Criminal Record Checks for Australia

What Are Criminal Record Checks?

Criminal record checks also referred to as police checks or police certificates, provide an official record of any disclosable criminal activity on your personal record for the issuing country. These checks furnish immigration officials with the necessary background information to make further inquiries or to move your application forward for other considerations.

Who Needs to Submit Them?

Most visa applicants. Australian immigration authorities generally require all permanent residency visa applicants to submit police certificates as part of the application process.

When Do I Need to Submit Them?

Police check documentation must be submitted with your final visa application. After receiving your invitation to apply for a visa, you have only 60 days to submit your final visa application. Since obtaining police checks from relevant countries can take longer than 60 days, it’s crucial to begin this process early.

Which Countries Do I Need Them From?

Applicants must submit police checks from every country they have lived in for six months or more since their 18th birthday up to the submission of the application. This includes Australia if applicable. All police checks must be dated after the last day you lived in that country unless you continue to be a resident there.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Them?

The time required to receive police checks varies widely by country and issuing authority. For example, in the UK, the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO) advises that it takes at least 40 days to send certificates from the date of receiving the request. Delivery times can vary significantly, so it is advised to start the process as early as possible.

Where Do I Apply to Get My Police Check?

Each country has specific authorities responsible for issuing police checks. For instance, in the UK, it is the ACRO. Below is a list of some countries and their respective authorities:

United Kingdom


Czech Republic
New Zealand
The Philippines
Republic of Irland
South Africa

Fact About the Australian Character Requirement

Everyone seeking to enter or stay in Australia must satisfy the character requirement as set out in Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. This requirement applies to all non-citizens, sponsors of visa applicants, and non-migrating family members. Entering or remaining in Australia is considered a privilege, and visa holders must continue to meet the character standards.

If you have any criminal convictions inside or outside of Australia, you must disclose them. Failing to inform the authorities of your criminal history can result in your visa application being refused or your visa being cancelled. The Australian Minister for Immigration and his delegates have the authority to refuse or cancel a visa based on the character test. In certain cases, discretion may be exercised to avoid cancellation despite a negative character assessment.

Mandatory Cancellation

Your visa must be cancelled if you are currently serving a full-time custodial sentence and have been sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment or have been convicted of a sexually based crime involving a child. You will have 28 days to request revocation of this decision if your visa is cancelled under these circumstances.


Criminal record checks are a critical part of the Australian visa application process. Ensuring you understand and comply with these requirements is essential to avoid delays and potential refusals. Start the process early, be thorough in your submissions, and consult with immigration professionals if you have any uncertainties. Proper preparation and honesty in your application can significantly smooth the path to securing your visa and starting your new life in Australia.

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