News & Advice.

News & Advice

Who Needs FIRB Approval to Buy Property in Australia and How do I Get It?

What is FIRB?

The Australian Government welcomes foreign investment for the many benefits it brings, and proposals are reviewed on a case‑by‑case basis by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

The FIRB advises the Treasurer and Government on Australia's foreign investment policy, looking out for the best interests of the nation and its people.

The FIRB’s policy is to channel foreign investment into new dwellings or redevelopment, to create additional jobs in the construction industry, help support economic growth, and increase Australia’s housing stock.

Who does not need FIRB approval?

To make things a little easier to understand, here’s a list of people who do not need FIRB approval:

  • Australian and New Zealand citizens
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Temporary residents buying property with an Australian or New Zealand citizen spouse or Australian permanent resident spouse listed as ‘joint tenants’.
  • Foreign nationals buying a home to live in with an Australian or New Zealand citizen spouse or Australian permanent resident spouse listed as ‘joint tenants’.

Note: Joint tenants own equal portions in the property (50/50), and if one person passes away, the other will automatically receive the other portion.

Who needs FIRB approval?

Most foreign nationals wanting to acquire property in Australia need FIRB approval, however, rules and regulations vary depending on resident status.

Temporary Residents:
(Including people on spouse visas, 457 visas, TSS visas, or student visas)

  • Can only buy one established dwelling to live in, and are required to sell it when they no longer live there. If a temporary resident obtains Australian citizenship or permanent residency, they no longer have to sell the property.
  • Can buy an investment property, however, it must be a new property or vacant land to build a new property.

(Anyone who does not hold citizenship, permanent residency or temporary residency)

  • Can’t buy an established dwelling as an investment property.
  • Must purchase a new property or vacant land to build a new property.
  • Can own Australian property without FIRB approval if inherited or awarded by a court order or in a divorce settlement.
How do I get FIRB approval?

You can apply for FIRB approval by visiting the FIRB website and or the Australian Tax Office website and following the online application process.

Your application for FIRB approval can only be made once you have selected a property to buy, as you are required to enter the details of the property during the application. The FIRB typically takes 30 days to respond.

How much does it cost to get FIRB approval?

An application fee applies to all foreign investors who want to buy property in Australia unless buying property with an Australian or New Zealand citizen or Australian permanent resident.

Fees range from $5,000 to $100,000, depending on the property value and property type. Typically, residential land will cost less than the fees for buying a business, commercial property or farmland.

Check out the FIRB website for specific details around fees.

The Maker Difference.

There are of course nuances and exemptions when it comes to who needs FIRB approval to buy property in Australia and how it can be obtained.

Using an Australian buyer’s agent to guide you through the process is highly recommended. Our buyer’s agents not only understand the FIRB’s policies, regulations and fees, and they can explain how property tax works, help you to get financing, and navigate the process from application through to moving in for you.

Whether you are looking for a buyer’s agent in hotspots like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, or in any other city or regional centre in Australia, we have the network to help you realise your property dreams sooner.

Interested in learning more? Contact us.

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