What is superannuation?
If you have worked in Australia and are now returning home, you may have superannuation money that you can claim and take with you. You can apply for this money as soon as you have left Australia.
What is superannuation?
Superannuation is a way of saving for retirement. Your employer may have made legally required superannuation payments into a super fund on your behalf. Because many international students are here on temporary visas and will not retire in Australia, you may be able to take your superannuation once you leave Australia permanently.
(You may be able to return to Australia on another visa even if you take your superannuation money.)
Can I take my superannuation with me?
You may be eligible to claim your superannuation money if:
a. you were on an eligible temporary resident visa
(eg. overseas student visa)
b. your visa has expired or been cancelled
c. you have departed Australia (you must be outside Australia to lodge a claim for your money)
This is referred to as the ‘Departing Australia Superannuation Payment’ or DASP
Note: Australian permanent residents & New Zealand citizens cannot claim their superannuation in this way because they can retire in Australia.
Where is my superannuation?
If you don’t know where your superannuation money is, contact your employer to find out what super fund they paid money into for you.
You can also find your superannuation using ‘SuperSeeker’ the ATO online search tool. Google: ATO Superseeker. To use SuperSeeker you need your tax file number (TFN), name and date of birth.
If you don’t know your TFN, the tax office can search for you.
Before you leave
Get certified copies of documentation
You can get all your original documentation copied and certified before you leave Australia. You can get this done for free by making an appointment with the SRC Solicitor on 9660 5222. There are a number of other professionals who can do this, including: Barristers, Doctors, Judges, Ministers of Religion (authorised to celebrate marriages) and Police Officers.
Get all the information you need
Your superannuation statements should help you find this information.
- Your Superannuation provider’s Australian business number (ABN)
- Superannuation product name
- Superannuation fund number (SFN)
- Your Member/Account number
- Superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
- Superannuation provider’s Client ID
- Date you joined the superannuation fund
- Your Employer’s name
- Your Employer’s address
- Your Employment dates (from/to)
If you have more than $5000 in your super fund
In addition to all the other paperwork, you must complete Form 1194 Certification of Immigration Status from the Department of Immigration website:
As at February 2015 the charge is $55.
If your visa is still active but you have left Australia
You can ask the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to cancel your visa in order to access your superannuation by sending a request by email to: email@example.com,
or by mail to:
Certification of Immigration Status DIAC,
GPO Box 1496, Hobart TAS 7001
You must include the following information:
- the subclass of the visa you wish to have cancelled
- your current residential address
- the date you left Australia
How to apply?
You can start to fill out the application before you leave, but you can only submit your application once you have permanently departed Australia and your visa is inactive.
Applying online takes about 30 minutes
Note: you can also apply in writing by downloading ‘Applying for a departing Australia Superannuation Payment’ form from the ATO website.
Confirming your identity & eligibility
You need to provide personal details such as your name, date of birth, tax file number (TFN) and passport details.
This information (except your TFN) will be passed to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to establish whether you are eligible.
Confirmation of your eligibility may take a few seconds. If you are eligible you can complete your application.
Add your superannuation details
If the Tax Office has records of your superannuation, the system automatically gives you an application for each superannuation account it found during the search. If the system search did not identify all (or any) of your superannuation accounts, you can add a new application.
You then fill out as much information as you can. If you need to get additional information, the online system allows you to save your details, and re-enter the system to update and submit your application at a later date.
Submitting your applications
Before you submit your application check the details carefully
as they cannot be changed once you have submitted.
As soon as you submit your application(s), an email confirming the information in your application will be sent to the email address you provide. Your superannuation provider may contact you to check information or get more information.
Receiving your money
You will normally be mailed a cheque within 28 days of your superannuation provider(s) receiving all the required information.
Other money – your tax refund
If you worked in Australia and had income tax deducted from your wages, make sure you apply for an income tax refund before you leave Australia by lodging a Tax Return.
You can also apply for a refund if you’ve had tax withheld on bank account interest because you didn’t supply your bank with your Tax File Number.
Full instructions on how to access your superannuation are available from the Australian Tax Office (ATO)
Google: ATO super
Superannuation Infoline 13 10 20 (within Australia)
This information does not constitute legal advice.
This information is mostly a summary of information provided by the ATO.