When am I exempt from applying for FIRB approval?

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There are certain circumstances under the FIRB legislation which do not require a foreign person to apply for FIRB approval when purchasing land and a few of the most common asked ones are listed in this blog, but we do advise that you contact us for legal advice as each personal circumstance differs.

Persons not required to obtain FIRB approval

The following persons, who are not Australian permanent residents or citizens, are generally not required to obtain FIRB approval to purchase residential land:

  • New Zealand citizen who either holds or can obtain a Special Category 444 Visa.
  • Foreign person buying as joint tenants with their spouse who is either an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen (who either holds or can obtain a Special Category 444 Visa).
  • Foreign person purchasing for diplomatic or consular purposes.

Types of property where FIRB approval is not required

The following are some examples of land that is exempt from requiring FIRB to be obtained:

  • Land used for premises that provide for residential care, a retirement village or certain student accommodation, provided the interest is not above the relevant commercial land monetary screening threshold of $1,339 million.
  • Developed commercial land which is under the relevant money threshold of $1,339 million.
  • Land used for diplomatic or consular purposes.

Do I need to obtain FIRB approval for property acquired by will?

Yes, you do. The reason I have included this section is because this is one of the most commonly asked question I receive in relation to exemptions. Until 1 January 2021, FIRB approval was not needed to be obtained when acquiring an interest in a property or security in an Australian entity. It has since changed, and you must submit an application to obtain approval.

This requirement for an FIRB application is usually triggered when the particular legal interest is acquired on completion of the administration of the will.

If a person doesn’t know they will be receiving any sort of interest from a will, they have 30 days from the date their interest is acquired to submit their relevant foreign investment notification application to the board.

It is important you contact us for legal advice as soon as you become aware that you may be receiving some sort of interest from a will as it can often be a complex area of law so it’s important to get the right legal advice.

Do you need to know if you have to make an FIRB application?

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are required to obtain FIRB approval, you may specialised team of property lawyers, immigration lawyers and registered migration agents who regularly act for clients to advise on or obtain FIRB approval.

Contact our team today to speak with our team regarding the Foreign Investment Review Board application process or if you are considering investing in Australia.

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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