-walled packing boxes, acid free tissue paper, cornering for furniture edges, and thick carding for surfaces.

Your itemised packing inventory

When the packing crew is finished, you will receive an itemised packing inventory. Keep this inventory until your possessions are received and unpacked in Australia.

International transit protection

The voyage between Geneva and Sydney is more than 18,000 kilometres. Your packing crew will do everything they can to safely prepare your belongings for shipment. However, long sea voyages entail some risk.

We strongly recommend that our clients purchase transit protection, which provides insurance for your possessions –from the point of packing in Switzerland to their delivery in Australia.

If you would like to learn more about transit protection, please ask your Move Specialist.

Top Tip! Declare the full replacement value of your belongings on your insurance forms. Most insurers will only reimburse your claim up to the value you declare. This is especially important for high value items and items in sets.


Step 7 - Track your moving shipment to Australia

Sterling Lexicon offers 24/7 shipment tracking, so you can track your move online. 

Step 8 - Travel to Australia

Before your departure, make copies of your personal documents and visa paperwork. Confirm Covid-related travel restrictions in Australia, and leave plenty of time to travel to the airport.

Congratulate yourself on your exciting new adventure!

Step 9 - Australian customs clearance and delivery to your new home

Once you arrive in Australia, inform your Move Specialist. Once your air and sea shipments have cleared customs, your Move Specialist will arrange for their delivery to your home.

Step 10 - Welcome to your new home

If you haven’t already, set up the essentials:

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Internet / Television
  • Phone service
  • Australian mobile SIM card and service
  • Local doctor and dentist
  • Other healthcare providers
  • Local bank account

Enjoy exploring your new neighbourhood. Join local expat and activity groups to meet new friends. If there is anything that your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist can do to help you in your new home, please contact us right away.

We would love to hear from you.

Additional areas we can help with

Currency Exchange

When you move to Australia, you may need to transfer CHF to AUD in order to rent an apartment, purchase a home, or pay a deposit on school fees. We recommend Currencies Direct, a multi-award-winning foreign exchange company. They have been helping people save time and money on their currency transfers since 1996. Contact Currencies Direct today! 

Shipping cars and motorcycles to Australia

Sterling Lexicon ships automobiles – including classic cars and motorcycles – all over the world.

To import an automobile into Australia, your vehicle must meet certain criteria:

  • You must own your vehicle for at least 24 months prior to importing it to Australia.
  • Vehicles must pass mechanical inspection and be free of asbestos (applicable to cars made before 1991).
  • Upon arrival, your automobile will be inspected for biosecurity control


Automobiles imported into Australia are subject to a goods and services tax. Newer automobiles and luxury cars may also be subject to import duties.

For assistance shipping your car door-to-door from Switzerland to Australia, contact your Sterling Lexicon moving specialist. Learn more about our worldwide auto shipping services on our Auto Shipping FAQ page

Why Sterling Lexicon

Our customers say that our caring and supportive Move Specialists are the reason they love working with Sterling Lexicon. Our Move Specialists are passionate about relocation and they will help simplify the moving process for you.

Whether you are a Swiss national working or retiring down-under, an expat on a new assignment, or a UN employee returning home, our Geneva office is ready to help make your move a success.

Relax and enjoy your adventure – Speak with one of our Move Specialists today!

Office Locations

Sterling Lexicon, Switzerland

Route des Jeunes 5A, 1227 Les Acacias
Geneva, Switzerland

+41 22 750 60 60