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Can you buy a property when on a visa?

Are you sceptical about buying a property when on a visa? When you first engage in a solicitor or conveyancer, the usual process is to conduct an initial first call to understand the purchase transaction from you, as the client.

One of the questions you may be asked to answer is, are you an Australian Citizen? This question is very important to answer. It will determine if there are any further documents for you to complete. If you are not an Australian Citizen, say, for example, you are a permanent resident or on a temporary visa. It also helps your solicitor or conveyancer determine whether Additional Foreigner Acquirer Duty (or AFAD for short) applies to your transaction and if you require approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (or FIRB for short) to be able to purchase the property.

As a purchaser on a visa, it is recommended to do some research before signing a contract to purchase a property. If you are on a visa and you are not sure if you would be approved to purchase property, it is always best to contact the FIRB (Foreign Investment Review Board) for such enquiries. You can visit the FIRB website for further information on obtaining FIRB Approval; the website also contains a section of circumstances in which you may be exempted from FIRB Approval. If you happen to sign a contract before receiving FIRB approval, then there may be penalties imposed by FIRB in addition to AFAD.

What is AFAD?

AFAD is a duty that is usually an additional amount that applies to transactions that are liable for transfer duty (such as the purchase of real property for residential purposes). It was introduced to ensure that foreign acquirers who benefit from government services and infrastructure also contribute to their delivery, much like local buyers.

The Queensland Government Website notes that AFAD applies if you are considered a foreign person in the transaction which involves AFAD residential land (this includes chattels and existing rights), also if the transaction liability arises on or after 1 October 2016. AFAD residential land is defined as land in Queensland that is solely or primarily for residential purposes (must be your primary place of residency) and where particular conditions are met and can include, homes, apartments, vacant land on which a home or apartment will be built etc.

So Can you buy a property when on a visa?

In hindsight, to answer the question as to whether you can purchase a property when on a visa is yes you can certainly purchase the property if you are on a visa, however, the rules and regulations apply to the type of visa you have and the circumstances of your residency here in Australia.

Feel free to fill in the form if you need more information and one of our Property Law team will get in touch with you

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