Right now people are in a state of panic and I understand. The best thing you can do though is to stay as calm and collected as possible and work through your options, make pros and cons lists, and assess your position. I’ve tried to compile here the most trustworthy information available to help you with your coming days and weeks.

Last Updated 12:40 pm Wednesday, April 1 2020

I am going to try and keep this page as up-to-date as possible with information and resources so that you can check back and have as much information presented to you as possible.

None of this is personal advice just for you, it is general in nature and everything depends on your particular circumstances. Take this, read lots of

General Advice

Don’t read too much on social media.

Coming from a person who lives and breathes social media, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in stories and personal anecdotes.

One bit of misinformation right now goes a very long way. It is shared as a comment on three more posts, and suddenly it is gospel fact. Don’t share things you read on social media unless you have gone to the source and confirmed it.

Here are the golden rules:

  1. Take your information directly from the source. If the President or Prime Minister released something, use their official sites: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ and https://www.pm.gov.au/ – Don’t get worried about headlines that are purely clickbait.
  2. Ignore health advice given over social media and use the trusted resources below
  3. Trust in the basics:
    1. Wash your hands lots;
    2. Isolate yourself at home as much as possible;
    3. Distance yourself from others when you’re around other people;

Health Advice

For health advice, use only official resources and don’t trust cures or remedies you’ve read about. They won’t help and again lead to misinformation.

Trust in the World Health Organization‘s recommendations, their only interest is to keep you safe and well.

If you are stuck at home, then be sure to keep on a regular schedule, drink lots of water, and eat as healthily as you can.

Exercise is more difficult, I know, trust me, but you can find lots of resources online like these ones to workout from your very own living-room floor.

Be very careful at this time with travel insurance as many companies have excluded health coverage at this time. Read your policy very carefully.

If you are looking for international/global health insurance while you live in the U.S. then I can personally recommend Cigna Global who provides my insurance. It is very important that you read through what is included and excluded based on your personal positon and the plan you pick, but I have found them to be responsive and have been very vocal with updates throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

To get a quote and some options presented to you with Cigna Global you can click here.

Legal Advice

I ran a webinar with Doug Lightman from Lightman Law Firm on  Thursday, March 19 at 6 pm ET to discuss the legal implications for expats who are looking for clarifications on immigration issues.

It answers lots of the scenarios and questions that we had submitted (over 200 over them!) so be sure to follow all the way through. I have also created a transcript of the webinar on this page.

Disclaimer – This webinar is strictly for informational purposes only and it is not intended, nor should it be relied upon, as a source of legal advice or opinion.

Zjantelle Cammisa Markel of Cammisa Markel has also written two fantastic articles on LinkedIn which breaks down information for both employers of individuals on E3 visas at this time, as well as information for E3 visa holders during this time.

It’s also sometimes helpful to hear stories and anecdotes from people all over the world and their adventures dealing with the current global crisis, renewing visas, and living as an expat in the United States. It grounds things for you and can answer some questions that you might have had yourself. Here’s Jon’s story.

Financial Advice

Right now is a turbulent time so be sure to keep an eye on your finances and know your position.

If you’re struggling, then use this time to analyze where you’re at and make as many decisions as you can to mitigate long-term impacts. If you need to cull some subscriptions or lower repayments, then assess that for yourself and do so. If you have issues repaying rent, then contact your landlord now and come up with a plan, don’t wait until it’s too late.

Don’t avoid it.

If you’re looking for information about the stimulus package (i.e. checks of $1,200) as part of the CARES act and wonder if you’re eligible, you can find more here.

If you are looking for tax assistance or some knowledge of what is involved if you are traveling between the United States and Australia, then you can reach out to Jason Stoch at UpTrend Advisory who is great and has helped our community in the past with fantastic tax advice.

If you are sending money internationally, be sure to use the advice I’ve written about many times and avoid using your bank to do this (so that you don’t lose out on rates).

Keeping your mind and body active during self-isolation & quarantine

It can be BORING being locked in your home.

So I’ve got some recommendations on tv shows to watch, recipes to cook, workout ideas and more over here!

Join me for Friday Night Drinks!

Stuck inside and missing social interaction? Join Friday Night Drinks online!

Working from home is ok for a little bit but has its drawbacks. After a whole week of being inside and distancing yourself from others I can imagine that you are probably going a little bit crazy… so why not join me for drinks?

Prepare yourself a cocktail, or a wine, or a beer, or a soda, or a cold glass of water, and join in for a chat. There’ll be little breakout groups of 4 or 5 to chat, online trivia games, and we’ll make it just like you’re at your favorite bar!

You can join in or just sit and watch from a quiet corner of the bar. Just sign up here for free!

See you there!

Friday Night Drinks Live From Your Very Own Self-Isolation

Current Status of the United States’ Borders

The State Department on Thursday raised its global travel advisory to a Level 4, a recommendation — not a requirement — that United States citizens either remain in place or return home. This is the agency’s top warning.

On March 20, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said it was closing the border with Mexico to any nonessential travel, beginning March 21.

The United States closed its border with Canada by mutual decision, President Trump announced on Twitter on March 18.

The measure allows trade to continue but restricts nonessential travel, such as tourism, from Canada. Canadian nationals who daily commute to the United States for work would still be allowed in.

Effective March 16, the ban will apply to foreign nationals departing from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As of March 13, all American citizens and legal permanent residents who have been in high-risk areas and return to the United States are required to fly to one of the following 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

On March 11 the United States barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries during the previous 14 days.

The ban applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Current Status of Australia’s Borders

For those trying to leave Australia, from the Department of Home Affairs:

Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas from 25 March 2020 at 12:00hrs AEDST.

This travel restriction does not apply to:

  • people ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers
  • people engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight
  • people whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities and
  • people travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

Travellers who believe they meet a travel restriction exemption can apply online to the Commissioner of the ABF.​​

You will need to provide information for “why you need to travel outside Australia” and provide supporting documents.

For those trying to enter, taken directly from the Prime Minister’s office:

Australia is closing its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents.

The entry ban takes effect from 9pm AEDT Friday, 20 March 2020, with exemptions only for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, including spouses, legal guardians and dependants.

There is also a requirement for 14 days of self-isolation for everyone entering:

This means that all people – whether they be citizens, residents or visitors – will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Enhanced screening for arrivals will remain in place to identify anyone arriving sick or with symptoms of COVID-19.

Current Status of International Borders

Many countries are closing their borders to non-citizens so it is important you keep up-to-date with that information.

The New York Times has a constantly updating list of Coronavirus Travel Restrictions, Across the Globe

Are you Australian needing assistance?

The Australian Consulate-General in New York is still open and can help you if you have any questions.

Feel free to call them +1 (212) 351-6500 or you can now message them on their Facebook Page.

Looking for last minute flights or help with flights?

Travel Josh, Josh Engstrom posted on Facebook:

Shout out to all the travel agents out there! Just want our community here to know that I am still booking flights.

Message me if you want to book with a human! I’m linked in to the global distribution system (from home), and can see every seat on every plane in the world – cool if you’re an airfare geek like me!

I can’t promise I’ll be the cheapest (quite often I am though), but as I’m now working from home, I’m free to help when shit gets real (i.e. cancelled), and I care about delivering you home safe and sound, (wherever that may be) – unlike booking with a robot, who frankly doesn’t give a damn.

Contact Josh if you need any travel or flight help by his email, [email protected]

Which international airlines still fly to, and from, Australia?

From the Australian Consulate-General New York:

United Airlines continues to operate a direct route from San Francisco to Sydney.

Domestic airlines are running, with delays and rising costs.

If you wish to leave the United States, you are advised not to delay.

If you’re an Aussie in the United States and still debating whether to fly to Australia, please ask yourself the following questions: Can I access health care in the US if I get sick? Do I have the finances and people to support me if I get sick?

Health care in many states, especially in New York, is under pressure.

Flights are limited and costs are rising. Please don’t delay your departure if you choose to leave.

About the Author

America Josh

I had a fantastic life in Adelaide and in Australia but thought in late 2015 that it was time to do something new. I handed over control of my company, sold my house, car, and even gave away my cat (“Aslan”) to start on my journey to New York.

I arrived in New York on January 10, 2017, from Adelaide, South Australia and in March 2017, I started America Josh to help make the transition to the US from wherever you’re from just a little bit easier.

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