International Services

Helps you claim foreign pensions and receive your Australian social security payments while outside Australia.

About our international services

We can:

  • tell you if a social security agreement between Australia and another country may be able to help you get an Australian pension, and
  • assist with non-Australian pension claims submitted in Australia - if we can't help you claim your pension from another country, we may be able to tell you who can help

We have staff available who can speak a range of languages, or you may wish to use our interpreter services.

If you’re in Australia call our International Services line and talk to us. If you’re outside Australia, you can:

Customers travelling outside Australia

Travelling outside Australia may affect your payment from us.

Read more about Australians overseas.

Claiming Australian pensions

Under an international social security agreement, each country generally contributes an amount to your retirement income. For most countries this is measured by the period for which you have contributed to that country's social security scheme. For Australia, it’s based on your residence in Australia and your income and assets.

Australia has social security agreements with many countries.

Read more about our International Social Security Agreements.

If you:

  • have lived in Australia but now live in an agreement country, you can still claim an Australian pension, or
  • have previously worked in an agreement country and have since moved to Australia, you can claim an Australian pension even if you haven't lived here long enough to qualify under Australian laws

Claiming non-Australian pensions

If you’re in Australia, we can help you with claims for pensions from all agreement countries. We can provide claim forms and tell you how the claim process works for each country and what documents will be required. For many pension claims, we’ll help you make sure that all the required information has been provided so that your claim can be processed as quickly as possible.

We can also give you advice and information about claiming a pension from a country that doesn’t have an agreement with Australia.

Non-Australian income exchange rates

Your income and assets can affect how much payment you receive from us. We convert the value of your non-Australian income and assets into Australian dollars to apply the income and assets test. This is required under social security law and ensures all customers are treated the same, wherever they live.

The exchange rate we use is generally one of the Commonwealth Bank’s buying rates available on the fifth business day before the first of each month. The exchange rates for some currencies are obtained from other banks.

The exchange rates we use to convert your non-Australian income and assets into Australian dollars for most payments are updated on the first business day of each month. 

We assess income from outside Australia differently for family assistance purposes. Read more about foreign income for family assistance purposes.

To find out what exchange rate we’re using to convert your non-Australian income and assets into Australian dollars, call our 24 hour Foreign Exchange information service. Follow the prompts for the exchange rates used for the major currencies for the current and previous month.

You can also speak with a Service Officer by calling our Foreign Exchange line between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, for other currencies’ exchange rates which aren’t available through the automated service. You can speak to us in English or in your preferred language.

If you have non-Australian income or assets, we’ll send you a letter in February each year showing the exchange rates we used for the previous 12 months. This letter is for your information only - you don’t need to respond to us.

Asking for a reassessment

You can ask for a reassessment if there’s more than a 5% difference between the exchange rate we used and the rate that was actually used by the organisation or financial institution that converted your non-Australian income and assets into Australian dollars. To do this, you need to show us evidence of the actual exchange rate used.

You need to tell us if your non-Australian income and assets change, however there is no need to tell us if the change in value was solely caused by a change in the exchange rate.

Page last updated: 28 February 2017