Can I access my super if I relocate overseas?

Published 25 Jul 2018

Superannuation was set up to provide for all people living in Australia so that once they retire they will have access to a pool of funds. This money is protected from bankruptcy and creditor claims - it's the ultimate safeguard to ensure you'll never be left without. But what if you're planning on relocating overseas for several years, or permanently? Can you access your super fund then?

Determining this relies on answering one key question:

Are you an Australian citizen?
Temporary Australian residents
Anyone who has been working in Australia has to have their own superannuation. This includes temporary and special visa holders residing here.

However, temporary residents are able to access their super if they're moving away from Australia and aren't planning on returning. Applying through your super fund and providing proof of you temporary visa and departure plans should be ample proof for you to be able to cash out out your superannuation payments.

Australian citizens/permanent residents
If you're an Australian citizen or permanent resident and are planning on moving overseas, temporarily or permanently, you're not able to access your super fund. This is to prevent people from taking what should be retirement savings and spending it on a holiday or travel.

There is no way around this ruling. Even if you renounce your Australian citizenship in order to take a new passport, this still doesn't mean you can access your superannuation fund.

How can I access my super?
There are very strict rules that prevent you from withdrawing your super early. The few exceptions to the rule include:

  • If you're in severe financial hardship and cannot make necessary and important immediate payments.
  • If you're suffering from terminal illness that means you'll pass away within two years.
  • On compassionate grounds, such as if you need to meet unforeseen medical or funeral expenses.

You can also access your super fund early if you have less than $200 saved in the account.

Have a superannuation claim you want help with?
Trying to withdraw superannuation early is challenging, and super funds and state governments are very stringent in trying to minimise the numbers of people withdrawing money early.

If you have a good reason for needing access to your superannuation, you should get the assistance of a legal expert who can help fight your corner. For more information on this, contact the team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers today.

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