Certain acquisitions do not require notification or approval under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975. Foreign persons should determine whether their proposed acquisition is exempt and if in doubt, seek legal advice. Please note that we do not issue exemption letters.
However, Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy also identifies investment categories that need to be notified to the Government for prior approval, even if the Act does not appear to apply. This applies to foreign government investors, those proposing to invest in the media sector, and heritage listed developed commercial property (for details, see the Policy).
You do not need to submit an application for approval to acquire real estate in Australia if:
- you are an Australian citizen or you are ordinarily resident in Australia;
- your spouse is an Australian citizen (not a permanent resident) and you are purchasing residential real estate in both names as joint tenants (not tenants in common);
- you are a New Zealand citizen and you are purchasing residential property;
- you hold a permanent resident visa and you are purchasing residential property;
- you are purchasing new dwelling(s) from the developer, where the developer has pre-approval to sell those dwellings to foreign persons;
- you are acquiring an interest in a time share scheme which does not permit you (and any of your associates) more than 4 weeks entitlement per year;
- you are purchasing certain residential real estate in an Integrated Tourism Resort (ITR);
- you are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property valued below the relevant monetary thresholds;
- you are acquiring an interest in developed commercial property where the property is to be used immediately and in its present state for industrial or non residential commercial purposes. The acquisition must be wholly incidental to the purchaser's proposed or existing business activities;
- you are acquiring an interest by will or by operation of law (such as, a court order regarding the division of property in a divorce settlement, but not if both parties simply agree to transfer property without a court's intervention); or
- you are purchasing property from the Government (Commonwealth, State or Territory, or local).
Other exemptions may apply if you are:
- a company, trust or managed investment scheme (primarily) for the benefit of individuals ordinarily resident in Australia;
- an Australian corporation that is owned by individuals who are exempt or an Australian trust for the benefit of such individuals;
- a corporation that is providing custodian services; or
- buying shares in certain Australian urban land corporations that are publicly listed on an Australian Stock Exchange, or units in certain Australian urban land trusts.
See regulation 3 of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Regulations 1989 .
Other Acquisitions (Non-Real Estate)
You do not need to submit an application for approval for acquisitions involving existing Australian corporations or businesses, or proposals to establish new businesses, which are valued below the relevant monetary thresholds.
However, foreign persons should determine, including through seeking legal advice as appropriate, whether a requirement exists to notify a proposed acquisition under Australia's Foreign Investment Policy. This applies to foreign government investors, those proposing to invest in the media sector, and heritage listed developed commercial property (for details, see the Policy).