• Completing the residential real estate application form

    Most foreign persons need to apply for approval prior to any purchase of real estate in Australia. This information will help you complete the residential real estate application form.

    Approval exemptions

    Some purchases of residential real estate do not require approval, including when the purchaser:

    • is an Australian or New Zealand citizen
    • holds an Australian permanent resident visa
    • has a spouse (married or de facto) who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or an Australian permanent resident visa holder and the property is being purchased in both names as joint tenants
    • is buying a new dwelling from a developer who has given them a copy of the exemption certificate that allows developers to sell properties in the development to foreign persons
    • inherited the property
    • obtained the property through a court order (for example, a divorce settlement) under Australian law.

    If any of these apply to you, then you do not have to get approval prior to purchase real estate in Australia.

    See also:

    Find out about:

    When to use this application form

    Most foreign persons need to apply prior to any purchase of real estate in Australia.

    You may be entitled to an exemption certificate.

    You must complete a separate application for each property you wish to purchase.

    Exemption certificate for auctions

    This exemption certificate streamlines the application process by allowing you to bid at multiple auctions over a specified period (such as six months). This is so you can purchase a single established property, while only paying one application fee.

    Applying for an exemption certificate

    You need to apply for an exemption certificate if you are:

    • intending to purchase at auction
    • don't have a specific property you wish to buy.

    Select 'unspecified' in the Property details section of the form.

    Property developers and exemption certificates

    If you are a property developer who is proposing to sell to foreign persons new dwellings that are being constructed or to be constructed on land you have an interest in, you can apply for an exemption certificate on the non-residential application form on the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) website.

    Next step:

    Filling out your application form

    You must complete your application form in full and submit it in one session. You cannot save an incomplete application and return to complete it at a later date.

    There are five sections you need to complete in the application form:

    1. Contact details
    2. Applicants
    3. Application type
    4. Property details
    5. Declaration.

    Mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk (*). Help is available in the top right-hand side of the form.

    Contact details

    We will use these details if we need to contact you to clarify or send you information about your application.


    You may be required to input your passport, visa documents and any previous Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) application reference numbers.

    If you are not a company or trust you’ll need to nominate purchaser details (for example, sole purchase, tenants in common, or joint tenant). If you are not sure, refer to the definitions on joint tenant and tenants in common.

    Do not provide post office box details in your address details.

    See also:

    Property details

    If you are purchasing a specific property, provide the exact:

    • address details – including street number, street name and post code
    • title details.

    If not, select 'unspecified' in this section.

    Declaration and submitting the form

    Before you submit your form, ensure you have answered all the relevant questions correctly and read the declaration statement. An incomplete form may delay processing and you may be asked to complete and submit a new form.

    Once you have submitted the form, you will receive an acknowledgment receipt.

    If you don’t receive acknowledgment within a few minutes of submitting your application, then we may not have received it. Do not submit another application – call us on 1800 050 377 (within Australia) or +61 2 6216 1111 (overseas) to confirm.

    A decision will generally be made on your application within 30 days and you will be informed of that decision within 10 days. For some applications, additional time will be required, but we will contact you if the outcome of your application is going to be delayed.

    Navigating the form

    You can:

    • move back and forth between the sections in the form
    • close the application (without completing it) at any time and start a new application when you are ready to proceed.

    Paying your application fee

    To apply you will need to pay a fee. The feesExternal Link apply for each application and the amount is determined by the value of the property.

    There are limited circumstances where a fee waiver or remittance will be granted. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Fees will generally not be waived or remitted following an unsuccessful attempt to purchase property or if there has been a change of mind to invest in the targeted property.

    Fee waivers will not be considered before an application has been submitted.

    Note: your application will not be processed until the fee is received and receipted.

    How to pay for your application

    You can make a payment for your FIRB application through either of the following methods:

    Payment reference number

    A payment reference number will be required to make your payment. It is important that you use the correct payment reference number when paying your FIRB fee.

    • Example of correct payment reference number:
      • 1234567897895356
    • Example of incorrect payment reference number:
      • payment 1234567897895236 – this is wrong and will delay your payment.


    You can pay online using BPAY.

    BPAY details

     BPAY image

    Biller code:



    Payment reference number

    Registered to BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518

    You can make your payment from your Australian cheque or savings account at your financial institution's local branch or using their phone or internet banking service.

    Credit card

    You can pay by credit card, either:

    You will need:

    • your payment reference number
    • a Visa, MasterCard or American Express card.

    A card payment fee may apply to card transactions.

    Direct credit

    You can transfer your payment to us online from your cheque or savings account.

    Direct credit details


    Reserve Bank of Australia


    093 003

    Account number:


    Account name:

    ATO direct credit account


    Payment reference number

    It's important you provide an accurate payment reference number in the reference field.

    Transfer from an overseas bank account

    Contact your overseas financial institution for advice on how to make your payment through SWIFT. Your payment must be sent in Australian dollars.

    Overseas transfer details


    Reserve Bank of Australia
    65 Martin Place
    SYDNEY NSW 2000

    Bank identifier



    093 003

    Account number


    Account name

    ATO direct credit account

    Field 70

    (usually called ‘details of payment’)

    Payment reference number

    Bank handling and exchange fees are generally automatically deducted from the exchanged value of the payment. This is done at both the overseas bank and their companion bank in Australia, before being forwarded to us. Allow for these fees when arranging your payment.

    Start your application

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    Start your application
      Last modified: 21 Dec 2016QC 47396