26 October 2021

How to apply for a director identification number

Background

From November 2021, directors will need to verify their identity with the newly established Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) as part of a new requirement to obtain a unique director identification number (director ID).

This requirement will apply to directors of companies, registered foreign companies, registered Australian bodies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations.

The deadline to apply for a director ID will depend on the date you become a director.

Date you become a director

Date you must apply

On or before 31 October 2021

By 30 November 2022

Between 1 November 2021 and 4 April 2022

Within 28 days of appointment

From 5 April 2022

Before appointment

The deadline to apply for a director ID differ for directors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations.

Date you become a director

Date you must apply

On or before 31 October 2022

By 30 November 2023

From 1 November 2022

Before appointment

If you are planning on becoming a director, you can apply for a director ID in advance.

How do director IDs work?

A director ID is a unique 15-digit identifier given to a director (or someone who intends to become a director) who has verified their identity with the ABRS. 

A director ID:

  • starts with 036, which is the 3-digit country code for Australia under International Standard ISO 3166; and
  • ends with an 11-digit number and one ‘check’ digit for error detection.

A director will only ever have one director ID. You will keep it forever even if you:

  • change companies;
  • stop being a director;
  • change your name; or
  • move interstate or overseas.

Who needs a director ID?

You will need a director ID if you are a director of:

  • a company;
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation;
  • a corporate trustee;
  • a charity or not-for-profit organisation that is a company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation;
  • a registered Australian body; or
  • a foreign company registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

You will not need a director ID if you are:

  • a company secretary (but not a director);
  • an external administrator of a company;
  • referred to as a “director” in your job title, but have not been appointed as a director under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth);
  • running a business as a sole trader or partnership;
  • a director of a registered charity with an organisation type that is not registered with ASIC to operate throughout Australia; or
  • an officer of an unincorporated association, cooperative or incorporated association established under state or territory legislation, unless the organisation is also a registered Australian body.

How do I apply for a director ID?

Australian resident directors will be able to apply for a director ID online by:

  • setting up a myGovID account (this is different to the MyGov platform);
  • verifying their identity on the myGovID app;
  • applying for a director ID via the ABRS website.

Australian resident directors will also be able to apply for a director ID via phone.

Foreign directors located outside of Australia and unable to apply for a my GovID account will need to apply for a director ID by submitting a paper form together with certified copies of one primary document and one secondary document from the below lists. The paper form will be available through the ABRS website from 1 November 2021.

Primary identity documents

  • Foreign birth certificate
  • Foreign passport
  • Australian full birth certificate (extracts and commemorative certificates are not acceptable)
  • Australian passport (including passports that have expired in the past two years)

Secondary identity documents

  • National photo identification card
  • Foreign government identification
  • Driver’s licence (the licence address must match the address details on your application)
  • Marriage certificate (if you use this document to verify your change of name, you cannot use it as a secondary document)

If you have changed your name, you must provide another document showing the change, such as a:

  • marriage certificate
  • deed poll
  • change of name certificate

If you are located outside of Australia, your documents can be certified by:

  • a notary public; or
  • staff at your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate.

Documents in languages other than English will need to be translated by an approved translation service and certified as a true and correct copy.

Do not send original documents to the ABRS, as they will not return any documents.

How can I protect my identity?

Director IDs will not be publicly searchable, and the ABRS cannot disclose a director ID without the director’s consent. Director IDs, however, will not be governed by the same laws that apply to a tax file numbers. You should, therefore, keep your director ID private.

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