What is the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)?

FIRB is an Australian government department that assesses applications from foreigners who would like to invest or buy a home in Australia.

Please see the section which applies to your situation to find out whether you need FIRB approval.

Who needs FIRB approval?

Temporary residents

If you’re on a temporary visa such as a spouse visa, 457 work visa, a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa or student visa:

  • You need approval from the FIRB.
  • You can only buy one established dwelling and it must be to live in, however you will be required to sell it once you do not live there anymore.
  • You can buy an investment property, however it must be a new property or vacant land to build a new property.
  • You don’t need FIRB approval if you’re buying the property with an Australian citizen as joint tenants and you’re in a spousal relationship. This means it doesn’t apply to other relationships like business partners, mother/father and child, siblings, friends or relatives.

Foreign investors

If you’re a foreign investor:

  • You need approval from the FIRB.
  • The investment property must be a new property or vacant land to build a new property.
  • You can’t buy an established dwelling as an investment property.
  • They can buy a new property in their name and rent it out to their child that is on a temporary visa.

Exceptions for foreign citizens

However you are exempt if:

  • The property developer has obtained an exemption certificate for the new property that you are buying.
  • You inherited the property.
  • You were awarded the property by a court order.
  • You were awarded the property in a divorce settlement.

Please refer to the government department website for the full details of who is and is not eligible.

Who doesn’t need FIRB approval?

Australian citizens

If you’re an Australian expat living overseas or Australian Citizen living in Australia:

  • You don’t need approval from the FIRB.
  • You can buy a new property, existing property or vacant land.
  • You can live in the property or it can be an investment.

Australian permanent resident

If you’re a foreign national who has a permanent residency visa:

  • You don’t need approval from the FIRB.
  • You can buy a new property, existing property or vacant land.
  • You can live in the property or it can be an investment.

New Zealand citizen

If you’re a New Zealand citizen:

  • You don’t need approval from the FIRB.
  • You can buy a new property, existing property or vacant land.
  • You can live in the property or it can be an investment.
  • You are not required to be in the country at the time of contract exchange or settlement, however, you may incur a foreigner stamp duty surcharge if you are not in the country at the time of contract exchange. Requirements vary so it’s best to speak to your relevant state revenue authority for up-to-date information.

Temporary resident buying with Australian citizen spouse

If you’re on a temporary visa such as a spouse visa, 457 work visa, or student visa and are buying the property with your Australian citizen spouse*:

  • You don’t need FIRB approval if you are buying the property as joint tenants and you’re in a spousal relationship. This means it doesn’t apply to other relationships like business partners, mother/father and child, siblings, friends or relatives.
  • You’ll need FIRB approval if you are buying the property together as tenants in common.
  • You can buy a new property, existing property or vacant land.
  • You can live in the property or it can be an investment.

*Includes de facto partner (both same sex and different sex).

Foreigner buying a home with an Australian citizen

  • You’re buying a home together as joint tenants and in a spousal relationship.
  • This exemption doesn’t apply to investment properties.
  • You must be in a spousal or de facto relationship i.e. can’t be two family members or relatives.
  • You must not be purchasing as tenants in common (learn more about the difference between these two types of property ownership).

Foreigner buying a home with an Australian permanent resident

  • You’re buying a home together as joint tenants and in a spousal relationship.
  • This exemption doesn’t apply to investment properties.
  • You must be in a spousal or de facto relationship
  • You must not be purchasing as tenants in common.

Buying as an investment versus owner occupied?

Will it make a difference if you live in the property or not? As a general rule, investment properties are accepted more readily.

If you’re on a temporary visa or work visa then you can:

  • Usually buy a new property or an established property.
  • Will usually be required to sell your home when you leave Australia.
  • If you obtain citizenship or permanent residency then you won’t have to sell your property.

If you’re a foreign citizen living overseas then you:

  • Are unlikely to be allowed to buy a property to live in Australia. This is because you don’t have a valid visa which allows you to stay in Australia.
  • If you’ve been granted a temporary residency visa then you may be able to buy a home before you move.

If you’re an Australian living overseas you can:

  • Buy a property to live in in Australia as long as you can prove to your lender that you’ll be able to afford the debt.
  • Either you’ll need to prove that you’ll continue your job in Australia or that you have another income source.

Does FIRB charge application fees?

Up until mid-2015, application fees were not required. However, now FIRB charges an application fee to all foreign investors who want to buy land or property in Australia.

The only exception to this is if you’re an Australian citizen, a permanent Resident or a NZ citizen.

Fees can vary depending on the value of the residential property or land that you want to purchase:

  • $1 million or less: $5,600
  • $1 million to $1,999,999: $11,300
  • $2 million to $2,999,999: $22,700
  • $3 million to $3,999,999: $34,000
  • $4 million to $4,999,999: $45,400
  • $5 million to $5,999,999: $56,700
  • $6 million to $6,999,999: $68,100
  • $7 million to $7,999,999: $79,500
  • $8 million to $8,999,999: $90,900
  • $9 million to $9,999,999: $102,300
  • $10 million or higher: Please contact the Australian Taxation Office for a fee estimate (fees are tiered per million).

Typically, residential land will cost less than the fees for buying a business, commercial property or farmland.

For more information about these fees, you can refer to the official FIRB application fees page.

How do I lodge a FIRB application?

You can lodge your application on the Australian Tax Office’s Residential Real Estate Application Form.

You’ll need to provide your contact details, full legal name, address of the property and pay the required FIRB approval fee.

Have your passport and Australian visa (if applicable) handy as you’ll need to enter those details.

If you don’t know the title details of your property then you can leave these blank. For new properties they often do not have title details until a few weeks before they are complete.

Types of properties you can buy

  • Investment properties: In most cases the Australian government will approve applications to buy an investment property on the condition that it is a new property. You can often keep an investment property if you leave Australia.
  • Home (owner occupied): If you’re buying a home then you may be able to buy an established property (one that wasn’t recently built). You’ll have to sell your property when your visa expires and you leave Australia.
  • Vacant land (investment): In most cases the Australian government will approve applications to buy vacant land on the condition that you commence construction of a dwelling on the land within 24 months. You can often keep a property that you build as an investment property if you leave Australia.

Applying for permanent residency / citizenship

It isn’t known to us if owning real estate in Australia in any way affects your application for citizenship.

Please speak to a migration agent for more information.

At what stage do I need to contact FIRB for approval?

You can’t apply for FIRB “pre-approval” so you should refer to the FIRB guidelines before you begin looking for an Australian property. You can only apply for FIRB approval when you have chosen a specific property to buy.

As long as you’re following the FIRB‘s rules then it is highly likely that your investment will be approved. Once you find a property then you can sign the contract of sale with a condition that allows you to back out of the purchase if FIRB approval is not granted.

However, you can get pre-approval for the mortgage itself before you find a property. To find out more refer to our applying for a loan section.

Difference between joint tenants and tenants in common

With few exceptions to requiring approval from FIRB, the devil is in the detail when it comes to buying as a joint tenants versus tenants in common.

What’s the difference between the two?

Joint tenants

This is by the most common way for partners to buy property and it’s where you and your partner own equal portions in the property (50/50).

The main benefit has to do with estate planning in that in the event either you or partner dies, the survivor will automatically receive the other parties’ portion.

Tenants in common

This is where you specify the portion that you will own in the property and, therefore, this dictates your contributions to the mortgage and dividends from any sale.

This is most common when buying with a friend, business partner or even a relative, rather than a spouse because it offers a level of asset protection.

Rather than the other property owner receiving your portion upon your death, you have the option to nominate someone else.

Why does the government monitor foreign investment?

The government monitors foreign investment to ensure that the investment will benefit Australia. In particular, foreign investors are limited to investing in “new” properties so that their investment adds to the existing housing stock in Australia. This is to prevent speculation which has little benefit for the Australian economy and that could result in escalating housing prices.

Did you know that the government approves the vast majority of FIRB approval applications? If you meet the guidelines provided on their website then there are very few reasons that could cause your application to be declined.

Will I be hit with the foreigner stamp duty surcharge?

Most Australian states (other than Tasmania and Northern Territory) have introduced a foreign stamp duty surcharge as well as a hike on land tax (for some locations).

Generally speaking, the surcharge applies to foreigners or temporary Australian residents but there are exceptions to these rules.

It’s best you refer to the foreign citizen stamp duty page for specific information around this extra tax.

Do you need help with a mortgage?

We are mortgage brokers that specialise in financing the purchase of Australian real estate by foreigners, Australians living abroad or people temporarily residing in Australia.

Please call us on 1300 889 743 or +61 2 9194 1700 or fill in our free assessment form and we can contact you via email or phone to discuss your finance options.

  • Matthew

    Hi, I’m on a 489 visa at the moment and have almost 2 years for its expiry. My partner is an Australian and we’re trying to shift to a new home. Do I require a FIRB approval for this?

  • Hi Matthew,

    If you are planning to buy a property with your Australian partner, then you are not required to get a FIRB approval.

  • Rohith Krishna

    Hi, I was on a 457 visa when I put a deposit and signed the contract to purchase an ‘off the plan’ property (Feb 2015). However I have formally lodged the PR application prior to that (Jan 2015). And I got the PR visa in July 2015 and now my “off the plan” property is about finish construction. Based on this, will I get FHOG grant in NSW? The transfer of title was done in December 2015. Also will i get any trouble from FIRB as I didn’t seek approval(not aware) while signing the contract in Feb 2015?
    Many thanks

  • Hi Rohith,

    You may be eligible for the FHOG. You’d have to call the OSR in NSW to confirm this as it’s complicated! My apologies but we can’t advise on this one. Their phone is 02 9689 6200.

  • Rohith Krishna

    Thanks for your reply. I have rang them now and they told me I won’t get it as I was not PR while signing the contract :( Not sure what to do from now. Should I approach this through a lawyer or through a lender like a bank or mortgage broker?

  • Hi Rohith,

    Unfortunately if you did not meet the criteria I doubt there is much you can do. The government has strict criteria and they don’t make exceptions. If you’d like your home loan reviewed to see if it is competitive then please call us on 1300 889 743 however there isn’t much we can assist with regarding the FHOG.

  • Patricia

    Hi does an American company need FIRB approval to buy a house in Australia for its Australian-based employees to live in? Does the house/property also need to be a new or can it be an existing property? Thanks

  • Hi Patricia,
    Good questions. Yes a corporation / business that is registered in the USA would need FIRB approval and would need to purchase a new property.

    It may be easier to fund a deposit for your employee to buy their own property. If they’re a USA citizen on a temporary visa they could buy an existing property as long as it’s their home.

    Alternatively it may be easier just to pay their rent if this is part of their relocation package.

    In terms of loans we’d have to research to confirm this is ok and we’d need a full application to begin that process. We’ve financed many investors based in the USA but not a company buying residential real estate in Australia.

  • Adrian

    Hi, I am living in The Netherlands but wish to buy an existing home in W.A. for my daughter who lives there and has no income and lives on benefits. I want to pay cash for the transaction. Am I allowed to buy this old small sized cottage in my name?

  • Hi Adrian
    If you are not an Australian citizen or PR holder then you cant buy an existing property.

    Buying in your daughters name may be easier depending on your circumstances. You could lodge a caveat on the property to maintain some control if this is important to you.

  • Stephanie-anne Higham

    Hi my mother in law is a NZ citizen living in NZ and is wanting to buy an investment property here in Australia through her own business will she need Firb approval?

  • Hi Stephanie-Anne

    I’m not 100% sure as a foreign company as a buyer is a little unusual. In most cases it’s best to keep it simple and for her to buy in her personal name. I’d recommend that she check with the FIRB to be sure +61 2 6216 1111

    We can likely finance a NZ company buying in Aus https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/new-zealand-citizen-mortgage/

  • Deirdre

    Hi, I have just applied for my parent visa, I have been told it will take anything up to two years to be granted. Can I buy an old property now. And will I be entitled first time buyers grant.

  • Jonas Pilhage

    We are Australian Citizens under 55, but would like to get access to a New ‘Off the plan’ development, to initially be used by my foreign parents (aged 75) and then move there ourselves when time comes (will turn 55 in 5 years). Some research say that they do not need the FIRB approval IF the developer have registered the development for sale including Foreign Residents (non-Australians).

    Two questions: Would it be better to try to buy it via a Family Trust or other Trust (in our names) and they get the right to stay there? Then we would save on the Foreign Stamp Duty Surcharge, keep future capital gains taxes lower (or zero if we live there more than 12 months) and less complications. Second question would be – will the developer for 55+ agree to such setup with Australian Family Trust buying? Not sure myself.

    Lastly it would be interesting to hear any other angles of this dilemma, challenge? Can we apply for them to become Residents of Australia, given that we only received ours in 2009?


  • Hi JP,
    As Australian Citizens if you buy in your name or in an Australian trust / company structure that you are the directors / beneficiaries of then you do not need FIRB approval. If you’re living in Australia this will be easy and we actually have a lot of experience financing over 55’s properties https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/property-types/over-55s-village/ Please be aware that they’re much more difficult to finance than standard properties.

    If you’re living overseas then refer to our Australians living overseas page for more info https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/australian-expat-home-loans/
    If your parents are buying the property then refer to our foreign investor page https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreigner-mortgage/

    I don’t believe that property ownership would affect their ability to get a visa to come to Australia. However you’d need to speak to an expert in migration to be sure.

    We don’t know the details of your situation so it’s hard to make a recommendation but in the majority of cases it would be best to buy in your names only. You’re right this would avoid the foreigner duty and would be favourable for getting a loan as well.

    The developer will not mind who the buyer is (foreign, local, trust or individual).

  • Hi Deidre,
    Sorry for the delay in replying. We must have missed your message.
    If you’re a temporary resident then yes you can buy an existing property now as a home and get approved for a loan depending on your current visa subclass. However if you are not yet a temporary resident then you’ll need to wait for your visa to come through first. Please call the FIRB to double check as we are not familiar with the specifics of your situation.

  • Judge

    I am actually here in Australia on a protection visa or 866 visa as I am a refugee. Can I be allowed a home loan to buy a house here?

  • Hello there,
    Yes, you can get a home loan to buy Australian real estate and you won’t need to get FIRB approval because an 866 visa is a permanent residency visa. Please feel free to contact one of our 866 visa home loan specialists on 1300 889 743 to discuss your personal situation and loan requirements.

  • Michelle

    Hi I’m an Australian citizen and my spouse is a NZ citizen we have owned our Australian home for 13 years- I have just been given a new job in NZ and we have decided to move there but keep our Australian property and rent it out (just in case things don’t work out in NZ) under the FIRB system are we required to sell it as my husband is a foreigner

  • Hi Michelle,
    You’re allowed to keep the property in this situation. You should talk to an Australian and a NZ accountant about how tax will work. In particular you may want to refinance your home loan to a lender that isn’t affected by the Non-Resident Withholding Tax in NZ https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/new-zealand-citizen-mortgage/

    This is something that we can assist with, it’s probably easier before you move overseas. If you’d like our help then please contact us https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Angel Toh

    Hi, my partner is an australian citizen and he would like to add me under the ownership of an australia property (strictly residential not commercial or investment). We will not be getting married till 2 years later, can I be added into the property ownership? If it requires FIRB approval, what is the cost and am I require to pay australia property tax since I am a foreigner?

  • Hi Angel,
    It depends, what visa are you on? What’s the reason he’d like to do this? You’d need to refinance the loan when you do this.
    I’d strongly recommend that you wait as when you’re a PR this will be much easier.

  • Kirsten Gagné

    I’m an Australian Citizen living abroad for a long time. Can I buy a property in Australia as a second home?

  • Hi Kirsten
    Yes you can. It will depend on the currency of your income and size of your deposit. You dont need FIRB approval as an Aus citizen abroad.

  • Prerna Pahwa

    Hi.Can a indian company buy a property in australia?Will it need approval from FIRB?Also,will the company be authorised to finance some part of investment by taking a loan?

  • Hi Prerna
    This is possible but not easy. What’s the estimate purchase price and is it a commercial or residential property?

  • Prerna Pahwa

    It’ll be residential property.And I would want to buy the one in the range of 300000$ -400000$

  • Prerna Pahwa

    I would also want to inform you that the company that want to buy the property is doing it for its members who would be visiting Australia for touring and business purpose

  • Hi Prerna
    You could likely borrow 70% of the property value at rates of approx 8% with set up fees of around 3.5% of the loan amount. We don’t do loans under $300,000 just to let you know.

  • Prerna Pahwa

    I would want to inform that we have now found a property of 600000$ in Sydney.So I would I like to know how much funds you can help us raise by the way of loan?Also, I can send you the name of the company if you provide me with the email-id..

  • Prerna Pahwa

    I would like to tell u that we have found a property in Sydney which is for 600000$.So,I would like to know that what part of it could u help us finance by way of loan?Also,I can you the details of the company of you provide me the email -id…

  • Lee

    Hi, i am on Visa 457 atm, so if i buy an off-plan apartment, when do i need to pay stamp duty? when the contract exchange or when settlement? And do i have to pay the extra 4% stamp duty because i am not a Citizen?

  • Prerna Pahwa

    Hi.I would like to tell you that we have found a property worth $600,000 in Sydney.We really like that property.And we are genuinely interested in buying it.So could you pls help me by financing some part of investment by loan?Also, I can send you the details of the company which is going to buy the property if you provide me with the email id.

  • Hi Lee,
    You’d need to check with a conveyancer however in most cases you pay the stamp duty just after you sign the contract. In some states it can be delayed.

    I strongly advise that you do not buy off the plan. 457 visas are being reviewed now by lenders and if they change their policies between now and when you settle then you may not be able to get approved! Instead you should consider buying a new property that has been completed (as you settle right away) or wait before buying a property.

  • Lee

    Thank you for the helpful reply,

    My application could be approved sometimes next year, so maybe i’ll wait till then.

    Thank you,

  • Alicia Fox

    Hi, I’m an Australian citizen and my husband is currently on the 457 visa. He is considering applying for the spouse visa instead (801) but I want to know if we would be able to buy any kind of house (not off the plan) while the visa is in progress or after it has been approved? I’ve been told that while the visa is in progress he would stay on the 457 until the spouse is approved (i.e. not needing 820 visa). TIA.

  • Hi Alicia,
    I can’t advise you on the visa changes however from a lending point of view we can help you to buy a home now (Aus Citizen + 457 visa) or if your husband is on a spouse visa, be it a 801 or 820. We’ve got some information here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/temporary-resident-mortgage/
    If you’re in VIC, QLD or NSW then you may want to buy in your name only with both names on the loan. By doing this you’d avoid the additional stamp duty for foreign citizens. In WA, SA, ACT, NT & TAS you can buy in both names as there’s no additional stamp duty.
    If you’d like our help to get a home loan then please contact us here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/

  • Alicia Fox

    Currently we are Aus Citizen + 457 visa in VIC – but my question spesifically is if we are required to only buy off the plan or not?

    Thanks for your fast responce!

  • Hi Alicia
    If you’re buying in both names and it’s a home then you aren’t required to buy off the plan.
    If you’re buying in both names and it’s an investment property then you’ll need to buy a new property.
    If you buy in your name only with the loan in joint names then you can buy anything as FIRB restrictions are not applicable and you’d avoid the 7% additional stamp duty in VIC.

  • hall

    My brother is there in Australia on a 457 visa and I will be heading there too by this time next year. He told me that I will likely be on the TSS visa and so I want to know that if I want to get a home loan once I am there, how much can I borrow with this new TSS visa?

  • Hey hall
    Although this scheme hasn’t come into effect as yet, getting approved while on TSS visa will depend on the lender and what stream you’re working under. As a general rule, the longer your TSS visa term, the more you can borrow. So you may be able to borrow up to 90% of the property value with a medium-term stream (4 years) TSS visa, or up to 80% on a case by case basis with a short-term stream (2 years) TSS visa. Please check out the TSS visa home loan page to learn more:

  • Jack

    HI, I am a 457 visa holder. I am very interested in investing property in Melbourne.
    What if I bought a property for investment (new apartment), and I need to leave after 2 years.
    When leave Australia, must I sell the property?

  • Hi Jack,
    If you buy it as an investment property and it was a new property then normally you do not have to sell it if you leave.
    Hint: Consider buying in states other than VIC, NSW and QLD as they have additional taxes for foreign citizen buyers. A lot of our customers are buying in Perth because their housing market is at the bottom of the cycle.

  • Suresh

    Am a student and looking for a two bedroom apartment under development. Possession in June 2018. Will I get FIRB approval. Will fund the entire cost of the property and no external financing required. Please advise.

  • Hi Suresh,
    Yes if it’s a new property it can be either a home or an investment and you should have no trouble getting approval if you are a temporary resident.
    Note that NSW, VIC and QLD have additional taxes for foreign citizen buyers https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/

  • Mani


    I’m an Australian citizen and my husband is a Canadian PR, at the moment we’re trying to find the best place for us to move too (canada or australia), We’d like to get a property in Australia, would it be possible for us to make a joint application on a loan?

  • Eva

    Hi, I am on a student visa, will study for 3 years. I know that I will need the FIRB approval. But what are the changes to get approved? Loft is about 250k$. And I know that there are charges around 5k$ applying fee. But I have a person that is Australian citizen. Is it better to buy on his name?

  • Hi Eva,
    FIRB approval is quite easy, as long as you meet their guidelines your approval is more a formality. In terms of getting a loan it depends on your work hours. If you’re working 20 hours a week then in most cases you can borrow $100k approx.
    If you buy in an Australian citizen’s name it will be easier. Buying a loft apartment also has restrictions that you can read about here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/property-types/studio-apartment/

  • Elisabeth

    Hi, I have 574 visa (post graduate) and I’ve been in Australia (Tasmania) for a year. Can I buy an established dwelling (not for business or investment) in Tasmania under my fiance’s name? He currently holds a tourist visa (600) but we will get merried in (probably) 1.5 years from now, and we’re planning to stay and start our own business in Tasmania. My fiance will pay by cash so we don’t need loan.

  • PatrickCPT

    HI, I have a skilled-independant visa (189). I have not yet entered Australia and am employed ouside of Australia. I want to buy a new investment property in Queensland and rent it out. I am doing this in order to (amongst other reasons) build up a credit history in Aus as I understand that my present record is meaningless there. I will (probably) do this without entering the country. Do I require firb? Does afad apply to me? Nothing I read on the Queensland govt. website dealing with afad mentioned having to be in the country when the contract is signed. Any advice will be much appreciated.

  • Hi Patrick,
    As you hold a PR visa you don’t require FIRB approval. Please check with the FIRB to be 100% sure on this as we are specialists in lending not in FIRB regulations.
    Yes as a PR holder living overseas we can consider your for an investment loan. The currency of your income, country you are in and citizenship you hold will all come into play. There’s some info here https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/permanent-resident-mortgage/
    Building a credit history in Australia (Equifax Score) isn’t that important compared to countries like the USA which have a FICO score. Personally I don’t think you need to do this as it will not impact the interest rates you pay when you do move to Australia.
    In terms of being in the country when signing the contract / settling it’s best to contact the QLD OSR to get advice on this to ensure you avoid the foreign citizen stamp duty (Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty). The devil is in the detail so I’d prefer not to give advice on this. We have a page with some information that we obtained from the QLD, VIC and NSW OSR https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/

  • Hi Elisabeth
    Sorry we missed your post.
    As he is on a tourist visa this may be possible however it would need to meet FIRB requirements. I believe it would need to be a new property for investment purposes. If he rented it to you that would likely be ok but if he lived in the property that would not be ok.

  • Channy

    I am from Cambodia, I want to create real estate company in Australia, so I would like to know the condition
    to create the company? Please guide me the steps to create company, all kinds of tax payment of foreign investor, what kind of properties for foreigner buy or invest? thank you!

  • Hi Channy
    A foreign company can register an ARBN with the Australian Government (ASIC) to trade in Australia. Certain conditions must be met and you’d need to talk to an Australian accountant about this.
    If you plan to move to Australia and run the company then you should seek advice from the department of immigration.
    We’re experts in lending for real estate in Australia so this is outside of our area of expertise. So please seek advice from an accountant about this.

  • Rachel Nguyen


    I am currently holding visa 820 and planning to buy a unit with my partner, who is Australian citizen. If we are buying as joint tenant of the property, do we have to pay foreign investor tax still, given I am only holding temporary residency.

    If we only buy under the name of my partner, can the mortgage be under both of us? And if yes, do we just apply for normal citizen mortgage (given only his name is on title and I am financial supporter) or we have to apply for spouse mortgage?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Hi Racheal
    The 820 visa is a temporary visa while waiting for a decision on the permanent 801 visa. So yes if buying in QLD, VIC or NSW you would pay the foreign stamp duty rate on your part of the property i.e. 50% of the purchase price.
    Yes you can have the property under the name of your partner and the mortgage in both names. This is what we normally recommend. Not every bank accepts this however our non-resident lending team is experienced in how to set up this type of structure. It’s likely we can get you the same rates as if both of you were citizens however this would depend on a few things such as who is the main income earner.
    I’ll email you and cc one of our non-resident specialists.

  • Rachel Nguyen

    Thank you for your prompt response.

    My email address is (deleted).

    Also, if our parents are willing to give their property as guarantee for the bank, we will be able to avoid paying the home loan insurance, is it correct?

  • Yes that is correct if your partner’s parents own a property in Australia and guarantee your loan then you can avoid paying LMI.
    This is known as a guarantor loan https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/guarantor-home-loans/ and this is something that we specialise in as well. Our non-res team would work with our first home buyer team on this to ensure the best outcome is achieved for you.

  • KAY TR


    I am holding visa 457 expire in 2020. I am wondering if you can buy an off plan property development (1 bedroom unit) in NSW. The building commences to build in December 2017 and complete 2020. It is for investment.
    Please advise if i am eligible to buy it.


  • Hi Kay
    Yes you can buy off the plan and have it settle in 2020 however it’s a big risk. If you move overseas, lose your job, the property market moves, the government changes visa requirements etc then you may be unable to settle on the property and so you could lose your deposit. It’s best to avoid buying off the plan and either buy now or wait until 2020. You may also pay the foreign citizen stamp duty https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/ you’d need to call the NSW OSR to be sure.

  • KAY TR

    Thanks alot for your helpful & prompt response. Yes it is correct to pay 12% in total for stamp duty & purchaser surcharge at 8%.. I better wait for PR to get in buying property in Australia

  • Haji Alizada


    I’m holding visa 790 expires in 2022. I was wondering if you could buy a house with 3 bathrooms and was builded in 1950s? thank you.

  • Hi Haji,
    This is a possibility. It’s not a common visa so it would be assessed on a case by case basis. As you’re allowed to work in Australia I would expect you could borrow 80% of the property value.

  • ralph cadman

    405 retirement visa holder need FRIB approval when buying house at auction

  • Hi Ralph,
    Your visa is a temporary one and so you’d need to obtain FIRB approval. Please check with the FIRB or your conveyancer to be sure. If you need finance then please call us and ask for our non-resident lending team.

  • Beth

    If I want to buy an investment property in a regional area but live in the city, can I do this? Is there any requirement for visa holders that means they must live in the new or estabilshed property for a set time before using it as an investment?

  • Beth

    I would like to know for temporary and permanent thanks!

  • Hi Beth
    If you’re permanent then you can buy anything you like and it can be a home or investment. If it’s a long way from your job then buying a home may cause the lender to question if you’re leaving your job.
    If you’re a temporary resident then it’s slightly different:
    – A home is ok as long as you comply with FIRB rules and seek FIRB approval.
    – An investment is ok as long as it is a new property. Again you must comply with FIRB rules and seek FIRB approval.
    We specialise in lending to both temporary and permanent residents. Please save our details for when you’re ready to buy. Simply call 1300889743 and ask for our non-resident lending team.

  • Francis

    Hi .. We’re holding Temporary Visa 188 (expiring in 2020 Oct for conversion to PR thereafter), and my family lives in Melbourne while I am employed overseas (with same employer for past 26 years). My wife intends to purchase an existing home in a Melbourne suburb as our residential home, and she is currently not employed.

    Questions :-
    1) Do we need to pay the additional stamp duty as holder of visa 188 ?
    2) As joint names for the purchase, what is the maximum loan percentage we can borrow (using my overseas employment document as supporting documentation)?

    Thank you.

  • Hi Francis,
    1. Yes you would need to pay the additional stamp duty as 188 is a temporary visa.
    2. It’s likely you can borrow 70% – 80% of the property value however this would depend on many things such as the currency you earn in and the size of the company that you work for.
    If you’d like our assistance then please call us on 1300 889 743 and ask for our non-resident lending team.

  • Aseel

    Hi i’m an international student in Melbourne holding student visa, and my father in the age of 59 years old. He asked me to look for him for a house out of Melbourne not on the heart of the city, his budget is $300,000, what’s the rules and regulations ?

  • Hi Aseel
    You can read this page for FIRB rules.
    You can read this one https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/non-resident-mortgages/foreign-citizen-stamp-duty/ for stamp duty rules
    Your father would find it difficult to buy as loans for foreign investors are not readily available.
    You would not be able to buy as your work limitations would restrict the loan amount you can qualify for.
    In your case it’s best to wait until you are on a visa that permits full time work.

  • Aseel

    i just Graduated actually so do you think i should apply for a graduate visa ?

  • Congratulations!
    If you’re working full time and on a 485 visa (or similar) then we can help you to borrow up to 90% of the property value. You would still pay FIRB fees and foreign citizen stamp duty which is prohibitively expensive. If you buy in another state such as WA then you can avoid the additional stamp duty.

  • Doover

    I’m a NZ citizen working in Auckland. I have been planning to buy a property in Australia but don’t have any immediate plans to move there. I’ve recently heard that foreigners are required to get a separate approval to buy a property in Australia, is this true?

  • Hi Doover,
    Yes, foreigners are required to get an approval from Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), however NZ residents don’t require an approval from the board. That’s because NZ citizens are viewed on par with Aussies by Australian lenders while financing them for home loans. You can buy a new property, existing property or vacant land and there’s no requirement to live in the property if your plans are to invest.
    Please contact us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ to speak with one of our brokers specialising in NZ citizen home loan.

  • Nigel Hew Lee En

    Hi, I am an international student (Non-PR), so an FIRB would be necessary for me should I choose to buy a second hand property. My question is, that if I apply for a FIRB for the purchase of the property, but obtain my PR during my stay, would the condition still hold that I have to sell the property should I leave Australia? Thanks

  • Hi Nigel,
    Our understanding is that if you obtain PR then you can keep the property even if you leave. However I’d recommend that you contact the FIRB to be sure.

  • Jo Peek

    Hi There, I am looking to purchase a first home with my husband in Aus. I am an NZ Citizen living here in Aus and currently a stay at home Mum not earning any income. My husband is on a 461 visa. We have received a joint pre-approval to buy a home based on his income with a condition that we need to get FIRB approval. Do I understand correctly that we will have to pay $5.5k for this?

  • Hi Jo,
    Yes that’s correct.
    However there is a chance we can structure the loan and ownership so that you own the property and the loan is in both names. This can then avoid FIRB approval and save you $5k as well as foreign citizen stamp duty on the 50% owned by your husband (depending on the state you are in. This isn’t guaranteed as it’s always case by case but we regularly do this for an Aus citizen + temp resident so likely will be fine in your situation.

  • Chrismartin

    I am a Kiwi living in the United States. My family shifted to Brisbane 2 years back and now I am planning to settle with them. I am also planning to buy a house. I’ve heard that New Zealanders don’t need to go through legal documents. What is the process of getting a mortgage?

  • Hey Chrismartin.
    Lenders treat Kiwi and Australian borrowers alike. Further, if you have been to Australia before, you wouldn’t need a Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval. However, if you’re completely new to Australia, you will be treated as a foreign investor. In that case, you will also need a FIRB approval — which shouldn’t be difficult if you can provide income evidence.
    Lenders will allow you to borrow anywhere between 60%-80% of the property value. However, some may charge a higher interest rate.

  • Benjamin Biette

    I am a citizen of France and Switzerland, HK resident. Non-married to an Aussie, and my son is an Aussie too then. I am considering to buy in WA. Would you know which type of property I would be able to buy (or not), which type of loan I would be able to get ? (Which kind of interest ? How does that interest compare to residents home loan interest ?). I would rent the property to start with, any idea of the range of rental yields would help (Perth area). What would be the approx tax rate on the net rental profit ? Thanks in advance, Benjamin

  • Hi Benjamin,
    Just to clarify your current status:
    – France Citizen
    – Switzerland Citizen
    – HK Permanent Resident
    – No visa for Australia
    – Your partner is Australian
    – Your son is Australian
    – Is your partner working?
    – Is your son over 18 and working? Where is he living?
    Once we know the answers to these questions we can likely clarify what you can do.

  • André van Niekerk

    My question: If we decided on a property, made an offer and apllied for FIRB approval (as temp residents on a 457 visa) and the FIRB application is approved, but he property then fails, do we have to re-apply with FIRB again for the next property and again pay yhe huge fee, or can the 1st approval be transferred to the next deal??

  • Hi Andre
    Sorry I haven’t come across this problem before. I expect if you got approval for a specific property then you must reapply and so may need to pay another fee. Whereas if you got a general approval then you can just look for another property. Here’s some info I’ve copied from the FIRB website to assist you further:

    Foreign persons who are temporary residents can apply for approval to purchase a specific dwelling or may apply for an established dwelling exemption certificate to allow them to purchase a single established dwelling within a specified state or territory to use as their principal place of residence. This certificate will allow a temporary resident to make multiple attempts to acquire one established dwelling by any method (such as auction, ballot, private offer, expression of interest or tender) without having to seek individual approval for each property they are interested in.

    The exemption certificate will generally be valid for six months from the date of approval and will be subject to conditions that apply once an established dwelling has been purchased. These include that the temporary resident must use the property as their principal place of residence in Australia, and they must sell the property within three months of ceasing to be a temporary resident. The property must be vacant at settlement and cannot be rented out. Temporary residents are not permitted to purchase established dwellings as investment properties, to rent out, or as holiday homes.

  • crystal

    Hi there,

    I am Fijian passport holder,currently working I France.
    I’d like advice please?
    I work and reside in France,but want to purchase a home In australia for my wife and children.

    My wife is New Zealander so was wondering if this would help in anyway?

    Will I still need FIRB approval?
    Could we do a joint application under both our names ?

    Thank you

  • Hi Crystal,
    For NZ citizens who’s living overseas, they’ve to pay for FIRB approval as they’re treated as foreigner investors by Australian lenders. Thus, she’ll have her loan limited to 60% to 70% of the property value.
    New Zealand citizens or New Zealand permanent residents (PR) living in either Australia or New Zealand are only exempt from the FIRB approval and Foreign Additional Stamp duty. As you guys are staying in France, you have to pay for both. :(

  • Viktoria

    Hi, I have read almost everything that is on their side about foreign citizens who want to buy real estate in Australia. What I have not received is this:
    I’m from Norway and live in Norway. Can I travel to Australia on a tourist visa. buy apartment. Stay in the apartment when I’m in Australia on a tourist visa. rent the apartment out when i’m not in australia ???? and stay in the apartment the next time i am in australia on a tourist visa? Thank you in advance for your reply. greeting Viktoria

  • Hi Viktoria,
    You can buy a property here in Australia, however, it should be an investment property at the time of application, that means you have to rent it out. Possibly, you can live on that property when you’re here on a tourist visa.

    Please call us on +61 2 9194 1700 or fill in our free assessment form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ to discuss your finance options.

  • Viktoria

    Can I rent the apartment to whom I want? because on their pages I can read about that:

    They can buy a new property in their name and rent it out to their child that is on a temporary visa.????

  • Yes, you can do that. Speak to us if you need any help on your planned purchase.

  • Viktoria

    hi and thanks for prompt feedback. I wonder if I have to pay tax to the Australian authorities of rental income?
    I also wonder about how much fixed expenses like water and electricity and gas will be for an apartment of about 50 square meters for a year?

    Thank you in advance for your reply :)

  • Yes Viktoria, Australian rental income is taxable in Australia. You could get the rates in Australian Tax Office (ATO) page https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/Individual-income-tax-rates/.
    Regarding the expenses, it would depend on the location of the property and the council rates. Generally, it would be approximately 10-20% of the rental income.

  • Saif

    Hi, I’m a Pakistani citizen my son is living in Australia on spouse visa can i buy a home by full payment on my name for him??

  • Hi Saif,
    You’ll be treated as a foreign investor and will have to obtain a FIRB approval, borrow less and have to pay more in additional purchase duty and interest rate. Moreover, very few banks accept income from Pakistan. Instead, he can buy with his partner if he’s on a spouse visa and will be treated favorably by the banks as he’ll be buying with a citizen or a permanent resident.

  • Samb

    Hi there, my mother is a Nzer, residing currently in Nz and is hoping to purchase a property in Queensland which will begin as an investment but she hopes to retire to it. Two of her children are living and working in Australia and while visiting them, she found a property. We are unsure whether as a Nzer she will be charged the stamp duty surcharge? The real estate agent said if she came on holiday again to sign the agreement she wouldn’t be charged? Can you clarify this? Is another possible option a family trust with my two Australian resident brothers? Thanks so much

  • Hi Samb,
    NZers are exempted from the additional stamp duty while buying a property in Australia but states have varying laws of exemption. Regarding family trust, it’s hard to tell now as it’s a difficult area. You can call us on 1300 889 743 or fill out our online assessment form https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ and speak with an experienced mortgage broker for New Zealanders.

  • Bharath Shah


    I am in Australia on a 489 Visa and wish to buy a property in Adelaide. This will be for self and not an investment. My brother is a PR holder and lives in Melbourne. We plan to co own the property, but only I will be living in it with my family.
    Do we still have to pay the FIRB and surcharges. We are willing to make my brother the first applicant if we can forgo the charges which is around $10,000 AUD.


  • Hi Bharath,
    It’s better if your brother can buy the property on his own; that way you can avoid the FIRB charges and additional foreigner purchase duty (it’s applicable on your portion of ownership). Then, you can apply for a home loan with him, if his income is not enough for a home loan. This way, you could avoid all the additional duties. You can call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online https://www.homeloanexperts.com.au/free-quote/ and speak with a mortgage broker about your options.

  • Joseph


    I am an Australian permanent resident currently living overseas. I am considering acquiring a property in Melbourne but would like to know whether I would be required to then sell this property in the event that my permanent residency expires (which it is currently due to do in 2 years)/


  • Hi Joseph,

    Unfortunately, we can’t give you a definitive answer on this because visa regulations can change on a regular basis.

    Our understanding is that if you obtain PR, you can keep the property even if you leave Australia. However, if your PR visa expires completely, you may have to sell the property within 3 months of losing permanent residency.

    We would recommend contacting the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

  • Brendan

    I’m a British citizen looking to purchase a residential property to live in with my husband who is an Australian citizen. “You don’t need FIRB approval if you’re buying the property with an Australian citizen as joint tenants”. What do you mean by that? Can you elaborate.

  • Hi Brendan,
    The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)’s regulations state that foreigners purchasing property as joint tenants with their Australian citizen spouse are exempted from requiring FIRB approval. Joint tenants is when each co-owner owns the whole of the property and neither owner has a specific or identifiable share. This agreement is ideal for couples who wish to leave the property to each other when they die as the remaining partner automatically owns the whole property. There’s another form of agreement called tenant in common which is not exempted from FIRB approval.

  • Jasmine

    Hi, when do I need to lodge the FIRB? Is it after getting approval?

  • Hi Jasmine,
    You can lodge an application for FIRB approval after getting a pre-approval letter from a lender. The FIRB approval is required for a formal approval from your lender.

  • Rachelle

    Hi, can you explain the difference between ‘joint tenants’ and ‘tenants in common’ in layman’s terms?

  • Hi Rachelle,
    Joint tenancy is a type of co-ownership where each co-owner has a right of survivorship, meaning that if one owner dies, the deceased borrower’s interest in the property passes unto to the surviving owner. This type of ownership agreement is ideal for couples. It generally doesn’t allow owners to sell their interests.

    ‘Tenants in common’ is a type of ownership agreement in which two or more people have ownership in a property. Each owner has the right to leave his share of the property to any beneficiary upon the owner’s death.

    You should consult a solicitor to find out which ownership agreement is suitable for your needs.

  • Terri Bacheller-Schall

    I am an American. I have recently retired and we are thinking about purchasing a home in Australia to live in 3-6 months of the year and possibly rent out a couple months of the year for vacationers. Can we purchase an established unit (not a home more like an apartment or condo) or does that have to be a new build? Would we have to sell when we left? We are at the very beginning and just starting research. I have been looking at properties in the Batemans Bay area; 2 bedroom units from 250,000 – 350,000. We are not looking to buy a home with property.

  • Hi Terri,
    As a foreign citizen, you cannot purchase an established unit/dwelling in Australia. The property has to be a newly built property or it has to have never been occupied. You’ll need FIRB approval and will need to pay the foreign stamp duty surcharge as well unless you’re buying with an Australian citizen.