How International student apply tfn : Step by Step guide

Mar 15, 2024by Axel Hardy

How International Students Can Apply for a Tax File Number in Australia

How International student apply TFN: A guide for those studying in Australia. This process involves the ATO's online portal, requiring a passport, visa, and enrollment proof. It's straightforward, free, and usually takes up to 28 days. Perfect for students starting their Australian journey.

Moving to Australia as an international student is an exciting journey filled with new experiences and opportunities. However, it also requires understanding and complying with local regulations, including tax obligations. One of the first steps in this process is applying for a Tax File Number (TFN).

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help international students navigate the TFN application process smoothly.

Understanding the Tax File Number (TFN)

A TFN is a unique identifier that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued to individuals and organizations to manage taxes and other government services. Having a TFN is essential for international students, as it includes employment, opening a bank account, and lodging tax returns in Australia.

How to find my Tax File number

Why International Students Need a TFN

how international student apply tfn

  • Employment: Most employers require your TFN to process payments and deduct tax correctly.
  • Banking: Earn interest on your Australian bank accounts without being taxed at the highest rate.
  • Education Loans: Apply for and repay government education loans if eligible.
  • Tax Returns: Lodge a tax return and claim any potential tax refund.

Step-by-Step Guide on How International student apply TFN

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

You can apply for a TFN if you hold a foreign passport, are a permanent migrant, or are a temporary visitor who is legally allowed to work in Australia or have an overseas student visa.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Before starting your application, ensure you have the following:

  • Valid passport or relevant travel documents.
  • Australian visa.
  • Proof of enrollment from an Australian educational institution.
  • Australian address (residential or postal).

Step 3: Apply Online

The ATO's online application portal is the most convenient way for international students to apply for a TFN. The process is as follows:

  • Visit the ATO and ATO websites and navigate to the TFN application page for foreign passport holders and permanent migrants.
  • Select ‘Tax File Number’ and then ‘Apply for a TFN’.
  • Choose the option that applies to you, likely ‘Foreign passport holders, permanent migrants, and temporary visitors’.
  • Complete the application form with the necessary details from your passport, visa, and educational enrollment.
  • Apply and note the receipt number for future reference.

Step 4: Await Confirmation

Once submitted, the ATO will process your application. You should receive your TFN within 28 days, sent to the Australian address you provided. The ATO will contact you directly if any issues or further information are needed.

No Application Fee: There is no fee for applying for a TFN.

Tips for International Students

  • Apply Early: Aim to apply for your TFN soon after your arrival in Australia to avoid delays in employment or banking activities.
  • Keep Your TFN Secure: Keep your TFN secure and share it only with legitimate employers, financial institutions, and the ATO to prevent identity theft and fraud.
  • Update Your Details: If you move or change your contact information, update your details with the ATO.


Applying for a Tax File Number (TFN) is straightforward but essential for international students in Australia. It’s your gateway to working legally, managing your finances efficiently, and complying with Australian tax laws. By following the steps outlined above, you can secure your TFN and focus on making the most of your study experience in Australia.

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