But if you decide to leave Australia, what happens to that money?
Taking your superannuation with you depends on one thing - whether you become a permanent Australian resident/citizen or not during your time here.
If you’re an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident
If you take the required steps to become an Australian citizen; or permanent resident, your superannuation is locked in place until you meet the conditions of release (eg retire after attaining preservation age) – regardless of whether you stay in Australia or not.
There are exceptions
If you experience a drastic change of events like permanent incapacity, severe financial hardship; or a terminal medical condition you may be allowed to access your super sooner. But there are criteria you must satisfy.
If you’re moving to New Zealand you may be able to transfer your super from a participating super fund in Australia using the New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with your super fund or a self-managed super fund (SMSF) specialist to find out more.
If you’re a temporary resident in Australia
Millions in unclaimed super is lost every year by people leaving the country unaware they can claim their contributions when they leave. If you’re a temporary resident (excluding visa subclasses 405 and 410 and New Zealand citizens) you can claim payment of your superannuation money once certain conditions are met.
When you’re planning your permanent departure from Australia, it’s important to remember your super may be able to move with you.
Planning ahead and being prepared is the key to making sure you get your super. You’ll need to make sure the correct forms are completed and lodged in the right order.
What you need to do
Fill out a Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) application form online.
You can save your application any time but only submit it once you’ve left Australia. Your visa must be inactive or cancelled in order to apply.
You’ll need the following info handy:
- Passport number
- Australian Tax File Number (TFN)
- All the details for each super fund including the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the employer who pays your contributions
- Details of the bank account you’re now using overseas
You may also need to provide either i) or ii)
i) A certified copy of your visa or evidence you’ve held a temporary resident visa that’s expired or been cancelled, a certified copy of your passport photograph page showing your ID and departure stamp). It’s probably a good idea to get these sorted before you leave (finding someone to certify these after you’ve left may be tricky)
ii) Confirmation you’ve lodged a Certification of Immigration Status and/or a request to cancel a temporary resident visa (Form 1194) with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Once you’ve submitted your DASP form, the request will be forwarded to your super fund and the Australian Tax Office. Please check DASP tax rates as tax may be deducted from your super payment, which also means you will not have to include it on your tax return. You may also have to pay fees and charges.
If your visa is still active, but you’ve left Australia, further information can be found on the ATO website.