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1.  Starting Point

  • All Contracts by foreign persons to acquire interest in Australian real estate must be made conditional upon foreign investment approval unless approval was obtained prior to entering into the Contract;
  •  A foreign person who fails to obtain prior approval to purchase real estate may be subject to substantial penalties.

2.  Definition of Foreign Person

  • A natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia;
  • A company in which a natural person not ordinarily resident in Australia holds a controlling interest (15% or more of the shares in the company);
  • If more than one person in the company an aggregate of 40% or more of the shares in the company.

3.  Eligibility Criteria

Foreign persons will be eligible for FIRB approval to acquire new dwellings if:-

  •  The dwelling has never been sold before; and
  • The dwelling has been occupied for less than 12 months (or not at all).

4.  Exemptions

A foreign person does not need to submit an application for FIRB approval if:-

  • You hold a permanent resident visa and are purchasing residential property;
  • You are a temporary resident who is purchasing certain residential property as follows:-
  1. vacant land;
  2. a new dwelling;
  3. a second hand dwelling to be used as your principal place of residence.
  • Temporary resident means you hold a temporary visa which permits you to stay in Australia for a continuous period of more than 12 months or you hold a bridging visa whilst    you have already submitted an application for permanent residency.
  • You are purchasing a new dwelling from a developer who has pre-approval to sell dwellings to foreign persons.

5.  How to Apply

  • Application forms are available on the website:;
  • If the purchase will be in an individual name the relevant form is “Form 4 – Notice Under Section 26A”;
  • Attached to this form is also an Information Sheet on how to complete the form.

Contact Department Manager Christine Martin on 07 5506 8245 or freecall 1800 621 071 to make an appointment or to obtain more information or use our Online Enquiry Form to send us your details.

With three offices conveniently located at Robina, Coolangatta – Tweed and Kingscliff you can also visit an office near you.

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Attwood Marshall Lawyers
Northern NSW & Gold Coast, Queensland

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Contact the Author

Jeff Garrett

Jeff Garrett

  • Legal Practice Director
  • Direct line: 07 5506 8201
  • Mobile: 0419 304 174